Staying Away From Glamour

Miami coach Randy Shannon doesn't expect his fourth recruiting class to be ranked high by scouting services. It's not that he's unhappy with the 28 signees. It's just that Shannon and his staff didn't go for a lot in the way of the glamour positions.

INSIDE SLANT

"We won't be ranked because we don't have 'athletes,'" Shannon said. "I can't go out there and, say, recruit five receivers. If we recruit five receivers, it will get us in the top five in the country.

"But we felt we needed to fill our needs, and we've got receivers on this football team."

The Hurricanes addressed a position of need at tight end by bringing in four prospects, including one junior college transfer (Chase Ford). After that, offensive line (five signees) and linebacker (five signees) took priority.

And, of course, there are a couple of prospects at running back, where the Hurricanes would seem to be fairly well off. But Shannon noted that the injury to Graig Cooper leaves his status somewhat in doubt, and Damien Berry will be a senior.

That cuts the stable of running backs essentially down to Lee Chambers, Mike James, and Lamar Miller. Chambers and James have on-field experience. Miller sat out 2009 as a redshirt but drew raves for his work on scout teams.

The Hurricanes, thus, are bringing in Eduardo Clements, who rushed for 3,105 yards in his career at Miami's Booker T. Washington High; Maurice Hagens out of Riverview, Fla.; Storm Johnson from Loganville, Ga.; and Darion Hall from Naples, Fla.

The Hurricanes didn't completely ignore the other positions, of course. They brought in one quarterback, Stephen Morris, who will take part in the spring practice, and did get one wide receiver in Allen Hurns. Both are from Miami.

They did lose out on one talented receiver when Ivan McCartney from nearby Miramar High signed with West Virginia.

NOTES, QUOTES
--Miami coach Randy Shannon said six signees have already enrolled: OT Malcom Bunche, QB Stephen Morris, WR Allen Hurns, RB Storm Johnson, LB Tyrone Cornelius, and C Shane McDermott."Since I've been here, the guys who come in early January have had the opportunity to help us (immediately)," Shannon said. In addition to the advantages of going through spring practice, the newcomers also get adapted to classroom time, Shannon said.

--Rick Petri was named defensive line coach to replace Clint Hurtt, who left for Charlie Strong's staff at Louisville. Petri comes after spending the last five years at Kentucky, but he had a previous stint with the Hurricanes from 1993-95.

TOP RECRUITS:
--OT Malcolm Bunche, New Berlin, N.Y. -- The Hurricanes addressed a position of need in signing Bunche. He can also play guard, and Scout.com has him the No. 18 prospect in the country at that position. Bunche (6-6, 325) is on campus and will take part in spring drills.

--OT Brandon Linder, Fort Lauderdale -- Linder (6-6, 290) won't have the advantage of going through spring drills and will have some catching up to do if he wants to play this fall. He also has experience at center, where Scout.com ranks him the No. 1 prospect in the country.

--QB Stephen Morris, Miami Shores, Fla. -- A dual threat quarterback rated at three stars by Scout.com, Morris has the opportunity to become Jacory Harris' backup in his first season. He is already enrolled and will take part in spring practice, enhancing his chances.

--TE Chase Ford, Corrigan, Texas -- As a junior college transfer (Kilgore J.C., Texas) Ford has the edge in experience over Miami's other tight end signees, Asante Cleveland of Sacramento, Calif., Andrew Tallman of Carthage, N.Y., and Clive Walford of Belle Glade, Fla. At least two of the new tight ends figure to see significant time in 2010.

--LB Travis Williams, Norfolk, Va. -- With the need for depth at linebacker, Williams has the chance to earn considerable playing time in 2010.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The more that we keep addressing our needs and our issues in going after the players we feel will fit at Miami the more we are going to be successful." -- Coach Randy Shannon, noting the emphasis this recruiting season in filling needs at tight end, offensive line, and linebacker.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
2010 LOOK AHEAD: The Hurricanes return QB Jacory Harris and a bunch of running backs and wide receivers on offense. Even with the graduation of Javarris James and the injury to Graig Cooper, running back looks especially strong. Fans are anxious to see the debut of Lamar Miller, who was a redshirt in 2009. Several veterans return on defense, but the unit must find the kind of big-play guy it lacked last season before it can be considered championship caliber.

SPRING SNAPSHOT: Spring practice will begin Feb. 23. The date and time for the spring game had not been finalized.

The Hurricanes have some rebuilding to do up front on offense, where three new starters in the interior plus a tight end must be found, and at linebacker and in the secondary on defense. Incoming freshman Stephen Morris and sophomore A.J. Highsmith will compete for the backup job behind QB Jacory Harris.

PRO POTENTIAL: Miami's days of producing top draft picks ended last year when no Hurricane was selected in the first round for the first time since 1994. That won't change this spring. Miami's juniors have elected to return for their senior seasons.

--TE Jimmy Graham -- He has played only one season of football after playing four years of basketball, but he showed a knack for making big catches. He could be the highest Hurricane to go in the draft, but that is likely to be the third our fourth round.

- LT Jason Fox -- Miami's most experienced offensive linemen missed the last two games, including the bowl, because of illness and injury. He'll likely fall behind Graham in the draft pecking order.

--LB Darryl Sharpton -- He had a big finish for the Hurricanes and was playing his best in his final games. But there are questions about his pass coverage ability that will drop him to the middle rounds at best.

--TE Dedrick Epps -- Epps has good receiving skills but is a late-round choice at best.

ROSTER REPORT:
--RB Graig Cooper, who tore up his knee in the Champs Bowl game, might be back sooner than originally expected, according to a Miami Herald report. The newspaper said Cooper's father, Tino Thomas, said doctors told him he could be ready in four-to-six months. The Hurricanes open on Sept. 2 against Florida A&M.

--QB Jacory Harris had surgery on his right (throwing) hand after the bowl game. Officials called the procedure "routine." He will take part in the spring but likely have a light load.


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