|Hurricanes signing day dominated by South Florida blue chippers|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 06 February 2008 15:13|
Shannon signed 33 incoming players to letters of intent Wednesday, with more than half of them coming from South Florida - the clear point of emphasis for Miami's staff during recruiting season.
And coming off a 5-7 season, Shannon - who's entering his second year as Miami's coach - probably can't afford to be wrong about this group, either.
``When I was hired, we said we had to go after South Florida heavily,'' Shannon said. ``We concentrated on the South Florida area, and we went out and we got the best student-athletes who are going to fit what we're trying to do at the University of Miami.''
The Hurricanes' class was near or at the top of the national rankings released by every major recruiting service, a clear sign that the future at Miami is probably bright.
wanted out of South Florida was going to get away. When you sew up 60 to 70 percent of the kids in South Florida, you're doing something.''
Perhaps most notably, Miami Booker T. Washington High cornerback Brandon Harris, who led his team to Florida's state Class 4A title last fall, also decided to stay close to home and signed with Miami - spurning, among others, Ohio State.
Harris was ranked among the top three available defensive backs nationwide. He was among the last remaining elite recruits who hadn't committed with a school before signing day, and there was speculation he'd get away from the Hurricanes.
``My heart said Miami,'' Harris said.
Miami didn't get every talented South Florida player. It only seemed that way.
The Hurricanes landed eight players alone from Miami Northwestern High, which went 30-0 the past two seasons, including blue chip defensive tackle Marcus Forston.
``I've been watching some of those kids since ninth grade,'' Shannon said.
Forston, quarterback Jacory Harris, linebacker Sean Spence and wide receiver Aldarius Johnson are already enrolled.
want to be at Miami.''
One by one, they signed their names, then stood and put on the distinctive 'U' caps for the camera. Offensive lineman Ben Jones, then Streeter, then offensive lineman Brandon Washington, then finally wide receiver Kendal Thompkins, as the applause grew louder.
``It's right at home and I've got my family down here. That's important,'' said Jones, who chose Miami over Clemson. ``And I've got all my former teammates now at the University of Miami, and I'd love to keep playing with them. So that's what it came down to.''
Up the road in Melbourne, Miami scored a bit of a coup when defensive back Ramon Buchanan - who committed to Miami, then said he was going to Florida - signed with the Hurricanes. Buchanan, like Streeter, was a down-to-the-wire choice, one that the Miami coaches fretted over until the end.
``This class is the core, the foundation, can be the foundation of the start of something really, really special,'' Shannon said.
It's hard to say who was happier Wednesday - Shannon or Streeter's mother.
Karen Streeter began to cry Monday night when her son revealed that he'd be signing with Miami, and wept more tears of joy Wednesday when discussing her emotions. Streeter's sister chose to attend college away from home two years ago, and the close-knit family had a difficult time dealing with that.
``We really, really miss her,'' Karen Streeter said. ``But I know God had a place for her, and she is on a full scholarship and doing really well. But if my son had an opportunity to stay at Miami, I would have really liked that. There's nothing like support and nothing like seeing your kid play at home.''