Diaz delves into Signing Day additions, other offseason moves

Diaz delves into Signing Day additions, other offseason moves

Stefan Adams
In what has been a complete reversal of fortune when you look at the Hurricanes’ poor 2019 season, it seems like Miami head coach Manny Diaz has yet again won the offseason.

After locking up the vast majority of the 2020 class during the early signing period in December and adding impact grad transfers in QB D’Eriq King, DE Quincy Roche, and K Jose Borregales earlier in January, the Canes hot streak continued into the February signing day yesterday when they signed 4-star CB commit Isaiah Dunson and shockingly pulled the country’s #2 S prospect in Avantae Williams from the Florida Gators at the last minute in a stunner.

“It’s about the culture, the people - we have had step-by-step over the past month felt really good about the people we got in the organization leading to the news of Avantae Williams signing with Miami,” Diaz said. “Avantae signing with us, an amazing job by Ephraim Banda, Blake Baker, our defensive staff.

“It’s a massive exclamation point,” Diaz said of signing Williams. “This is a four-year relationship. Banda has been the point man all four years. He went all kinds of different ways - we never gave up on him. There was just a feeling that Avantae was a Cane at heart, just something about him that fit in here. We talked a lot about that when he came on his visit here. When we knew was when the proverbial fax came in. He’s such an explosive guy, a guy that can help our defense out a lot of different places on the field. That was a big, big finish to the recruiting cycle.”

On Dunson: “Great length at corner, great ball skills,” Diaz said. “We think he’ll be a great addition to our secondary.”

On King: “Rhett Lashlee did a great job when he got here of convincing D’Eriq of our vision, the playmakers he has around and the need at quarterback to have a stable guy not just on the field but off the field that can really make this thing go. Just getting to know him, the way he thinks, being able to talk to him and his recall - he can list almost every QB to come out of the State of Texas that are three years older than him, three years younger than him. We had our first off-season workout yesterday, and it was impressive watching him go."

On Roche: “He’s very disruptive - when Quincy put his name in the portal, we did have some ties, a couple of guys that worked at Temple, worked with Quincy. Quincy knew what he’d get in here from a culture standpoint - we think he’s a great benefit to our defense.”

On Borregales: “A massive addition to our football team. We know he’s very talented, we’re very excited about the fact he’s already here, enrolled and going through workouts.”

Miami also added WR Keyshawn Smith from California, a Washington State signee in December who was let out of his LOI and ended up enrolling at UM in January at the last minute.

“He was signed with Washington State. When they had a coaching change, he was released,” Diaz said of Smith. “It all happened very quickly and we’re very excited to bring Keyshawn here.”

"The number we wanted to hit at WR grew because of the amount of snaps we expect to play on offense, so we felt we had to add a guy. This came about at the right time. We made some contact, found out the U brand is very strong, and Keyshawn and his mom always sort of loved the U, followed the U. So, it was one of those things - the first day I was allowed out in January, I flew out, got in the home, talked about what we're about."

Aside from adding talent to the roster, Diaz has also made it his goal to change the culture around the program this offseason.

“Your culture is set in your weight room, how guys work, the way they attack when they come to the building,” Diaz said. “We feel those things were put in place in the last 12 months. That doesn’t mean everyone in the organization buys into that culture, and that’s one of the great lessons I’ve learned. You want desperately for everyone to believe in your culture, but the reality is it’s not for everybody. You recruit to your culture - they (recruits) see what’s going on here, what’s real, want to be part of that.”

For Diaz, part of that change in culture comes down to holding everyone involved in the program accountable for falling short of expectations, and that was reflected in swapping out OC Dan Enos for Rhett Lashlee and making the move to a spread offense.

“If you step back a little and look where things are going in college football, not a lot of people winning without it, scoring a lot of points without it,” Diaz said of the spread. “One of the great things it does is help out your offensive line play, because it tires out the defense. That’s why it’s so important for us defensively to have depth on our defensive front, why a guy like Quincy Roche is so vital to our effort.

After adding Williams today, Diaz says UM still has some flexibility in this class with one spot remaining.

“We still have one spot left. That can certainly feature the offensive line. But you’re not going to take a guy to take a guy. Those linemen are in short supply,” Diaz said. “We’ll have our ears open and eyes open to see what is available out there. We suspect our guys will play better, no doubt about that. Everyone is very excited about Garin Justice coaching that unit. We return all five, and experience is important at that position.”

The big news last week? Diaz and the Miami program hired Ed Reed to fill the Chief of Staff role at UM.

“Very excited about adding Ed. The process of getting Ed in here, about a three week process,” Diaz said. “Have to give a lot of credit to Blake James and Jenn Strawley to go get a guy like Ed, get that deal done. The Chief of Staff position was on our staff a year ago, went unfilled when Todd Stroud replaced Jess Simpson as defensive line coach. We knew actively we were wanting to replace that role as we got into 2020.”

What exactly does the Chief of Staff job entail?

“That is a job that will serve as a sounding board, advisor to me, another set of eyes, someone who can see things I can’t see at practice, workouts,” Diaz said. “And certainly in terms of whether behind the scenes, meeting rooms, can help evaluate. Just make sure we’re making the right decision in everything we do.

“Ed Reed - his football resume would stand up on its own, but for me, when you get to speak with him, his ability to get to understand team dynamics, culture, is unique, second to none. He really has a great knack of understanding where things stand in the locker room and great football teams are all connected to one another. So, his ability to understand locker room dynamics, who wouldn’t benefit from having that in their football program? And then a great mentor for our players. When recruits come on campus (he can speak with them). He checks 10 out of 10, every box.”

Following a 6-7 season, Diaz felt it was clear major changes needed to be made both on staff and on the roster.

