Reid redshirted as a freshman in 2009 while Williams, Nelson and Davis were inked in the eleventh-ranked class of 2010. None of the four have suited up for the Canes, though all might’ve seen action this year as both cornerback and linebacker lack depth.
Reid and Williams went virtually unnoticed during their time at Miami, while Nelson was most known for some colorful comments regarding his hometown Gators as both he and Davis were products of Gainesville High who wound up in South Florida. A lot of big talk that sadly won’t get a chance to be backed up.
While you hate to see kids leaving the program, in this case one must take a step back and realize that things happen for a reason. In this case, you assume that players and the new coaching staff weren’t seeing eye-to-eye and instead of wasting anybody’s time, Al Golden delivered the message that these four might want to find somewhere else to wrap up their collegiate careers.
Chemistry is everything when a new coaching staff takes over, it’s looking to flush out guys who don’t get “it”, bad seeds or players who simply don’t fit. Fans will probably never know why Golden and staff felt the need to sever ties with these four Canes, but if you buy into the new coach’s “core values” and blueprint, you trust that the right decision was made and move forward.
In simplest terms, guys need to buy in and those who aren’t on board need to get out.
Reid, Williams, Nelson and Davis were signed by former Miami coach Randy Shannon and while most former ‘Shannonites’ bought into the new regime — including a handful of Northwestern Bulls and other seniors from the top-ranked class of 2008 — there was eventually going to be some fallout regarding those who weren’t Golden material.
No way the Canes went into fall with this roster completely in tact. With a brand new staff, there was bound to be some collateral damage.
A fan and columnist of “the best 10-4 team in college football history” has chimed in on UM’s 2010 recruiting class and these recent departures and is patting himself on the back for his prediction that this entire bunch is a failure.
A bit presumptuous considering 21 of 30 kids remain and have three to four years of eligibility left to prove themselves. Then again, what can you really expect from a biased Seminole who chose to describe five-star talent and last year’s top recruit – Seantrel Henderson – as nothing more than “suspended, talented, possible transfer”.
One would assume had No. 77 chosen garnet and gold over orange and green last year, folks in Tallahassee would be working on erecting a statue in the big man’s honor – or at minimum a tribute page, like they’ve done for their opinionated columnist. Being that Henderson is a Cane, the lone adjective mustered up was “talented”, even though he’s drawn comparisons to NFL veteran and former UM left tackle Bryant McKinnie. Classic FSU spin job.
While there are some glaring weaknesses regarding Miami’s 2010 class, it’s too soon to deem the entire group a complete and utter failure.
One thing not up for debate, though; the fact that the Canes will be better under Golden than they were under Shannon. Even the biased folk in the Florida Panhandle can’t argue with that and as far as Miami football is concerned, if a lesser class last year helped seal Shannon’s fate, opening the door for a coach of Golden’s caliber, than so be it.
Miami faded down the stretch last season, losing four of its final six games. Even worse, the fact that only six verbal commitments were on board in December and no recruiting trips were set by Shannon in the month of January.
When Golden took the reigns early December, four verbals remained — one of which was Anthony Chickillo, who needed to be resold on the program and quickly bought into both Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio.
Golden and staff dove in, set up over forty visits for January and by Signing Day inked sixteen total Canes, swaying eight kids who had previously verballed to other programs.
While the Canes lost two linebackers (Nelson, Williams) and two defensive backs (Reid, Davis) with the recent transfers, needs were addressed in February as two corners and four linebackers were signed.
Thomas Finnie was a South Carolina commit who jumped on board with the hometown program once finally sitting down with Golden. (Shannon and staff didn’t offer the corner out of Miami Central.) Finnie stole the show this spring and should see significant playing time this fall.
Denzel Perryman was another local product (Coral Gables) who was looking at big programs like Florida, Southern Cal, Oregon, Notre Dame and Florida State, but was sold on Golden and wanted to the follow the path of fellow Cavalier and legendary Cane linebacker Jon Vilma.
Shannon lost ground in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County the past few years and didn’t land a top 25 homegrown product last season. After his late November firing, local high school coaches spoke out regarding Shannon and his staff dropping the ball and driving a wedge between their programs and the University of Miami.
Fast forward to February, the evening after Letters Of Intent were signed, Golden met with almost a hundred coaches in Miami-Dade County; a function referred to as the “Golden Greet”. The next week Palm Beach County coaches were invited south and days later Broward County coaches got their face time with Al and to date, fences continue to be mended.
Golden already has eight verbal commitment for the 2012 class; three four-stars, for the star whores out there. Two quarterbacks are on board — Gary Crow and two-sport star David Thompson, out of Westminster Christian — as well as two new quarterbacks who are transferring in; Michigan’s Tate Forcier and Memphis’ Ryan Williams.
Not only has Golden addressed arguably the weakest link position-wise since Ken Dorsey left town, he’s also building depth and promoting competition at the place once known as Quarterback U; something that all great Miami coaches before him have done.
The days of underachieving, not developing players, missing out on homegrown Miami-style kids and losing the local recruiting battle to other in-state programs is over.
With all the noise of of Tallahassee and the hardware given to players for second place in the ACC, it’s easy to forget the Seminoles were only two games better than the Canes last season. Still, even at 7-6 under Randy, Miami just sent eight players to the NFL weeks back. Florida State and Florida had seven combined.
Regarding Golden’s Owls; two draft picks – a first-rounder and early second-rounder – making for a grand total of eight Temple players sent to the NFL over a five-year span. If that’s what Golden could do in Philadelphia, no doubt he’ll find success in Coral Gables, surrounded by the nation’s most fertile recruiting grounds.
Sports Illustrated recently graded out the new coaching hires and Golden earned a “B” – with the lone ‘knock’ coming in the form of big-name Miami reeling in a smaller-name coach. That said, SI stated that “Golden has the makings of a potential star” and called the job he did at Temple “nothing short of miraculous” as the Owls were “an abomination, both on the field and off, upon his arrival”.
For those who want to wear our their arm patting themselves on the back for predicting that the 2010 class wasn’t a success, have at it. Fact remains, the guy who inked that class is long gone and the one currently in charge will not only get the most out of those who remain; he’ll also make sure a class of that caliber never happens again on his watch.
To Reid, Williams, Nelson and Davis, all the best of your future endeavors. To rivals of the Canes, enjoy the run your programs had while Shannon was in control because those days are finally in the rearview and The Golden Era is officially underway.