Miami Hurricanes

Recruiting Wars

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

I am handing out grades to the following teams’ recruiting classes following the early Signing Period for the class of 2021.

Considering the challenges all coaches have to deal with while recruiting during the pandemic, there is plenty of praise and blame to go around for Miami, UCF and Florida State.

Recruiting has three periods: Early Signing, National Signing Day, and Transfer Portal. I’ll be looking at the Early Signing Period and Transfer Portal.

Grading any recruiting class is a subjective venture. I determine grades based on the balance of talent level that is brought in, alongside with how the class addresses needs on the roster.

Miami: The Hurricanes earned the signatures of 21 players during the first day of the Early Signing Period. When the dust settled, the Hurricanes had the 11th class in the nation and 2nd class in the ACC.

Miami put a big emphasis on locking down the best players from South Florida (15 of the 21 signees are from Miami-Dade and Broward County).

The keystones of this Hurricane class are five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor and safety James Williams.

Miami also flipped four-star quarterback Jake Garcia from USC. The Hurricanes still need to add a couple more offensive linemen and cornerbacks. I’m giving Miami an A-.

UCF: The Knights had 19 players sign and one transfer. The Knights rank 61st Nationally and 4th in the AAC.

UCF focused on the defensive side of the ball with 11 defensive players signing.

Anthony Hundley signed with the Knights after decommitting from LSU.  The Miami native had offers from Florida State, Michigan and Ole’ Miss.

Mikey Keene became the third quarterback to sign with the Knights since Josh Heupel took over. The Arizona native passed for 5,089 yards and 47 touchdowns during his time at Chandler High School.

Former Virginia quarterback RJ Harvey transferred to the Knights; however, he will play at running back.

UCF is a program unlike the others in this article, their recruiting budget is 1/10th that of the other schools. The Knights will add a few more pieces in February and use the Transfer Portal to fill out their class, but the grade for the Knights is C+.

Florida State: The Seminole fans hoping that the football program was going to take a dramatic, positive turn in the first year under new head coach Mike Norvell were in for a rude reality check.

The prized newcomer for the Seminoles won’t be a freshman, but rather, former UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. If Milton is healthy, this is a talented game changer for Florida State.

This is the first class in modern day FSU history that has not included a five-star player.

In addition, the Seminoles only have one player ranked inside the top 250.

Norvell is very clearly trying to revamp the FSU defense with 10 of their 16 commits on that side of the ball.

Hunter Washington is the Seminole’s highest ranked recruit, and he is a bit undersized at 5 foot 11 and 175 pounds. Hunter Washington, Malik McClain, Shambre Jackson, Omarion Cooper, Rod Orr and Patrick Payton anchor Novell’s second class.

Florida State ranks 22nd Nationally and 4th in the ACC.

The Seminoles have a lot of work ahead of them to raise the talent level of their roster. Norvell must utilize the Transfer Portal. My grade for Florida State would be a D- but the arrival of McKenzie Milton alone raises it to a B-.

Sunshine Saturday

By: Robert Craft

TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services

Here’s a Florida College football fan’s guide to this week’s games as the 2020 college football season is on its way into Week 12.

Last Saturday, Florida showed no signs of hangover from the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, by trouncing Arkansas 63-35.

Senior Quarterback Kyle Trask keeps breaking SEC records with his sixth game with four or more touchdowns.

The Gators travel to Nashville to take on the Commodores of Vanderbilt. Florida opens as a 31.5 point favorite.

Can Kyle Trask continue to play at an All-American level? Can the Gators put the game away early and rest some starters? My predictions: Trask throws for 5 touchdowns and they roll Vandy 45-13.

Last Saturday, FSU fans got a glimpse of their future. Chubba Purdy started the contest versus the North Carolina Wolfpack. Purdy played well, going 15 for 23 for 181 yards and 2 touchdowns, but it still wasn’t enough as the Wolfpack dominated the Noles 38-22.

FSU hosts number four Clemson at noon in Doak Campbell Stadium and the Noles are a historic underdog in the contest.

The Tigers open as a 32.5-point favorite over the 2-6 Seminoles. FSU was a 26-point underdog to Clemson last season, which was believed to be the largest point spread in school history.

Clemson suffered their lone loss two weeks ago to Notre Dame without star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Their signal caller is expected back and that means bad news for the Noles. Clemson is a national powerhouse and Florida State is a national landfill.

In my opinion, this is the worst Florida State team in program history! Clemson 52 FSU 20.

Last Saturday night in Orlando, UCF manhandled Temple 38-13.

The Knights opened the game with a strip sack and never looked back. The Knights offense did not look like it was clicking until the start of the 3rd quarter, when Dillon Gabriel found Marlon Williams for an air mail touchdown.

For UCF, standards this season have been disappointing. The Knights are 5-2 after being picked by many to win the AAC conference.

The Knights and Bearcats renew their revere on Saturday in the Bounce House. With very limited capacity, the Bounce House during the 2020 season has not provided their normal home field advantage.

The Bearcats come into this game looking to remain unbeaten and take another step towards a potential playoff spot.  Cincy opens as a 4-point favorite.

This is a battle between UCF’s offense and Cincinnati’s nationally ranked defense. The Bearcats are outscoring their opponents 212-57, with an average margin of victory of 31 points per game.

Those numbers are against quality offenses like Memphis, Houston and SMU.

UCF will score points, but Cincinnati is too legit this year. Give me the Bearcats 48 Knight 38.

The Miami Hurricanes game against Georgia Tech has been postponed due to COVID.

The Canes are coming off an impressive come from behind victory over Virginia Tech last Saturday.

D’Eriq King led a second half comeback to keep the Canes in the mix for the ACC title game. King makes Miami the U again.

So, sit back, buckle up and enjoy some college football this weekend.

If you are a Knight expecting a battle in the Bounce House, a Seminole praying for a miracle, a Gator witnessing a massacre or a Hurricane just waiting to troll the other fan bases, live college football offers us an escape during these stressful times.