I recently had the chance to interview national recruiting expert JC Shurburtt about college football recruiting and the Miami Hurricanes 2012 recruiting class.
JC has over a decade of experience in covering recruiting and is recognized for his widely read and respected recruiting blog at ESPN. He also hosts a national recruiting talk show on Clear Channel Radio and currently serves as the National College Football Recruiting Director for 247 Sports.
We recommend that you follow him on Twitter for the latest recruiting updates: @jcshurburtt
In addition to looking at Miami's current recruiting class he also provided some very candid opinions about a few other national recruiting issues that impacted the 2012 recruiting cycle and will likely have an impact going forward.
Here is JC Shurburtt's analysis of college football recruiting issues:
Q. Several universities offered four year football scholarships this year in place of the traditional renewable one year scholarships. Do you see this trend expanding next year and are you in favor of it? If players can still request a transfer but coaches cannot pull a scholarship how will that impact the power and control dynamic between the players and coaches?
A: I am not in favor of it and think schools that do it are slitting their own throat from a competitive standpoint in order to gain an competitive advantage by appearing to do something noble. The bottom line is that it's wrong for coaches to take scholarships from players that are doing what they are supposed to do. The trouble is people want to stereotype this as "goes to class and stays out of trouble". Well, it's a football scholarship so there is business to take care of on that end, too. You guarantee four years, a coaching staff has no recourse when it comes to a player that just wants to coast by, eat at the training table, wear the jersey and be on the sidelines Saturdays, that doesn't want to come to any voluntary workouts, that consistently lays out of practice, that straight up doesn't try, etc. That's what some of these folks who cry about big, bad coaches ruthlessly cutting players. I am not saying some coaches haven't done that, but far more often it's the student athlete not living up to his end of the bargain and the coach taking the high road instead publicly embarrassing the kid and his family when a stink is raised. That, of course, and Big Ten fans screaming about coaches in the South "oversigning" and acting like it's an epidemic and they care so much about the student athlete. In reality, they perceive it to be a competitive advantage and could care less about the kids. It's all about their program being at a disadvantage.
Q. It would appear to the casual college football fan that the SEC continues to dominate in recruiting year after year and the other conferences are trying to play catch-up. FSU and Miami did well (top 10 classes) for the ACC but how do you see the conferences stacking up recruiting wise in 2012 and going forward. Do you sense any shift in status of the conferences or balance of power being restored?
A: I think that the Pac-12 really has a shot to make a move with the new coaches at the various programs and for the simple fact that there are more football players that come out of California than any other state and that's the state most of the Pac-12 programs recruit from. Arizona is an emerging area for talent and Washington has always been solid. In the ACC, the key is for the conference to have more than one consistently strong program. Miami (Fla.) and Florida State need to get back to being the Canes and Noles and Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia, N.C. State and Georgia Tech need to reach their full potential consistently with Virginia Tech remaining strong. I also think that Pitt and Syracuse are coming into the league with a lot of history and tradition (Dan Marino, Tony Dorsett, Jim Brown, Donovan McNabb) so there's potential there too.
Q. Let’s talk about the Atlantic Coast Conference. As I mentioned FSU and Miami both had excellent recruiting classes in 2012. How would you rank the ACC recruiting classes from top to bottom (1-12) for this year? Which teams did the best job filling their needs?
1- Florida State
5- Virginia Tech
6- North Carolina
8- N.C. State
9- Georgia Tech
11- Wake Forest
12- Boston College
I think Virginia Tech and Miami from strictly a filling needs standpoint did the best job. The Hokies needed running backs and signed three good ones. The Canes did a great job with overall numbers.
Q. Let's narrow our focus to the Miami Hurricanes. From your National recruiting perspective how did Al Golden and crew at UM do in recruiting in the face of a mediocre 6-6 2011 season and the looming NCAA sanctions? What have you heard about Golden and his assistants on the recruiting trail?
A: It was one of the best efforts of the recruiting cycle in my opinion. We all learned this cycle not to count Miami out. It didn't look like they were getting Deon Bush and Tyriq McCord. Well, they did. Tracy Howard looked bound for Florida until the last weekend of the cycle. He signed with the Canes. Nobody really defected from the class. I know a lot of programs that would have loved to have Raphael Kirby- Miami got him to enroll early. You just saw win after win down the stretch here.
Q: Which 2012 recruits at Miami do you expect to see the field as Freshmen in 2012? If you had to pick one or two players on offense and defense that are likely to be the biggest contributors this year who would they be? Which player(s) do you see as a "sleeper" in this class that could surprise Hurricane fans long-term?
A: Offense- I would have to say Duke Johnson and Angelo Jean-Louis. Both are high-level skill players and the types of guys that Miami needs to be great. I am not talking about good, I am talking about great.
Defense- Kirby and Howard- also watch out for defensive back LaDarius Gunter.