In My Opinion | Recruiting

UM attracts recruits with Al Golden’s football camps

Al Golden never had reservations about what his six summer football camps would mean for the culture of South Florida. That was backed up with his most recent June events that concluded with more than 2,000 youngsters — many new fans — and a sense that when talking camps, this has to be a must.

What camps are supposed to do is get players, high school coaches and parents on the campus. They get the chance to meet the Hurricanes’ coaching staff, the same people who teach players such as Duke Johnson and Stephen Morris every day.

Hialeah, Champagnat, St. Thomas, Blanche Ely, University School, Central, Booker T. Washington, Northwestern, South Dade and dozens of other schools flock to the camp every weekend. It is something that many locals believe is a great thing.

“In the past, Miami really never held enough of these kinds of events to pull that many quality players in,” said Dana Wiley of Prep Films. “Now, with a great facility to show off, and a campus that has always had that appeal, you want as many things held in Coral Gables as possible.”

For many years, Miami’s camps were OK — with a number of tremendous players coming out to take part. But now — if you have not attended at least one or two Al Golden Camps during the month of June — you are not doing what the majority of the talent is doing.

The experience of taking part is something that many of these players relish. Last weekend, the Canes showed how a fun and enjoyable camp can pay off — in a hurry. It was a weekend in which the program get early commitments from talented locals such as Dennis Turner (Dillard), Trayon Gray (Carol City), and Northwestern standouts Ryan Mayes and Mike Smith.

The class of 2014 prospect list was truly aided by four locals who can come in and make a huge impact.

Turner, who many see as a defensive back, is perhaps the prospect many knew least about. He is indeed a quality receiver with quickness, outstanding route running abilities that were hidden for the fact the Panthers also featured a good running game.

Gray has been a stellar athlete since his youth football days and can play up to five positions, including quarterback, running back, receiver and defensive back.

Mayes made a splash as a junior at Krop. At Northwestern, he is a physical prospect with size and the ability to punish offensive weapons.

Smith is one of the gems of this class. He is quick, athletic and instinctively reads offenses like nobody else. He is a marquee player who has the chance to be at top 10 statewide by the end of the season.

The Al Golden camps only added to a very good class that this program has been able to put together — even in the face of the ongoing NCAA investigation.

This class has a little bit of everything going. On offense, in addition to the quarterbacks, big time running back Joseph Yearby (Central), receiver Darrell Langham (Lantana Santaluces), tight end Chris Herndon (Georgia), and tremendous line class that includes Courtel Jenkins (New Jersey), Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg Catholic), K.C. McDermott (Palm Beach Central), Nick Linder (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Miami Central’s Trevor Darling.

Defensively, Dalvon Stuckey is a rare Florida Panhandle recruit, but also brings back memories when the Hurricanes went to the junior colleges for prospects like this. Linebackers Darrion Owens (Orange Park Oakleaf) and Juwon Young (Georgia) are special as well.

We are always looking to help promote our area recruits for the current classes 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 Check out our list of statewide prospects as well on the High School Blog.

Follow Larry on Twitter at

Read more Larry Blustein stories from the Miami Herald

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