Eye of the Hurricane

February 13, 2008

Who and what I’ve seen in the future Canes…

Filed under: Uncategorized — adonovan @ 12:17 am

As a high school sports stringer for The Miami Herald, I had the opportunity to see some of our incoming football recruits play this past fall. I thought it would be worthwhile to give U fans some insight on what I saw and what I expect from the newcomers when they suit up for the U. Here are my thoughts on those recruits that I have seen play in person…

Jacory Harris, QB, Northwestern – Harris is a proven winner as he was undefeated as the field general in his high school career and led Northwestern to two state championships. He has the ability to throw crisp short range passes with accuracy and can also unload the deep ball to a receiver in stride. He is also a very smart player as he knows when to throw the ball away – something that is rare at the high school level. He’ll need to bulk up big time if he hopes to be successful and stay healthy at UM. 2008 Projection: Enrolling early should help Harris to compete with Robert Marve for the starting spot at QB, but I think he will end up serving as back up when things are said and done. It will be difficult to catch up to Marve as he has had an entire redshirt season to learn the playbook and prepare.

Aldarius Johnson, WR, Northwestern – He reminds me a lot of former Cane great Andre Johnson (perhaps the initials aren’t a coincidence). After seeing him play against two solid high school teams in Miami Central and Deerfield Beach, I can confirm that he is just as good as advertised. His size, speed and hands are phenomenal and he does a great job of getting off the defensive back at the line of scrimmage. A.J. is one to be excited about. 2008 Projection: Look for Johnson to pass some upperclassmen and make a push for some serious playing time in his freshman campaign.

Tommy Streeter, WR, Northwestern – I’m somewhat indifferent when it comes to Streeter. On one hand, I think he has the skills to become a big time college receiver, but at the same time I fear that he may become another Lance Leggett. He struck me as soft when I saw him play. Yes, he does have good hands and great speed, but he shies away from going across the middle of the field. Unless he bulks up and gets over his fear of the looming free safety, I think he will struggle. 2008 Projection: With his blend of speed and hands, I have to think Streeter will come in and compete. But I don’t see him getting much playing time as a freshman unless he gets a lot stronger in the coming months.

Kendal Thompkins, WR, Northwestern – Steal of the class if you ask me. I think you’d see Thompkins getting a lot more looks if he played on any other high school team as he was forced to live in the shadow of Johnson and Streeter at Northwestern. Bottom line is that Thompkins can fly and he is shifty, elusive and a good route runner. He is very similar to former Cane Roscoe Parrish in the way he moves around the field. 2008 Projection: Although I’m high on Thompkins, I think the competition is too much at the wide receiver position right now. Look for him to redshirt in 2008.

Brandon Washington, OL, Northwestern – I loved watching B. Washington play. He reminded a lot of Bryant McKinney in that he blocked everything that opposing defenses threw at him (and it was a lot). If Jacory Harris didn’t treat this guy to a few meals, he definitely owes him. Washington is deceiving for his size as he possesses quick feet and good technique. 2008 Projection: With his skill and determination, I think he has a legitimate shot of seeing the field as a true freshman, but he’ll have to earn a spot over some established upperclassmen.

Ben Jones, OL, Northwestern – I’ll be honest, I didn’t notice Jones very much when I saw Northwestern play. Perhaps that is because I was focusing more on his O-line mate Brandon Washington. But, nonetheless, Jacory Harris was given ample time in the pocket snap after snap, leading me to believe that Jones was doing his job and doing it rather well. 2008 Projection: I think coaches will redshirt Jones as they have a solid core of offensive linemen returning in 2008.

Marcus Forston, DT, Miami Northwestern – You’ve got to love the attitude that this kid brings to the table. Remember the story from back in December about Jacory Harris visiting Oregon and saying that he was considering the Ducks? Forston’s reaction was priceless – he refused to shake Harris’ hand and told him, “Man, get away from me, you ain’t no real Cane.” Not only does he bleed orange and green, but Forston has the tools to be one the best at UM. He’s extremely quick off the line and has a ton of moves that will drive offensive linemen nuts. 2008 Projection: Look for Forston to get some playing time early and to make an immediate impact. Once he touches the field, it will be hard for the coaches to take him off of it.

Sean Spence, LB, Northwestern – John Vilma anyone? Spence is undersized for a college linebacker, but the kid has the heart of a lion. He flies around the field and can shed blocks in impressive fashion. Spence is also a leader on the field as he often moved teammates around before the snap to be in better position to make a play. 2008 Projection: With injuries at the linebacker position and the departure of senior Tavares Gooden, I have to think Spence has a good shot at some playing time early on. Enrolling early will only help him.

Marcus Robinson, LB/DE, Homestead – This kid is super athletic. Robinson is very fast and elusive, but I noticed that he has a tendency to take plays off. This habit will need to be broken if he hopes to sustain playing time at Miami. It will be interesting to see what the coaches do with him as he is projected to play linebacker, but played defensive end throughout his high school career. I felt that he was better against the run than as a pass rusher, so maybe he fits in better at the linebacker position (perhaps this is what the coaches see as well). He would also have to put on some serious weight if he were to play on the defensive line in the ACC. 2008 Projection: I’d love to see him flying around on Saturday’s next fall, but I can’t help but think he will be redshirted his freshman year.


1 Comment »

  1. This was a well written blog, well done. I think I would disagree on your assessment regarding the playing time potential for all these recruits. I predict, if healthy, Forston will play every down in his UM career. I see the same potential for Johnson and Streeter, with Thompkins playing third down slot back. I agree that Marve has an edge on Harris regarding the playbook but I think that edge is diminished tremendously because Harris signed and enrolled in January. I expect Jacory to be named a co-starter after the florida game, if not by the season opener. He is too talented to rest on a bench.

    As for the O linr guys from NWestern, I think neither will play a game this year. I seem to recall an academics issue with one, and I also think O line is not the place for a freshman. As for the linebackers, wow what a position of depth for the Canes. These local guys are great, but so are Arthur Brown, Futch, and the other guys. I think Spence probably has greater chance of playing right away. But believe this, Michael Barrow will not let Robinson take any plays off at UM. It should be interesting to see how these guys develop.

    Great blog today. Well written. Room for discussion and controversy. Very well done!

    Comment by VaCanesFan — February 15, 2008 @ 1:21 am | Reply

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