Miami Football Recruiting: Al Golden's 6 Most Important Targets of 2013
The Miami Hurricanes coaching staff offers football scholarships to a large number of top high school talent, but some players essentially represent the most important potential commitments.
After the 2013 signing period brought only eight 4-stars, head coach Al Golden and his assistants have been tenacious—and successful—in their early recruiting.
Though the 'Canes have missed on a few local studs, Golden cannot be expected to sign every big-time prospect with Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Florida State infringing on Miami's territory.
With 11 commitments—seven being 4-stars according to 247Sports.com—to date, the Hurricanes are off to a great start in the 2014 cycle, but Golden and Co. are still looking to add a few high-profile names.
Dalvin Cook, RB
Dalvin Cook via 247sports
Cook was once a Clemson commit before switching to the University of Florida, but Rivals.com notes his recruitment is not over and the 'Canes are very much in the picture.
That being said, 247sports reports Cook said he is a solid commit to UF at this time.
But with Sony Michel pledging to Georgia in late April, Cook is the highest-rated running back Miami is still pursuing. A backfield comprised of Duke Johnson, Cook and Yearby for at least one and possibly two seasons is a scary thought for 'Canes fans.
Scary good, that is.
Ermon Lane, WR
Ermon Lane via 247sports
He and Johnnie Dixon are the highest-rated receivers Golden is targeting, but Lane is better all-around than the speedy Dixon.
Lane, a 5-star from nearby Homestead High School, is coveted by many of the best programs around the nation including that national championship-dominating Alabama school.
While the Hurricanes are already stacked at the receiver position, Lane offers "State of Miami" talent. Plus, other than Cook, Lane is the highest-targeted non-committed skill position player by Golden.
Mike Smith, LB
Mike Smith via 247sports
Mike Smith has toyed with the idea of committing to the University of Miami since receiving an offer, but he hasn't pulled the trigger.
A hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker from Miami Northwestern High School, Smith has been considered a heavy Miami-lean for a couple months.
247Sports notes Smith recently said he "can see his future at UM."
Due to multiple dismissals from the team, the Hurricanes are lacking depth at the linebacker position, and Golden is trying to change that. Miami received a commitment from 4-star LB Juwon Young over the weekend, and Smith could very well be the next linebacker to pledge to the 'Canes.
Travonte Valentine, DT
Travonte Valentine via 247sports
Travonte Valentine may have transferred schools over the summer, but the Miami coaches have not shifted focus in his recruitment.
Valentine now attends Champagnat Catholic in nearby Hialeah, instead of going to high school in Palm Bay which is 170 miles north.
The 'Canes desperately need impact players at the defensive tackle position, and Valentine told CaneInsider that Miami is in the lead. Additionally, 247Sports ranks him as the fourth-best defensive tackle in this class.
247Sports reports the 4-star Valentine is looking to make his decision in November, so Golden and his staff will attempt to keep Coral Gables as Valentine's next destination.
Khairi Clark, DT
Khairi Clark via 247sports
Khairi Clark is a massive defensive tackle.
Like a 6'2" and 325 pounds kind of big.
Hailing from Hollywood, Florida, Clark appears to be on his way to Coral Gables. All 13 correspondents in 247Sports' Crystal Ball predict he will play football for Miami.
Golden's primary reason for recruiting Clark is practically verbatim to Valentine; the 'Canes need defensive tackles, Clark is a solid player and lives locally.
He ranks as the sixth-best tackle according to 247Sports, and Clark is one of the top three linemen still on Miami's board.
Chris Lammons, DB
Chris Lammons via 247sports
Chris Lammons could emerge as one of the best under-the-radar players during this cycle. He checks in at 219th on 247Sports' Composite Rankings, so national recognition is not a high factor in his recruitment.
But his skills are undeniable.
Lammons' profile shows offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, West Virginia and others, but Miami is a likely destination. All eight of 247Sports' Crystal Ball contributors believe Lammons will be a part of the 2014 Miami class.
Golden has shown Lammons is of the highest priority, as 247Sports reports Lammons said he talks to the Miami coaching staff on a regular basis—often daily.
Even if scouting services do not rank Lammons at the top of their boards, he is safely residing near the top of the Hurricanes' list.