The latest comes from Athlon Sports, who recently wrote a rather glowing piece on Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden, the state of the program and what Golden walked into – especially on the recruiting front in the wake of last year’s booster-related bomb.
Some article highlights for those who don’t want to make the time to read:
- Golden says that his coaching counterparts “absolutely crushed” Miami with attacks that “entered the realm of vicious” – many schools warning of a potential ‘death threat’, which was an early rumor that the NCAA has all but squashed out. (NCAA president Mark Emmert has oft stated that the ‘death penalty’ isn’t off the table for programs in trouble, but that it would take a lot for that to ever happen again. He’s also been quoted as saying UM has been a prime example of how a university should cooperate with an investigation.)
- Golden countered the negative recruiting and low blows by getting even in regards to a top ten recruiting class; one that included six players from ESPN’s Top 150.
- Golden let the program’s detractors know that this is the time “to get your licks in now”.
“What has everybody else worried is that we did this despite everything that was being used against us,” Golden said. “Basically we told everybody, ‘Here’s the tee and here’s the ball,’ and we still were able to get a top-10 recruiting class.”
- The article again pointed out that recruiting guru Tom Lemming has referred to Golden as “one of the top four or five recruiters in the country”.
Regarding the strong close down the stretch, Lemming said, “There aren’t many guys that can pull that off. Golden is a younger version of Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as a coach and a recruiter. Like Saban and Meyer, Golden never stops working. He has an uncanny knack for knowing what kids are looking for, which requires a lot of time and effort. That, combined with a work ethic that is second to none and a great personality, makes Golden unique. There’s only a few of them like him.”
- Golden talked about the type of kids he and his staff have been recruited; kids that knew that the current Miami folk weren’t responsible for the current mess, but that they were responsible enough to clean things up properly.
That message resonated with recruits – especially kids who verballed early and kept their commitments. Not only did Golden keep the early-on-board commitments, but he closed strong – something fans never felt Larry Coker or Randy Shannon did at Miami. The signing of five-star, top-rated cornerback Tracy Howard was monumental. Especially considering he’d seemingly been Florida-bound for so long.
- Recruiting coordinator and tight ends coach Brendan Carroll said that running back Randy ‘Duke’ Johnson and safety Deon Bush were the ‘turning point’ regarding this recent recruiting haul.
“Those were really two guys that were turning points for us — Duke Johnson, who was such a rock, and Deon Bush – they were the story. They got some other guys to say, ‘Let’s do it right here.’”
- Of the thirty-three signees, nine enrolled in January, which technically count towards the 2011 scholarship limit.
- Over half the class itself hails from South Florida, which was all Golden as he worked to mend fences with local coaches who felt shunned by recent Miami head coaches. Golden assigned his entire nine-man staff to recruit locally, stating to his counterparts that “interaction, trust and communication with the local coaches has got to be elite. It can’t be good.”
- Golden stated, in regards to recruiting, that “we’re going to be tough to beat down here – and we should be”.
- In regards to the 2013 class, Golden already has eight commitments, including four ranked in the ESPN Top 150 — Kevin Olsen (QB), Travis Johnson (WR), Keith Bryant (DT) and Standish Dobard (TE) as well as Ray Lewis III, son of the NFL great and Hurricanes legend.