An Inside Look: WR's

It's easy to look over the list of players who signed with the Hurricanes. CanesTime.com gives you an inside look at how this year's recruiting class was assembled -- the hits, the misses, the other schools involved, when important things happened along the way, and much, much more. You don't want to miss this!

Covering the Canes, I'm blessed with an opportunity to talk to all the recruits and to see what's really going on. All of this information was obtained through my discussions with the players so there may have been other players involved that I'm not aware of. Enjoy!

Wide Receivers:
The Hurricanes needed receivers this year and lots of them. They targeted several and signed several. According to my notes, nearly a dozen receivers from across the country had scholarship offers from Miami very early in the process -- before the spring evaluation period started. They included Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter, DeAndre Brown (ended up signing with Southern Miss), Julio Jones (Alabama), A.J. Green (Georgia), Jonathan Baldwin, Marcus Sales (Syracuse), Brice Butler (USC), and Josh Jarboe (Oklahoma).

Unfortunately for the Canes, several of the out-of-state players never really considered the Canes too much -- Green, Sales, Jones, Brown, Butler, and Jarboe. Three of them had a lot of interest -- Johnson, Streeter, and Baldwin.

As the spring evaluation period rolled around, the UM coaches hit the recruiting trail hard looking for receivers. Six more players claimed to have received offers during that time -- Davon Johnson, A.J. Jenkins, Avis Commack, Harry Adams, Jameel Owens, and Aaron Boyd.

Johnson told Scout.com that Miami was his favorite at the time; Jenkins told us that Miami was one of his top three schools; and Boyd said the Canes were one of his favorites. Commack, however, made a spring commitment to Florida State and never showed much interest. Adams quickly ruled Miami out, narrowing his list down to Auburn (where he signed) and Florida early in the process. Owens (Oklahoma) ruled Miami out soon after the offer.

So of those 15 or so scholarship offers, it looked like six of them were seriously considering the Hurricanes -- both Johnsons, Streeter, Baldwin, Jenkins, and Boyd -- heading into the summer.

A few other players were being recruited during the spring but said they didn't have offers from the Hurricanes by the end of spring -- LaRon Byrd, Travis Benjamin, Thearon Collier, Malcolm Johnson (Rutgers), Cameron McKinnon (unsigned), Marquise Law (Colorado State), and T.J. Lawrence (Florida).

Miami's summer camp took place in early June and it gave the coaches a chance to see several of those players up close and personal for a few days. Davon Johnson took home camp MVP honors, while Collier and Byrd were also very impressive. Despite making a commitment to Auburn back in late April, Collier switched his commitment to Miami after getting offered by the Canes soon after the camp.

More news broke later that month of June. Benjamin told Scout.com that he landed an offer from Miami in the middle part of the month.

So heading into the month of July, the Canes had one public commitment (Collier) and it appeared as if there were eight other wide receiver prospects seriously on the radar -- both Johnsons, Baldwin, Streeter, Jenkins, Byrd, Boyd, and Benjamin.

A lot happened in the month of July at the receiver position. On the 19th, Davon Johnson committed to the Canes. On the 23rd, Aldarius Johnson committed to the Canes. Baldwin took an unofficial visit to Miami and began telling people that the Canes were one of his top two choices along with Pittsburgh. On the 30th, Jenkins committed to Georgia Tech (he ultimately switched his commitment to Illinois).

With all the news from the summer, things were starting to shape up nicely for the Hurricanes. At the time of his commitment to Miami, Collier claimed offers from schools like Auburn, Mississippi State, and Virginia Tech. Davon claimed them from schools like Rutgers, South Florida, Ole Miss, and South Carolina. Aldarius had offers from everyone (USC, LSU, Florida, etc). It looked like the Canes were in Baldwin's top two, Byrd was listing UM at the top of his list (despite not having an offer from the canes). Streeter was very quiet about the entire recruiting process, although many believed the Northwestern-to-UM connection was a big plus for him. Benjamin was telling people that Miami was his top choice, while Boyd was still wide open.

In September, Streeter took his first official visit to Boston College, while D. Johnson took an official visit to Florida. Things began to fade with Boyd and Miami, as it appeared the Canes began going in a different direction.

Heading into the month of October, new players were starting to emerge because of how impressive their senior seasons were going. Two new prospects who caught UM's attention were Hallandale's Frankie Hammond, Pahokee's Martavious Odoms, and Northwestern's Kendal Thompkins. Hammond claimed to have landed an offer from the Canes in early October but a short time later he committed to Florida. Thompkins landed a offer in early November and immediately committed to the Canes. At the time of his commitment, he told Scout.com that his only other offer at that time was from Florida A&M. Odoms had emerged as another prospect and was starting to talk about a possible visit to Miami later in the year.

Once the regular season had ended, the Canes had solid commitments from both Johnsons, Collier, and Thompkins. WIthin a couple weeks, Baldwin announced his commitment to Pittsburgh without even taking an official visit to Miami. That news was quickly replaced with good news of Benjamin's commitment to Miami, which took place just before Christmas. He claimed offers from schools like LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss, Ohio State, and Rutgers at the time of his Miami commitment.

Heading into the final stretch run in January, the Canes had five solid commitments and it was clear they weren't done, as they continued to actively pursue Streeter, Byrd, and Odoms.

Collier, Johnson, and Benjamin were done with their official visits by then. Aldarius was already enrolled in school. It was time to see how well the Canes could close on the remaining targets.

Byrd, Odoms, and Streeter continued taking other visits all over the country. Odoms told CanesTime.com in January that the Canes were now talking to him about a possible track scholarship. Of the three, only Streeter had a football offer. Byrd ended up getting offered in late January and committed during his official visit to Miami the first weekend in February. He claimed offers from schools like Auburn, Mississippi State, Nebraska, and Tulane at the time. Streeter, who remained very quiet the entire process, visited the same weekend and ended up announcing for the Hurricanes on National Signing Day. He claimed offers from schools like Boston College, South Carolina, Oregon, and South Florida at the time. On that same recruiting weekend, Thompkins took a surprise visit to Nebraska but it didn't matter -- he inked with the Canes a few days after coming back.

The commitments of Streeter and Byrd gave the Hurricanes seven commitments at receiver and all seven of them signed on Wednesday.

Odoms is still unsigned and told CanesTime.com last week that he plans on coming to Miami on a track scholarship.

It was clearly the No. 1 wide receiver class in America this year and it all happened after a 2007 season in which the Hurricanes had one of the worst offenses in the country, statistically, and it came during a time when the Canes hired a new wide receivers coach (Aubrey Hill).

Certainly, a job well done.


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