South Florida Recruiting - An Outsider's Thoughts (long)

ghost2

Retired staff
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2011
Messages
5,875
Let me preface this post by first saying I no longer live in South Florida, I'm not tied in to the University or recruiting in any way other than as a fan who follows, so my opinion may be worth no more than a cold bag of dog crap. That said, I'ma give my opinion anyway based only on what I've gathered/read/opined on over the last 10+ recruiting cycles. Feel free to ignore or downvote this thread as you see fit.




Amid all the speculation about what it will take for Miami to truly be "back" again, the one constant theme has always been: "We have to keep the local studs home." And every year it seems that there is some kind of...drama isn't even the right word...MELODRAMA is better... with not just the elite athletes, but nearly every player, coach, parent, handler, posse, crew, distant relative, etc. in the Tri-County region. This is not to say we don't get our share, but for every Mark Walton there's a Brandon Powell or Alex Collins, for every Ahmmon Richards there's a Jerry Jeudy or Trevon Grimes.

I won't sit here and pretend that the issues with our ability to recruit our home base effectively aren't tied in some way to on-field performance. It's certainly no coincidence that a mediocre ACC Coastal team is going to have a difficult time recruiting. And yet I believe the issues with Miami's South Florida recruiting go deeper than just "win and they'll come," and I'd like to address at least some of the larger elephants in the room.

1) There is a deeply ingrained culture of entitlement within the South Florida athletic community. All athletes - ****, most young people in general - have a certain degree of entitlement. Yet it seems it's worse with South Florida athletes. Why? Part of it I believe is that these kids are SURROUNDED by entitlement from the time they show any type of talent at the Pop Warner level - parents, coaches, "handlers", friends are all looking for their cut, and so these kids grow up knowing nothing else. As such, to many in the South Florida community, an offer from the hometown Hurricanes is simply a given, not a privilege. Coaches expect UM to offer every one of their players sight-unseen, and if they don't, well then they'll take their talents elsewhere. Offer too early and it's a "placeholder" offer giving them free license to look elsewhere (Billy Gibson.) Offer too late and we're not showing enough "love" (Skai Moore.) Offer the kid but not his cousin/brother/sister? Forget it. Certainly there are mitigating circumstances for each athlete - Moore should have been offered much earlier, for example - and no coach is perfect, but it seems more and more like South Florida athletes and their "networks" are just looking for reasons to crap on the hometown team, which leads me to my next point...

2) It's cool to disrespect the University of Miami. I live in Northeast Alabama now, and you can bet your a$$ that to kids down here, an Alabama offer is a freakin' Golden Ticket (in more ways than one for some, I'm sure...) For teams like Bama, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, Georgia, USC, Va. Tech, even Pitt or Penn State, the hometown team usually rules the roost. Not so in South Florida. Some of that is again because Miami hasn't been good in over decade, but that doesn't fully explain kids rushing to play for Tennessee or South Carolina or Oregon when they could stay home. What I've seen from this area that goes along with that sense of entitlement is the idea that it's somehow cool to "play" the University of Miami. Like, "yeah I got that UM offer - even told the coaches I'm coming - but wasn't it hilarious when I threw their hat on the ground and picked Florida on national television? Did y'all see that? What a hoot." And sometimes it's done with the full support of coaches/parents/handlers.

3) "Resources." $$$. Bagmen. Whatever you want to call it. Am I jaded enough to think every recruit we lose is bought and paid for? Of course not (see my first two points.) Do I think every team with championship aspirations has an under-the-table program for recruiting? **** yes. And the grim reality is, the University of Miami can't afford to play that game on the same level as other schools. We can't afford it from a money perspective, and we can't afford it from a personnel perspective either. For one, Miami for whatever BS reasons will always be an easy sacrifice for the NCAA and its SEC-fronting cronies. For another, because of Points #1 and #2 above, we don't have the kind of booster/coach/bagman "loyalty" that other programs have. There are people out there that would literally fall on an actual sword if Nick Saban asked them to. I've met some of them at Wal-Mart. We don't have that here.

4) We've been a bad-to-mediocre football team since 2002. I've touched on this in my other points, but the fact remains that "the U" hasn't been "back" for 15 years, and hasn't even been good for a decade. Bad coaching, bad recruiting, bad facilities, bad culture all lead to a bad on-field product and recruits not only know it, they've grown up with it since grade school.


