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Miami National Signing Day: 5 Takeaways from the Hurricanes' 2014 Class

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2014

Miami National Signing Day: 5 Takeaways from the Hurricanes' 2014 Class

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    Tyre Brady via 247Sports
    Tyre Brady via 247Sports247Sports

    National signing day is closing in quickly, and there are already a handful of takeaways from the Miami Hurricanes' 2014 class.

    Though one completely unforeseen flip happened recently, the prospective 'Canes are just about locked in to sign their respective national letter of intent.

    Miami is still working to return to its former days of dominance, and this recruiting cycle is certainly a step in the right direction, adding the likes of 5-star defensive end Chad Thomas and 4-star offensive tackle Kc McDermott.

    So, with national signing day 2014 just days away, what are some early observations from the Hurricanes' newest recruiting class?

    Note: All information courtesy of 247Sports and rankings based on 247Sports' Composite.

All Credit to James Coley, Brad Kaaya Was an Absolute Steal

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    First-year offensive coordinator James Coley was hired from Florida State by Al Golden last January, and Coley's recruiting prowess certainly had much to do with that selection.

    Coley immediately made his scouting ability clear, handpicking a little-known California gunslinger named Brad Kaaya from a rather deep quarterback class.

    Kaaya led a pro-style offense to a state championship this past season, and the likes of UCLA and USC showed late interest in the budding 4-star prospect.

    But Miami jumped on Kaaya early and received a commitment before his recruiting explosion, and he will officially become a member of the Hurricanes on signing day.

    All thanks to Coley.

Defensive Line Was a Priority, and the Staff Nailed It

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    Summing up recent years of the Hurricanes' defensive line is relatively easy: All aboard the struggle bus.

    Looking forward, however, a decent contingent of linemen return for 2014, including Anthony Chickillo, Olsen Pierre and Al-Quadin Muhammad, plus a few committed players expected to be the future of the program.

    Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten will roam the line for years to come, and Calvin Heurtelou will provide immediate help at the tackle spot, which was the most glaring need for Miami.

    Trent Harris has the benefit of being an early enrollee, and Mike Smith occupies the same sort of edge-rushing role.

    Travonte Valentine and Lamont Gaillard are two defensive tackles the Hurricanes are still pursuing, so Golden and co. made the position of need a point of emphasis.

    And as of right now, the coaching staff has succeeded.

The 2014 Class Is Full of Early Enrollees

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    Each season, programs around the nation expect a handful of early enrollees, but the Hurricanes already have nine new players on campus.

    On the offensive line, Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling join an experienced unit that was among the best in the conference last season. Following their respective injury rehabilitations, running back Joseph Yearby will contend for carries, and wideout Braxton Berrios will be in the mix for slot receiver reps.

    Defensively, Heurtelou and Harris, as mentioned earlier, have the potential to contribute immediately on the line. At linebacker, Darrion Owens and Juwon Young are two promising players who have a penchant for highlight-reel hits.

    Ryan Mayes is the lone early enrollee in the secondary, but the 'Canes are set with Tracy Howard, Deon Bush, Rayshawn Jenkins, Ladarius Gunter and Artie Burns.

    Overall, the nine players are getting an important boost by taking part in weight-room sessions and practicing with the team this spring, but the Miami team is getting the overall benefit.

No Position of Need Was Left Untouched

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    Braxton Berrios via 247Sports
    Braxton Berrios via 247Sports247Sports

    Heading into the offseason, the Hurricanes had a couple of positions that needed to be addressed, and the Miami coaching staff has gained commitments from those spots.

    Though the quarterback and secondary roles did not necessarily need new players, Kaaya, Malik RosierKiy HesterMarques Gayot and Mayes are valuable commitments depth-wise.

    Conversely, the defensive line and the linebacking corps were in dire need of immediate help, and Miami has snagged—as of this writing—at least 10 new players for those respective positions.

    Finally, there are the lesser discussed but still valuable pledges at wide receiver, bringing in Braxton Berrios, Darrell Langham and Tyre Brady.

    No, the Hurricanes do not represent an imminent dynasty because of this class, but it's a step in the right direction for national relevance.

More Star Power, Less Filler

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    Chad Thomas via 247Sports
    Chad Thomas via 247Sports247Sports

    In 2012, top prospects Tracy Howard, Duke Johnson and Tyriq McCord signed, which was followed by Stacy Coley, Kevin Olsen and Al-Quadin Muhammad in 2013.

    Compared to those previous seasons, however, collectively, the 2014 class holds the highest ceiling from top to bottom. From Thomas, Kaaya, Yearby and McDermott to Terry McCray, Nick Linder and Demetrius Jackson, there is more superstar potential than in recent years.

    Of course, that P-word is not gifted, it is earned. The Miami coaching staff has not necessarily developed players to their perceived full potential, but the 2014 class is another promising crew.

    The biggest goal, now, is to see these early observations come to fruition, whether it is during the 2014 regular season or the following years.

    A dynasty is not built in one season, but one recruiting class can play a major role in starting one.

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