It is National Signing Day, the one day of the year when a nation of football fans turns its attention to the whims of thousands of fickle teenagers. University of Miami head coach Al Golden, a year after nabbing a class ranked in the top ten by multiple recruiting outlets, has assembled a smallish class that ESPN.com ranks 23rd in the nation.
So far, Miami has 16 recruits who have signed letters of intent, down from 33 commitments a year ago. Five recruits are ranked four stars (out of five) by Rivals.com (UM has no five-star recruits this year). Five appear on the ESPN 150 list of the best prospects in the nation, with seven ranked four stars by ESPN.
Because the Canes only lost two starters to graduation this year and are close to the NCAA limit of 85 scholarship players, Golden had little room to work with. The Canes wanted to go for quality over quantity, and while they missed out on some big local names, UM secured the services of a number of blue chips.
Miami lost out on a number of recruits who waited until this week to announce their decisions, including South Plantation running back Alex Collins (an Arkansas commit) and Port St. Lucie Centennial four-star defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick (who will go to FSU).
A pair of recruits from Booker T. Washington High School, linebacker Matthew Thomas and offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, turned down UM for FSU and Arkansas.
The biggest new catch for the Canes came early Wednesday morning, when Staten Island Tottenville (N.Y.) running back Augustus Edwards picked UM over Florida State. He is considered to be the top fullback in the class of 2013.
Miami also may have signed its quarterback of the future in Kevin Olsen of Wayne Hills (NJ) High School. Olsen is the younger brother of former UM tight end Greg Olsen. He is 87th on the ESPN 150, the fifth-best pocket passer on the list.
Other recruits in the ESPN include receiver Stacy Coley of Oakland Park Northeast High (47th on the ESPN 150, 4th at his position), defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad of Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco High (58th on the ESPN 150, 7th at his position), cornerback Artie Burns of Miami Northwestern High (70th on the ESPN 150, 10th at his position), and tight end Standish Dobard of New Orleans Edna Karr High (136th on the ESPN 150, 4th at his position).
Of the two late-deciders being eyed by Miami, one has decided to join the Canes, while the other will go elsewhere. Four-star linebacker from Miramar High Jermaine Grace will go to UM in the fall. He is 138th on the ESPN 150 (11th among outside linebackers). Delray Beach Atlantic four-star defensive tackle Keith Bryant said he will attend FSU.
Recruiting rankings are not necessarily a marker of future success (UM's 2008 class was considered the best in the nation at the time, but results on the field did not follow), but they do tend to correlate to winning percentage in future years. By landing his third-straight top-25 class despite a low volume of signees, Golden has cemented his status at Miami as a solid recruiter who can convince top talent to try to return the Canes to their past glory.