Several recruits expected to begin today

Today is the first day of the spring semester for students at the University of Miami. That means all of the early enrolled football recruits will officially begin their college careers today. CanesTime.com has the run down on them all, including which one won't be starting on time.

The Hurricanes have 17 players committed for the Class of 2009 right now and seven of them are expected to begin classes either today or tomorrow. Lets take a closer look at the seven.

4-star RB Mike James, 5-11, 210, Davenport (Fla.) Ridge -- After getting an offer from Miami in the spring, James committed to the Canes after taking an unofficial visit to the school in July. He had scholarship offers from schools like South Florida, Louisville, and Boston College at the time. Despite a few other schools trying to recruit him during the season, James never wavered on his commitment and only took one official visit and that was to Miami back on December 12. James helped lead his team to the best season they ever had, which included the school's first ever district championship and a second-round playoff berth. James ran for over 1,500 yards on the season and played in the state All-Stat game after the season. James calls Clint Hurtt his primary recruiter.

"I'm excited to be getting down there early," James told CanesTime.com. "That was my plan all along and now it'll be real good because I'll be the only young running back on the team in the spring. I just can't wait. I'm gonna work so hard, you don't even know. This is like a dream come true to me and I'm gonna do everything I can to live up to the expectations."

3-star TE Stephen Plein, 6-6, 240, Fort Myers, Fla. -- After getting offered by Miami in the spring, Plein committed to the Hurricanes right after he returned home from their summer camp in June. While Plein was getting recruited by several other major programs and had some other offers, Miami was the first BCS school to offer him a scholarship. That's all he needed. Following his commitment in June, Plein took just one official visit and that was to Miami on December 12. Plein was born in Fort Myers but moved to Georgia at the age of eight. He played wide receiver as a junior but says he was used primarily as a decoy, catching 13 passes and one touchdown. He moved back to Fort Myers in January of his junior year. Plein played defensive end for the first few games of his senior season before getting into an altercation that caused him to miss a few games to end the season. Plein calls Tommie Robinson his primary recruiter.

Note: Plein is the one that we were unable to confirm with this week about his status for enrollment today but he was on track the last time we spoke and we expect him to begin school today or later this week at the latest.

3-star OG Brandon Washington, 6-4, 325, New Berlin (NY) Milford Academy via Miami (Fla.) Northwestern -- Originally part of the Class of 2008, Washington was unable to qualify this past fall and enrolled at a prep school instead. He took care of all the necessary academic work there and is all set to start at Miami. Washington was a very early commitment for the Canes last year and never took any other official visits, despite having several other major scholarship offers from schools like Tennessee, Ohio State, and North Carolina. Washington helped his team win the Class 6A state championship and later played in the Under Armour All-American Game. He's played offensive tackle the past few seasons and while he'll likely start out his career there, many believe he has more upside on the interior as a guard. Washington took just one official visit this year and that was to Miami on December 12. He calls Jeff Stoutland his primary recruiter.

"I learned a lot going up to Milford," Washington said. "I didn't like it up there. I should have taken care of my stuff earlier. I'm so glad to be back home and finally getting a chance to go to UM. They need help on the O-Line so hopefully I'll be able to challenge for a spot this season."

4-star OT Jermaine Johnson, 6-5, 305, Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military Academy/Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas -- After growing up a basketball player, Johnson didn't even start playing football until his junior year in high school. Because of his size, strength, athletic ability, and work ethic, he developed into one of the top offensive line prospects in the state of Florida by the time his senior season was finished. He wasn't heavily recruited because of his academic situation and signed with Auburn after the Canes didn't actively recruit him. After signing with Auburn, Johnson was unable to qualify and enrolled at Hargrave instead. He finished a couple semesters there and moved home to finish up his test score work. The Canes offered him towards the end of this past season and he accepted their scholarship offer soon after. He took just one visit and that was to Miami on December 12. Johnson, who says he won't actually begin classes until Wednesday, calls Jeff Stoutland his primary recruiter.

"I always wanted to play at Miami," Johnson said. "That's what I wanted ever since I started playing football. I didn't have my grades right coming out of high school and going to Hargrave taught me a lot. It was boring up there but I had to do what I had to do. I'm all set now and I'm really happy about finally getting a chance to be a Cane."

4-star DE Olivier Vernon, 6-2, 235, Hialeah (Fla.) American-- One of the state's most heavily recruited players this year, Vernon made an early commitment to Miami after taking an unofficial visit to the school last spring. Vernon, who was the MVP of the Scout.com/Under Armour Combine in Miami last April, has tremendous pass rushing skills and is very quick coming off the edge. Unfortunately, he missed nearly all of his senior season due to an injury but is 100-percent and ready to go for the start of spring football next month. Despite being committed to the Canes, Vernon took official visits to Florida State and Alabama before finally deciding that Miami is definitely the best place for him. Vernon calls Aubrey Hill his primary recruiter.

3-star DT Curtis Porter, 6-2, 335, Charlotte (N.C.) Victory Christian -- A massive defensive tackle prospect, Porter took an unofficial visit to the school in late July and was offered a short time later. It didn't take him long to accept the commitment either. He picked the Hurricanes after getting offered by Florida State and Florida a few weeks earlier as well after visiting their campusses during the summer. The Defensive MVP of the private school's version of the Shrine Bowl back in December, Porter took just one official visit and that was to Miami on December 12. Porter calls Micheal Barrow his primary recruiter.

"It's an amazing opportunity," Porter said of becoming a Hurricane. "It's a blessing to be able to play at a program that has so much tradition. I really like Coach Barrow and Coach Hurtt and hopefully I'll be able to go in and help make an impact right away by going in early."

4-star CB Brandon McGee, 6-0, 180, Plantation, Fla. -- There wasn't a more heavily recruited defensive back prospect in the entire state of Florida this year than McGee. McGee played his first three prep seasons at quarterback before getting switched to corner as a senior in preparation for his college career. Teams rarely threw on him because of his ability to make things happen in the secondary. He played in the U.S. Army All-American Game after the season. McGee committed to the Canes back in August over scholarship offers from schools like Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Ohio State, and Georgia. The only official visit he took was to Miami on December 12. He calls Jeff Stoutland his primary recruiter.

"You can just see the direction they're going in," McGee said of the Canes. "You look at the games and see how many freshmen are playing. Think about a couple years from now when all those guys will have a couple years of experience and then you factor in all the guys they're gonna be bringing in this year and how are you gonna be able to defend that? We're gonna get UM back to what they were during the glory days."


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