Linebacker was one of the biggest needs of this past recruiting season and that need was certainly filled, as the Canes landed the best linebacker class in the entire nation.
Nine linebacker prospects claimed early offers from the Canes before the May evaluation period rolled around -- Arthur Brown, Marcus Robinson (who played for linebackers coach Micheal Barrow in 2006 at Homestead), Jordan Futch, Sean Spence, Ramon Buchanan, Etienne Sabino, Lynn Katoa, Lerentee McCray, and Antonio Harper.
By sending out that many offers that early, the Canes made it very clear that getting linebackers was going to be a priority. By the time mid-April rolled around, several of those mentioned above had already taken unofficial visits to the school -- Robinson, Futch, Buchanan, Spence, Sabino, and McCray. The Canes seemed off to a fast start.
New names began to emerge during May. Ebele Okakpu (UNC), Jonathan Meyers (Princeton over 40+ offers), and Brendan Beal (Florida) were three more linebacker prospects who were now claiming offers. Unfortunately for the Canes, Meyers and Beal never considered it too much after that. In addition, a few other prospects had emerged but were without offers from Miami -- J.B. Fitzgerald (Michigan), Danny Trevathan (Kentucky), Tenarious Wright (Arkansas), Jerrell Harris (Alabama), and Terrell Manning (N.C. State). Except for Trevathan, who came to Miami's camp, things never got serious with any of those players and they all ended up committing elsewhere.
So heading into the summer, there were nearly 20 prospects on the board with no commitments. That didn't last long.
Futch got the ball rolling in early June when he announced for the Hurricanes, choosing them over 25+ other schools who had offered, including LSU, North Carolina, Auburn, and Wisconsin. Buchanan and McCray both committed to Miami in early July, picking the Canes over Florida and many others. Robinson (who had offers from all the Florida schools, LSU, USC, and many more) pulled the trigger in July. Spence (who had offers from schools like UNC, Tennessee, and USF) committed in early August.
So heading into the season, the Canes now had five commitments and the recruiting board wasn't as big. Katoa (Colorado) had eliminated the Canes by the start of the season, Okakpu had committed to North Carolina after the Canes landed their fifth linebacker commitment. Beal had narrowed his list down to USC and Florida. It looked like the main remaining targets were Brown, Harper, and Sabino.
The Canes got good news in mid-September when they made the final 10 cut for Brown, who didn't visit Miami during the summer while visiting most of the other schools on his final list. Harper, who took an unofficial visit during the summer, committed to the Canes in early October. It seemed like the chances of landing Sabino began to fade, especially after the Canes landed their sixth commitment at that position. On November 8, Sabino committed to Ohio State.
Another name that had emerged as local standout Brandon Marti, who was having an excellent senior season locally. He had committed to Wisconsin back in the summer but the Canes started to recruit him during the season. By late November, he landed an offer from the Canes and committed immediately. He became Miami's 7th linebacker commitment. They weren't done.
In early December, the first de-commitment took place. McCray told CanesTime.com that Miami informed him that he was off the board. He said he understood the situation since he had continued taking visits after his commitment to the Canes. He later signed with Florida.
Around that same time, two more linebacker prospects had emerged -- Zach Kane landed an offer from the Canes late in the season and committed on the spot. The New Jersey sleeper had just one other offer at the time (Cincinnati). In addition to that, Ole Miss lost a commitment from Gavin Hardin, considered by some to be the No. 1 prospect in the state of Tennessee, because of their coaching change. Hardin told CanesTime.com in late November that Miami had started to recruit him and the Canes were his new favorite.
So heading into the middle part of December, the time when Brown would announce his decision, the Canes had seven linebacker commitments and were still chasing Brown and Hardin.
On December 17th, the nation's top-ranked linebacker committed to the Hurricanes. He became commitment number eight at linebacker.
The Canes weren't done, however. Spence, Buchanan, and Robinson were still taking other visits. However, Spence and Brown would end up starting school together in early January.
By mid-January, the Canes got their first sign of bad news all year at the linebacker position. Buchanan had visited Florida and switched his commitment to the Gators. It didn't matter, as coach Barrow was able to convince him to sign with Miami a few weeks later. Hardin visited in late January and inked with the Canes as well. For a position that was lacking talent and depth in 2007, the linebacker position at Miami got a whole lot better on February 6.