If it were easy anyone could do it.
In today’s college football it’s not easy to draw in new blood into your program. In fact, if you think it’s easy just look at the Miami Hurricanes for the last six years. The Hurricanes during their 2008 recruiting class landed one of the best we’ve seen in decades, right before the beginning of the “Golden Era.” With Jacory Harris, Aldarius Johnson, Marcus Forston and Sean Spence, we got to see a number of local talent stay at home to help bring the prestige of the program back. Nevertheless, for as much as we expected out of that class and because they were many high school All-Americans in the class, they never lived up to the hype.
They say to whom much is given, much is required.
This year for the Miami Hurricanes, they’ve been given quite a bit. Not only did Miami manage to finish the year strong with awesome play from the cornerstones of their team such as Brad Kaaya, Joe Yearby, and David Njoku, they also came back with a coach in Mark Richt who knows how to consistently win.
Richt already has done something in the last two months that Al Golden couldn’t do during his tenure in Coral Gables. Richt has fans excited to watch this team play for their spring practices (March 14-April 14) and subsequently their spring game (April 16). Watching the way that this Hurricanes team played last season after the Clemson game was the wake-up call fans wanted to see the entire season. Miami managed to end the year strong as they finished with an 8-5 record. Next year, it’s all about finding out a way to get them to 10 wins and potentially an ACC Championship berth.
With the recruiting class Miami brought in, it shouldn’t be long before Richt starts plugging in the holes that could take Miami to a double-digit win season.
Doubt If You’d Like
What’s baffling is the fact that so many people are already doubting this recruiting class.
On paper, most of the new blood won’t make you get too excited. The national recruiting services gave a huge diss to this class. 247 Sports ranked them at No. 21. Rivals ranked them at No. 24. Even Scout ranked them at No. 37. However, regardless of the different opinions, nothing is set in stone. Even more important, what we’ve learned from past classes is it’s not about the hype coming into the year, it’s about the production that occurs when the year is done.
One of the biggest reasons why fans were upset during the time Golden in Miami was the fact that it seemed like his players didn’t get better under his time. For years we’ve seen defensive players routinely blow big coverages down the field, linebackers couldn’t tackle properly, and the defensive and the offensive line couldn’t control the line of scrimmage.
Under Richt, a lack of getting the best out of the talent will not be a problem.
The Pride Factor
Furthermore, what no one isn’t talking about is the type of pride that this class has. That pride is what will fuel most of these players to reach the next level in their game.
“There’s something in the ‘U.’ I don’t know what it is. When you have a place like this, that has such a rich tradition, such a crazy legacy, it’s something you can’t resist.”
– Patrick Bethel
Bethel is the son of Randy Bethel who was a former Hurricanes tight end and he’s not the only one with family ties to the school.
In particular, Michael Irvin II headlines the class in popularity since his father, Michael Irvin was a game-changing wide receiver for the program. Irvin went on to play in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys where he became a multiple time Super Bowl champion and now works for the NFL as a television studio analyst. Having that type of shadow cast on his son, and finding a way to get out of that shadow has fueled Irvin II and now he’ll be able to set himself apart in the Miami record books for himself while creating new history.
We’re just hoping that with the history that he creates his teammates and coaches can help him accomplish greatness and lead Miami into a new era of success.
D’Joumbarey A. Moreau covers sports in Miami-Dade & Broward County. You can follow him on Twitter @DJoumbarey.