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University of Miami Abandoning Florida's High School Football Stars

Categories: Luke's Gospel
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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke analyzes the Miami Hurricanes' sudden aversion to Florida high school football players.

The University of Miami football program rose to prominence by recruiting gift ballers like NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, two-time Super Bowl winner Ray Lewis, and the late great defensive back Sean Taylor, to name a few of the dozens of great Hurricanes who went on to have stellar professional careers. Those days seem over.

In 2010, during his first press conference as head coach Al Golden, promised Canes nation that Florida was his battleground state. He proved it a year later when his first recruiting class featured 18 student-athletes from the Sunshine State. "We want to be 80 percent Florida," Golden told the Miami Herald then.

Now, Golden has completely reversed course based on marching orders he's getting from university president Donna Shalala. During the head coach's three year tenure, as the cloud of the NCAA investigation into the Nevin Shapiro scandal hung over the program, the U has been purging the football team of talented Florida kids. While the players are being punished, nothing has happened to the former Miami sports administration that allowed the rogue booster to do as he pleased.

First, Olivier Vernon and Marcus Fortson, two underclassmen born and raised in the 305 accused of accepting improper benefits from Shapiro, skipped their senior years to enter the 2012 draft. Two other juniors from inner-city Miami schools also left early.

Then Golden kicked safety Ray Ray Armstrong off the team for allegedly being dishonest during an internal investigation that he had dinner with a sports agent. Two sophomores who graduated from Miami area high-schools left the team in January.

The same month, Golden rescinded a scholarship offer to Booker T. Washington offensive lineman Denver Kirkland, which came as a shock. Back in March, during a high school coaches' convention in Orlando, I was in the room when Golden and his staff told the coaches at Miami Central, Carol City, Booker T., Norland, and Northwestern, that he would never pull a scholarship offer he made to a student-athlete.

Even though Golden reinstated his scholarship offer to Kirkland, the young man signed with the University of Arkansas.

On National Signing Day this past Feb. 5, he only landed five players from Florida. Golden lashed out at the NCAA for hurting his recruiting of blue chip players, but there are more than enough talent-rich high school student-athletes in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach that can help the Canes compete for a national title.

Golden also passed up an opportunity to hire Miami Central head coach Telly Lockette, who has built a program that has gone to the state championship three straight years. Adding Lockette as UM's running backs coach would have given the Canes the inside track on all the top recruits in south Florida moving forward.

Instead, Golden gave the job to ex-Hurricanes free safety and current team football operations manager Hurlie Brown.

The University of Miami has done everything possible to get the NCAA to back off. The school has even punished the current players, who had nothing to do with the scandal, by self-imposing bowl bans the last two years. The student-athletes are the only ones falling on the sword. They should not get any penalties.

If anything, the NCAA needs to focus on the guy who was at the center of the Shapiro controversy, but fled Coral Gables just as the investigation was getting underway. I'm talking about Kirby Hocutt, Miami's former athletic director who left to take the same job at Texas Tech. Shapiro had him in his pocket.

I'll never forget the time I met the disgraced booster in his suite at Sun-Life Stadium. Hocutt popped into say hello and Shapiro ordered him to fire then-head coach Randy Shannon. Hocutt was well aware of Shapiro's bullshit and didn't do anything about it. The NCAA should give him the death penalty by banning him as athletic director for life.

The way things are headed, the men's basketball team will be in the Final Four before the football team competes again for a national title.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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21 comments
zeke305
zeke305

The only thing weaker than Puke's supposed leak in Shalala's office is his football resume. What'd he do? Play JV ball in 1965? I bet he has Northwestern running defenses he learned playing Tecmo Bowl in the 80's. Time to take your moronic opinions and lies to Century Village, Grandpa.

wilson
wilson

luke go move to tallahasse and root for fsu cuz all your doing is urging south florida recruits to goto fsu or uf. 

wilson
wilson

ur conspiracy against the um administration is ridiculous.  If Golden was being told what to do he would have left to gone to any one of the opening hc jobs. THEY all wanted him

canes2013
canes2013

Hay Luke,  are you realy going to back up an ass like Ice Harris?  You think true cane fan's can't see through Randy Shannon recruiting DK through Ice. Al Golden wasent having it. Why don't You, Ice, D.K., & Alex C.  All go suck Randy Shannon's Dick in Arkensas.. You and the rest of the turn coat's in your world trying to influence the kids to abandon the U. You have become a Dramar Queen. Calling you out Are You A Miami Guy? I think not. It's All About The U........... 

