Luther Campbell assesses latest commitments

Luther Campbell assesses latest commitments

Peter Ariz
Peter Ariz
I was able to speak with Miami Northwestern defensive coordinator Luther Campbell, who coaches two of Miami's newest commitments, Michael Smith and Ryan Mayes. Campbell had some great insight on his two players as well as discussed the state of Miami's recruiting efforts in South Florida.

Q: Do you feel like the team at Miami Northwestern took steps in the right direction during the Spring in order to improve upon last season?
Campbell: We took some great steps and strides. On my defense last year, we graduated about 11 guys and 10 of them went D-1 so the young guys who played behind them understand what it takes to be a Bull. Spring went good and I think this group of guys is going to be very successful.

Q: Talk about Mike Smith. What type of player is Miami getting in him?
Campbell: Just like Artie Burns, they’re getting a hard, hard, hard working and non-stop young man who is very respectful and does good work in school. He’s not going to cause any problems off the field and he just works hard. You don’t have to ask him to lift weights or to be at practice on time. He’s a leader out there.

Q: Not many people knew about Mike before last season, but he ended up with 18 sacks. How did he rise so quickly into that player?
Campbell: He strives to be the best. He has a motor in him and he is fueled by something other than just football. He just wants to be the best. When we played Central in the playoff game, he broke his hand and the doctors told him he couldn’t play any more, but he said that’s not going to happen and he taped it up and went back out there and recorded a couple more sacks. This will be our third year together and he was around these other older guys and he knows what the expectations are.

Q: Last season, Mike was primarily used as a pass-rusher with his hand on the ground. What role will he play for you guys this season and what do you see his future position as?
Campbell: This summer, I didn’t even let him play down. Only in the Spring game for a few plays he was playing on the ground, but I taught him the linebacker position and all the roles with it. He picked it up very, very fast and I see him as a great 3-4 guy who can put his hand down in the dirt and be a pass-rusher, as well as drop back like those natural 3-4 guys. He’s the prototype.

Q: The other kid from you defense that Miami got is Ryan Mayes. What are they getting with him?
Campbell: Ryan is a young man that came over this year. He wanted to come over last year, but he figured he stay over at Krop and give himself the opportunity to play because we had Artie going to Miami, De’Andre Coley going to Arkansas, one to Cincinatti, and one to Western Kentucky so there wasn’t going to be much playing time in the defensive backfield for him. We looked at some things with him and he wasn’t as aggressive as we wanted him to be, so that’s what we worked on with him all Spring and we got him playing Miami Northwestern football. He came in and accepted all of the information that his defensive backs coach gave him and it shows. When I was out at the camp the other day, the coaches asked me about him and I said if you look at his Krop tape, you’ll see a totally different guy from what you see now. We coach an aggressive style here and he understood that coming in and he accepted it. He’s a very talented young man who can play receiver, return man, and I think for the very first time he was able to focus on one position and I think that helped him out a lot.

Q: Do you see him as a corner or a safety in college?
Campbell: It varies with him because he’s so athletic. He would probably run a 4.3 easily and I think he can fit in at any system. He’s very versatile and he’s already 6’2” so he can get to 6’3”. He can be a safety or a big corner, it will depend on the needs of the team. Artie played both corner and safety here, but talking to the coaches at Miami now, they love him at corner because the needs of cornerback are there for them.

Q: You had a guy in Marquise Blanchard last season who nobody knew about heading into the season, but ended up leading the county in sacks with 24. Are there any guys you’re looking at now to have breakout season like that?
Campbell: Shemarke Spence is a guy that people think is undersized, but he comes from the Spence family so he’s a very high football IQ player. People look at him as a short kid at 5’10” playing strong safety, but I look at him like Rohan Marley and Honey Badger, he’s no different. He jumps out of the building and makes up for his height. He’s a very smart and intelligent kid and people look at his highlight, then his size so they de-value him because of that. We have another kid named Khalid McGee, and he’s a young guy who Mark Richt fell in love with at the Georgia camp and then FAU offered him right on the spot at their camp. Our coaches do a very good job of coaching these guys up.

