Richt repairing Miami's recruiting image

Richt repairing Miami's recruiting image

Peter Ariz
One of the focal points for Mark Richt and his staff in their first full recruiting cycle at Miami has been shifting the image of the Hurricanes program in the eyes of recruits. The reputation surrounding the hometown program over the past 4-5 years had turned sour with not only with individual recruits, but high school coaches and programs as well.

The success of last weekend's Paradise Camp, paired with the new staff's relentless pursuit to not only repair, but strengthen relationships all over south Florida has led to the masses taking notice. In nearly every interview I conduct with a recruit or anybody involved with the process, they have nothing but praise for the way that Mark Richt has done business during his short time in charge.

Are these the effects of the honeymoon period? That can never be discounted. But with some early success on the field, the "hype" can be transformed into a tangible recruiting pitch of winning -- the pitch that Miami has sorely lacked in the past decade. You can criticize Richt for maybe never reaching the absolute pinnacle in Athens, but you hear nothing but respect from those who he deals with on a daily basis in the recruiting community. His coaching staff says they want to attack south Florida before going out of the area for prospects, and they are walking the walk.

To give you an idea of how Miami's image in south Florida is taking a 180-degree turn, I reached out to some local coaches to get their thoughts on the coaching staff's work over the past 6 months. Here is what they had to say.


Coconut Creek Head Coach Gerald Cox

"Paradise camp was just the beginning I think. The staff has been very welcoming to coaches and players and spend time to talk and know the kids as a person. I think adding the bubble, and putting a good product on the field this year will help. Coach Richt is a high character coach with strong faith and that to me is major."

Killian Head Coach Javi Valdes

"I think their biggest strength is using current NFL players and the success that they had producing major NFL prospects. They've used it like no other staff has. They also used their location to their advantage. What kid wouldn't want to go to a pool party in Miami during the summer time and meet NFL players?!?!

To become elite really they need to win. Fine, don't expect BCS year one, but get to the ACC championship. Like really how good are Duke and UNC? Miami should be better than those teams just by them existing."


Southridge Offensive Coordinator David Cooney

"University of Miami took major strides this summer in the process with the paradise camp, far beyond the football aspect of the weekend. How they treated the parents and coaches of the recruits and the kids not just that were current targets, but also diamonds in the rough was very impressive. Overall the weekend indeed had a feel of paradise."


Chaminade-Madonna Head Coach Jason Milgrom

"I believe the staff that Mark has put together is strong. These are guys that will be there with him as he builds the program to the level we are accustomed too. They are going to have to win games. At the end of the day with recruiting, the hype wears off. The bottom line becomes wins and losses!"

Westminster Christian assistant Kelsey Hayes

"The first thing I've noticed is that they are very personable. Just stepping foot in The U's facilities make you feel at home like your apart of the family. (This is from a FSU Fan's perspective.) Coach Richt is very informative with the parents, and actually gave a whole lot of insight on the whole recruiting game during one of the camps I attended. I love what they are doing in the surrounding communities. They are even involved with the local youth football programs, giving the youth a whole different outlook of the program. It's one thing for the kids to watch The U play on TV, but it's another when those coaches and players are at their practice interacting with them. The next step for them to take to show they are an elite level program is to just keep doing what they are doing. Keep preaching tradition & involving players of the past, and keep bringing that Swagger back. They are already gaining the interest of some homegrown "Dawgs", and will attract more of the student-athletes that want to lay it all on the field every play for that U on their helmet. I think this program is back on their path to dominance, and is being led by an awesome God fearing man that will get the best and do the most for each one of his players."


Homestead Head Coach Ahmad Ward

"I have seen Coach Richt make positive changes. The staff makes the U seem like a family for not just their players and staff but to the fans as well. Coach Dugans has made the most visible impact when it comes to coach to recruit relations. At the paradise camp, Coach Dugans was coaching up all players even those not on the U radar or high priority. That's a major plus in my book."

Columbus defensive coordinator Alex Trujillo


"1. You've heard it before, but the hiring of Coach Richt has made all the difference in the world for UM, and he has only been here for a few months. From what I'm seeing and hearing from the coaches and kids alike is people (players, recruits, fan base, etc.) are starting to believe again, not hope, but believe.

He has done a tremendous job with instilling a calm, confident demeanor with the simple message of ‘it's just a matter of time before UM is back contending again’.

