College football recruiting is far from an exact science. Furthermore, it's a long-term investment that can't be properly assessed until well down the road. Today's 2-star high school safety could be tomorrow's NFL Draft first-rounder while yesterday is littered with countless 5-star flame-outs.
In 2010, Randy Shannon and the Miami Hurricanes signed what Rivals.com ranked the No. 16 class in the nation. Fresh off a 9-4 season, Shannon and staff reeled in upwards of 30 players—including two last-minute 5-star prospects—and "The U" continued its quest to rebuild.
By year's end, the Hurricanes stumbled to 7-6, Shannon was let go and Al Golden inherited a roster full of players he didn't recruit, most of which couldn't even pass his conditioning test. Months later, a recently departed cornerback spilled the beans regarding a broken culture that included insubordination, immaturity and an affinity for the sticky-icky.
Almost four years later, the 2010 class is wrapping its senior season, having amassed a 29-20 record at Miami with one game left to play. Of the 30 players signed, 13 left the program. As for the remaining 17, some blossomed, others had respectable careers, but way too many simply didn't pan out, which crushed overall depth.
|Latwan Anderson||ATH||5-star||Left program before season started.|
|Jermaine Barton||OL||3-star||Left program, never played.|
|Jeffrey Brown||DT||2-star||Kicked off team, charged with rape.|
|Kelvin Cain||DT||2-star||Kicked off team, came back, did little.|
|Devont'a Davis||DB||3-star||Kicked off team 5/11. Never played.|
|Jeremy Davis||WR||3-star||Failed to qualify.|
|Chase Ford||TE||3-star||JUCO transfer. 2-year player.|
|Tavadis Glenn||DT||4-star||Failed to qualify.|
|Darion Hall||RB||3-star||Left team 3/12. Played one game.|
|Storm Johnson||RB||4-star||Left team 5/11 over playing time.|
|Kevin Nelson||LB||3-star||Kicked off team 5/11. Never played.|
|Keion Payne||DB||3-star||Kicked off team 3/12. Never played.|
|David Perry||DE||3-star||Raw talent via Jamaica. Rarely plays.|
|Andrew Tallman||DE||3-star||Transferred in 5/11. Never played.|
|Delmar Taylor||DT||3-star||Raw talent from Bahamas. Left team.|
|Travis Williams||LB||4-star||Kicked off team 5/11. Never played.|
Golden began cutting what he felt was dead weight five months into his tenure, including three members of the 2010 class—linebacker Kevin Nelson, cornerback Devont'a Davis and linebacker Travis Williams.
Months prior, 5-star athlete and late signee Latwan Anderson hit the road before ever suiting up.
By summer, tight end Andrew Tallman had transferred while defensive tackle Jeffrey Brown was booted soon after being charged with rape. Six players from one ill-fated class all gone within months, not counting defensive tackles Tavadis Glenn and Delmar Taylor, and cornerback Jeremy Davis, who failed to qualify.
This was also the offseason Miami watched running back Storm Johnson transfer to Central Florida. The Georgia product felt that the backfield was "crowded" and was unwilling to fight for the starting job.
A year later, more casualties were made when offensive lineman Jermaine Barton, running back Darion Hall and defensive back Keion Payne left or were sent packing. Tight end Chase Ford was also done after the 2011 season with only two years of eligibility as a JUCO transfer.
Shannon's 2010 class also hurt Miami due to it's size versus lack of productivity. The 30-player haul-in threw off the Hurricanes' numbers, leaving Golden only 16 available slots in 2011.
In 2012, it was another monster haul for Miami with 33 signees; though, the reason was three-fold. The Hurricanes saw 21 scholarship seniors depart the previous December while pending NCAA sanctions and Golden's in-house clean up left big holes to fill. The Hurricanes simply needed bodies in order to remain competitive.
As 2013 winds to a close, 17 players from Miami's 2010 recruiting class remain on the roster. Of that group, there are certainly some stand outs who deserve recognition for leaving their mark on the program.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns wrapped the regular season with a nine-reception, 173-yard performance at Pittsburgh. It was Hurns' sixth 100-yard game of the season, his fourth in a row, and it moved the senior to No. 7 on Miami's all-time career receiving leaders list, with 1,867 total yards.
Days before Hurns' record-setting performance, Golden gushed to Fox Sports Florida about his go-to wideout:
Obviously that's how you build your program around guys like that. A picture's worth a thousand words. I could sit up here and say this is about process, this is about preparation, about having a great attitude. It's about studying film.
Or I could say, 'Just watch him.' It's as simple as that. That young man works his tail off. Whatever talent God gave him he honors it with the way he prepares and executes, by the way he practices. He's cultivated it. He's a very skilled, young man. He's done a great job with his hands, he's unselfish. He's a great leader for us. Can't say enough about Allen Hurns.
The Hurricanes also landed and developed a few quality offensive linemen in Brandon Linder, Shane McDermott, Jon Feliciano and Malcolm Bunche; though, the heralded Seantrel Henderson has grossly underachieved.
The 5-star talent originally signed with Southern California, but a coaching change allowed him to look elsewhere. Originally thought to be a huge coup for Miami, Henderson dealt with off-the-field issues the majority of his career.
Once thought to be a first-round lock, the behemoth lineman couldn't even hold down the left tackle position for the Canes and was relegated to second-string right tackle much of this season.
Quarterback Stephen Morris came on strong as a true freshman, filling in for the injured Jacory Harris late in the season, but didn't earn the starting job until 2012. Morris threw for 3,345 yards with 21 touchdowns and 7 interceptions as a junior but struggled in 2013.
Dealing with a nagging ankle injury and getting accustomed to his third offensive coordinator in four years set the senior gunslinger back.
Outside of that, Miami was left with a handful of role-fillers and under-the-radar guys, which wouldn't have been an issue had so many of their counterparts panned out.
Tight end Clive Walford, running back Eduardo Clements, fullback Maurice Hagens, safety Kacy Rodgers II and linebackers Jimmy Gaines and Tyrone Cornelius gave their all, but based on the dire "State of The U," the Hurricanes simply needed more.
While Golden wasn't able to do much with his first haul-in due to time and circumstance, the tide began to turn in 2012 when a few local superstars pledged their allegiance to the hometown team.
Five-star running back Duke Johnson, 5-star cornerback Tracy Howard and 4-star safety Deon Bush are the types of kids that coaches build foundations upon—which Golden has.
Miami also reeled in Johnson's teammate, 4-star offensive lineman Ereck Flowers; Howard's teammate, 4-star wide receiver Malcolm Lewis; and 4-star defensive end Tyriq McCord out of Tampa.
Earlier this year, more 4-star locals stayed home. Cornerback Artie Burns, safety Jamal Carter, linebacker Jermaine Grace and wide receiver Stacy Coley helped boost Golden's third class.
Golden and staff remain on a recruiting roll with 28 verbal commitments for 2014 and a class that ESPN currently ranks No. 3 in the nation.
Miami is loading up on the defensive side of the ball, especially tackles. Five-star recruit Chad Thomas, 4-star recruit Demetrius Jackson and 4-star recruit Anthony Moten will eventually anchor a line that was pushed all over the field the past few years.
The Hurricanes are also rebuilding the offense line with 4-star talent coming in the form of Reilly Gibbons, Trevor Darling and KC McDermott.
Coordinators, schemes and breakdowns have been the topic de jour this season. When trying to reverse-engineer the "how" and "why" Miami unraveled, the 2010 recruiting class is as good a place as any to start.
Follow Chris Bello on Twitter @allCanesBlog.