CORAL GABLES—Considering where the University of Miami's football recruiting stood on Dec. 13, the day Al Golden was announced as the new head coach, Hurricanes fans should fell extremely relieved today.
The former Temple coach was able to convince exactly half of his 16-player recruiting class — at least the portion announced on National Signing Day — to flip from previous commitments to other schools.
Most programs don’t cause that much flipping in a four-year period, Golden said, much less seven weeks.
Thanks to Golden’s ability to sell the Hurricanes program, Lakeland linebacker Gionni Paul went from refusing to even meet with Miami coaches to getting a ‘Canes tattoo on Monday.
“That’s when I figured we had a pretty good shot to get him,” Golden said, nodding at his wife Kelly in the first row.
Thanks to the close relationship new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch had developed with the family of Jalen Grimble, the highly rated defensive end from Las Vegas spurned USC despite longstanding family ties.
When Golden took over, he saw one ranking that had Miami’s incoming class rated 83rd in the country. By all accounts, recruiting efforts were dead in the water after a two-week search for Randy Shannon’s replacement.
By Wednesday, Golden said, one rating service had the Hurricanes at No. 33, and it might have been even higher if they’d been able to keep Northeast High DE Bryant Dubose from flipping to Louisville.
That’s still a 50-spot swing in seven weeks, and it’s a testament to the potential of Golden and this staff to bring UM all the way back in the coming years.
The ‘Canes aren’t where they need to be yet. Golden admits as much. But he definitely won over a few more doubters with a high-energy 40-minute press conference, at which he made it quite clear he isn’t even close to taking a day off yet.
That’s good, because Dwyer quarterback Jacoby Brissett will make his announcement on Friday at halftime of his Senior Night basketball game. The talented two-sport athlete may be leaning toward the Hurricanes, and Golden made it clear — which speaking in general terms — he is “OK with it” when football players wish to engage in other varsity sports.
Grabbing Brissett at the end of the week would only make this Golden-led comeback that much more impressive.