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Canes improve local ties

One complaint heard the past several years is that UM wasn't as aggressive recruiting South Florida (more so early in the process) as it should have been. Nobody is saying that now.

High school coaches have noticed UM has placed greater emphasis on South Florida recruiting, especially this time of year, since Randy Shannon replaced Larry Coker. Miami has been more aggressive with early offers to local players and already has nonbinding oral commitments from seven players, including five from Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach counties: Pompano Beach Ely cornerback Patrick Johnson, Boyd Anderson cornerback Joe Wylie, Palm Beach Lakes defensive tackle Jeremy Lewis, Northwestern offensive lineman Brandon Washington -- who attended Edison last season -- and Pahokee defensive tackle Micanor Regis.

''It's different than before,'' said Miami Killian High coach Steve Smith, who coached at Hialeah High last year. ``Miami is trying to get back all their homegrown talent. There's a real big emphasis on Dade.

``I would imagine they will get 75 percent of the [top prospects] in Dade. Coach Shannon has a great ability to relate to kids.''

Johnson, who is rated by rivals.com as the ninth-best player in the nation, said he is impressed that Shannon has gone to see him seven times -- more than any other coach.

''They're paying a lot of attention to Broward,'' said Johnson's coach at Ely, Greg McGirt, who is moving to Pompano Beach High. ''I've seen more of'' UM coaches since Shannon took over.

Miami Northwestern has several elite prospects, and junior quarterback Jacory Harris said, ``all our top juniors want to go to UM. It has changed since Coach Shannon became the head coach.''

Harris said Shannon offered him a scholarship and that he would ''love to go to Miami,'' but won't decide until after next season.

Pace High's DeMarcus VanDyke, part of UM's incoming class this summer, said players are responding to Shannon because he tells them ``the truth and his charisma stands out. Miami will be the best in the nation in recruiting.''

That remains to be seen. But will Shannon's presence make it harder for other schools to recruit South Florida?

''Yes and no,'' said Chuck Amato, a Florida State assistant and former North Carolina State coach, who recruits this area heavily. ``Randy is a Miami graduate, [but] they've always gotten good players from here.''

Ely's Johnson is a huge catch, but the key for UM will be luring several of the other top 2008 prospects, such as Northwestern defensive tackle Marcus Fortson and Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna linebacker Jordan Futch (both are considering UM).
Meh. We shall see...
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