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Signing Day Recap

Football program scores big down the stretch

By: Daniel Stein // Senior Sports Writer

Issue date: 7/8/08 Section: Sports
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One Wednesday, February 6th, the eyes of the nation turned to 18-year-olds making their college decisions, as high school football players around the nation signed with their chosen teams.

The Miami Hurricanes closed their recruiting class in grand fashion, adding six players to a loaded class in the final two days of the recruiting period.

"We went out and recruited a lot of great student-athletes," Head Coach Randy Shannon said. "We did not go out and look for guys who weren't passionate about the game and passionate about their teammates."

The late surge to close the class started Tuesday, when reports came in that Miami had received verbal commitments from wide receiver LaRon Byrd of Boutte, La. and linebacker Gavin Hardin of Jackson, Tenn. These players would foreshadow a whirlwind Wednesday morning.

At a press conference held at Miami Northwestern High School on Wednesday, Shannon and company received word that verbally committed players Brandon Washington and Kendall Thompkins would indeed become Canes. Then the big news came in: Both Tommy Streeter and Ben Jones, big-time Cane targets, would sign with Miami. Streeter, a receiver, and Jones, a lineman, would be the last two pieces of the offensive class.

Minutes later, word leaked that Ramon Buchanan would sign with the Hurricanes. Buchanan was a long-time Miami commitment that had flipped his verbal pledge to the Gators just a few weeks ago. However, he determined over the weekend that his heart was truly in Coral Gables. Buchanan signed with the Canes, adding to a stellar fleet of linebackers.

While all of this was transpiring, Miami was receiving faxes from its current verbal commitments. The faxes contained signed letters of intent, which are legally binding contracts which state that the player has accepted a scholarship at the school of their choice.

Just after noon, the Canes found out that they had lost out on three targets: defensive end Nick Perry, running back Jaime Harper and cornerback T.J. Bryant.

But they rebounded quickly. At 1 p.m. all Hurricane eyes turned to the press conference at which Brandon Harris, the Gatorade State Player of the Year and a top cornerback recruit, would announce his choice. As teammates Thearon Collier and Davon Johnson, both Cane commitments, signed their letters, anticipation built for Harris' decision. After several minutes Harris pulled a Miami helmet from underthe table, making his college decision known to the wo rld and giving the Canes the exclamation point on their day.

The activities of the day brought the Canes up to 33 players in their class. And the coaches expect each one of them to make an impact upon the program.

"This year we wanted to go out and find the best 33 players we could find," said defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Clint Hurtt. "I felt like we did that."

The addition of these six players was enough to move the Canes class to the number one ranking according to ESPN recruiting experts.

Shannon and staff look at this class as the launch pad for a return to national prominence.

"This class is a foundation we're building on," Shannon said. "It's a foundation that has stability."

Dan Stein may be contacted at d.stein4@umiami.edu.
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