The Hurricanes needed to sign a few quality offensive linemen in this year's class and the tackle position was probably more of a priority, based on the players who ended up receiving scholarship offers. Unfortunately, the Canes only landed two linemen so, as Randy Shannon said on National Signing Day, the O-Line will be a priority going into next recruiting season.
Before Shannon even had the job, several offensive line prospects were claiming offers from the Canes. They included Brandon Washington (who had been to Miami's camp several times), Benjamin Jones (who was outstanding at Miami's camp in the summer of 2006 before a knee injury ended his entire 06 season), Matt Patchan (who had been going to Miami's camp since his ninth grade season), Michael Brewster, J.B. Shugarts, and Matt Khalil.
Unfortunately for the Canes, they didn't have much of a chance with Brewster and Khalil as both made early commitments to Ohio State and USC, respectively, without even seeing the UM campus. Shugarts said he made an unofficial visit early on but never showed any interest after that.
Washington broke the news of his commitment to Miami in March so the Canes were off to a good start. He said he had eight offers at the time of his commitment -- others included USC, Auburn, Rutgers, and Notre Dame. It was also in March when Barrett Jones (Alabama) said Miami had offered him. Unfortunately, he never showed much interest and eliminated Miami shortly afterwards.
Several new offers went out when the coaches hit the road for spring recruiting. They included Vinston Painter, Andrew Wallace (N.C. State), R.J. Mattes(N.C. State), Preston Bailey, Zebrie Sanders, Lucas Nix (Pittsburgh), Tyler Love (Alabama), and Graham Pocic (Illinois) -- all tackle prospects. In addition, the Canes had started recruiting Byran Jones, Mike Goodman, Kevin Zietler, Andrew Datko, Ricky Barnum, Cordy Glenn (Georgia), and David Young (Florida). However, those players did not have offers from the Canes by the end of the spring evaluation period.
The summer narrowed the offensive line board down a lot. Love, Mattes, Wallace, and Nix had all eliminated the Canes by mid-summer. On June 13, Pocic cut his list to four and it didn't include Miami. On the 27th, Zietler committed to Wisconsin (without an offer from Miami). And in late August, Bailey committed to Tennessee. Another new offer went out, however, as Goodman took an unofficial visit to the school in early June and landed an offer from the Canes afterwards.
The start of the season saw the recruiting board get even smaller, as Barnum, Sanders, Glenn, and Young said they were no longer being actively recruited by the Canes. Benjamin Jones was healthy again and made the full-time switch to offensive tackle -- the position he best projected at in college.
So by the time the September contact period rolled around, the main targets on the offensive line appeared to be Byran Jones, Washington, and Painter at guard; Ben Jones, Patchan, Datko, and Goodman at tackle.
Byran Jones landed an offer from the Canes in late October but he committed to Florida about a month later. Datko, without an offer from the Canes, committed to Florida State in late October. Goodman committed to Boston College in early November. The good news was that Patchan had cut his list to five and Miami was on it, while Painter took an official visit to Miami in early November. Unfortunately, he committed to Virginia Tech a few weeks later. Patchan took his official visit to Miami at the worst possible time it seemed -- the weekend of the Virginia game. Afterwards, Patchan ripped the Canes and was not happy with what happened on the field. Fans weren't sure how to take his comments.
So heading into the offseason, the Canes appeared to have three main targets on the offensive line -- Washington (who was committed), Jones, and Patchan. They were the same three who had been to camps at Miami in previous years.
On January 5th, Patchan announced his commitment to Florida, which narrowed the O-Line board down even more -- to Jones and Washington.
About a week later, Sanders was ready to announce his commitment to Florida but they were out of scholarships for him, he said. The other schools he had visited -- Georgia and LSU -- told him the same thing. With one visit left, he was back on the market so Miami began contacting him again but he decided to visit Florida State instead and that's where he ended up signing.
Jones, who also visited Clemson, took his official visit to Miami on February 1 and announced his commitment to Miami on National Signing Day. Washington never visited because he didn't have test scores to report before NSD. He also inked with the Hurricanes.