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Rebuilding 'The U'

Miami looks to reclaim South Florida's recruiting pool

Posted: Tuesday May 8, 2007 6:16PM; Updated: Wednesday May 9, 2007 11:06AM
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Randy Shannon
New coach Randy Shannon hopes to own Broward and Dade counties like Butch Davis did during his days at Miami.
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By Mike Farrell, Special to SI.com, Rivals.com

Larry Coker inherited a tremendous group of players at Miami when he took over for Butch Davis in 2001.

Coker took that talent, won a national championship and was one late penalty flag from a second title.

But then things began to unravel.

The Hurricanes went 36-14 over Coker's last four years, including an embarrassing 7-6 record last season. Much of the reason was a lack of recruiting focus.

The Hurricanes became "The U" by recruiting the top players in Broward and Dade counties, and by keeping the top South Florida talent home. Under Coker, they lost that focus. However, under new coach Randy Shannon -- himself a Miami high school standout -- things are quickly changing.

Shannon and his staff have made South Florida the No. 1 recruiting priority for 2008 and beyond. Of the six early commitments for the class of 2008, five are from south of Port St. Lucie, Fla., within 100 miles of campus. These are kids who grew up watching Coker's first two teams at Miami. These are kids who love "The U."

Last year, Urban Meyer and his top recruiting assistant -- John "Doc" Holliday -- marched into South Florida and took away two of the top players in the Miami area, as defensive back Major Wright and wide receiver Deonte Thompson each spurned Miami for Florida. It would have been three for the Gators, but Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis stole away running back Armando Allen at the last moment. Don't expect a similar invasion in 2008.

South Florida is loaded with talent this year. The competition to land that talent will be as fierce as ever with Holliday at Florida, Chuck Amato back at Florida State and Davis at North Carolina. However, Shannon grew up in Miami, played for the 'Canes and won a national title. The focus has returned.

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