Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke breaks down the latest setback for the Hurricanes football program.
National Signing Day, February 4, is around the corner, yet the Miami Hurricanes' 2015 football recruiting class is nothing to get excited about. So far, the U has landed commitments from only two high-school All-Dade players from Miami, while losing dozens of others of the area's best players to schools like Alabama, Florida State, and Ohio State. These three teams made it to the new national championship playoff last season.
Then you got Charlie Strong at Texas and Randy Shannon at Florida poaching high school players from Miami too.
Once again, UM Coach Al Golden and his staff are demonstrating they can't get the job done on the field or in the recruiting battle.
For example, Florida International University beat the Hurricanes for Miami Central High wide receiver Anthony Jones, the most talented player in Miami-Dade last season. Who would have imagined the day when Miami high-school football players and their parents pick FIU over the U? Yet, the Hurricanes coaching staff recruited Jones hard, but he didn't want to wear the orange-and-green.
In fact, FIU has six commitments from All-Dade players. In addition to Jones, the Golden Panthers are getting Miami Central linebacker Fermin Silva, Miami Central cornerback Olin Cushion, Booker T. Washington quarterback Maurice Alexander, Booker T. Washington Safety Ocie Rose, and Christopher Columbus High wide receiver Austin Maloney. The Golden Panthers, who are getting four players from two schools that have won the last two state titles, are taking the Hurricanes' old blueprint to create a State of Miami squad.
The Hurricanes haven't been winning even with talented players. Ten underclassmen and seniors who declared for the NFL draft are projected to go in the first three rounds in April. Defensive end Anthony Chickillo, after a monster performance at the East-West Shrine Game, said he didn't really get to showcase his abilities in Golden's defensive scheme. Wide receiver Phillip Dorsett and linebacker Denzel Perryman wowed NFL scouts the entire week of practice for the Senior Bowl.
Quarterback Ryan Williams, who lost the starting job to freshman Brad Kaaya due to a leg injury, earned MVP honors at the Medal of Honor Bowl in early January. Golden put Williams on the bench even though doctors had cleared him to play. As a result, the Canes had to pare down the offensive playbook to minimize the inexperienced Kaaya's mistakes.
But because UM President Donna Shalala and the board of trustees don't want to make changes, the program's decline will continue. Don't be surprised if the team begins resembling the one in the '70s that was coached by Lou Saban and teetering on the brink of termination.
UM is only concerned with collecting the reported $90 million from its new contract with Adidas and gobbling up donations from former players like Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, who just gave his alma mater a record $1.6 million.
Shannon was fired after a 7-5 season and losing the last game to the University of South Florida. Kirby Hocutt, the athletic director at the time, justified the move by saying not winning an ACC championship or competing for the national title was unacceptable.
Compare the U to Ohio State, a school that was hit hard by NCAA sanctions because of Jim Tressel. The school got a proven winner with Urban Meyer, who took the Buckeyes on an undefeated season his first year, but couldn't play in a bowl because of a ban. Earlier this month, Meyer won the national title after his third year.
It's a travesty that the trustees and Shalala allow this disaster to continue without demanding that the current coach make changes in his staff or change him.
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Tune in to Luke on The Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal 940 AM.