HonestlyLukeIsARetar
HonestlyLukeIsARetar

hah luke you are an absolute moron. two kids left the team in january? no they got kicked off for breaking the law you idiot. honestly where does your loyalty lie? al golden took us to the acc championship last year except we couldnt go for reasons he had not idea about. you can choke on your own dick luke because you honesty are a bias piece of shit. 

yankees1999wc
yankees1999wc

Luke is a joke who is just trying to stay relevant even though his 15 minutes dried up 15 years ago

boe3515
boe3515

First off the dudes that left early last yr were dumb! Everyone has said it from u to M.Irvin. Ray Ray wasnt even eligible to play NAIA, so how was he gonna play here? Those 2 dummies that were stealing, have no business on this team! Kirk had his chance to commit said no, he diddnt want to be a cane.  There should be more people than Kirby getting in trouble, Hurt, Stoutland.  Blame Golden or whoever, if Golden was black you wouldnt care.  Highsmith said Shannon wasnt good! Now deal with it!

xvim0wnz
xvim0wnz

Why do people keep giving this guy a platform to spew nonsense? If something isn't what he likes he claims rascism. He hardly ever makes any sense. All he does is try to create controversy about everything. Go back to the studio Luther!

Miami_Rising
Miami_Rising

Also, Ray Ray Armstrong is a SS!  You talk about hiring Hurlie Brown as if it's a bad thing.  I'm glad he's African American.  You'd have even more of a field day with this one. The Kirkland situation, is what it is.  He had an opportunity to commit, silently or otherwise and he chose to say we're in his top 3.  Programs pull scholarship offers all the time.  They pull it after recruits are solid commitments.  Like ALA/USC/UF and others.  No one is getting all butt hurt over them doing it.  AG knew DK wasn't going to commit and gave him one last opportunity to prove him wrong and he couldn't do it. 

Ha, you admitted to kicking it with Shitpiro in his suite to bash Hocutt popping in to say hi.  And, you wonder why your lifetime membership card to Miami was revoked.  BTW, did you tell Shitpiro to tell Hocutt to fire Shannon?  Did you speak up on Shannon's behalf?  Probably not, you're a hiprocrite! I can't stand that you constantly leave out pertinent facts to make YOUR  point over and over again. I get you're washed up and need to be controversial to get attention these days.  How about bashing UF or FSU instead! Better yet, move your a$$ to Arkansas!!!

Miami_Rising
Miami_Rising

First off, the University of Miami football program rose to prominence by also recruiting gifted ballers out of state like Ed Reed, Bryant McKinnie, Reggie Wayne, Bubba Franks, Jeremy Shockey, Damione Lewis, etc., etc., 

Secondly, how in the hell do you know what AG's supposed marching orders are from Donna? Pure speculation at best. 

Third, Miami hasn't been purging anyone.  The players are purging themselves by idiotic behavior!  They just so happen to be from Florida.  I applaud AG for holding them accountable. This is what's been missing for a long time.

I like how you conveniently leave out Randy Shannon, Clintt Hurtt and others as needing to be held accountable for the misdeeds done at Miami.  You only name Kirby Hocutt. Your agenda is well documented. 

Don't you think AG would love to keep all the top S.FL talent at Miami.  PEOPLE LIKE YOU MAKE THIS DIFFICULT! Yeah, we got Artie Burns and others and I am deeply apprecaitive to them and their families for seeing through your constant rants and making the decision that was best for them.

stkmrkts
stkmrkts

Why do you publish Luke Campbell, he's been irrelevant for years and now he isolating himself. 

Al Golden is recruiting South Florida is the man blind? Al Golden is fighting the NCAA and that's making recruiting impossible and add to that he's fighting the small mindedness of Ice Harris and Randy Shannon. Fact is Ice Harris had a job at UM and he didn't do a very good job of it and when Golden was hired he didn't retain Ice Harris. In other words it was tantamount to being fired. You think Ice Harris likes Golden? 

Randy Shannon was by almost universal opinion the worst head coach ever at the University of Miami. Airplanes flying around the stadium with messages encouraging Donna Shalala to fire Shannon. He's become a very vindictive person and he has no one to blame but himself. The Dean of Dade County  high school football coaches Luther Harris of Miami  Edison gave a ringing endorsement to Al Golden saying he's honest, does recruit South Florida and he would want his kids to be under Al Golden's supervision as he's a great man and coach. 

Luke and Ice Harris you guys are irrelevant, goodbye you belong to a different era.

bpuckett87
bpuckett87

1. Ray Ray was a safety not a linebacker. I see you have corrected this now, but before the edit it said linebacker. We all should know he was a safety because he blew so many deep coverages. If you can't even get basic information like a player's position right why should we listen to anything else you say. 

2. The tone of this article is that Miami is abandoning south florida's finest, yet a lot of the main points were about south florida's finest leaving early and abandoning Miami. Makes no sense. 

3. Watch Golden and his interaction with Dorsett, Perryman, Malcolm Lewis, Tracy, Deon Bush, Duke Johnson and tell me that man doesn't love these kids. All some of the best from south florida. He loves last year' class especially. The suggestion that Miami is abandoning the area and kids form it could not be further from the truth. 

