It’s been a week of good press for the Miami Hurricanes, despite falling to Boston College less than a week ago. Late in the fourth quarter of that 24-17 turnover-fest, it was announced that head coach Al Golden received a four-year contract extension and the lone upside of no bowl game this year; the fact that players were back in the weight room on Sunday while coaches were back on the recruiting trail – and the tenacity is paying off.
Jorge Milian of the Palm Beach Post chimed in this morning with a piece that explained how the Canes have weathered the storm of Nevingate and are on par to sign a better class than anyone expected and recruiting expert Tom Lemming agreed.
“You would have thought this class was going to be a disaster after all the allegations and everything, but I have them tenth in the country,” said Lemming. “Considering everything that was going against them, Miami has done an unbelievable job.”
Scout has the Canes ranked sixth, ESPN currently has Miami at seven and Rivals has UM ninth, with two months to go.
Scandal doesn’t usually spell good news. Ohio State had top five classes three of the past four years, but in the wake of all that’s going on in Columbus, the Buckeyes aren’t even in ESPN’s Top 25. North Carolina and Penn State are also reeling on the recruiting front.
The difference? According to the recruiting analysts and supposed experts, Golden, as Miami has only lost one oral commitment since the Yahoo! Sports bomb dropped last August.
That decommit? Miami Norland linebacker Keith Brown, who is said to now be reconsidering ‘The U’ after committing to Illinois, which fired Ron Zook last week.
Milian states that recruiting gurus credit Golden’s extension as a big reason the sales pitch isn’t as difficult as it could’ve been. Analysts believed rumors of Golden replacing Joe Paterno at Penn State were more detrimental than the NCAA investigation.
“When he goes into living rooms and says he’s staying until 2020, that really impresses recruits and speaks to the stability of the program,” said Mike Farrell, analyst for Rivals.
“They see 2020 and think coach Golden is going to be there forever. That’s the important thing, the perception.”
Odds are the NCAA investigation won’t be complete by Signing Day in February, but Golden is preaching, “that the worst part is behind us and we have a chance to move on now.” What that truly means, remains unknown for the time being.
There could still be some fallout with eight-plus weeks remaining before Signing Day, but even if some potential Canes bag out, analysts still expect Miami to close strong.
The Canes have a dozen recruits set to visit this weekend, including four-star defensive tackle Dante Phillips, a Florida commit who will head south with two high school teammates, undecided offensive lineman Forrest Lamp and current Cane commit, three-star running back Danny Dillard, who hopes to flip his Gator-pledged teammate.
Whether Miami turns Phillips at this point of the process remains to be seen, but culturally you can feel a shift on the recruiting front, especially with the Canes thriving despite being in the press for all the wrong reasons prior to the season opener.
“Golden’s a great recruiter, there’s no doubt about it,” reiterated Farrell. “Under their circumstances, it takes twice the effort to recruit kids than it would normally take. If they stay in the top ten, that would be a miraculous job.”
With two months to go, that top ten could even turn into a top five should the Canes close strong.
It all starts this weekend. Let’s see who’s sold. – C.B.