We've seen these phenomena played out over and over again through four different coaching staffs - Coker, Shannon, Golden, and now Richt. One could even argue that Butch Davis had similar issues - his genius has always been as a brilliant evaluator of the deep talent pool, not necessarily as a high-profile star recruiter... Regardless, the issue of local recruiting has been a thorn in every coach's side since the recruiting game has turned into the national circus it is now. So what, if anything, can be done? I don't have the answers, but here are my thoughts on how best to stem the tide:

1) Win. Winning games won't cure the culture, it won't make kids less entitled, it won't stop the money from flowing. What it will do is lend UM and its coaching staff at least a little credibility in its recruiting pitches and maybe make those high-profile recruits think twice about staying home before they rush off to who-knows-where. Miami HAS to start winning the ACC on a regular basis in order to even be in the conversation for many of these kids - Tennessee can afford to lose 4-5 games every year and still draw recruits, Miami cannot.

2) Invest in every aspect of the South Florida athletic community. From Pop Warner on up, Miami has to start building relationships - not just with high school coaches, but with kids, parents, handlers, and crew alike. I don't like it - nobody likes it - but keeping kids home means we have to start dealing head-on with some of the more unpleasant aspects of South Florida athletics. Host football camps for nine-year olds, hold "coaching clinics" for local coaches, handlers, and "crew members." Have a potluck for parents. Anything and everything. It should be noted that Richt and Company are already starting to do these things.

3) On the flip side, be willing to draw a line in the sand once those relationships are built. Try to mitigate the games and nonsense - you won't eliminate them, but be savvy enough to know how and when to drop a recruit, and what the long-term effects may be. Be invested in the TOTAL recruit - not just their 40 time or even their GPA but their family, their support system, their upbringing, their mental and emotional makeup, and do it early enough to minimize those "signing day surprises." There are ways to play the game without sacrificing principle - find them.

4) Continue to upgrade facilities and support staff. Facilities are self-explanatory. As much as we scoff at "power moves" like Baez and Cooley, they're a step in the right direction. Finding room for guys who are "plugged in" and can help build those relationships EARLY is always a good thing. And that doesn't necessarily mean hiring high school COACHES - as we've seen, that doesn't always hold the same weight as it would in say Georgia or Texas.


There's no easy path to keeping the best recruits home. I'm not even saying that any of my ideas will actually work (other than maybe, y'know, winning games...) And there will always be kids that get away for a myriad of reasons. You really can't win them all - but we have to start winning more than we lose in order to seriously compete for titles.

Just my .02.
 
Last edited:
Advertisement
Nice post, but don't overthink or make it too complicated. We WIN they will come. Kids want to play for titles win and go to NFL.
 
we always had non-florida kids too. even in 2001, reed, daryl jones, doresy, dj williams, reggie wayne, then helped lay the groundwork.
 
Nice post, but don't overthink or make it too complicated. We WIN they will come. Kids want to play for titles win and go to NFL.

Is that it though? Just that? I agree that winning is the single biggest thing we can do to improve our recruiting both locally and nationally, but I don't think it's the only problem we face.
 
Advertisement
Slow playing and dropping kids who are friends don't bode well either

Agreed, but just to play devil's advocate what if we knew they were going to drop us on NSD? What if they lied to the coaches about an injury or grades? The problem with the "slow-playing" thing is that we only EVER get the kid's/coach's/handler's side of what happened. That's the big risk with "slow-playing" or dropping a kid. Down here in Bama country if a recruit is dropped or pushed out or slow-played or ****, shot in the face, it's because "Nick Knows Best." The HS coaches and local community bend over and take it without a sound. Not here - not even when we were winning.
 
Nice post, but don't overthink or make it too complicated. We WIN they will come. Kids want to play for titles win and go to NFL.

This is the basic lazy argument. Winning will not cure all recruiting woes. Tennessee and South Carolina until recently recruited well with being just as bad or worse then us for a longer period of time. Alabama pulled in the number 3 recruiting class after winning only 7 games and being a mediocre to bad program before that. Michigan was pulling top 5 recruiting classes without having much success previous to harbough. Ole miss out recruiting bama for many key recruits without having any success since eli. That logic of winning cures all is no longer relevant. You pay for play and hope the big wigs in the NCAA keep off your back or has vested interest in your team and/or conference. There is way too much out of state money coming through south Florida to deliver the goods. That's why kids somehow look miserable despite committing to some of these schools and some commit to schools they have limited contact with (Lewis to FSU despite no OV). The coaches handlers, and even parents are playing a hand based off personal interests.
 
