If you happen to be a University of Miami football fan, Wednesday was a lot of fun. But it was also a day where the Hurricanes seized back the top spot in the state of Florida.
While FSU may very well go on and have a brilliant 2018 season, they certainly did not win the day on Wednesday. Neither did Danny Mullen and the Florida Gators, who did well, but not what head coach Mark Richt and his staff accomplished.
Turning the corner in a state like Florida, is like doing it nationally – and with the newly minted Early National Signing Day taking place yesterday, today and tomorrow, this was the year that all the stars aligned for the ‘Canes.
While 18 of the current 20 prospects, who had been committed, signed on the dotted line on the first day of the period, it proved that this is a train that will be leaving the station over the next two years, and if you are not on it, have a good day.
Hurricane coaches are no longer bumping heads with UCF and USF for its players. They have firmly won wars over the past year against the best in the country.
As we had said prior to the season – which will end in the fabled Orange Bowl game – this is a program that is on the rise. No, they do not have the depth needed to lineup every week against the likes of FSU, Clemson and many others who have had the luxury to build that quality depth.
What the next three days will tell – and throughout the coming six weeks – is Miami is back to recruiting with big boys, and that does not look to change any time soon.
HITTING THE TARGETS
What this #Storm18 class is all about is getting more depth to add to a very talented, but stretched starting unit.
While nobody will dispute the success this year – and it was impressive – games that were close most of the year – coupled with the post-Thanksgiving game at Pittsburgh and the ACC title contest against Clemson proved that the depth was a factor.
Losing key players such like Mark Walton for the year was a blow that the Hurricanes weathered, but down the stretch everyone gets tired – especially against elite competition.
During the course of a year, we have a huge advantage of seeing these athletes up close and personal.
From games to spring and summer practices and 7-on-7 events, along with team camps, the opportunity to have watched many of these athletes for nearly a decade is a huge advantage.
What happened on offense is they added premier quarterback Jarren Williams (Central Gwinett, Ga.), and running backs Lorenzo Linguard (Orange City University) and Cam’Ron Davis (Carol City). They also brought in Atlanta (Pace Academy) Georgia fullback Realus George.
SUMMARY: The need for a quarterback to continue adding to the competition was huge – and the ‘Canes got a very good one, here. Linguard and Davis will add to the rotation – right away.
The Hurricanes also added receivers Mark Pope and teammate (Daquris Wiggins (Miami Southridge) and Brian Hightower (IMG Academy) – and even star tight end Will Malory (Jacksonville Providence) and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman star Brevin Jordan.
SUMMARY: Pope has already proven that he is one of the best in the country. The schedule that Hightower played – along with his size and play-making ability – puts him right in the mix.
Both the tight ends have the chance to make a huge splash. The position is open and the depth is on hand.
The line has also been a place where adding new faces every year will be essential. With Cleveland Reed (Fort Meade) not signing on Wednesday, the Hurricanes did very well with Miami Southridge standout Delone Scaife and 8A state champion Orlando Dr. Phillips product John Campbell.
SUMMARY: You never can have enough quality linemen, and if the Hurricanes are going to stay in the ACC title mix, it’s this group that needs to learn quickly and be ready. A fourth team guard is tomorrow’s starter. The athletes are going to need to learn on the fly.
Defensively, the ‘Canes went after that depth in the secondary with legacy signee Al Blades, Jr. (St. Thomas Aquinas), safety Gurvan Hall (Palm Beach Gardens) and D.J. Ivey (Homestead South Dade).
SUMMARY: This is where this team needed help in the worst way. Two injuries nearly decimated the team down the stretch. Hall and Ivey need to get in the mix as soon as possible.
Defensive ends Gregory Rousseau (Hialeah Champagnat Catholic) and Patrick Joyner are huge playmakers. So is Texas kicker Bubba Baxa.
SUMMARY: Winner! These two defensive ends are both football smart and ready to play. They know how to make plays at every level, and while it may take some early adjustment, they will get it before many others.
2018 EARLY SIGNING DAY SUMMARY: To do what this program did this season – minus a number of playmakers and experienced players only illustrates where the Hurricane are headed.
But before they get there, understand that there are still a number programs still ahead – from a depth standpoint. By the end of 2018, Miami will have front line players with depth ready to go, and then the process accelerates.
Catch the South Florida High School Sports Radio Show this Tuesday night (8-9) on WQAM (560AM). For the past 10 years, the players and coaches who are making the headlines, join the program. You will learn a lot!