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Tag:Al Golden
Posted on: May 23, 2011 5:25 pm
 

Miami gets commitment from 2013 wide out

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Al Golden has quickly turned the tide in South Florida for Miami, reconnecting with the local high school coaches and recruiting well so far early in the 2012 recruiting cycle. Golden has also looked ahead and applied his touch to the class of 2013 this past weekend by grabbing the commitment of Orlando (Fla.) athlete Levonte Whitfield.

"I got the offer during the day - (my high school) coach told me," Whitfield told CaneSport.com. "When I called coach Golden I told him I committed. I was just happy. Coach Golden, he was very excited. My mom knew I wanted to go there. She's excited, too.

"It feels good to be a Cane. That was my dream. I was a Cane fan from way back in the day."

"Kermit" as Whitfield is nicknamed, is a dynamic athlete who plays receiver, running back and safety in high school. The rising junior held offers from LSU, Ohio State, Florida and Tennessee among others already but it was the Hurricanes' offer that he really had his heart set on.

"When Miami extended the offer his eyes got big, he said, `Yes `sir, yes sir, I'll take it,'" his high school coach and former Miami player Kenard Lang said. "Kermit is a die-hard UM fan ever since growing up. Every time he got one of those other offers it was `Okay, whatever.' He was waiting for Miami."

The 5-foot-9, 175 pound Whitfield is among the fastest in the nation on the track and the football field. He had 326 yards receiving and four touchdowns, 222 yards rushing and four touchdowns on offense. At safety he snagged five interceptions and three sacks and was a mainstay on special teams.

Whitfield's cousin, Marvin Bracy, also holds a Miami offer and is a top state of Florida prospect at wide receiver in the class of 2012.

Whitfield becomes the Hurricanes' first commitment for the class of 2013 to go along with nine in the class of 2012.

Posted on: April 28, 2011 5:23 pm
Edited on: April 28, 2011 5:24 pm
 

Welcome to 'the U' Angelo Jean-Louis

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Wellington (Fla.) athlete Angelo Jean-Louis was looking to commit to a school in the next few weeks and end the recruiting process early. After naming Miami his leader a few weeks ago, many thought it was only a matter of time before the talented player to commit.

Thursday afternoon ended up being the day he pulled the trigger and added his name to the Hurricanes' class of 2012.

"I committed today," Jean-Louis told CaneSport.com. "I talked to coach (Al) Golden and coach Terry (Richardson). They were asking if I want to be a Cane and once I said I did they were happy I committed, very excited."

The 6-foot, 190 pound speedster will likely start out on defense for the Canes but can also play wide receiver out of the slot. The early commitment held offers from Alabama, Florida, Florida State and USC among others. Jean-Louis will have plenty of time to concentrate on getting better over the summer before stepping campus next fall with the recruiting process over and done with.

"I wanted to end all the stuff, knew where I was ready to go," he said. "Just to go there, learn, and do what I love to do, which is play football."

Jean-Louis had 14 receptions for 330 yards as a junior last year and scored six touchdowns total. He is the eighth commitment for the class of 2012 for Miami.

Posted on: March 13, 2011 7:06 am
 

Elite 11/Badger Sports 7-on-7 Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

TAMPA, Fla. - To play against a team of all-stars, bringing your “A game” is a must. Sometimes, even an “A+ game” isn’t enough.

Such was the case at the Badger Sports Elite 7-on-7 tournament Saturday night. Despite several terrific - some would even say ridiculous - catches by Citra (Fla.) tight end Sean Price, Team Showtime narrowly lost to all-star travel team South Florida Express in one of the most exciting games in day one round-robin play.

Price nearly pulled off the upset single-handedly, slightly misjudging a deep pass that would have given Showtime a two-score advantage late in the game. Though he didn’t make that play, the talented tight end used it as motivation.

“I’m used to making plays, that’s nothing new,” Price said. “On the last play, I felt kind of disappointed in myself though because I kind of underestimated the ball and what was going to happen. I can’t hold my head on it, it happens. I just have to play better the next game.

