Spotlight on | Recruiting

Strong recruiting in face of NCAA troubles shows Al Golden’s abilities

University of Miami head coach Al Golden addresses the media after orange and white spring football game at Sun Life Stadium Stadium in Miami Gardens on April 13, 2013.
University of Miami head coach Al Golden addresses the media after orange and white spring football game at Sun Life Stadium Stadium in Miami Gardens on April 13, 2013.
Gregory Castillo / Miami Herald Staff

It has now been two full years since Al Golden accepted the position as head coach at the University of Miami. People are now starting to see how he was able to rebuild Temple and put his footprint on several other programs.

With the large shadow of the NCAA and the negatives that have gone along with the current investigation, Golden altered no plans when it came to recruiting. He went full steam ahead - despite the critics who continued to take shots at him for missing this prospect or another, nobody can dispute what he did the past two years to get the state of Florida back in the crosshairs.

Very few coaches have been able to do what Golden has done when it comes to mending fences and building new bridges in the state. He has made it a daily ritual to reach out to local, regional and statewide head coaches to get that once healthy recruiting pipeline back flowing strong.

You have to remember what area we are dealing with before you start to pile criticism on this current regime. The Hurricanes are indeed the hometown team, but with over 175 potential major college athletes from the Palm Beaches to Key West, getting everyone of them is simply not a reality. It never has been.

I have been following recruiting since the 1960s and 70s - when Miami was lucky to grab onto one of the local stars. Things changed over the years, but as Golden and his staff have found out, getting players from different states and regions of the country are a mere enhancement to the riches that roam the football fields within 75 miles of Coral Gables.

The plan this year was simple. Get those marquee kids who can impact the program from all over the country, but use the state of Florida as a starting point. Make sure that the offers that are made will include some major prospects from south Florida. They certainly have done that.

No matter how many local "stars" the University of Miami keeps home, there are always going to be those detractors who believe that the Hurricanes should have landed this prospect or that one. In reality, that has never happened. Even during the great days of the program, premier players still found a way to head to Tallahassee, Gainesville and other football hotbeds across the country.

Having watched all three scrimmages the Hurricanes hosted this spring, there is little doubt that the local footprint is firmly in place. Last Saturday, while watching the spring game, it seemed like every local star we talked about over the past four years has started to make an impact at the collegiate level.

Miami has six 2014 commitments in place. Four of those players are linemen - which shows that this program is going to control the line scrimmage, making it exciting for quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends and receivers to come play there.

Here is a look at the current commitment list for the Class of 2014:

• Alin Edouard, QB, 6-2, 185, Hialeah: Here is a football prospect many still have no idea about, but after watching him the past two years, his athletic ability, knowledge of the game and knack of leading the offense will surprise you. A very talented athlete who can play quarterback, but also gives any program the option of looking at him in several different positions. Has the chance to be very special.

• Trevor Darling, OL, 6-5, 320, Miami Central: The first commitment in this class, here is one of those athletic big men who can translate to the next level with little problem. Has been tested against some of the elite players and more than held his own since his ninth grade year. His ability to get physical against any competition is why the Hurricanes loved him from the beginning. Comes in with perhaps the strongest offensive line class in the history of the school.

• Reilly Gibbons, OT, 6-6, 265, St. Petersburg Catholic: In an area that the Hurricanes have always done well in, they made a huge splash with a prospect who spent the first part of his high school career playing tight end, only to make the move inside as he grew, getting bigger and stronger.

• Nick Linder, OL, 6-3, 280, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: A big time football taint who is follows in the footsteps of his talented older brother. This is one of those football talents who has been groomed for the position, and has proven that he can indeed stand toe-to-toe with some of the best in the country. Brings so much to the table.

• Kc McDermott, OT, 6-6, 296, Palm Beach Central: Even though his older brother is the starting center of the Hurricanes, you had the feeling all along that this would be a great fit for the current system. A big, strong and athletic football player who has been playing at a high levee for the past three years. rated as one of the best in the country for good reason.

• Joseph Yearby, RB, 5-8, 190, Miami Central: One of the most gifted runners in this class - nationally - there is little doubt that when he gets on campus next year - he will quickly make a huge impact on the team from his running back position as well as what he does as a returner. Has developed into one of the better line from scrimmage backs in the country, setting himself up for a fourth straight state title appearance.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current Class of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. All you have to do is send a YouTube or Hudl link and information about the athlete to: Larry Blustein at .

Follow Larry on Twitter at

Read more Larry Blustein stories from the Miami Herald

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