Running Backs: This is clearly one of the best hauls in the entire country. Javarris James fits the mold of a UM type of player. Graig Cooper was Mr. Football in Tennessee while Kylan Robinson had an impressive senior year. If they can convince Lesean McCoy to sign again next year and be here for the 07 season, what a group! Sure, Emmanuel Moody chose USC over Miami and they never really closed the gap with CJ Spiller (Clemson) but this is still an excellent group. Grade: A
Wide Receivers: Getting Sam Shields was huge. He was a priority from the beginning and might be the state's best WR prospect. However, they didn't do well across the board. Last year when they didn't sign any receivers, Coach Coker immediately talked about the need for receivers next year (which was this year). We got 1. George Robinson will likely attend a prep school and be here in January, the same route Richard Gordon recently took. The list of kids they lost on, however, is too big. They never even convinced Jarred Fayson, Percy Harvin, and Damon McDaniel to visit here. The two kids who were here on the final weekend (Preston Parker and Chris Mitchell) both got away. Plus, they didn't seem to go after as many qualified kids as necessary. Grade: D
Tight Ends: After getting an All-American in Dajleon Farr last year, they really didn't need to sign more than one. By getting Dedrick Epps early, they got off to an excellent start. They wanted two or else they would not have recruited kids like Nate Byham (Pitt), Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma), Konrad Reuland (Notre Dame), or Brandon Warren (FSU) so hard. And of that group, they only got one to even visit here. Grade: B-
Offensive Linemen: For the second year in a row, Miami got a strong group. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Mario Cristobal, the Canes got some of the high profile kids they wanted. Orlando Franklin, Jason Fox, and Ian Symonette were three kids they recruited hard from the beginning. They plucked two of them from Texas and had to fight off the in-state powers for Franklin at the last minute. Joel Figueroa wasn't heavily recruited by others. On the negative side, they weren't able to convince either of the St. Thomas Aquinas kids (Marcus Gilbert-Florida and Sam Young-Notre Dame) to even visit. Despite not getting high profile kids like Butch Lewis and Andre Smith, they drew from a pool of elite kids and got what they needed. Grade: A
Defensive Linemen: You win up front and the Canes again did a good job of recruiting defensive linemen they wanted. They didn't offer many others, either. Chaz Washington and Josh Holmes were major prospects for them from the beginning. Steven Wesley and Chris Lewis were offered during the season and after turning up the heat on them, they sealed the deal. There weren't many others with offers (Maurice Evans-Penn State and Gerald McCoy-Oklahoma) who decided to go elsewhere. Grade: A
Linebackers: After getting four last year, this wasnt a need position. I think they knew from the beginning that getting one would be enough. They drew from a pool and Colin McCarthy was in that pool from the beginning. Sure, Josh Tatum picked USC but that was likely. They made sure McCarthy didn't leave for Ohio State. Grade: A
Defensive Backs: They got an excellent group last year and followed up with a very good group this year. They made Ryan Hill and Chavez Grant priorities from day one and that's who they landed at cornerback. Tervaris Johnson was offered after a strong camp performance and they closed the deal on him early. They obviously wanted another one though. Myron Rolle never gave them serious interest, despite the fact that his father went to school at UM. They weren't able to turn Jai Eugene (LSU) and they got on Anthony Leon (FSU) too late, maybe because they thought good about Reshad Jones (UGA) at some point. It's a very good group that could have been even better. Grade: B
Special Teams: They wanted Matt Bosher since his junior year at Jupiter so they offered him early. He committed and became part of this class yesterday. Grade: A
Overall: I really like this group. One thing that really stands out is how many quality kids they got. This class is loaded with high character kids who have done well academically. They'll probably all start school right away with the exception of McCoy and Robinson (both of whom havent officially signed yet). There are a lot of kids in this class who I think will play on Sundays one day.
On the otherhand, however, I think they could've done a better job at changing some minds. If you take away the kids who always wanted to play here (James, Robinson, Cooper, McCoy, Shields, G. Robinson, Epps, Symonette, Washington, Hill, Grant, Johnson, and Bosher) and take away the kids who didn't have any other competitive offers (like Daniel Stegall, Chris Lewis, Joel Figueroa, and Josh Holmes), that leaves just Fox, Franklin, Wesley, and McCarthy. Franklin was a local kid while Fox never got recruited by the biggest school in his own state. That leaves McCarthy and Wesley. Both had to be convinced to come here in a way the others weren't.
They filled needs very well, with the exception of wide receivers. If UM plans on running some of the spread offense, they need receivers and lots of them. That's not something we have much of right now and it's not something they addressed real well in recruiting.
Finally, it was a great job by the current coaches of keeping this entire class together. I really think Pat Devlin's a Penn State signee regardless of whether Dan Werner is at Miami or Ole Miss right now. They pretty much kept it all together and then went out and added guys like Cooper, Robinson, McCarthy, Franklin, and McCoy. The schools they were recruiting against had almost twice as many actual coaches as UM did during the entire month of January. Coach Coker and current staff deserve lots of credit for that.
Final Grade: B