The 6-foot-4, 210 pound Price put on a show for much of the evening, bringing down several one-handed catches and showing off his vertical leap by out-jumping more athletic defensive backs. His best quality was the ability to attack the ball in the air and snatch it away from just about everybody. Though the Showtime team was at times relying exclusively on Price for offense, the young tight end said the team was starting to gel as the night progressed.

“We just started and have only had a few practices,” Price said. “End of the night, we’re starting to get our swag and chemistry up. Things started to click. We know we’re just as good as that team and one of the best out here.”

Price and Team Tampa/Land O’Lakes (Fla.) tight end Kent Taylor were both impressive at the position and will likely battle for the title of best in the state at the position throughout the upcoming season. Price already holds scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Florida State and others.

“Recent offers are Tennessee, Clemson, LSU, Miami and USF,” he said. “Most are looking at me on offense at tight end. A few have said I could play at defensive end if I want to because I play that in high school too.”

Given Price’s frame, adding weight and playing linebacker at the next level could be something for college coaches to consider, especially considering how well he moved in coverage in limited time on defense during the competition. With multiple schools after his services, Price plans on committing after his senior season and has already scheduled an unofficial visit to Miami next week to give a close look at one of his favorites.

“My top four would be Florida, USF, Miami and possibly Alabama,” he said. “I’m going to go wherever they give me love. If it’s out of state, doesn’t matter, I’ll go there too.”

Fuller tries his hand at safety

Another player who caught the eye of several observers with stellar play Saturday was Fort Myers (Fla.) linebacker/safety Tajarvis Fuller. Playing at both linebacker and safety, the junior used the Badger Sports 7-on-7 competition to adjust to his new position in the secondary after playing mostly linebacker in high school.

“I’m working on trying to be a better safety,” Fuller said. “All of the colleges recruiting me are recruiting me as a strong safety. I’ve never played it before so I’m working on my feet, turning my hips and getting my body right. I just want to show everybody that I’m capable of playing the safety position and showing them what I’m capable of doing.”

The 6-foot-2, 185 pound athlete displayed good quickness but was timid at times while in coverage. Thin for a linebacker, Fuller readily admitted that he would try to add some weight despite changing positions.

“I’ll be playing safety in the spring,” he said. “I still want to get bigger and bulk up 10, 15 pounds. I don’t want to get up to like 230 though.”

Holding scholarship offers from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Indiana, UCF and UCLA, Fuller wore a Miami hat most of the afternoon and did not shy away from expressing his excitement over his most recent offer from the Hurricanes.

“We went down there last Saturday and again on Thursday,” he said. “That’s two times in one week and we talked with Coach (Al) Golden and (defensive backs coach Paul Williams). I was really excited about it. We went down there for the first spring practice.

“Illinois is recruiting me very, very heavily. Top five, Miami is number one, Clemson number two. Alabama is number three but I don’t have an offer. Georgia Tech maybe and then Illinois.”

Although Miami is firmly in the lead, Fuller’s recruitment also has one other factor that will have an effect on where he plays college football.

“Me and Christian Brown, a defensive tackle at my school, we’re going to go to the same college,” Fuller said. “The plan is to commit, maybe, after spring or right at the beginning of the fall.”

Brown’s offer list doesn’t quite match up with Fuller’s but the two do share several offers and both figure to pick up several more over the next few months.

Crow solid throwing and in commitment

The Elite 11 competition in Orlando featured a spirited competition among many of the top quarterbacks from the region and Miami commit Gray Crow was one of several that stood out from the pack. Although he might not have been the top guy at the event, he did turn in a solid performance even if he thought it wasn’t that great.

“Personally, I’m a perfectionist, so I felt like I left a little out here,” Crow said. “I felt like I could have done better. I’m going to take these drills I learned out here and use them to try and improve every single time I put my cleats on.”

Though several schools have reached out and continued to recruit him, Crow remains firmly committed to the Hurricanes for a number of reasons.

