Sports

Manny Diaz's First Business as Hurricanes Head Coach Should Be to Change the Program's Stale Recruiting Pitch

Manny Diaz
Manny Diaz Courtesy of University of Miami Athletics
The University of Miami football program will start fresh in 2019 as former defensive coordinator Manny Diaz moves into the driver's seat to replace Mark Richt. Most of the coaching staff will be different. Many of the players will be new. And, we hope, the product on the field will be a hell of a lot better than last season's 7-6 debacle.

The face-lift in Coral Gables shouldn't involve only the coaching staff and players, though. It must include a complete rethinking of how the University of Miami brands itself with recruits. Because after striking out on a boatload of prospects — including five-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood this past weekend — it's obvious blue-chip prospects are no longer buying what UM is selling.

It's time for both the fan base and Manny Diaz to accept two important things: (1) Nobody cares how good the Miami Hurricanes used to be, and (2) everyone is fully aware the weather in Florida is pretty nice.
It seems like forever ago that the Hurricanes successfully staked their reputation on past accomplishments and Miami's location on the map. Seemingly endless NFL players have attested to how great it is to be a Hurricane and South Beach's zero-point-zero inches of annual snowfall.

Kids used to eat that up. That recruiting pitch used to work. It doesn't anymore. Nobody cares — at least none of the top recruits Miami is trying to attract do. They were all born after the Canes' last title season of 2001. It's embarrassing at this point for the Canes to pretend retired NFL players or a picture of the beach will be anywhere near as meaningful to a recruit as, say, not losing six games a year.

Miami has to win. The Canes must win with what they have, which should be plenty. Then the better players will come. Until then, fans should stop shitting on kids who decide to leave Dade for Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
Miami must sell the future to teenagers who have no idea about what the U did long ago, nor do they care. Young players across the country, for the most part, aren't going to be sold on the beach. They have Instagram. They'd much rather hear how the school will afford them enough snaps and chances for success that they might someday buy a house on the beach.

Nick Saban and Alabama get you paid. Dabo Swinney and Clemson get you paid. (The two will face off tonight at 8, by the way.)

At this point, Miami is an unknown, just another school that talks more than it delivers. The U will be stuck in this position until it starts convincing kids that Hard Rock Stadium is where they'll best show off their talents for future employers, not how honored they should be to wear the same uniform as Gino Torretta, a guy older than their dad.

Manny Diaz and Miami need to get real. As long as the Hurricanes keep pretending kids who listen to Lil Pump care about the Hurricanes' past, the team will continue losing. 
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.