Last edited:
I think it boils down to this: South Florida athletes are basically professionals at the Pop Warner level. There is already free agency, high expectations, gambling and intense pressure. That carries on through high school.

There is a positive and negative to this. As college coaches will tell you, South Florida kids are the most hardened and tough competitors. They play early in college and in the NFL because they aren't blinded by the pressure or the talent. The negative is that South Florida kids make business decisions in choosing a college. That includes taking money, but it's deeper than that.

You need to win and you need to have a proven system. Why do you think UF is killing us in DB recruiting? They've proven that they can take talented defensive backs, utilize their talents and turn them into first round picks. We, on the other hand, wasted an NFL defensive backfield in 2013. Similarly, if you're the best WR in South Florida, there is pretty clear and established path to success at Alabama.

It takes time for Miami to re-establish its reputation. Once we make it clear that Miami is the best business decision, we will get the majority of elite South Florida kids.
 
Advertisement
I think it boils down to this: South Florida athletes are basically professionals at the Pop Warner level. There is already free agency, high expectations, gambling and intense pressure. That carries on through high school.

There is a positive and negative to this. As college coaches will tell you, South Florida kids are the most hardened and tough competitors. They play early in college and in the NFL because they aren't blinded by the pressure or the talent. The negative is that South Florida kids make business decisions in choosing a college. That includes taking money, but it's deeper than that.

You need to win and you need to have a proven system. Why do you think UF is killing us in DB recruiting? They've proven that they can take talented defensive backs, utilize their talents and turn them into first round picks. We, on the other hand, wasted an NFL defensive backfield in 2013. Similarly, if you're the best WR in South Florida, there is pretty clear and established path to success at Alabama.

It takes time for Miami to re-establish its reputation. Once we make it clear that Miami is the best business decision, we will get the majority of elite South Florida kids.

Mark Richt said "nobody fears miami" my friends played at um in early 2000s. they use to tell kids on recruiting trips (just like guys in 80s did) sign with us or where gonna beat you down on field.
 
Slow playing and dropping kids who are friends don't bode well either

Agreed, but just to play devil's advocate what if we knew they were going to drop us on NSD? What if they lied to the coaches about an injury or grades? The problem with the "slow-playing" thing is that we only EVER get the kid's/coach's/handler's side of what happened. That's the big risk with "slow-playing" or dropping a kid. Down here in Bama country if a recruit is dropped or pushed out or slow-played or ****, shot in the face, it's because "Nick Knows Best." The HS coaches and local community bend over and take it without a sound. Not here - not even when we were winning.

well obviously saban does know best. Look at what he's done at Bama compared to what Richt accomplished at UGA. Funnily enough before Richt was hired at UM I remember people saying he was really nothing and that UGA was garbage. Especially around the time Sony Michel signed with them.

After the golden fiasco, and for a solid couple of seasons of fans blaming recruits, players on the team, players parents, etc... only to finally realize what I had been saying all along it was the coaches that sucked and that most of this comes down to ****** head coaching, ****bag recruiters, etc..

I think Richt is overhyped and the coaches on staff right now need to either be reassessed or something.
 
wow!! i said the same thing bro. being from miami yet i m living in virginia i remember when we had florida on lock, my son played for pop warner and miami was very in to the kids at an early age. but i think because of all the great teams we had allowed the little things to get a way from us. winning is only half the problem these kids dont know what loyalty is its something that have to be breeded into you and with 15 years of hearing their parents degrade the hurricanes will sit in the heart of these now young men. luke tried to gift wrap devontae freeman where the staff never gave a scholarship until it was to late, fsu star now nfl star you have to listen to people who have been watching these kids since they were six. thats the part where imo we lost this battle thats reflecting now.
 
I'll add one more to solutions: Forget about the **** fence(especially fans). Its hard to sell ice to an Eskimo. Go sell the city of Miami nationally. Once Miami (the city as much as the school) becomes a destination for national recruits, then that will carry more weight with the local guys as well. There is a reason why some many nfl guys from across the country live down here. We ****ed on Golden about his New Jersey pipeline, but he had the right idea and was a pretty good recruiter if nothing else.
 