“It was my favorite school as a little kid and the combination of academics and the relationship with Coach (Jedd) Fisch and Coach Golden,” he said. “The type of people they are, match my personality. I really like that and having a pro-style offense. Then you get to play at a school like Miami also.”

“I’m set on Miami, no doubt about it.”

The Clearwater (Fla.) product recently traveled down to see Miami go through spring practice and was impressed with the new direction of the program under Golden.

“The practices are very different, very fast paced,” Crow said. “He just brings the attitude that we want to win. He has very good character like myself and he’s going in there and picking everybody back up.”

News and notes

- In addition to Crow and the other quarterbacks mentioned in an earlier update, Tampa (Fla.) quarterback Greg Windham stood out. Earning a coveted yellow jersey as one of the most accurate passers, Windham was very fluid when throwing the ball and has decent size at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds.

- Orlando (Fla.) quarterback Nick Patti surprised with a great arm despite being about 5-foot-10. A quick release and an accurate arm normally gets attention at Elite 11 competitions and Patti earned a yellow jersey as well on top of being named one of the best at the event. The only knock seems to be his height but he is a player and showed his competitiveness off at the event. He was scheduled to throw at the Badger Sports 7-on-7 later in the day but pulled a muscle according to the Orlando Sentinel.

- Class of 2013 quarterback Akeem Jones displayed a cannon of an arm in both events Saturday. He has great size at 6-foot-3, 210 pounds and gets the ball to the receiver in a hurry. Jones is still raw as a passer but making the elite travel team as a sophomore is an indication of just how talented he is. He might end up playing wide receiver in college but he’s got a good head on his shoulders and a great work ethic so it wouldn’t be too surprising if he ended up getting a shot to play quarterback first.

- Former Colorado coach Dan Hawkins is an instructor at the Elite 11 this year. The always enthusiastic Hawkins said he will be attending several spring practices, starting with BYU next week, and instructing at the Elite 11 camps on the weekend. His son, former Colorado quarterback and Elite 11 counselor Cody Hawkins, is in Sweden preparing to play quarterback for a team there.

- Teams from South Florida dominated the Badger Sports event, with three going undefeated in round-robin play. Elite travel team South Florida Express went a perfect 4-0 and had an unbelievable collection of talent at wide receiver, led by LSU commit Avery Johnson and Herb Waters. The South Florida Blur were led by several good performances from wide out Jamie Wilson.

- Florida commit Matt Jones did not play with an undisclosed injury.

- Orlando (Fla.) defensive back Ty Law said he recently picked up offers from N.C. State and West Virginia.

Posted on: March 9, 2011 10:18 pm
 

Carter commits to 'The U'

Posted by Bryan Fischer 

Miami picked up the commitment of standout Cordale (Ga.) basketball player Jontavious Carter Wednesday night. The first year football player is also a pretty talented wide receiver and when the Hurricanes extended a scholarship offer in the sport, he was quick to accept.

"Miami got my film in the mail and they watched it today. I called Coach [Brennan] Carroll to make sure they got it and he told me they saw it and that they wanted to offer me a full ride to Miami," Carter told Scout. "I talked to Carroll for a little bit, then I talked to Coach [Al] Golden and I told him I wanted to be part of 'The U'. He told me to talk to my family and then to call him back."

The 6-foot-4, 200 pound carter did not hold any offers before Miami but was drawing interest from several schools across the south. Although it was the first offer, it was also the offer Carter was looking for.

"Miami is the offer I wanted," he added. "I am ready to be a Cane, I want to get down there early, and I am just going to keep working so I am ready when I get there."

Carter receiver is the eighth commit for the 'Canes class fo 2012 and the first at his position.

