Miami Hurricanes Win With Hometown Talent from Northwestern, Gulliver High
Every college athletic program vies for the top talent in its backyard.
The University of Miami is certainly no exception.
Its football program perfected its "State of Miami" strategy in the 1980s to a tune of four national championships in nine years, beginning in 1983.
With the ever-increasing parity in college sports, the powerhouses of yesterday no longer hold the same pull they did a decade ago.
Universities like Boise State, Texas Christian, and Utah can be thanked for that.
It's been nine years since the Hurricanes last won a football national championship, but head coach Randy Shannon seems to be headed in the same direction, once again by dipping into the local talent pool.
Thirty-two players on the roster competed in the tri-county area of Miami, Broward and Palm Beach.
Seven Northwestern High School players, part of the mythical national championship team, helped usher in 2007's top-ranked recruiting class, according to ESPN.
Jacory Harris should stay in contention for this year's Heisman, if he keeps his interceptions low, and the Canes remain in the top 10.
This past weekend "Northwestern U" nabbed two others for 2011, Teddy Bridgewater and Eli Rogers.
Across the Greentree Practice Fields stands Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field, where those in charge of the Miami Hurricanes baseball team seem to share the same philosophy.
Under Ron Fraser and current head coach Jim Morris the Hurricanes have made the NCAA tournament a record 38 straight seasons.
Four national championships and 23 College World Series appearances make it one of the most celebrated programs in the nation.
Guys who have made it to the show include Pat Burrell, Ryan Braun, and Aubrey Huff.
Countless others, some from the 2008 CWS squad, are getting closer in Double A and Triple A ball.
Twenty players on the roster are from South Florida's three counties.
One high school in particular is becoming a factory of talented young players for the Canes.
Gulliver Prep, a private school in Miami, is becoming the baseball version of what Northwestern has done for the football team.
Although only two players on the current squad went to Gulliver, starting right fielder Chris Pelaez and starting shortstop Stephen Perez, four recruits from the 3A state runner-up team have committed.
Part of the reason is Gulliver's homegrown coaching staff.
Head coach Javy Rodriguez, Manny Crespo, David Gil, Paco Figueroa, and Danny Figueroa are all former Hurricanes.
Shannon, heading into his fourth season with the football team, played for Miami in the tumultuous 1980s and has been with the program since then as a coach.
So as the football team continues to improve each season Morris may have his sights set on a national title, but he's doing it without looking farther than his backyard.
The talent's there, and it's coming to help.
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