Recruiting Review: Tight Ends

When it comes to producing tight ends over the last decade or so in college football, nobody has done it better than the University of Miami. Players like Coleman Bell, Mondriel Fulcher, Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, and Kellen Winslow have helped the Hurricanes win a lot of games over the last several years.

A year after bringing in Greg Olsen, who transferred to UM from Notre Dame in late August of 2003, the Hurricanes still needed to bring in one or two in this past recruiting class.

They made two south Florida products key prospects right from the beginning of the process. Killian's Dane Guthrie and Chaminade's Octavius Darby were the state's two most heavily recruited tight ends and both were being actively recruited by UM all year.

Unfortunately for Miami, both players ended up signing with other programs.

"I really liked UM and everything but I just felt maybe it was a good idea to get away and I really felt comfortable at NC State," Darby said.

Guthrie picked the Gators saying, "I was committed (to Miami) but I really never had a chance to see anyone else. I've lived here my whole life and never really spent much time anywhere else. This will be give me a chance to do that. Plus, they say I can replace Ben Troupe and play right away."

The Canes made Arizona's Zach Miller their No. 1 out of state recruiting target at the tight end position -- as did many top programs. He visited UM and came close but decided to stay close to home in the end.

"If not for Arizona State, I probably would have gone to Miami," Miller said. "It just came down to feeling a little more comfortable closer to home and being around my family."

The Hurricanes then turned their focus to Georgia's Cedric Hill late in the season. The talented tight end was a first team All-State pick and caught two touchdowns in the state title game in Georgia.

Head coach Rick Darlington coached at Apopka High School in central Florida for years so he knows a thing or two about great athletes.

"I've been around a lot of great athletes," he said. "Cedric is one of them. He'll fit right in down there at Miami because of his athletic ability first."

Hill wasn't heavily recruited and found that it was an easy decision to sign with the Hurricanes after getting a scholarship offer in late January.

"I look at it like this -- it doesn't matter when you get offered or whatever," Hill said. "I'm a Cane just like those other guys (Franks, Shockey, Winslow, etc) were. Hopefully I can make an impact like they did."

UM also landed Colorado's all-time sack leader named Calais Campbell. At 6-foot-6 and 230 pounds, Campbell played both ways in high school and many believe he has more upside as a tight end. Since he told me UM recruited him to play defensive end, I'll profile him later. However, he remains a possibility to play the position as well.

Next Review -- Offensive Linemen

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