Final recruiting push

This past weekend, while most were attending UM baseball practices, watching the men’s basketball team at the BankUnited Center, lying out on the beach or finally opening their text books that they spent a hefty amount of money on, the University of Miami football coaches were making their final recruiting push.

Wednesday is National Signing day. High-profile 17-year-olds will flock to their gymnasiums in the next few days to sit at a table full of hats from various prestigious athletic programs across the country. They will then choose the hat that represents the college where they want to spend the next three or four years of their lives.

It’s imperative that Miami brings in a solid recruiting class. Of course this class will not make or break the success of the Hurricanes in the upcoming 2010 season, but it could put the finishing touches on an already solid nucleus.

The players in head coach Randy Shannon’s heralded No. 1-rated recruiting class back in 2008 will all be juniors this coming year, so youth can no longer be used as an excuse. But Shannon and his staff can fill in the missing pieces with a strong recruiting class this year.

Some recruits have already enrolled this semester and will be around for spring practice. Of note is local quarterback Stephen Morris from Monsignor Pace High School, who will indeed be able to enroll early despite the fact that he attended a private school. Morris will join freshman A.J. Highsmith as one of two scholarship quarterbacks taking part in spring practice.

Sophomore Jacory Harris is out indefinitely due to his thumb surgery from earlier this year.

Heading into National Signing Day, the biggest areas of concern for the Canes are at tight end and offensive line.

The Canes lost three tight ends on the 2009 roster due to graduation. Miami has recruited junior college transfer and Texas native Chase Ford as its tight end of choice for next year. The 6-foot-6-inch, 245-pound tight end petitioned the NCAA for a waiver to allow him to enroll early, but the waiver was denied.

Three-fifths of the Hurricanes’ offensive line graduated and leave huge holes to fill. It gave up five sacks in the Champs Sports Bowl. This past weekend offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who is the No. 2 player overall regardless of position according to, took his official visit to the U.

This was a perfect weekend to visit as a record-number 11 former Hurricanes played in the Pro Bowl, which was held in South Florida.

Henderson is 6 feet 8 inches tall, 301 pounds and from Saint Paul, Minn. He has been compared to former Cane great Bryant McKinnie and is very physical on the line. Henderson is also considering Ohio State, Notre Dame and Florida.

Miami has gotten notable stars like Broward County’s offensive lineman Brandon Linder and Loganville, Ga.’s running back Storm Johnson to sign letters of intent, but it is still missing pieces.

Still, the Hurricanes have a chance to fill the voids over the next couple of days.

Justin Antweil may be contacted at