Q: There was so much talk during the last recruiting cycle about this Miami coaching staff not hitting the Dade County area hard enough and you were one of the people most vocal about it. Do you see any differences in the way they’re handling this class?
Campbell: I’ve seen a big difference. They’re going out hard for kids in Miami. One thing about it is I love the University of Miami and no matter who the coach is, my whole thing is getting the best talent. It could be Jesus Christ that’s coaching and if he’s not getting the top kids then I would criticize Jesus Christ because I love Miami, which I think is God’s team. Last year having conversations with them and this year seeing what they’ve done as far as going after the Joe Yearbys of the world, going after the Mike Smiths, and all these young men from around here, I think they’re doing an excellent job. I think you could take the best 11 players from down here and go win a national championship with that. That’s just my thing. I think you should lock up the best players in Miami. You can’t take everybody, but between the best players in Miami and the best players from around the country, there’s no reason you can’t compete for a national championship. I hated to see Amari Cooper leave and go to Alabama. When I’m sitting there everyday with this kid and all he is wearing is University of Miami apparel and drop him off at his house and Miami is all over his wall, that’s hard for me so yeah I’m going to be critical. If I know Amari Cooper should be playing for the University of Miami and for some odd reason he did not end up there, yeah I’m going to have a problem and be critical. I see a lot of improvement with it though. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist because we know who the top guys are. I thought Marquise Blanchard should have been recruited there, but I understand the situation and they didn’t have as many scholarships. This year, it’s like a complete turn around. We’re going to get Miami first and then everything else. These kids nowadays look at the internet and see the top kids from Miami so when they see the top kids are going to Miami, it makes it easier for them to recruit around the country because everyone wants to play with those guys. They’re doing a very good job and the future looks good.

Comments (75)

He's got a point about Coop. Sad to hear that. But I like how he has bought back into the staff. MNW should always be a direct pipeline to the U. Next up is JOJO Robinson
Is he implying we didn't recruit Cooper hard? If he is, from everything I have read, that is not true.
If Luke is so mad about Amari going to Bama then maybe he should've called out Amari's mother in the media too.
great interview pete.. 4.3 on Mayes at that size is silly
Great writeup. I still don't understand how we lost Cooper. He should be a Cane right now.
good job Pete I like these coach interviews I dont care if they are about recruiting or just the team in general
Good work Peter ! please keep up the effort we all appreciate it !
Regardless of his delusion, he's a guy you need supporting your program (as well as Ice Harris)
thought Cooper was going to commit after a camp, went home to talk it over with his mom and nothing materialized. can any clarify?
it is known that we didn't recruit Coop until he was offered by Bama, even then we did not make him a priority
I'm not a big fan of Luther's, but it's a good thing to have him happy with Miami. So long as we can do that without giving in to goofy demands, great.
Wait didn't Amari get his offer, almost committed, mom told him to wait and them he made his own decision to go to Bama? WTF? Luke making it sound like Miami didn't recruit him. Or did I just misread it?
I've been told for a while that his mom did not tell him to wait, regardless of what he told the media.

Bottomline is that Luke is back on good terms with the staff.
is he saying all the right things right now? yes. but that son of a ***** was gonna blackmail the program if we didn't start a black quarterback over Covington. **** him. He's a self serving prick that happens to be getting on board when it's obvious that Al is putting in work.

A real fan shows support when the chips are down and it looks bleak. **** him
Good write up, I dont want to take from the whole article and turn it into an Amari thing, but I will just say revisionist history on that one. Amari had a Offer, I am sure he actually committed also, cant do nothing if they dont come.

Either way good stuff, and I wonder by aggressive if he means Mayes only playing press man, lol... Krop had him off and I think those are good skills to have, but I know Most top Dade schools only run Press man
Nice Interview. Luke has bought in and the Northwestern pipeline among many appears to be going strong. Golden is getting on those with the physical talent to excel early .His camps are a big success and if you see what is being said about these recruits is that they all have a great attitude .No primadonnas here.
I'm calling bull**** on the Amari Cooper bit.

Miami recruited the **** out of him. Mama Cooper didn't like Golden and preferred Saban's charming ways. Maybe some of the RCT guys can confirm since my memory sucks, but IIRC Luther had a direct role in getting Cooper to Alabama. Luther was also involved in Burns committing early there too.
I've been told for a while that his mom did not tell him to wait, regardless of what he told the media.

Bottomline is that Luke is back on good terms with the staff.

Great. Let's move on...

I love MNW and the U!