This was supposed to be the season for Randy Shannon and his Miami Hurricanes. The "U" was supposed to break through and be back.
But the Canes are sitting at a respectable yet disappointing 6-3 with a trip to Georgia Tech and home games against Virginia Tech and USF looming. That's a tough close for anyone, especially for a team that hasn't reached its potential. There have been some low rumblings about the future of Shannon, but he has the support of university president Donna Shalala. Still, sometimes things have a way of changing.
"If Shannon were to get fired or leave it would affect my decision a lot. I could open things back up," said Tampa (Fla.) Alonso four-star DE Anthony Chickillo, a Miami commit who would be a third-generation Hurricane. "I think everything will be all right down south. We'll see what happens over the next month or so."
All signs point to Chickillo, one of Miami's seven commitments to date, honoring his decision and signing with Miami. But he still wants to make all five of his official visits.
This could be a trend. Four-star OG Marcus Jackson (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach) has been committed to Miami for almost a year now. But like Chickillo, he will make other visits, including one this weekend to Tennessee.
Miami's most high-profile commitment is Miami Northwestern QB Teddy Bridgewater, who attends the same high school that sent eight recruits to the Canes in 2008, including current QB Jacory Harris. But there have been whispers that Bridgewater could end up somewhere else, specifically LSU. There was talk of him visiting LSU last weekend, but it was just that, talk, as he didn't make the trip. Still, he's one worth watching.
The biggest issue is that recruits just want to know there's stability at Miami. When even the slightest doubt pops up, it creates a feeding frenzy and makes it tougher for the Canes to recruit.
Bottom line is Miami is hoping to close strong. The Hurricanes have just seven commits now and are in the mix with some top recruits like tight end Nick O'Leary (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer), cornerback Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), wide receiver Sammy Watkins (Fort Myers, Fla./South), wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central), tight end Brandon Fulse (Fort Meade, Fla./Senior), defensive back Jabari Gorman (Miami/Pace) and linebacker Denzel Perryman (Coral Gables, Fla./Coral Gables), among others.
If recruits sense Shannon might not be around, it could trigger storm warnings for the Hurricanes' recruiting class this year.
Tigers impress Dwyer trio
West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer standouts O'Leary, outside linebacker Curt Maggitt and quarterback Jacoby Brissett all watched LSU beat Alabama in person during their official visits last weekend and came home impressed.
"They all really liked it a lot. They are all considering going there," Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said in a text message. "LSU is in the top three for all."
That would be quite a coup for LSU. Right now no one really knows what Brissett will do and LSU would love to land a second signal-caller. Stephen Rivers (Athens, Ala./Athens), San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers' younger brother, has already committed to the Tigers. LSU is the one of the finalists for Butler Community College standout Zach Mettenberger. The Tigers are also on the prowl with Bridgewater, a Miami commit who will likely make an official visit to Baton Rouge next month.
FSU has been the rumored team to beat with O'Leary, but Miami and LSU are right there. Meanwhile, the Gators could be Maggitt's pick come national signing day, but LSU, Wisconsin and Alabama have all made big impressions on him.
Gamecocks continue to roll
It's an odd recruiting campaign for South Carolina. Normally strong in their home state, the Gamecocks are sitting on 24 commitments but only four are currently playing high school football in the Palmetto State -- Brandon Shell (Goose Creek), Ronnie Martin (Spartanburg), Brandon Wilds (Blythewood) and Shon Carson (Lake City). South Carolina has instead locked up 15 recruits from Florida and Georgia, including nine from the Peach State after picking up four-star safety Kadetrix Marcus (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) and offensive lineman Kyle Harris (Pepperel, Ga./Pepperel).
UNC lands four-star LB
Despite off-the-field issues and distractions, North Carolina coach Butch Davis and his staff have put together a 6-3 campaign and, maybe more impressively, continue to build a good 2010 recruiting class. Their latest get is a four-star outside linebacker prospect in Norkeithus Otis (Gastonia, N.C./Ashbrook). While many kept waiting for this class to crumble, it's remarkable what Davis and his staff have done to keep it together.
There are some big official visits this weekend, including RB Tre Mason (Lake Worth, Fla./Park Vista) visiting Auburn. It's big because after losing out on Demetrius Hart (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and a few others, the Tigers, who want to add a running back, are close here with Mason.
"I don't plan on making a decision until I make all my visits, but Auburn is right up there," said Mason, who will be visiting both West Virginia and Ole Miss next month. "It's exciting to know that they feel so highly of me and they need a running back in this class."
Also visiting Auburn this weekend will be Fulse; the Tigers are thought to be his leader.
Former Notre Dame commitment Aaron Lynch, a defensive end from Cape Coral (Fla.) Island Coast, will visit the University of Florida this weekend and visited Florida State last weekend. Speaking of FSU, it will host Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian Academy defensive end Jermauria Rasco.
Other notables scheduled to make official visits this weekend are tight end Drew Owens (Charlotte, N.C./Ardrey Kell), who'll visit NC State, safety Gerrod Holliman (Miami, Fla./Southridge) and cornerback Andrew Johnson (Miami, Fla./Southridge), who'll visit West Virginia, defensive end Roderick Byers (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern), who'll visit Georgia Tech, and quarterback Everett Golson (Myrtle Beach, S.C./Myrtle Beach), who'll visit Notre Dame.
Jamie Newberg has been covering recruiting both in the Southeast and nationally for 19 years. He can be reached at email@example.com.