Miami Football: Can Al Golden Recover from Denver Kirkland Fiasco?

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 17, 2013

Al Golden has been taking a lot of heat since pulling Denver Kirkland's scholarship. Can he recover?
Al Golden has been taking a lot of heat since pulling Denver Kirkland's scholarship. Can he recover?Rob Carr/Getty Images

Head coach Al Golden is considered by many to be an excellent recruiter in college football, and his track record proves him deserving of the recognition.

He rebuilt a perennial bottom-feeder in Temple University into a challenger for the Mid-American Conference title.

He also seems to have the Miami Hurricanes on the right track after winning the Coastal Division in 2012.

But Golden suffered a setback—one from which many are wondering if he can recover.

With less than a week before he could sign the National Letter of Intent, highly-coveted offensive lineman Denver Kirkland saw his scholarship offer rescinded by the Canes.

Though it's unfortunate to see any player who worked so hard to earn an athletic scholarship no longer have the chance at a certain university, Kirkland's case could be doubly unfortunate.

First, it definitely didn't look right when Golden originally pulled the offer.

And second, Kirkland is a hometown kid.

The Booker T. Washington standout eventually signed with Arkansas, and best of luck to the young man.

Many haters, homers and neutral fans alike were all wondering why Kirkland and why this timing?

Of course, the easy response was "Fire Golden, darn it! He can't recruit the state of Florida!"

Now, obviously, Golden isn't going anywhere, but does this kind of thinking have some fleeting worth or legitimacy?

Kirkland and nationally-pursued teammate Matthew Thomas both decided to bolt from the area, and other top recruits did the same.

The Hurricanes only managed to get four commitments from the "State of Miami" and five total players from the Sunshine State.

Giving up a much-heralded local recruit had experts and "experts" alike up in arms, so let's venture into this debate.

Back in 2012, Golden signed 26 of 33 new players from the state of Florida.

Problem solved, right?

So yes, ultimately, Al Golden will recover from this minor local recruiting setback.

Jon Bastian of CaneInsider has recently been giving updates on Miami's early targets in 2014, and a strong majority are from South Florida and definitely interested in the Canes.

Kirkland's situation stings, but the Hurricanes likely didn't even need another offensive lineman in this class anyway.

Additionally, any of current commit Trevor Darling or targets KC McDermott and Nick Linder—brothers of current Canes—would fill Kirkland's void in 2014.

Golden's recruiting plan is already putting Miami on the right track for immediate success. Again, remember the Hurricanes will be defending a Coastal Division title next season.

For him to be criticized over a single move, it's both unfair and unjust.

But most of all, it's plain wrong.