Recruiting Review: Offensive Linemen

After signing four offensive linemen in last year's recruiting class, the University of Miami didn't have a major need at the position this year. However, the UM coaches landed an excellent haul -- including two players already enrolled in school.

Junior College transfer Tyler McMeans comes from the same school that produced former UM star Bryant McKinnie. The talented big man is originally from Clarion, Pa., where he wasn't heavily recruited out of high school because of grades. After spending a few years as a Marine, McMeans returned to school and it wasn't long after his first season that UM coach Art Kehoe discovered him. McMeans will compete for the starting left guard spot this spring.

Canadian product Jonathan St. Pierre impressed Kehoe at a camp over the summer in Toronto. At 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, St. Pierre has the ability to play either center or guard at the college level. He took a recruiting trip to UM in December and committed on the spot.

"It's a dream come true," St. Pierre said about becoming a Hurricane. "I'm going to have a chance to play for the best college football program in the U.S. As a football player, what more could I ask for? I love the way Coach Kehoe teaches and hopefully I can help them win and someday play in the NFL."

The Hurricanes also signed Tyrone Byrd of Texas, Josh Kerr of Ohio, and local standout Chris Rutledge.

At 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, Byrd was very impressive at UM's summer camp last June. He hadn't heard from the UM coaches up until then so he wanted to make a big splash and he did just that.

"I went in there hoping to show the coaches that I can play with those guys," he said. "After a few days of camp, I knew I could. I won the award and everything. I knew that if Miami offered, it was going to be hard to pass up."

The offer came midway through the regular season, when Byrd picked the Hurricanes over a host of others -- including UCLA, Notre Dame, LSU, and Oklahoma.

Kerr comes all the way from Ohio, where he impressed the UM coaches early on.

"Coach Chudzinski is from this area and had heard some good things about Josh," said head coach Russ Jaques. "When Miami saw his tape, they loved him. Coach Kehoe continued recruiting him and then they made the offer late in the year. I think he'll do really well there, he's their kind of kid -- tough, smart, and hard working."

Rutledge, 6-6 and 280 pounds, comes from Krop H.S. in Miami. He brings a lot to the table. With his size, quick feet, large wingspan, and overall athletic ability, he has the UM coaches very excited. The talented big man picked the Hurricanes over Florida and Ohio State in the end.

"I figured why go anywhere else when I can play for the best right here in my backyard," he said. "Hopefully I can be like Bryant McKinnie was at Miami."

While the Canes landed several talented linemen, they missed on some as well. The top in-state prospect from day one appeared to be Sarasota Riverview's Drew Miller. The Canes battled Florida all year as Miller went back and forth between the two programs. In the end, however, the Gators won out.

Another top notch lineman that officially visited the Hurricanes was California's Thomas Herring, who might play on the defensive line in college. Herring listed Miami and USC as co-favorites the entire year but picked the hometown Trojans in the end. His mother is ill and that played a major role in his final decision.

Three linemen the Hurricanes offered a scholarship to early in the process were Colorado's Jeff Byers, New York's Alex Fletcher, and Pennsylvania's Kyle Mitchum. The Canes weren't able to convince any of the three to take official visits to UM. Fletcher made a very early commitment to Stanford; Byers picked USC early in the season; Mitchum signed with Ohio State.

Next Review -- Defensive Linemen

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