Miami Football Recruiting: Why String of Decommitments Shouldn't Worry Cane Fans

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2012

Not to worry Canes fans, Al Golden has recruiting under control.
Not to worry Canes fans, Al Golden has recruiting under control.Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

As offseason recruiting is in full force around the nation, the Miami Hurricanes football coaches have been tirelessly scouring the country to receive a commitment from prospects.

These same commitments, however, are nonbinding contracts to the athlete's prospective program and often waver before national signing day.

Within the past week, the Hurricanes have dealt with two such instances, with highly regarded prospects Angelo Jean-Louis and Travis Johnson backing out.

Miami is no stranger to indecisive young athletes, as a total of six players have decommitted in this year's class alone. These six are Jayron Kearse, Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, Keith Bryant, Alex Collins, Jean-Louis and Johnson.

Ordinarily, in a year when a school is only planning on taking 15-18 prospects—such is the case with Miami in 2013—a string of decommitments like this would be disheartening. Any number of hypothetical problems and legitimate concerns about the coaching staff could surface, but nothing of that nature is plaguing the Hurricanes.

So, why is this string not a bad sign?

As head coach Al Golden has discussed, he needs to be selective with this class. The team can't afford to "miss" on these players, because this year is less focused on depth and more on immediate impact.

Let's take a look at each individual recruit that has decommitted from the Canes.


Jayron Kearse, ATH

Kearse originally committed to the Auburn Tigers, flipped to Miami in January, 2012 and proceeded to open his recruitment in June.

The 4-star athlete has proven to be indecisive, but I don't want to chastise him for that. He needs to make the best decision for himself, and Kearse currently believes that the Clemson Tigers are his collegiate destination.

While the Hurricanes have no immediate replacement for Kearse (who projects to be a wide receiver), they are aggressively pursuing a pair of 4-star receivers in Stacy Coley and Jordan Cunningham.


Levonte "Kermit" Whitfield, ATH

Whitfield gave his word to Miami coaches in May, 2011 before backing off in March of this year.

Another 4-star athlete, Whitfield is considered to have blazing speed, and a sub-10.5 100-meter dash proves that fact. His pledge for 2013 is now to the rival Florida State Seminoles, but whether "Kermit" plays as a running back, receiver or cornerback is unknown.

The Hurricanes have replaced Whitfield with Ray Lewis III, a playmaker on both sides of the ball for Lake Mary Prep throughout his high school career.


Keith Bryant, DT

Bryant is a heavily sought-after 4-star defensive tackle from Delray Beach, Florida.

He committed to Al Golden and crew in January, 2012 but recently dropped the Hurricanes, saying "take me off the list."

However, after all this nonsense, Bryant seems to be returning to the Canes, according to 247sports. He would be a huge pickup for the Miami staff—assuming he doesn't change his mind...again.


Alex Collins, RB

Collins was another January commitment who backed off his Miami pledge in recent days.

The 4-star running back is working on taking official visits to the schools he is considering—Florida, Florida State, Wisconsin and the Hurricanes.

He would provide a physical presence that would nicely complement Duke Johnson in the Miami backfield. Should Collins not commit, Miami has a plethora of options they are currently pursuing.


Angelo Jean-Louis, WR

Jean-Louis was originally a part of the massive 2012 class and touted as one of the best recruits of said class.

However, academics held the 4-star receiver out for a season, so he headed to Fork Union Military Academy to clean up the issues.

Dieter Kurtenbach of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Jean-Louis didn't qualify at the university for the second year and dropped Miami in favor of Marshall University.


Travis Johnson, WR/TE

Johnson is a hybrid tight end/wide receiver with his 6'3", 230-pound frame. He was the most recent of the decommitments from Miami.

Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel called the loss of Johnson "anticipated."

Miami fans need not worry about this, because 4-star tight end Standish Dobard is a solid commit—and one other major reason. The Hurricanes snagged another tight end in 247sports' top overall JUCO recruit Beau Sandland.


Though it may sting seeing a promising player drop his pledge to a school, it is probably under control, as is the case with the Hurricanes.

As you can see, Al Golden knows exactly what he is doing and is not concerned with any number of decommitments. He still has plenty of talent to choose from with his five to eight remaining spots in the 2013 class.

Most of those spots will likely be filled by 3- and 4-star recruits, but the coaches are holding spots for top prospects such as Reuben Foster, Matthew Thomas and Derrick Green.

With all of that said, are you excited for national signing day yet? I am. I can't wait to see what magic Golden has up his sleeve this year.

Let's just hope that when the next group of players commits to the Canes, they stick with it.


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