Advertisement
Nice post, but don't overthink or make it too complicated. We WIN they will come. Kids want to play for titles win and go to NFL.

Is that it though? Just that? I agree that winning is the single biggest thing we can do to improve our recruiting both locally and nationally, but I don't think it's the only problem we face.

winning, yes we lost the four in october, but **** season still feels better than anytime in a loong time. We 3 of 4 could have easily gone our way. Our last 5 wins were never in doubt. Other thing, look at the league, Richt guys are producing there in a big way! Don't understand the issue with south florida kids. crazy.
 
I think it boils down to this: South Florida athletes are basically professionals at the Pop Warner level. There is already free agency, high expectations, gambling and intense pressure. That carries on through high school.

There is a positive and negative to this. As college coaches will tell you, South Florida kids are the most hardened and tough competitors. They play early in college and in the NFL because they aren't blinded by the pressure or the talent. The negative is that South Florida kids make business decisions in choosing a college. That includes taking money, but it's deeper than that.

You need to win and you need to have a proven system. Why do you think UF is killing us in DB recruiting? They've proven that they can take talented defensive backs, utilize their talents and turn them into first round picks. We, on the other hand, wasted an NFL defensive backfield in 2013. Similarly, if you're the best WR in South Florida, there is pretty clear and established path to success at Alabama.

It takes time for Miami to re-establish its reputation. Once we make it clear that Miami is the best business decision, we will get the majority of elite South Florida kids.

I hear this, but don't understand it. Like i said in another post. Mark Richt guys are all over the NFL, I think Georgia has the most All-pros this year and is consistently up there.
 
It is as simple as winning and creating NFL 1st rounders. Nobody is going to ignore the fact that their homeboys or former teammates from high school chose Miami and now they riding up in that bentley coupe. We had the formula and we have to get back to being NFL U.. hopefully Richt can get us there. Let's pray that Njoku can slide into the first round.
 
Advertisement
Skaii Moore? Worst example you could possibly pick. Kid all bug begged for an offer, didn't get an offer till 12th hour. That is an example of shiddy recruiting.
 
It is as simple as winning and creating NFL 1st rounders. Nobody is going to ignore the fact that their homeboys or former teammates from high school chose Miami and now they riding up in that bentley coupe. We had the formula and we have to get back to being NFL U.. hopefully Richt can get us there. Let's pray that Njoku can slide into the first round.

one don't have to be blind to see what this team could become with those guys on the roster. We have 4-6 guys that's going to get paid this year, in year one of Richt.
 
I think it boils down to this: South Florida athletes are basically professionals at the Pop Warner level. There is already free agency, high expectations, gambling and intense pressure. That carries on through high school.

There is a positive and negative to this. As college coaches will tell you, South Florida kids are the most hardened and tough competitors. They play early in college and in the NFL because they aren't blinded by the pressure or the talent. The negative is that South Florida kids make business decisions in choosing a college. That includes taking money, but it's deeper than that.

You need to win and you need to have a proven system. Why do you think UF is killing us in DB recruiting? They've proven that they can take talented defensive backs, utilize their talents and turn them into first round picks. We, on the other hand, wasted an NFL defensive backfield in 2013. Similarly, if you're the best WR in South Florida, there is pretty clear and established path to success at Alabama.

It takes time for Miami to re-establish its reputation. Once we make it clear that Miami is the best business decision, we will get the majority of elite South Florida kids.
The issue with this is that we should already see some bump in defensive back recruiting based on what our defense showed this year. 2013 was 2013. A different staff and, to some of these kids, a different time period altogether. I concede we're picking up, to name only a few, guys like DJ Johnson, Garvin, Steed (who I think would come here anyway?), I expect Dean and I think Deejay Dallas is a CB (as we've discussed), but we've missed on some Safeties who could have really helped. And, it doesn't make a ton of sense to me given the momentum and evidence behind where our defense is going.

Now, if what you're saying is it needs more time to crystalize in the minds of some of these prospects, I guess we'll wait and see. Problem is Manny Diaz may or may not be around by then. Then we have a different problem.

I'll remain concerned that we seem to have to work 4x as hard on virtually everything. Tough to win that way in today's competitive environment.
 
Advertisement
Back
Top