There wasn’t quite the buzz around the Hurricanes’ No. 13 class that there has been in recent years -- unless, of course, you’re talking to coach Randy Shannon. Miami finally has some staff stability, save for the departure of former defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt. It's finally reached the point where the numbers and depth have improved, making it easier to target a wider variety of positions.
“I think most of the players you see across the country, they’re starting to see what Miami is about,” Shannon said. “Instead of this coach or that coach they’re going for the program. That’s the one thing I see from the young men that’s part of this university. They see the program. They see where we’ve been and where we’re going. They see the improvement every year, the family-type atmosphere with the players. Coming on a visit is not just lip service. They see the opportunity and that every year I’ve been here freshmen in some form or fashion play.”
What they don’t have? A lot of ESPNU 150 players. The Canes added three -- the fewest they've seen under Shannon -- and missed out on several top uncommitted players who went elsewhere on signing day. But that doesn’t mean this class isn’t loaded with future talent and speed, and most importantly, the Canes met several position needs.
“Our needs are getting our numbers right,” Shannon said. “On the offensive line, we had a depth situation that was going to be tough, and now we have a couple of guys on the team who in the long term can help us establish where we need to be instead of a quick fix. The more depth you have on your football team, the better your football team will be.
“It’s not like in my second year, where you have to go out and get eight receivers,” Shannon said. “Now we’re almost at the point where we can say we need two at this position, two at that position instead of trying to recruit 25 and 30 guys. Now it’s about 15 and you know your program is going in the right direction.”
That approach has made it easier not only to recruit, but to make it through an entire season. The staff went aggressively after tight ends and linebackers. It also added depth to the running back position where Javarris James graduated, Graig Cooper is coming off a knee injury and Damien Berry will be a senior. Four-star running backs Storm Johnson and Eduardo Clements should help there. As for who might see playing time first?
“Your best shot is to look at the seven guys who came in in January,” Shannon said. “They always play for some reason.”