Although the Hurricanes will return 20 of 22 starters this upcoming season, it doesn't mean they won't need much from the recruiting scene next Wednesday. There are a lot of holes to fill, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Coming off a very mediocre 7-5 season, the Hurricanes must fill gaps and add depth. Here is a list of the Hurricanes' top priorities for Feb. 6.
It's no surprise that the major concern for Hurricanes next season will be on the defensive side of the ball. Although the unit returns 10 starters, there are some depth issues, starting at cornerback.
The Hurricanes lost starter Brandon McGee to graduation and Thomas Finnie left school, leaving two gaping holes at the position. Granted, Finnie struggled over the two years he was at Miami, but was still one of the more experienced players on the roster and still had potential to turn it around.
That being said, I believe the Hurricanes are going to go all-out in hopes of stealing Rashard Robinson from LSU. Robinson committed to LSU last July but has been recently being pressed by Miami to stay in South Florida.
According to the previous link, Robinson has been said of being "100 percent" committed to the Tigers, but I honestly don't believe it.
The Hurricanes have been going after Robinson for some time now, and the way Golden has been able to get recruits, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he flips to Miami before signing day.
There is no secret that Miami is trying its best to get Stacy Coley to come to Miami. Although the Hurricanes have a solid receiving corps, Coley would bring another element to the team—a deep-threat.
Coley isn't a huge receiver (6'1", 173 pounds) but is a very smooth one that can get downfield in a heartbeat, something the Hurricanes truly don't have right now.
Coley would be a huge benefit to the team and could see considerable time as soon as this upcoming season.
I am going to be brutally honest here and say that the Hurricanes' defensive tackle position was horrific last season. I know that many of you blame defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio, but the talent on the line isn't great at all.
A healthy Curtis Porter would help tremendously, but the rest of the defensive line is a problem.
As it stands now, the Hurricanes have already received verbal commits from two defensive tackles, but there are more on the radar come next Wednesday.
Dee Liner, Keith Bryant and Jay-nard Bostwick are current Cane possibilities, and it would be huge if the Canes' could snag them all.
I don't believe Liner will come to Miami even though the Hurricanes are on his short list. I think the ex-Auburn commit will stay home in Alabama.
Late last year I thought defensive tackle Keith Bryant was a lock to come to Miami, but he has been constantly talking about Florida State on Twitter.
The best shot for the Hurricanes should be Jay-nard Bostwick. Last December, Miami was in the lead for his services, but on Jan. 11 took a visit to Alabama and has scheduled a visit to Florida on Feb. 1.
My gut feeling is he chooses Miami and somehow the Hurricanes get Bryant, giving Miami exactly what it needs heading into the upcoming season—more competition on the defensive line.
Although the Hurricanes have Duke Johnson, the depth at running back could be a concern. Eduardo Clements wasn't all that impressive last season and Danny Dillard doesn't seem to be any better.
The other running back on the roster, Dallas Crawford, is a little raw at the position and doesn't provide much of a change from Johnson—both are quick, speedy and small.
Landing Alex Collins would be extremely beneficial for Duke and the running back depth chart.
Collins is an absolute beast at running back and plays much bigger than his 5'11", 200-pound frame. He is a tough runner that can run through or around defenders.
Duke will undoubtedly be the starter, but no one would complement him more than Collins.
Collins verbally committed to Miami last year but opened up his recruiting and visited five schools so far—including Miami on Jan. 18.
Although the Hurricanes have limited scholarships to hand out, there are several positions they necessarily don't need to fill.
Take linebacker for example. The Hurricanes already have some very young talented linebackers and wouldn't necessarily need one this recruiting season, but when 5-star stud Matthew Thomas is considering, coach Golden needs to do everything in his power to snag him.
Thomas is rated the the second-best outside linebacker in the country according to 247Sports.com, and there is no doubt that he could compete for a starting position out right off the bat—he is that talented.
Another outside linebacker getting plenty of headlines lately is Jermaine Grace. Grace is listed as a linebacker but can also play safety. He is a terrific athlete with great tackling skills—something the Hurricanes struggled with last season.
Besides the two linebackers, the Hurricanes will be hard-pressed to land Jay-nard Bostwick, Denver Kirkland, Jordan Cunningham and Michael Parker—all of whom are seriously considering Miami of late.
Nailing a majority of the players listed should give Miami a top-15 class.