Posted on: February 21, 2011 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Miami Nike Combine/Ft. Lauderdale NUC Notebook

Posted by Bryan Fischer

FORT LAUDERDALE - Once again, the South Florida region continues to amaze with the sheer amount of skill position talent available. Although it’s a particularly good year for Florida linemen, several unknown skill position players from the region jumped into the spotlight after the Nike Sparq Combine in Miami on Saturday and the National Underclassman Combine (NUC) in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

Coming from out of nowhere, outside linebacker Justin Horton posted the best Sparq score in the nation on Saturday with a 115.95. The Clermont (Fla.) defender ran a 4.58 in the 40 yard dash at 6-foot-2, 207 pounds and was easily the talk of the combine.

“I had gone to a previous combine and I just wanted to come out here and grab a better score,” Horton said. “I didn’t think much of it until I came over and everybody started getting excited. I really didn’t know what to expect today.”

The impressive Sparq score is an indicator of Horton’s athleticism and he certainly looks the part of an outside linebacker at the next level. Although he played mostly at defensive end last year, he racked up 65 tackles and hopes to have an even bigger season in 2011 by playing some linebacker. With only a little interest from schools such as Louisville and USF, expect coaches from around the South to be asking for Horton’s highlight tape this week.

Coral Springs (Fla.) defensive end/linebacker Cameron Smith posted a slightly lower 94.50 Sparq score but certainly looked the part of a Division I player. Although he doesn’t have any offers, several schools are showing interest.

“I want to play (defensive) end,” he said. “Most schools are looking at me as defensive end or outside linebacker. I’ve got a couple of letters, a lot actually, from Boston College. I’ve had some from Iowa State, USF, awhile ago I had some from Miami, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Duke.”

Smith displayed nice side-to-side movement and after racking up double-digit sacks as a junior, could be primed for a breakout senior year if the combine is any indication.

Jones impresses

Sophomore quarterback Akeem Jones stood out from the crowd of skill position players on both Saturday and Sunday. Already receiving interest from the likes Miami, Florida State, Florida and Rutgers, Jones has been a hot name in recruiting circles after making the 7-on-7 travel team South Florida Express two weeks ago.

Recording an 81.12 Sparq score at the Nike Combine, the 6-foot-3, 190 pound Jones showed off his arm at the NUC, throwing a very catchable ball with good accuracy on short to intermediate throws. Jones didn’t play much during the season due to injury so he’s using camps over the summer to get better on the field for his upcoming season.

“I got hurt the fourth game of the season, broke my ankle in three places. I wasn’t able to play the rest of the season,” Jones said. “Right now my mindset is I just want to win a state championship. I want to get my team to that next level and see how I’m going to lead them there. I want people to say, ‘look at how he set an example for a lot of kids.’ That’s my goal.”

Jones looks like a taller version of former Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor with his throwing motion and strong arm. He won the NUC Leadership Award and was almost like another coach on the field by helping out his receivers and correcting their alignment on plays during the one-on-one portion of the combine. Expect to keep hearing Jones’ name as he travels around the country to other camps and competitions.

Speed is the name of the game

South Florida produces some of the fastest players in the country and both camps had two players turn in blazing 40 yard dash times.

At the NUC combine, Hollandale (Fla.) running back Jared Sanders blazed a 4.37 and 4.40 (hand-timed) in the 40 yard dash to grab the fastest man award. A bit small at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Sanders could be a slot receiver in college despite playing running back in high school. He was a terror to cover in one-on-one drills and had better hands than most, if not all, the wide receivers competing.

Sanders has had some interest from Miami, Illinois and FIU and could see even more schools start to take a look as the summer goes on.

Miami (Fla.) receiver John Green was the fastest man at the Nike camp, running a 4.46 (electronically-timed) 40 yard dash, which was the fastest time in the nation among all Nike combines this year.

“My fastest 40 is a 4.33,” he said. “I play slot receiver, kick returner and this year I’ll be the starting safety.”

Also a track star, Green has no offers but is being shown interest from coaches at Florida State, Kansas, Kansas State and Duke but says he hopes to hear from Miami soon. He plans on attending camps at Florida State and Kansas among others.

