Miami Football: Al Golden's Focus on Local Recruiting Paying off

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2013

Al Golden is focused on "The Process," and this year includes lots of recruiting in South Florida.
Al Golden is focused on "The Process," and this year includes lots of recruiting in South Florida.Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes' coaching staff is steadily recruiting for the class of 2014 and already tacking plenty of miles on the odometer.

But this year, they don't have to leave the region to see many of the top players.

After signing only a handful of players from South Florida in 2013, analysts and fans alike began to wonder if head coach Al Golden was recruiting too much outside that area.

Though Golden is surely not worried about how outsiders critique his recruiting styles, there has been an early push for local athletes.

Between assistants Brennan Carroll, Michael Barrow, Jethro Franklin, Art Kehoe, Hurlie Brown, James Coley, and for a small stretch of time Mario Cristobal, the 'Canes are heavily involved with a large number of South Florida prospects.

The Hurricanes have also received five commitments for the 2014 class, and each player is from the local counties of Dade, Broward or Palm Beach. Golden hasn't allowed Kc McDermott (Palm Beach), Joseph Yearby, Trevor Darling, Alin Edouard (Dade), or Nick Linder (Broward) to escape the area.

McDermott, a 5-star offensive tackle, and Darling, a 4-star OT, are two of the top 12 tackles in the nation according to 247sports.

Yearby is a 5-star running back who flipped from rival Florida State following offensive coordinator James Coley's move to the 'Canes.

While the 4-star QB Edouard and 3-star OL Linder are not among the top-ranked players by the major scouting services, they both fit Miami's needs.

Edouard is a perfect fit for Coley's "Pro-Spread" offense that will likely utilize both the pocket presence and mobility of the quarterback. Linder, on the other hand, will be part of a linemen corps with massive depth even after a couple starters graduate.

Sony Michel is one of 247sports' top two running backs in the nation, and he already knows where he will be playing college football.

We, of course, don't, but that will change soon.

Behind a paywall, ESPN's Derek Tyson said Michel will reveal his choice on April 26 at 4:30 p.m. ET during ESPNU's College Football Blitz.

The running back from nearby Fort Lauderdale who attends American Heritage Plantation will choose between the 'Canes, Georgia, Florida, Florida State and Notre Dame.

Another target from "The State of Miami" is poised to commit, but he is doing so on a more imminent basis.

Tom Loy of 247sports notes 4-star offensive tackle Reilly Gibbons is committing on April 8. Miami is listed as the lone "warmer" interest on his recruit profile, so that seems to bode well for Golden and company.

OT Reilly Gibbons to commit tomorrow. @joshnewberg247 and I give our takes on his potential landing spot.

— Tom Loy (@TomLoy247) April 7, 2013

Note: The article linked in the tweet above is behind a paywall.

Daniel Tummeley of CaneInsider notes Travonte Valentine, a 4-star defensive tackle from Bayside High School in Brevard County, is currently favoring the 'Canes.

Valentine has been committed to both Louisville and Florida, but Tummeley notes Valentine's decision "will be his last commitment."

Other names such as wide receiver Ermon Lane, defensive back Nigel Patten and athlete Quinton Flowers are just a few other local names worth mentioning because they have received significant interest from the 'Canes.

Al Golden has been scanning South Florida for elite talent, and as you can see, a strong number of recruits really like what Miami has to offer.

The backlash Golden suffered last season when he left the state for 14 of 19 signees was a little much, but the critics have been temporarily silenced—at least until a commitment from outside the state comes in, that is, because he's probably losing control of South Florida when that happens...

Hashtag sarcasm.

Golden is the man with a plan, and 2013 is already showing his brilliance just two short months removed from National Signing Day.

Ten months until NSD 2014. Kinda scary for other schools, isn't it?