National Signing Day 2011: Jalen Grimble and the Rest of the Canes' Recruits
Al Golden needs to make an impact.
Even before the firing of Randy Shannon, the closest thing there was to a "company man" in the world of sports, the Hurricanes' 2011 recruiting class was in trouble. Near season's end, the Canes had fewer than eight commitments and were sitting around the middle of the pack of all college football teams in terms of recruiting class rankings.
Today, the Canes sit 33rd on both Rivals and Scout. Any other year in Hurricane Nation, the same result would be unacceptable. This year, such news brings a sigh of relief.
Golden has done the best he can in what little time he has had. With virtually no crossover with the prospects he was recruiting at Temple, Golden was forced to hire an entirely new coaching staff and start recruiting from the ground up in just a few months' time.
With the exception of a few blue-chippers, Golden and his staff have gone out and found players that they believe have flown under the radar.
Jalen Grimble, DE/DT
Las Vegas product Jalen Grimble surprised many when he announced on National Signing Day that he would move across the country to Coral Gables rather than stay near home and play for Lane Kiffin at USC.
Grimble's biggest asset is his versatility. The Canes will look to employ more of a multiple defense in the coming years under new defensive coordinator Mark D'onofrio. Grimble can be deployed either as a defensive end in a 3-4, or as a Defensive Tackle in a 4-3.
At times Grimble can get pushed off the line of scrimmage in the running game. However, with proper coaching, he has the perfect wide body and more than enough natural talent and strength to be a dominant hybrid defensive lineman.
If Golden and his staff really plan on switching the traditional Miami 4-3 defense to more of a multiple system, Grimble was a huge get for the program.
Anthony Chickillo, DE
Anthony Chickillo had to be a Cane.
After Chickillo finished his senior season at Tampa's Alonso High School with 127 tackles and 18 sacks, Al Golden knew he had to keep the 6'3, 225 pound lineman committed to The U.
Chickillo had originally committed while Randy Shannon was still wearing a headset and patrolling the Miami sideline. After a visit to the University of Florida in January to check out Will Muschamp and his new staff, Canes fans began to worry they may lose their top, and only 5 star prospect.
After a nervous few weeks, the pass rushing Defensive End, who is said to overachieve due to his high motor, annnounced that he was "200 percent committed" to Miami. What a relief.
The first time he suits up, Anthony Chickillo will become the first third generation Hurricanes football player in school history. He is an excellent student (4.2 GPA), a great athlete, and a very hard worker.
According to Chickillo he relies on having, "great technique and just [going] 100 miles per hour on every play."
Some may doubt whether Chickillo will be able to handle the responsibilities of a full time-defensive end in college. In a multiple defensive scheme, players will be put in proper positions to make plays. Having smart players like Chickillo only helps in that regard.
Wherever he ends up on the field, one can be sure that Anthony Chickillo will be busting his butt for himself, and his Hurricane family, on every play.
Denzel Perryman, LB
Residing in Miami's backyard at Coral Gables High School, Denzel Perryman was another kid that the Canes absolutely had to get.
The first team All-Dade Linebacker is rated the #17 Middle Linebacker by Scout.com. Perryman is a big hitter, which is part of the reason that Canes Linebackers' coach Michael Barrow invested so much time recruiting the young man.
Middle Linebacker was a big hole for the Hurricanes heading into last season, and it remains another question mark going into 2010.
When Miami switches to a 3-4 front, one of the Middle Linebackers is sure to be Kelvin Cain. The other spot is open to competition. Denzel Perryman, whose main detractors have little to say other than that he's a bit undersized and can become undisciplined at times, is a good bet to make an immediate impact.
Dallas Crawford, ATH
Dallas Crawford is probably the most intriguing prospect in the Canes 2011 class. Crawford is a throwback, legitimate two way football player.
Just 5-9 and 180 pounds, Crawford has the stamina and durability to stay on the field. He played Quarterback all four seasons at South Fort Meyers High School, and accumulatd over 8,000 yards of passing in his career. That is something only four other Florida high schoolers have ever done before.
As a junior, Crawford had over 3,000 total yards and 30 touchdowns (5 rushing). As a senior, he accumulated around 2,800 yards and 40 touchdowns (14 rushing).
Where he really shines is on the defensive side of the ball, however. Crawford registered 43 tackles and 10 interceptions as a junior to go along with 76 tackles and 9 interceptions as a senior. In both seasons, Dallas Crawford was voted as Florida's Class 3A Defensive Player of the Year.
Cornerback will likely be his position at the collegiate level. But someone as explosive as Dallas Crawford needs to find the field in all facets of the game. It wouldn't surprise me if new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch built some wildcat packages around the versatile Crawford in 2011.
Dallas Crawford wasn't offered a scholarship by the Randy Shannon regime because he was considered too short. Al Golden sees a football player, and a great one at that.
Here's to hoping the Canes have something special in the unheralded recruit.
Kevin Grooms, ATH
It will be interesting to see what the Canes end up doing with the lean Kevin Grooms out of South Broward High School.
Between his junior and senior seasons, Grooms has run for over 3,000 yards and 37 touchdowns, in addition to returning six punt for touchdowns during his senior year.
Grooms is as shifty as they come, and no matter where he ends up working on his positional drills, he is sure to get some time running back kicks.
Miami has a plethora of running backs, and the position will be manned by by Lamar Miller, Mike James, and Storm Johnson for the foreseeable future.
