BEAVERTON, Ore. — The verbal commitments in Miami’s recruiting class have three group texts. One is with their future coach, Mark Richt, so it’s not surprising to hear it stays clean — with “darn” and “shoot” replacing more colorful language, as one prospect joked.
There’s another of just the prospects themselves, which has its fair share of normal teenage hijinks to go with the recruiting talk: setting up the fall calendar for official visits, for example, or discussing which uncommitted prospects to contact via text or on social media. And the third brings together those committed recruits with the uncommitted; the former tries to sway the latter to join what is currently among the top-ranked classes in the country.
“Coach Richt’s first year, he leads them to a bowl win,” said Bishop Gorman (Nev.) tight end Brevin Jordan, who committed to the Hurricanes over UCLA. “Second year he recruits the unanimous No. 1 class. That’s my recruiting pitch. Plus it’s at Miami. What’s better than Miami?”
These recruits — nine of whom are in action at The Opening, the annual recruiting bonanza held on Nike’s campus — were infants the last time Miami won a national championship, way back in 2001. After successive top-five finishes during the following two years, highlighted by a controversial loss to Ohio State that prevented Miami from claiming back-to-back titles, the Hurricanes haven’t won more than nine games in a single season.
They’ve heard of the program’s former dominance — though none of the nine here were very familiar with that 2001 team, for example — even if they’ve never seen it. Yet the Hurricanes’ in-progress recruiting class shares a vision: that of a program renaissance.
“You can’t always repeat the past,” IMG Academy (Fla.) wide receiver Brian Hightower said. “But we can help bring it back or maybe make it even better, if possible.”
Cue the eye roll. Admittedly, two things are undeniably true. The first is that Miami’s trip through the wilderness has led the program to cede massive swaths of ground to several Atlantic Coast Conference competitors, most notably Florida State. Every rival knows the score: Miami hasn’t claimed even an ACC divisional title since joining the conference in 2004.