Burton takes Overall MVP award at NUC

2012 cornerback Adrian Burton attended both combines and made his name known at both of them. Posting a 98.46 Sparq rating at the Nike combine, Burton was hampered by a bit of fatigue from being in the sun all day and still managed to run a 4.67 in the 40 yard dash. He did much better on Sunday at the NUC, running a 4.51 and showing off impressive coverage skills in one-on-ones.

“It felt good to come out here after recovering and show that I am a D-1 prospect,” Burton said.

Burton was very fluid and excelled in press coverage against the top competition at the NUC. He took home Overall MVP honors and is seeing his recruiting pick up as of late. In-state programs like Florida and Florida State have shown interest but Miami is recruiting Burton the hardest. He recently went to the Hurricanes’ Junior Day and expects an offer to come from the staff shortly.

“I went to the one versus North Carolina,” Burton said. “I loved it, it felt just like home. Coach (Al) Golden is a real good coach, he’s really interactive with the players. I feel real comfortable there.”

As one of the top corners in Miami, expect to keep hearing Burton’s name pop up during the summer.

NUC Awards

2012 Quarterback MVP: Chase Bender from Cardinal Gibbons HS.
Running back MVP: Bo Ellis, a 2013 running back from Miami Gulliver Prep who ran a 4.57 in the 40 yard dash.
Defensive back MVP: Deshawd Tucker from Hollandale HS, he has interest from Miami, Oregon, Wisconsin and FIU but no offers at this time.
Wide Receiver MVP: Davaunte Robbins, who ran a 4.55 40 yard dash.
Combine King and Fastest Man: Jared Sanders.
Overall MVP: Adrian Burton.

Top Nike Sparq Scores

Top Sparq Rating: Justin Horton
Top 40 Yard Dash: John Green
Top Vertical Jump: Billy Crook (QB, Naples, Fla.)
Top Agility Shuttle: Kevon Caffey (RB, Miami, Fla.) 
Top Power Ball Toss: Pedro Sibiea (DE, Homestead, Fla.)
Posted on: February 13, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2011 10:59 pm
 

Miami grabs three commitments at Junior Day

Posted by Bryan Fischer

New Miami head coach Al Golden received the commitments from three of the top players in Florida at what could only be described as a very productive Junior Day.

Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) cornerback Daniel Gray made his commitment at the Miami Under Armour Combine Sunday morning before notifying the coaching staff later in the day at the Hurricanes’ Junior Day. The 5-foot-11, 170 pound Gray is one of the top corners in South Florida and turned in a solid junior year with 26 tackles and two interceptions.

“Today when I attend [Miami’s] Junior Day, I will be committing at the University of Miami,” Gray told the Sun Sentinel. “One-hundred percent that is the school I am going to.”

The news kept getting better for the Hurricanes as the day went on. Despite missing out on Jacoby Brissett in the class of 2011, Golden picked up his quarterback of the future in Gray Crow. The Clearwater (Fla.) signal-caller led his team to an undefeated regular season last year and is on MaxPreps' 2012 Top 100 Watch List.

Miami baseball commit David Thompson of Westminster Christian High in Miami also decided to verbally pledge to play football for the Hurricanes. The Baseball America National Player of the Year, Thompson had been a longtime commit for baseball but the Junior Day festivities gave him the perfect opportunity to add a football commitment as well.

“(Golden) told me he had spoken to (baseball coach) Morris and they agreed I could play both sports. He said I could commit right now if I wanted to,” Thompson told CaneSport.com. “I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t really think, I was so happy.”

A quarterback and defensive back, Thompson’s commitment gives Miami eight recruits in their class of 2012.

Posted on: February 3, 2011 7:16 pm
 

Where's Jacoby Brissett going?

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Who: West Palm Beach (FL) quarterback Jacoby Brissett. MaxPreps 10th-ranked dual-threat quarterback.

What’s the big deal: Cyrus Kouandjio and Jadeveon Clowney are not the only players who have chosen to wait to sign with a school. Brissett is the not only one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in Florida but the nation. He has ideal size at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds and uses his athleticism with great success in basketball as well. He does not have a picture-perfect delivery but nevertheless is a fairly accurate passer who can make plays in the passing game.

