University of Miami

Brad Kaaya proving to be strong draw in UM’s football recruiting efforts

UM quarterback Brad Kaaya throws a pass against Duke at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014.
UM quarterback Brad Kaaya throws a pass against Duke at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. MCT

As recruiting tools go, national championships and conference titles are pretty powerful magnets.

So, too, is a freshman All-American quarterback who earned Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year while setting the University of Miami’s freshman passing record with 2,962 yards and 25 touchdowns (11 interceptions).

Hurricanes receivers coach Brennan Carroll, who also serves as the national recruiting coordinator, was asked Thursday after bowl practice what kind of feedback he gets from recruits regarding Brad Kaaya, who came to UM from West Hills, California.

“Everyone we talk to is extremely excited about Brad,’’ Carroll said. “It has helped recruiting from the standpoint of young guys getting in to play. We’re going to play the best players and we don’t have a problem going national to recruit, all the way up in the East Coast and all the way out to the West Coast.’’

Carroll said recruits “still see what Miami’s all about,’’ regardless of the 6-6 record. “They see all the great things about Miami, not just the education, not just the location, but where the program is going. I feel like kids are still excited.’’

Regarding “needs,’’ Carroll said he wants “to build depth’’ with “key playmakers’’ able “to contribute early.’’

“We’re looking for guys who can make a difference right away, not guys who are going to sit on the bench for a couple of years. We want guys who come in and push for playing time as freshmen.’’

UM’s record-breaking running back Duke Johnson said Thursday that if he were a recruit, “especially on the offensive side — and even on the defensive side,’’ that Kaaya would be a substantial draw.

“I would want to come here because you have a guy that can move the ball … a young guy who is still learning, still getting the hang of it, yet he’s good at it.’’ Kaaya, he said, “puts points on the board.’’

Kaaya, tied with Vinny Testaverde and Bernie Kosar for the fourth-most single-season touchdowns in UM history, is No.4 all-time in ACC passing yardage by a freshman, trailing only Florida State’s Jameis Winston (4,057 in 2013), FSU’s Drew Weatherford (3,208 in 2005) and North Carolina State’s Philip Rivers (3,054 in 2000).

UM’s 2015 recruiting class is ranked 14th overall by, 17th by and 15th by


UM coach Al Golden said two players walked in commencement ceremonies Thursday: starting cornerback Ladarius Gunter and special-teams standout Hugo Delapenha. Left guard Jon Feliciano, who is wearing a cast on his left arm but will nonetheless play against South Carolina in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl, walked in the spring, Golden said, but finished his studies and earned his degree this semester.

“It’s awesome,’’ Golden said.

Golden said “the majority of the team,’’ including injured receiver Herb Waters, will travel to Shreveport for the bowl game. The Hurricanes leave for Louisiana on Monday, with the players living more than a three-hour car ride from Coral Gables able to fly there separately.

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