We (Columbus) had great relationship with the old staff, and I still give Golden a tremendous amount of credit for how he handled certain situations. Maybe it's just me, but these coaches seem more approachable. The reality is I'm sure age is a factor. Most of the coaches at UM are young and seem to get along great with the South Florida community, which is extremely difficult. We've developed a great relationship with Coach Banda and Diaz. Coach Banda is a tremendous recruiter and just a great all-around person.

2. The buzz surrounding the Paradise camp was ridiculous. Something I've never experienced in my life in Miami. I actually felt bad for our coaches in Alabama, because our kids (Trajan) Bandy, C.J. (Henderson), and (Josh) Jobe, were depressed that they didn't get to participate in the event even though they were being taken to places like Alabama, Auburn, etc...

3. Bottom line, if they don't turn this recent recruiting success/buzz into wins then kids like Cooper, Jeudy, and Cook will continue to look elsewhere. The recruits have to trust that UM will always be in contention for not just a National championship, but the ACC Coastal/ACC championship. If I'm not wrong, Richt never had an issue with recruiting, but the knock on him, ridiculous as it may seem, was he couldn't win the big game. So, let's see how he does against FSU, ND and even some upstart programs like NC, etc..."
 

Comments (34)

Very positive article and really stresses the importance of wins and losses in how recruits perceive the program.Seems like they are receptive to the pitch but want to see the results on the field.A 10 win season would do wonders for us in recruiting top players.
 
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2. The buzz surrounding the Paradise camp was ridiculous. Something I've never experienced in my life in Miami. I actually felt bad for our coaches in Alabama, because our kids (Trajan) Bandy, C.J. (Henderson), and (Josh) Jobe, were depressed that they didn't get to participate in the event even though they were being taken to places like Alabama, Auburn, etc...

How crazy is that! Local coach felt bad b/c his players couldn't come to UM & had to slum it at Alabama & Auburn...

Richt has turned the direction of this program SO QUICKLY!!! Just need two things: 1. Wins, 2. Consistency.

Love it!
 
Well Richt does have what every other program in America wants, save a few, a potential top 5 pick at the quarterback spot. BK can't tackle, catch, and run . . . atleast we hope not . . .

Im sorry, I just think a great head coach with a potentially great quarterback along with very solid running backs should be able to compete and win ALOT of games.
 
I remember a similar article about Golden repairing the Shannon damage.

Except Richt has won 10 games or more 9 times (something Golden didn't do once) and has won 9 bowl games (something Golden didn't do once). The list goes on but no one should really have to be explaining this.
 
Best thing I've read in awhile loving this can't wait for the season to start so they can produce and shock the world showing the U is back. Gotta beat FSU
 
Well Richt does have what every other program in America wants, save a few, a potential top 5 pick at the quarterback spot. BK can't tackle, catch, and run . . . atleast we hope not . . .

Im sorry, I just think a great head coach with a potentially great quarterback along with very solid running backs should be able to compete and win ALOT of games.

Jared Goff single handedly had Cal Ina lot of games last year. I'd say we have more defense talent than Cal from 15.
If the 2015 cal defense even had a remote whiff of the defense if you look at all their ball games they likely wind up 11-1 or 12-0 last year. It's crazy that such small differences and adjustments in football can be the difference in 8 wins or 10 win season hell look at Miami last year. Cincinnati, Washington State, FSU, small minute things is the difference between an 8-5 or what should have been and 11-2 type season with a competent coaching staff.
 
Better coaching and conditioning should get us 1-2 more W's in the regular season. That's a 9-10 win season with a bowl game still yet to be played. If UM does that and pulls off an upset against **** school from up north or ND then i think we could have a special class as more big time talent will be in play.
 
I remember a similar article about Golden repairing the Shannon damage.

I was thinking the same thing as I read this article. Golden initially scammed everyone. He's a consummate salesman. The honeymoon was over once he proved he couldn't deliver on his promises. Alumni and local coaches turned on him.

I do believe Richt will deliver.
 
Great article, Pete.

What were the Columbus guys doing at Alabama and Auburn during the biggest recruiting event ever at UM? Seems unnecessary for them to be touring those redneck wastelands during such a monumental weekend.

UM is going to hang 10 wins on the wall this year, and the current momentum will turn into a tsunami.
 
Best part of the Columbus message was that he said the Juedy, Cooper, Cooks will look elsewhere. Nothing about his kids. They in the bag 😎
 

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