When: He will announce his choice Friday evening during halftime of his high school basketball team’s game.

Considering: Florida, Miami, Wisconsin and Washington.

Best guess: Miami. Late rumors were swirling Wednesday and Thursday that Brissett had made a decision to attend Florida but word has since come out that he has not made up his mind. His mother has been on record as preferring Brissett go to Miami to stay close to home and it will be difficult to overcome that even if he wants to go elsewhere. Al Golden has been relentless in his pursuit of Brissett following the decommitment of Teddy Bridgewater and in the end it’s very likely he gets his quarterback.

Posted on: February 2, 2011 5:24 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 5:26 pm
 

MaxPreps: First-year coaches' grades

By MaxPreps's Stephen Spiewak

A head coach's first recruiting class is often his worst.

Taking a head coaching job in the middle of the offseason, a critical time in the recruiting period, is a burdensome task. New hires rush to retain recruits from the previous regime by quickly building and reaffirming relationships with current commits while also branching out to land their own targets to fit their offensive and defensive philosophies.

However, new hires do benefit from the media deluge that typically follows the announcement that they're taking the job.

Here's a look at some notable coaches in their first recruiting season at their current school and how they fared on the recruiting trail.

Brady Hoke-Michigan 
Notable recruits lost: Demetrius Hart
Notable recruits gained: Christian Bryant 
Analysis: Hoke became the man at Michigan after a long, drawn out process that not only involved former coach Rich Rodriguez but also the likes of Jim Harbaugh and Les Miles. The Wolverines landed on Hoke, who didn't hit many home runs, but brought in solid recruits like Bryant, Antonio Poole, and Thomas Rawls.  Grade: B+

Will Muschamp-Florida 
Notable recruits lost: Nick Waisome, Ryan Shazier
Notable recruits gained: Marcus Roberson 
Analysis: Coming off an epic 2010 recruiting class, it would've been nearly impossible for any coach to match what Urban Meyer did last year - even Urban Meyer himself. Muschamp had to focus his efforts on re-recruiting existing Florida commits. He couldn't close on the type of recruit that the Gators had become used to landing, like Tim Jernigan and Curt Maggitt. He should improve vastly in 2012. Grade: C+

Al Golden-Miami 
Notable recruits lost: Teddy Bridgewater, Eli Rogers
Notable recruits gained: Jalen Grimble 
Analysis: Golden certainly has some work to do, as most of South Florida's top recruits went elsewhere. Bringing in Grimble was a big surprise, and Golden has the Hurricanes poised to land quarterback Jacoby Brissett. He convinced Anthony Chickillo to stick with his commitment while mending fences at Miami Central and bringing in Thomas Finnie. Grade: A

David Shaw-Stanford 
Notable recruits lost: Anthony Sarao, Amir Carlisle 
Notable recruits gained: Wayne Lyons
Analysis: Stanford often loses recruits late in the recruiting cycle due to its strict academic standards, but the departure of Jim Harbaugh exacerbated the Cardinal's losses. However, it was not all bad news for Shaw and Stanford, which still landed Wayne Lyons, the nation's No. 45 recruit. With all of Stanford's success on the field this season, this is a slightly disappointing class, even taking into account the coaching turmoil. Grade: B

Randy Edsall-Maryland 
Notable recruits lost: none 
Notable recruits gained: Jeremiah Hendy 
Analysis: Maryland has seen some change in its recruiting class in the post-Ralph Friedgen era. The Terrapins lost recruits like Ryan Malleck and Jimmy Stewart, but Edsall was able to regain a pledge from A.J. Hendy. Otherwise, this class is similar to what it was before Edsall arrived: underwhelming. However, Edsall did a great job identifying and cultivating talent at UConn. Maryland fans have to hang their hats on next year's recruiting class, because the 2011 group is underwhelming. Grade: C

More Signing Day coverage on CBSSports.com
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com