When it comes to recruiting, nobody has come up with an exact science of how some coveted “4 and 5 Star” athletes never live up to the hype.
Though there are a number of reasons you can point to, the actual reason is that many of these people who are putting those lofty ratings on players never really see these athletes play football – with full gear on – live.
Talk to any head football coach across the country that isn’t looking for a job every other year and you will find someone who is doing a lot of recruiting on their own. Butch Davis insisted that his coaches evaluate and not to listen to what others say – or judge from watching someone in shorts.
To fully understand what recruiting is all about, maybe you should follow the lead of University of Miami head coach Al Golden. If you want to know something about what it takes to get the “lofty” players, but also uncover gems – across they country – this is the man I would ask.
I happen to believe what Golden and his staff have done the past two years – under the cloud of the NCAA – is amazing. I don’t know anyone – and I mean anyone – who could have attracted the athletes that the Hurricanes have.
Ask just about anyone who has played football at the “U” and they will all explain how “void of talent” this program was when Golden arrived. This program had deteriorated to the point that the once flowing pipeline to the NFL had dried up.
Unlike most current-day Hurricanes who will talk about Randy Shannon, Larry Coker, Dennis Erickson, Butch Davis and Jimmy Johnson, I remember when selling this program was not so easy. Lou Saban, Fran Curci, Pete Elliott, Carl Selmer and the legendary Charlie Tate set the table for Howard Schnellenberger and the success that would come for over two decades.
At a time when this Hurricane program didn’t meet the expectations of the fans, for Golden and his staff to be at this point – after coming in and watching this program lay down in the Sun Bowl against Notre Dame, they have to be beaming inside.
The smiles have to be over a tremendous 2012 and 2013 class that addressed some needs, but for a 2014 group that has the entire country watching and has the attention of Florida-bred players.
Offensive game-changers such as receivers Tyre Brady (South Dade) and Darrell Langham (Santaluces); running backs Joe Yearby (Miami Central) and Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach); and big-time line prospects Trevor Darling (Central), Nick Linder (St. Thomas), K.C. McDermott (Palm Beach Central) and Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg Catholic).
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The class also has Trayon Gray from Carol City, who played quarterback and receiver, but many believe he could be a top-flight running back or safety.
The defense is loaded. With the team needing depth in so many places, acquiring quality football talent was essential.
Athletes such as linemen Anthony Moten (St. Thomas), Chad Thomas (Booker T. Washington), Travonte Valentine (Champagnat), Demetrius Jackson (Booker T. Washington) and Trent Harris (Winter Park); linebackers Michael Smith (Northwestern), Darrion Owens (Orange Park Oakleaf) and Terry McCray (Blanche Ely); and defensive secondary standouts Nigel Bethel (Booker T. Washington), Ryan Mayes (Northwestern) and Dennis Turner (Dillard).
CENTRAL HEADS UNDER ARMOUR
Three members of the Miami Central football team have been invited to take part in the 2014 Under Armour All-American Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
Running backs Dalvin Cook (Florida commit) and Yearby and lineman Darling, will join Homestead receiver Ermon Lane (Florida), St. Thomas receiver Corey Holmes (Notre Dame) and Booker T. Washington defensive end Chad Thomas (Miami).
We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Send a YouTube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to Larry Blustein at Floridakids1@aol.com .
Follow Larry on Twitter at twitter.com/larryblustein.
This story was originally published November 29, 2013 12:00 AM.