With the departure of junior Cornerback Brandon Harris, the Canes might look to switch Grooms to the defensive side of the ball, due a real depth problem at corner.
Kevin Grooms is a dynamic player, and a welcome addition to the Canes 2011 class.
Taylor Gadbois, OL
Taylor Gadbois is a raw offensive line prospect out of East Paulding High School in Dallas, Georgia, who has reminded many of the Canes coaches of former left tackle, and current Detroit Lion, Jason Fox.
Gadbois is 6-8, 285 pounds and has fantastic arm length, leg drive, and the general nasty streak you like to see in an offensive lineman. The kid is going to compete on every play.
His run blocking is good due to his ability to blow defenders off the line, but his footwork and technique in pass protection is still lacking.
Right now, Gadbois projects as more of a Right Tackle, but with time to develop he may eventually be able to handle the left side. With Seantreal Henderson on campus, that position won't be open for at least two years, however.
Miami has recently brought Art Kehoe back into the fold as offensive line coach. Kehoe is the only link through all five Hurricanes National Championship Teams. His first real test will be to see how quickly he can develop Taylor Gadbois.
Matt Goudis and Dalton Botts, Kicker and Punter
The past three seasons, Matt Bosher has been a bit of a revelation and become quite the fan favorite of the Hurricane faithful.
The former four star kicker recruit was described by his teammates as not being just a kicker, but a football player too. The past two seasons, Bosher has handled all of the kickoffs, punts, and field goals for the Hurricanes.
During his Junior season, Bosher was voted to the First Team All-ACC as a Punter and to the Second Team as a Kicker. It's a well-known fact among Canes fans that Bosher was also the Canes best tackler on special teams.
It seemed as if at least once per game, Bosher was credited with a touchdown saving tackle due to his team's inability to cover kicks. Many have wondered how many return touchdowns the Canes would give up once Matt Bosher wasn't there to save the day.
Al Golden has done his best to replace the departing senior by signing Matt Goudis, an athletic kicker out of California who was actively recruited by Boise State due to his ability to run fakes, and Dalton Botts, a big Junior College Punter.
Time will tell how both of these specialists turn out. It's nice to see the Hurricane program now starting to offer scholarships to players whose contributions to the game often go unnoticed.
Nobody gets excited about Kickers and Punters during recruiting, because its just impossible to know how they'll do once the pressure is on. What is good to get excited about is a change in philosophy for the Miami Hurricanes program.
Golden and his staff appear to be thinking outside of the box to give the team an advantage in an area that may otherwise have been left to walk-ons.
Olsen Pierre, DE
Al Golden pressured only one player who he recruited for Temple into switching his commitment to the Miami Hurricanes.
That player, Olsen Pierre, is a big (6-6, 280) post-graduate defensive end out of Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
Originally from Rahway, N.J. Pierre is one of two early enrollees at Miami, and will look to improve quickly under strength coach Andreu Swasey and Defensive Line Coach Jethro Franklin so that he can get playing time as early as next year.
Pierre is a big body who should grow into a solid 3-4 Defensive End for the Canes. Along with Jalen Grimble and Anthony Chickillo, Jethro Franklin has a lot of young talent to work with this season.
Jacoby Brissett, QB
Jacoby Brissett out of William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens is the top uncommitted Quarterback recruit in the country.
He is slated to make his decision on Friday at halftime of Dwyer's basketball game. Brissett is believed to be deciding between the Miami Hurricanes and the Wisconsin Badgers.
At 6-5, 225 with 4.6 speed in the 40 yard dash, Brissett is an superb pocket passer who is adept at putting just enough touch on the ball to get it where it needs to be. His accuracy is called into question at times due to inconsistent mechanics, but he is more than an effective signal caller.
Brissett led Dwyer to the Florida Class 4A State Championship as a junior. If he commits to Miami, he could be the next in the long line of passers that have made The U known also as Quarterback U.
His immediate competition would be senior Jacory Harris and sophomore Stephen Morris. Morris is likely to handle the majority of the snaps next season, and has talent (and a big arm), but is not as good as Brissett could potentially be.
Getting Jacoby Brissett to commit would be a great post signing day addition to Al Golden's recruiting class. The Canes did much of their damage last year after signing day was over (Latwan Anderson and Seantreal Henderson to name a couple of five stars). They may have to play the waiting game before their 2011 class receives some reinforcements.
Brissett would be an impact addition.
So long as he's at Miami, Al Golden will likely never get to stop fighting.
Jimbo Fisher and Florida State may be about to pull in the #1 recruiting class in the country. Urban Meyer established a winning tradition at Florida in his few short years, and has made them a yearly force to be reckoned with on the recruiting front, regardless of whether he's around.
Now, South Florida (USF) and Central Florida (UCF) have built up their programs to the point where less heralded 4 star recruits are beginning to enroll.
Based on what he has pulled together in his time since arriving, and on the word of players he has recruited, Al Golden is an absolute boss when it comes to recruiting.
Don't judge him on this class, because he was merely sorting through scraps to find the best of whatever was left.
And he did a darned good job at it. The Miami Hurricanes, for the first time since Butch Davis, have a coach on board who appears to have every one of his moves calculated. The man has fire in his eyes, and fight in his heart.
This he will pass to his players, as they try to bring the swagger back to Miami that preceded the team in its success throughout the 1980's and early 2000's.
Al Golden knows what he's doing. We just need to give him time.
TE: 1 (transfer)
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