Thornton said they had a sophomore who they thought would end up being a big time defensive lineman by the time he left there.
A few months later, Louis Nix showed up at the Scout/Under Armour Combine in Jacksonville as a rising junior and he clearly had the look of a big time prospect. At a hair under 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds, he had the ideal frame for a player at that position. His foot quickness was incredible and just the way he ran through drills, it was like everything came natural to the talented big man.
Shortly after that day, I was able to watch sophomore footage of the big man and I was blown away. I was watching a kid who reminded me a lot of Marcus Forston.
Several months later I drove to Gainesville to watch Raines take on Eastside High. Nix, again, was dominant and I came back thinking to myself that I just watched a player that could legitimately become the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle prospect for the Class of 2010.
Good interior D-Line prospects are hard to find. I remember Butch Davis once saying that you're lucky if you find 12 good ones in any given year. Twelve! I can promise you, Nix is definitely one of those 12. In fact, he's the best defensive line prospect that I'e seen anywhere in the state this year and with guys like Olivier Vernon, Dyron Dye, and Ryne Giddens out there, that's some good company.
Nix is a top five kid in Florida right now and his offer sheet isn't surprising.
That leads me to mention another reason why this commitment is huge for Miami. Going into Jacksonville and taking the top kids has never been easy for Miami. UM couldn't even do it when it won five national championship from 1983 to 2001. Florida and Florida State have always owned that area.
Insert Randy Shannon and his coaching staff. In this case, kudos to defensive line coach Clint Hurtt. As one of the premier recruiters in all of college football, Hurtt was singled out by Nix as a big reason why he picked Miami. A former Hurricane defensive tackle himself, Hurtt made Nix a major priority and it paid off.
Scout.com rated Miami's recruiting class in the top five in February and No. 1 in the state of Florida. Landing players like Nix, who landed offers from Florida State and Florida as soon as schools could offer juniors, is a big reason why that type of recruiting success will continue for the Canes.
The Hurricanes might in a rebuilding stage right now as they play so many freshmen and sophomores but it's guys like Nix that will get them closer to being able to win national championships like they have so often in the past.
Miami is still Miami. There are more NFL players right now from UM than any other college program in America. That's another reason why they're able to pull kids like Nix and Bryce Brown.
Coach Shannon and his staff are trying to get Miami back on top and landing players like Nix will help get them there.
Signing day 2010 is still more than 14 months away but Nix has all the offers already and while everyone will come at him hard, he said he's a Cane for good. His passion for helping put Miami back on top, his relationship with Coach Hurtt, the feeling he got when he was at Miami, and the desire he has to attend a private school with small classes are all reasons he mentioned that should offer no worries for Canes fans.
Instead, Canes fans should be excited that they just went into a tough area and landed what will widely be considered the state's top prospect for the Class of 2010.
-- Sophomore Highlights
-- Junior Game Film (vs. Eastside)