Miami Hurricanes National Signing Day Recap

The Miami Hurricanes National Signing Day saw head coach Mark Richt bring in the 21st ranked recruiting class in the country, and the third in the ACC, behind perennial conference champion contenders Clemson and Florida State.

Though a small class with only 18 commitments, Richt was able to add an additional six 4-star recruits to the four early enrollees who committed under former coach Al Golden. The new commits will add much needed depth at the wide receiver and linebacker positions, and a few of those players will make an impact for the Hurricanes for a long time to come.

Legacies Carried On

When Howard Schnellenberger took over the Miami program in the early 80s, he focused heavily on recruiting the state of Florida. Then quarterback Mark Richt was one of those players and he is now carrying on the legacy he was a part of. Every Miami commitment except for tight end Javoni Haskins (New Jersey) and defensive end Tyeric Martin (Alabama) are all Florida natives.

Tight end Michael Irvin, Jr. looks to not only continue the legacy of his father, but of Miami being ‘Tight end U’ as well. The senior Irvin has expressed his support for Irvin Jr., stating Richt “is family.”

Having the support of a former greats will benefit Richt as he works to reestablish the legacy of the Hurriances program.

Filling Holes

Miami has suffered multiple injuries at the linebacker position so adding depth was an immediate demand. The season ending knee injury to sophomore Derrion Owens proved the most devastating. The lack of depth, along with all of the injuries, played a huge part in the Hurricanes struggle to stop the run. Zach McCloud, Shaquille Quarterman, and Michael Pinckney are the only linebackers in this year’s class. All three were early enrollees and will work this spring on adjusting to the 4-3 scheme of new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, after having been recruited for the 3-4 defense of Mike D’Onforio.

Coach Richt stated that it would have helped to have added few more wide receivers to his first recruiting class, stating that “the three that we signed…it’s not quite the number I would like to have. Next year’s class will be very crucial as well in that regard.”

Still, the highly talented trio of Sam Bruce, Ahmmon Richards, and Dionte Mullins will add some depth to an anemic receiver corp. Its likely all three will see action this season as the Hurricanes currently have only five wide receivers on scholarship.

Building For The Future

Brad Kaaya will be entering his junior year and is a dark horse candidate to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy. If Kaaya has a big year and decides to declare for the 2017 NFL draft, then 4-star quarterback, Jack Allison will be more than capable to take the reigns.

Allison was one of the four players who committed under Golden. If there were any doubts of Allison’s place on the team, coach Richt stated upon first coming to Miami that; “The first thing I did was I began to look at the young men who were committed, by position. The very first guy I watched was Jack. I really enjoyed watching his tape. He is a guy that has height, obviously 6-5 or 6-6 maybe…very athletic for a guy that tall…I know he’s going to work hard and do his very best to help us win.”

Immediate Impact Freshman

My choice for impact freshman is wide receiver Sam Bruce.

What Bruce lacks in height (5’8″) he makes up in speed and versatility. The St. Thomas Aquinas product produced 890 multi-purpose yards, made plays at receiver, and was a kick-off specialist, and even handled the ball at running back for the Raiders.

Bruce should see some time at receiver and his role with the Hurricanes will probably increase throughout the season. He will probably make an immediate impact in the return game and he has the potential to have a career that mirrors Miami legend Santana Moss.

Richt has high praise for Bruce, stating during his press conference, “he is a very explosive player, when it comes to changing direction, quickness, toughness. He is a very well-put together guy. He’s a very strong young man. He obviously has very good ball skills. I think a lot of people would say he’s more of a slot receiver, and I think he can obviously play there, but I think he has the ability to get on the edge a little bit as well, with his speed.”

As the smoke clears on National Signing Day, the Miami faithful should be pleased with what Richt was able to put together, as well as the players he was able to hold on to. This class of Miami’s may be small due to any one of many factors, but the current and former Miami coaching staff have taken a quality over quantity approach.

Though his name doesn’t want to be heard around Coral Gables ever again, Al Golden deserves some recognition. What Golden lacked in coaching he made up for in evaluating talent and the linebackers and quarterback who enrolled under him have given Richt additional talent to build upon as he looks to turn the Hurricanes program around.


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