1 -- CB Xavier Rhodes (Norland; FSU) -- This turned out to be a big mistake by Shannon. Miami never offered a future 1st rounder from their head coach's former high school. S Matt Elam (Dwyer; UF) -- He was pretty set on Florida from day 1.
2 -- S Jon Cyprien (North Miami Beach; FIU) -- In what turned out to be the biggest sleeper in the entire class, Cyprien had no BCS offers. RB Gio Bernard (St. Thomas Aquinas; UNC) -- Miami offered but made Lamar Miller a bigger priority in the end. QB Geno Smith (Miramar; West Virginia) -- The Canes recruited him but had just gotten Jacory Harris to be the QB of the future -- in what turned out to be an evaluation mistake. LB Jon Bostic (PB Central; UF) -- UF was his dream school.
3 -- DE Corey Lemonier (Hialeah; Auburn) -- The Canes came close but Auburn won out in the end. CB Kayvon Webster (Pace; USF) -- A one-time Hurricane commitment, the Bulls out-recruited the Canes at the last minute. WR Stedman Bailey (Miramar; West Virginia) -- Smith's top target in high school, Bailey was never seriously recruited by Miami.
4 -- DT Akeem Spence (Fort Walton Beach; Illinois) -- He came from an area of the state the Canes didn't really recruit. WR Ace Sanders (Manatee; South Carolina) -- His lack of size (5-foot-8) prevented the Big 3 from offering. It turned out to be a mistake.
5 -- WR Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach; Michigan) -- The Canes wanted him to play receiver. Michigan got him because they let him play QB. CB Brandon McGee (Plantation; UM) RB Chris Thompson (Madison County; FSU) -- He's from an area the Canes didn't actively recruit at the time. DE Brandon Jenkins (FSU High; FSU) -- He chose his dream school right down the road. RB Mike Gillislee (Deland; UF) -- The Canes looked but never got serious. PK Caleb Sturgis (St. Augustine; UF) -- UM wasn't in the market for a kicker.
6 -- DE Tourek Williams (Norland; FIU) -- The 2nd biggest sleeper behind Cyprien, Williams is another player from Shannon's old high school that should have been recruited harder in hindsight. RB Mike James (Ridge; UM) LB Vince Williams (Ridge; FSU) -- A prep teammate of James, Williams grew up an FSU fan.
7 -- FB Tommy Bohanon (North Fort Myers; Wake Forest) -- Pure fullbacks rarely get offered by the Big 3, which was the case here. TE D.C. Jefferson (Winter Haven; Rutgers) -- Miami never recruited him but most wanted him to play TE. Rutgers promised him he'd play QB but he was moved to TE right away. RB Jawan Jamison (Bolles; Rutgers) -- The Canes never recruited him from one of the state's premier prep programs. LB Sam Barrington (Terry Parker; USF) -- A back-and-forth battle was won by USF in the end. The Canes let up in their efforts late in the game. S Zeke Motta (Vero Beach; Notre Dame) -- The Canes wanted him but he had the desire to get away from day one. QB B.J. Daniels (Lincoln; USF) -- A spread type QB who didn't get major BCS offers due to his size. CB Kemal Ishmael (North Miami; UCF) -- The 3rd sleeper in this class. Miami looked but never got serious.
Treasure Coast: 1
SW FL: 1
Palm Beach: 2
Signed: 2 (James and McGee) Offered but didn't get: 8 (Elam, Bernard, Bostic, Lemonier, Webster, Robinson, Barrington,and Motta) Recruited but never offered: 5 (Rhodes, Smith, Bailey, Jenkins, and V. Williams) Never recruited: 12 (Cyprien, Spence, Sanders, Thompson, Gillislee, Sturgis, T. Williams, Bohanon, Jefferson, Jamison, Daniels, and Ishmael)
The Hurricanes signed 2 of the 27 players from this class who were drafted. That's a big reason why the team has struggled to win games over the last few seasons. That would have been the case at FSU, Ohio State, Alabama, or anywhere else had they signed just 7-percent of the elite players.
Elam, Bostic, and Motta were going to be extremely difficult for anyone, including UM, from day one.
Choosing Miller over Bernard was not a mistake. Gio didn't want to be the 2nd RB in someone's class.
There were a lot of factors outside of football that helped Lemonier land at Auburn. Miami did the best they could.
Losing Webster and Barrington to USF in the end really stung. In hindsight, the Canes should have pushed harder in the final days. If they had, both could have been Hurricanes.
Robinson wasn't going to play QB in UM's pro style offense, so there wasn't much they could have done differently.
The Canes actually didn't make many mistakes in recruiting those eight players. The mistakes came in not offering/recruiting some of the others. Part of what made Butch Davis the nation's top recruiter was his ability to identify players who flew under the recruiting radar at most schools. A big mistake was going with Jacory Harris as the QB of the future instead of offering Smith. However, it made sense at the time because Harris was part of what appeared to be a great class of Miami Northwestern players. Had the Canes passed on Harris the year before to put all of their eggs into the Smith basket, guys like Sean Spence, Brandon Washington, and Tommy Streeter could have gone elsewhere along with Harris.
Not offering Rhodes was a major blunder. Many thought so at the time, and it looks bad in hindsight.
Letting Cyprien, T. Williams, and Ishmael get away was a mistake. Sure, they were lightly recruited by other BCS programs too but anytime three future NFL draft picks from your backyard sign elsewhere, it doesn't bode well for the future. Cyprien would have been the team's top defensive back the last two years. Williams would have provided a much needed pass rush. And Ishmael would have been a very good safety over the last few years. If those three players were on UM's defense the last couple years, a lot of criticism that Mark D'Onofrio and his coaches have been taking would not exist. Throw in Rhodes and the Hurricanes probably would have featured the nation's best secondary the last two seasons.
The Hurricanes won numerous national championships with players like Cyprien, Williams, and Ishmael. And until the program can get back to signing those types of players, it'll be hard to get back to the level where Butch Davis once left.