4. The Kirkland thing was weird. I will give a little wiggle room on that one. Still not sure what happened, and it doesn't make sense to me. However, that being said, that is one questionable situation on Golden, a man that has been handed countless questionable situations himself and handles them with class. 

I have no idea what the motivation behind this article was, but even if it was more at the university (giving benefit of the doubt) it basically bashes the football program as well. I think a better article would be how lucky south florida is to have a man that is investing in the south florida kids, like all the ones I mentioned above, that handle themselves with class and professionally instead of all the ones the article mentioned that were too busy listening to agents or ordering breakfast at 5 star hotels and Tweeting about it to learn. I'll base my opinion off of the resume' and the determination he has shown overall to flip this program around instead of nonsense in this article and one situation that was handled questionably when none of us know the entire story.

FatHand
FatHand

I used to give Luke the benefit of the doubt but I've become skeptical whether he really cares about South Florida. Luke supports giving 200 million Miami-Dade tax dollars to Stephen Ross for almost no reason at all. Think Miami-Dade could do something with that money besides presenting it to a billionaire for his own use? Luke doesn't.

Nizar Assad
Nizar Assad

I love Luke but he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about regarding Miami's recruiting movements--these coaches know what they're doing and Shalala is not pulling any so called "puppet strings" with Golden. We are simply not as attractive as we used to be due to our irrelevance for the past 8 years--the SEC has been dominating on the field and the TV ratings, they also provide a real college atmosphere with sellout crowds vs our penyata crowd, oh, and not to mention a scandal that still surrounds us! Other schools are using these facts to their advantage--plain and simple. And for what Golden has had to deal with--he's been doing just fine. None of us know what's it's like to be in the position of a history tailored Division 1 program, dealing with day in and day out logistics and constant pressure/negativity...and neither does LUKE.

Whatya Gonnado
Whatya Gonnado

Because doesn't know what he's talking about. I want to know why he's a DC for a football team at a local HS? Talk about not qualified.

dcc21
dcc21

This might be the dumbest article I've ever read.  I need to get my 5 minutes back. 


Thank god for people like Alonzo Highsmith who can apply logic and reason to scenarios.  Can we give him his own column space instead of this clown?  Another reason to this might be because Highsmith played a bit more football than this guy, so he might know what he's talking about.  Just maybe. 

shaqheat
shaqheat

The article makes no sense.  He makes the claim the U is "purging" the team.  Then he lists as examples two juniors who left early over the objections of Golden?!?  Then he says in the most antiseptic way possible that two mare kids fro the city left the team.  Those two kids where involved in a scheme to steal a fellow students computer and then sell it back to them.  Believe me we would rather have those two on the team.  Ray Ray Armstrong violated rules, then lied about it, then continued to break rules accepting benefits from his girlfriend who was connected to a sports agent.  Again believe me we wanted him on the team last year.  Then we spent 9 months aggressively recruiting Kirkland and then asked for his decision and he said we were in his top three?!?  We wanted Thomas and Kirkland on this team.  So to add of these things up and say they prove we are "purging" the team of Florida kids is ridiculous and a lie.  But I don't expect much more from this self serving liar the Newtimes employs as article writer.  He is doing what he has always done, stirring the pot.  But now he is trying to damage the U.  As a fan of the university I don't appreciate that at all.

acts238_us
acts238_us

FOLLOW THE MONEY ALL YOU SHANNON BASHER'S.  1) WHO PAID FOR THE AIRPLANE THAT FLEW OVER THE STADIUM SAYING TO FIRE COACH SHANNON?  2) WHO ORDERED KIRBY HULCUTT TO FIRE COACH SHANNON?  3) WHO IS THE ONLY ONE TO TELL EVERYONE FROM PLAYERS TO COACHES TO STAY FAR AWAY FROM THE CONVICT NEVIN SHAPIRO AND WE LATER FIND OUT ON WQAM COACH SHANNON WAS TOLD BY U M ADMINISTRATION TO LEAVE THE CON ARTIST SHAPIRO ALONE?

NOW WEEP IN YOUR SORROW FAKE CANE FANS AND PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE TO MR. RANDY SHANNON FOR YOU SHAMEFUL WAYS. NOW!!!!!!!!!

zeke305
zeke305

@Whatya Gonnado Exactly. What's Grandpa Luke's resume? He didn't even play college ball. Seems to me that his "experience" comes from coaching Pee Wee ball, playing Madden and greasing the palms of Miami Dade school administrators and coaches to get high school positions. I blame frauds like Billy Corben, Dan Lebatard and Dan Sileo plus the New Times for giving this moron a platform. Grandpa's only real function now seems to be to make aging white guys in the local media feel cool by having some sort of association with him.

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