“I’m a numbers guy, analytics,” Diaz said. “There were some things broken on our team that were rather obvious. You let the season play out, see where you need to improve your football team, identify your issues, find the solutions. … We feel we’ve addressed our issues. Now the work begins. We’ve brought in the right people, now we have to get to work.”

The Canes have also dealt internally with off the field issues - many of those problems were occurring in the QB room, something that Diaz says led to UM adding King to the mix.

“Rules that have been broken, the discipline has been there,” Diaz said. “But what you’re doing is sometimes you find repeat offenders and this isn’t the place for them. That’s all part of it. What we’re trying to do is find more guys that make less selfish decisions.

"That's part of the homework you do, find out all you can about D'Eriq - what are your habits? Our QB room over the last few years has suffered because of no player-to-player mentorship. I want D'Eriq to make our quarterbacks better - so he doesn't just improve our team in 2020, but beyond."

Ultimately, though, Diaz’s main recruiting strategy hasn’t changed since Day 1 – control South Florida.

"If we had our way, we'd never go on an airplane to recruit, but that's not always the way it works out, right?" Diaz said. "(Outside of South Florida) will always be part of what we do. We wish we could keep every player home, there's just too many of them.

"We feel really good about the players from the state that did choose Miami. We're already into the next cycle."

Diaz mentioned that spring practice would begin February 29th. On the injury report heading into spring, Diaz said that those not participating for at least part of spring are LB Tirek Austin-Cave (shoulder), S Bubba Bolden (ankle), LB Sam Brooks (shoulder), RB Don Chaney (shoulder), OL Navaughn Donaldson (knee), LB Corey Flagg (knee), LB BJ Jennings (hip), TE Brevin Jordan (foot) and WR Michael Redding (wrist).

Diaz added that all of the above players should be back for the summer.
 

Comments (42)

Fire Enos
Kept virtually entire class together
Hired Lashlee
Fired Barry
Brought in Justice
Replaced Stub with Likens
Landed #1 offensive, defensive and special team portal players, King, Roche and Borregales
Hired Ed Reed
Closed with Dunson and Smith, then shocked the recruiting world while embarrassing the Turds by stealing Tae Williams.

Am I missing anything?

Either way, it's been a hell of last 40 days.

But now it's time to start winning, or none of it matters.
 
I’ve been in the road, sapologies if I’m behind, but it sounds like no Willie Moise in this class?

Any chance we still get that grad transfer corner from, I think, FAU?
 
Here's the most telling part.


“Rules that have been broken, the discipline has been there,” Diaz said. “But what you’re doing is sometimes you find repeat offenders and this isn’t the place for them. That’s all part of it. What we’re trying to do is find more guys that make less selfish decisions.
 
Glad to hear the reasoning behind adding Washington, that we'll need additional WR depth given the new system. Shows what their mindset is about how many plays they plan to run. Also should excite our current WRs and recruits to want to participate in this offense.
 
Here's the most telling part.


“Rules that have been broken, the discipline has been there,” Diaz said. “But what you’re doing is sometimes you find repeat offenders and this isn’t the place for them. That’s all part of it. What we’re trying to do is find more guys that make less selfish decisions.
manny kept rewarding bad behavior
 
Fire Enos
Kept virtually entire class together
Hired Lashlee
Fired Barry
Brought in Justice
Replaced Stub with Likens
Landed #1 offensive, defensive and special team portal players, King, Roche and Borregales
Hired Ed Reed
Closed with Dunson and Smith, then shocked the recruiting world while embarrassing the Turds by stealing Tae Williams.

Am I missing anything?

Either way, it's been a hell of last 40 days.

But now it's time to start winning, or none of it matters.
We got really really lucky. All we have to do is win. Our luck will run out if we don't. Crazy how we have kept this up for so long and have been average or below on the field.
 
yes playing time
When they're all acting immature, what can you do? You've still got to play the game and try your best to win. That should've been Enos' job to take care of, but we know he didn't.

Manny was screwed by his own bad hiring decision. I kinda wonder if he thought Tate was going to be better than he turned out.
 
Fire Enos
Kept virtually entire class together
Hired Lashlee
Fired Barry
Brought in Justice
Replaced Stub with Likens
Landed #1 offensive, defensive and special team portal players, King, Roche and Borregales
Hired Ed Reed
Closed with Dunson and Smith, then shocked the recruiting world while embarrassing the Turds by stealing Tae Williams.

Am I missing anything?

Either way, it's been a hell of last 40 days.

But now it's time to start winning, or none of it matters.
MONEY$$

I think it is absolutely safe to say that after all of that, this season has to be DO OR DIE FOR DIAZ!!!
 
Fire Enos
Kept virtually entire class together
Hired Lashlee
Fired Barry
Brought in Justice
Replaced Stub with Likens
Landed #1 offensive, defensive and special team portal players, King, Roche and Borregales
Hired Ed Reed
Closed with Dunson and Smith, then shocked the recruiting world while embarrassing the Turds by stealing Tae Williams.

Am I missing anything?

Either way, it's been a hell of last 40 days.

But now it's time to start winning, or none of it matters.
ALL OF THIS!!!
 
so does the 1 spot left for the class include Moise? or is that not counting him?
 
We got really really lucky. All we have to do is win. Our luck will run out if we don't. Crazy how we have kept this up for so long and have been average or below on the field.
just think how the recruiting would have been had they won 3 or 4 more games, with a half decent offense and kicker that very well could have been the case
 
I’ve been in the road, sapologies if I’m behind, but it sounds like no Willie Moise in this class?

Any chance we still get that grad transfer corner from, I think, FAU?
I believe it's been reported Moise has some grade issues and even transferred to some prep school to get caught up. If I'm not mistaken, he wasn't expected until summer anyway.
 

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