Monday's Moments

On our first official day in Florida, we hit a couple of great dinner spots, two of the best high school programs in Dade County, and checked out a Miami practice...

Here's just a few notes from our first full day in South Florida.

-We are staying in the Mayfair Hotel and I can tell you now it's one of the best! Located on Main Street in Coconut Grove, the view's nice, the "scenery's" perfect, and the hotel itself is amazing. Opponents of the Miami Heat and the University of Miami recruits are the more popular guests at the Mayfair. It's a great place to stay and I highly recommend it.

-The first school we visited today was South Miami High School which is actually in the midst of heavy construction around campus. Once we were finally inside the school, we met one of the best high school staff's that I've ever encountered. Coach Mira and his crew were first-class individuals and really like the Wolfpack program. Not to mention, Linebacker Javier Estopinan is a flat-out stud. One look at him and you see why colleges like Ohio State, Florida State, and N.C. State have been dodging the construion trucks like we have to get into South Miami.

-After the South Miami interviews, we headed over to the University of Miami campus for a tour of their facilities. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed, but when you have Heisman trophies everywhere, and a wall full of NFL Pro-Bowlers, it's really not a hard "sell" to recruits. From Bernie Kosar to Edgerrin James to Warren Sapp to Ray Lewis... Miami has them all. It's a great program and just being there left me in awe. If you're ever in the area, stop by because I'm SURE you'll be able to walk around some of the better areas (for instance the Hall of Fame Center is open to the public a couple of hours each day).

-Following the U.M. Campus tour, we had lunch at the "Hurricane version of Amedeo's," the Big Cheese. The Italian food was much better then I thought it would be, and the prices are not bad at all. What we talked about over lunch? Mainly how well N.C. State's doing this year with in-state recruiting, how great a shot they have with Estopinan, and the blurb in the Miami Herald today about Eric Moncur not qualifying. Will the Pack go after him? Who knows, but we think he could re-open his recruitment. The Big Cheese is directly off of Ponce de Leon Boulevard and a great place to grab lunch... just remember, ask for a half plate. I made the mistake of not doing so and paid for it later on.

-Full of Baked Meat Tortellini and ready to sweat some more, we were next set to head over to Killian High School and talk with Head Coach Billy Rolle. When we got there, we were an hour early and couldn't afford to wait around so we decided to re-schedule. Killian is definitely in one of the nicer Miami areas and actually a well-built school. I look forward to chatting with Coach Rolle tomorrow about current Wolfpack stars Pat Thomas and Andre Maddox, and future Wolfpackers Stephen Tulloch and Miguel Scott.

-In order to reach our set appointment for the Miami practice at 3:45, we decided to head straight up to Edison High School and meet with Coach Corey Bell and the Red Raiders. Once we made it to Edison, we found out that Coach Bell actually had jury duty so our interviews were handled through assistant Eddie Jackson. Jackson's another first-class guy who thinks a lot of Coach Amato and the Wolfpack. What I learned from this visit? Our staff leaves an impression everywhere, Nate Harris will be at Dodge City CC this year and probably recruited again in a year or two, Brouce Mompremier is a beast, Jacky Claude looks likely to end up at Ohio State or Miami, and Jackie Chambers is just a great kid.

-Leaving Edison, we hurried back down to Coral Gables so we can watch a "famous" Hurricane practice and see all the guys that we "missed" on. It was the first practice of the year for Miami and was open to the public. With probably 200 fans in attendance, a lot of guys stood out, but the one who REALLY caught my eye was Devin Hester. Sure it was his first day at practice and heavy attention was focused on him (doesn't hurt that he headlined the Sports Section of the Miami Herald today), but this kid can play and will be a star at Miami. Working out with the Wide Receivers, his quickness just jumps out at you. On every cut, he gets 3-4 yards separation instantly. Heck, all he ever has to worry about is Brock Berlin or Kyle Wright making a good pass and him simply catching the ball because I guarantee the DB won't be in position to make a play. He's quick on quick and has great speed. Hester's simply a sick talent who will be playing on Sunday's. Other guys who stood out: Kellen Winslow (the man at U.M.),Eric Winston (could be the best O-Lineman EVER at U.M.), Roscoe Parrish (will form a deadly duo with Hester), and Frank Gore (he's fully healthy, and that's scary). This team should win the national championship folks.

-After the U.M. practice, it was back to the Mayfair to get ready to head up to South Beach. Once we reached South Beach, we stopped by a friend's place and then headed out to Mango's Cafe. All I have to say is... WOW! The Cuban Sandwiches were decent, but the atomosphere was much more better. This is a place that anyone who's visiting Miami should experience. "It's just so Miami."

-Check back tomorrow for some thoughts on what went down on Tuesday!

-Quote of the Day: "I don't think there's a coach in the county who has one bad thing to say about Chuck. He has that much respect."--South Miami Head Coach Joe Mira


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