Golden talks about 2015 class

The Hurricanes signed 20 players today for the Class of 2015. Read on to see everything head coach Al Golden is saying about it.

Opening Statement

“Thanks so much for coming out. It was obviously an exciting day for us. We’re welcome a minimum of 20 new Hurricanes.

“It was heavy on offensive linemen – we have six offensive linemen, really from a lot of different areas. It’s a group that averages 6-5 [in height] and 312 [pounds]. We’re excited about that. With the departure of Duke Johnson, we’re pleased to bring in Mark Walton, a young man from Booker T. Washington [High School] who had a prolific career there and had a great run in the playoffs. We lost one receiver in Phillip Dorsett, we’re replacing him with Lawrence Cager – a young man that comes to us from Calvert Hall [Towson, Md.] [with] great length, excellent ball-skills. We had a chance to get to know him and his family and we’re excited about him. We lost a productive tight end in Clive Walford, and we’re replacing him with the No. 1 junior college prospect in the country in Jerome Washington. He’s been here already. We’re excited about Jerome. The interesting thing about Jerome is he was a qualifier out of high school, so he has four years of eligibility from that standpoint.

“On the defensive side, we sought to get two guys with length at corner, and we did that. We’re very excited about both Michael Jackson and Sheldrick Redwine. Michael Jackson is not from Miami but he has Miami ties – his dad lives here, his aunt lives here. He’s a young man who wanted to leave the state of Alabama, so we’re pleased to get him. He comes to us at least at 6-1. Sheldrick is another young man from Miami Killian and another guy who gives us length and speed. We’re excited there. We sought to get two safeties and we did that; Jaquan Johnson, who I thought was the best safety down here this year, enrolled here at midyear. We’re excited about Quan. He’s a great young man. We’re excited about his work ethic. He’s humble. And then Robert Knowles, a young man who I think is at 6-1 ½ or 6-2 from Edison [High School], he’s a very physical player and a guy who really matured here this year. He’s a guy that we followed. We needed to get three linebackers and we did that. I think we offered four in the three [South Florida] counties and we got two: C.J. Perry, who’s enrolled here at midyear and is a guy who played a lot of tailback at Royal Palm, and James King, a guy that we really liked in camp. James is 203 pounds now, he was about 186 at our camp. We watched him grow, we watched him develop, so we’re excited about him. And then of course there’s Jamie Gordinier, a 6-4, 235-pound linebacker from a state champion in Red Bank Catholic in New Jersey. Defense linemen, we’re excited about Scott Patchan and what he brings. R.J. McIntosh might be the most underrated player down here – a guy that we got to know when he was 245 pounds, he’s now 278 pounds. He’s a basketball player, athletic. Kendrick Norton, who just signed a couple of minutes ago…we’re excited about Kendrick and the size that he brings to us inside. Ryan Fines is another defensive linemen. Overall, we’re excited about this group, and excited to move forward with the 2015 team tomorrow.”

On if he sees any upcoming additions to the class…
“We received a financial aid agreement from Gerald Willis - a transfer defensive tackle from the University of Florida and a former teammate of Stan Dobard at Edna Karr [High School]. He’s technically not part of this class, but he was part of our plans for this class. We’re excited about him. I’m pleased to announce that Justin Vogel, who during the numbers crunch of a year ago agreed to come and walk on and pay his year, is a guy we’re putting on aid in this class as well. That gives us 22 [scholarships], which doesn’t give us a lot of wiggle room moving forward.”

On what landing a defensive tackle like Kendrick Norton means to the position…
“I like the guys we have in our program. Three of the nose guards we played with were inexperienced a year ago – Courtel [Jenkins], Michael [Wyche] and Calvin [Heurtelou] – none of them had played before, so they all played. Plus we redshirted Earl Moore, so I’m pleased with that position. At defensive tackle we got [Ufomba] Kamalu, Anthony Moten, Jelani Hamilton. You mentioned Kendrick, a young man we’re really excited about. He brings us strength, brings us power. He’s a big man – he’s got to be 315 or 320 pounds, somewhere in that range. We’re excited about that. We added Gerald Willis to that mix as well.”

On the details regarding the transfer of Willis as it relates to the signing class…
“He’ll have to sit a year. But that’s part of the equation - as we start to lose Kamalu and some of those guys, that we have guys in place to pick them up. He’s a heck of a football player. He has a great motor, a guy that we coveted him a year ago but we did not get him. We’re glad to get him this time.”

On what he and has staff found when identifying Willis as a potential transfer candidate…
“Just that it was things we didn’t think were to the point where it would discourage us. I think that’s one of the things we try to do - a good background check on really everybody, all the players. We’re not perfect, but in his case, it was stuff that was a lot of immaturity and things of that nature, but not [concerning] with the right group and the right mentor. Stan [Dobard] has offered to do that for us.”

On if the numbers stack up well against his ideal breakdown, notably running back & wide receiver…
“Yes. We lost one of each, so that’s really where we are. The one position we had to overcompensate for was offensive line. I prefer not to do that in any single year. I think if you could take four offensive linemen per year, you’d be happy. That would give you 15 or 16 over a four-year period. I think when you have to take six in a year, it really shows you we’re not where we needed to be a year ago. And it takes away from getting a skill guy or someone who can do something with the ball in their hands.”

On the combination of different running backs in the backfield, or if he is seeking additions…
“No, we’re good. We have Joe [Yearby], Gus [Edwards], Trayone Gray, of course Mark Walton and [Walter] Tucker will do what he has continued to do for us. He’ll be a fullback when we need him, but Tucker is a really good one-back runner. He’s doing a great job with track right now. He’s lean. H­e’ll do a dual role, because if he doesn’t, then he sits around a lot, because if we use a fullback 12 times a game, that’s probably on the high side.”

On if he is still looking to add a quarterback
“I think that’s a fair assumption, in terms of just making sure we’ll evaluate that. We also have to evaluate the guy who joined us as walk-ons, to see if, as we examine the pool, are the guys in the pool better than what we have at that position? That’s certainly a position we’ll continue to evaluate.”

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