Keith "Cinco" Brown, Randy "Duke" Johnson, A.J. Leggett, Willie Bailey...What do they have in common?
1. They are all from the great state of Florida
2. They are all elite talent with multiple offers from schools from other BCS conferences
3. They all are current verbal commits to the University of Miami and its class of 2012.
Coach Golden has wasted no time in fulfilling his post-signing day news conference statement of reconnecting with schools, players and coaches in the surrounding Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. His team of coaches are working tirelessly to make up for lost time evaluating talent and reaching out to coaches and players who fit the mold for what he is trying to build at the U.
Now, to give credit where credit is due, all the kids listed above were already committed to Miami under Coach Shannon, and as we all know NSD 2012 is a long way away. A.J. Leggett in fact de-committed shortly after Shannon's firing and linked his name with FSU who had the No. 1 recruiting class in 2011. Fans around the country worried about the remaining three names on our 2012 list of commitments during this transition of coaching staff, plus it did not help to ease consciences around the program when so many of Coach Shannon's 2011 early commits ended up signing with other programs by NSD 2011. However, what IS noteworthy though is how Coach Golden and his staff have not taken those verbal for granted.
By the End of February how many verbal commitments will Miami have?
It seems the entire UM coaching staff are practicing what they preach. They live the plan that Coach Golden has brought in, and they are mending the fences of what was once known as the "State of Miami." The coaches are in the schools, in the homes, and in the communities making their presence felt again. The first junior day held at Miami went off without a hitch and allowed our staff to evaluate firsthand the type of talent that the State of Florida has.
Coach Golden claimed he had a 78 percent closing rate on kids they offered scholarships to at their junior day at Temple. Fans are drooling to see what is going to happen with a full year for him and his staff to evaluate and visit Miami. But once again, critics will say, "What has he done? He is 0-0 at UM currently and all he is selling is talk and UM's past to bring in recruits."
Well, for those of you who remember, Coach Shannon did not leave the cupboards bare at UM. Videos are circulating around the internet of Miami's new workout routines (see for yourself http://www.theufootball.com/). Players are being treated as men, and challenged to get better physically, mentally and professionally versus living in fear of being put in a doghouse, never to return to the good graces of past coaching staff if they walked outside the lines. It’s very clear that a gauntlet of opportunities has been thrown down for players to resurrect and recreate themselves. All they have to do is go get it because it is ripe for the taking. The Miami Herald reported that the players do see a huge difference. Adewale Ojomo loves “the discipline and organization. What we were doing before was not good enough.”
It finally seams that "leadership" is stemming from the top down for the University, and its being said in the right tone of voice with a touch of natural swagger thrown in for good measure. So again there may not be any results on the field yet but everyone from the faculty, fans, recruits and players are paying attention.
Another and more defining question is how long will it take for this leadership to saturate with the team in order for it to manifest itself with the players on the field and their own leadership in the locker room? Don't misunderstand what I am saying; I am sure there are leaders on this team. However, watching the program over the last 4 years it always came across that the players were walking on eggshells, not allowed to unleash the type of leadership that use to ooze out on the field like we have seen in years past at Miami. Something tells me, better yet is showing me that all of that is about to change at UM. So right now Coach Golden is doing the right things, pushing the right buttons, and going after the right kids for the future of the University of Miami.
Spring is right around the corner and I will bet there will be recruits floating in daily to witness the rebirth of a championship team. People migrate to those leaders who truly care about what they do and practice what they preach. Step right up and get your ticket because in my opinion no one is showing how a team should be lead better than Coach Golden and his staff at the "__"
Oh and just in case you blinked Scott Millard a fellow BR contributor reports on 2/13 that Clearwater, Florida QB Gray Crow has officially committed to the Miami Hurricanes. The ESPU 150 watch list member, who was in town at a camp for high school juniors, made it official Sunday.
** UPDATE** The Sun Sentinel is reporting that on 2/14 that the Canes have 2 more commitments from local products. One commitment is from David Thompson a duel threat QB from Westminster Christian, and the second from Boyd Anderson Cornerback Daniel Gray. The news on Gray's commitment is not confirmed, but what is confirmed is that he was one of the best performers at the local UA combine held in Miami running a 4.37 40 yard dash.
Count them up that is 7 commits and 4 are ESPN 150 Watch list Members with more to come! LETS GO FLASH GOLDEN!
2/20 Trent Taylor a 6-3 245lbs DT from Lake Gibson HS commits to the __ keepin it rolling!
3/2011 UPDATE***Jontavious Carter has also committed to the Canes this long limb WR is built in the Hankerson mold, and if he can show the same work ethic earlier in his career than Hank did great things are to come.