I got a lot of Miami questions this week and a few more on Nick O'Leary (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer) of course. Let's see which ones made the cut.
Why Does Miami seem to be the odd school out with the elite recruits? Every elite recruit in Florida the past two to three years only seems to be considering Florida and FSU, and never Miami. They are also losing guys in their own backyard from the "state of Miami" to Florida and FSU. What gives? It also seems like Miami is not being considered by guys like James Wilder Jr. (Tampa, Fla./Plant) because they pigeon hole them into one position during recruiting. Do what you have to do during recruiting and have him change positions once he gets to school if that's how it works out. Why are they eliminating themselves right out of the gate by limiting the guys options before they even get interested?
-- Adam Kampman, Iowa
That's a little unfair Adam. The Hurricanes still get the players they want in Miami-Dade County for the most part. As for the "state of Miami" it's not as big as it was when Howard Schnellenberger created it 30 years ago. Now the Internet exists to make the world much smaller and 75 other FBS programs point towards South Florida as a place where they can find talent. Plus, several recruits want to play early and sometimes they have to go elsewhere to do that. Teddy Bridgewater (Miami/Miami Northwestern) is an elite talent and the Hurricanes had the top-ranked class in the 2007-2008 signing period by taking all the elite recruits in Miami. But if a class is full of skilled players and defensive backs, don't expect to sign the same amount at that position the following year. The one player that I can say Miami really missed out on is 2008 LSU CB Patrick Peterson and that was more about the player than anything the Miami coaches did.
As for the second part of your question, coach Randy Shannon is pretty honest with the players he's recruiting. Maybe he's honest to a fault, but the players that choose to go to Miami understand the deal ahead of time and he won't be accused of misleading recruits -- a stigma that can become hard to overcome.
What are the chances that my Wolverines are able to get Demetrius Hart (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips)? If they are able to get a commitment from him is there a possibility that his teammate Hasean Clinton-Dix could leave Alabama and join him in Ann Arbor?
Hart visited Michigan last weekend with Clinton-Dix and from all accounts they had a great time. Hart still has visits to Auburn upcoming and Alabama lined up when the Tide play Florida, but I still believe Michigan holds a slight edge over both schools. As for Clinton-Dix, I think he's very much committed to the Tide and just taking in trips.
Nice job on your Chickillo coverage, though you stated that Chickillo's dad and Shannon were former teammates. In reality, Tony Chickillo graduated a few years before Randy arrived at UM.
-- Joe Rubino, St. Augustine, Fla.
Good call Joe and you are correct. Tony Chickillo left Miami in 1982 and Shannon arrived in 1985. Sorry for the confusion.
I see Alabama has a ton of 2012 prospects scheduled to come for the Penn State game this weekend. Are they so good that they can focus on the next class already?
-- Jim Stayridge, Mobile, Ala.
Yes they are. And right now they are doing what Texas does and trying to secure the core of in-state prospects from the Class of 2012 right now. The goal is to have 75 percent of the 2012 class filled by the end of the year, so they can focus on the four to six out-of-state elite prospects they are targeting. When a program is as successful as Alabama is it has a lot more flexibility in the recruiting class.
How much did Ole Miss' loss to Jacksonville State hurt its recruiting class?
-- Chris Traye, Pensacola, Fla.
I doubt it had much of an effect outside of shock. Most people expected Ole Miss to be in a rebuilding mode this year. Now I don't think anyone expected a loss to Jacksonville State but the campus is still one of the nicest you'll find, the facilities are still top-notch and the women are still very pretty so there's plenty of appeal to Ole Miss. And defensive recruiting targets know that there is a good chance for them to play early.
I was disgusted by Florida's offensive performance last week against Miami (Ohio). What happened to this so-called explosive downfield passing game they were supposed to install with John Brantley? And do we have some receivers coming in that can catch?
-- Carol Lappler, Ocala, Fla.
Well it's hard to throw downfield without a good exchange from the center to the quarterback, but many of those problems can be fixed. As for the receivers, I think that might be the one area that the Gators haven't had as much luck with. Deonte Thompson (2007 signee) and Carl Moore (2008 signee) are trying to be the big-play guys, but other recruits like Paul Wilson (2007 signee) and T.J. Lawrence (2008 signee) are no longer with the program and Adrian Coxson has transferred to Maryland as well. Frankie Hammond Jr. missed last week's game as part of his suspension, but he's going to return this week and Andre DeBose is just getting his first taste of action after missing last season due to injury.
Right now there's a lot of transition in the Gators offense and it's going to take a while for things to come together. Having superstar players like Percy Harvin, Tim Tebow and Aaron Hernandez can mask some of those depth issues but they are all gone now.
Thank you for partially defending Nick O'Leary. He's just a kid, and it was just a finger. Wrong? Sure, but not suspension wrong. Also, what is the lesson when adults can blatantly cheat 17-year-old kids but the kid gets punished for holding up a finger? A slight reprimand was much more appropriate. All that being said, how perfect is O'Leary for TE U?! Jeremy Shockey. Kellen Winslow. Greg Olsen. O'Leary.
-- Brett Trembly, Miami, Fla.
I think the suspension is ridiculous, but any appeals will have to be heard in front of an Alachua County judge (Gainesville is the home base of the Florida High School Athletics Association) which greatly increases the chance of a suspension being upheld.
As for O'Leary's future, I believe he's a slight Miami lean and my colleague Jamie Newberg thinks he's a slight FSU lean. O'Leary plays things extremely close to the vest so it's hard to get a read but Miami is going to be in the race.
Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at email@example.com.