The Bearcats Are Putting In Work In South Florida

Ronald Martinez

When Howard Schnellenberger took over the moribund program at the University of Miami he had one main goal for recruiting, to rope off the "State of Miami" from the schools that used to routinely raid Miami-Dade and Broward counties for their rich football talent. His success in doing so laid the foundation's for the Hurricanes decades long run of dominance. Tommy Tuberville has borrowed liberally from that plan in increase the Bearcats team speed in his recruiting.

Tommy Tuberville is not strictly a Schnellenberger guy. He got his start under Jimmy Johnson, and became a rising star in the business with Dennis Erickson before striking out on his own. The only thing that never changed in Tuberville's tenure at the U, they won no matter who held the top job and they cleaned up recruiting in South Florida.

When Tubs started to compile his staff one of the very first names people that he called was Eddie Gran, a guy who got his start at the University of Miami at the same time that Tubs did (as a GA) and has a reputation in the business for being a closer in South Florida. Gran demonstrated his prowess in Miami-Dade and Broward counties by turning the U's home base into fertile ground for the hated Seminoles. As Gran compiled his philosophically diverse staff there was really only one obvious through line, connections in Florida in general and South Florida in particular. Recruiting Florida has long been a priority for the Bearcats, just look at the map*.

*Set the filter for Cincinnati only

Obviously most UC recruits come from Ohio, but Florida has long been a hot spot for the Bearcats. The difference is that, for the most part previous staffs have done a good job competing in places that are slightly off the beaten path, maybe not as hotly contested as South Florida generally is. For instance Mardy Gilyard hailed from tiny Bunnell, Florida which is well off the beaten path and on the way to nowhere in particular.

It wasn't until the Butch Jones era that the Bearcats made any serious inroads in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. The 2011 and 2012 had a strong South Florida flavor, but nothing like what the Bearcat's under Tuberville are shaping up to be going forward. Here is a list of all the players on the roster who hail from Miami-Dade or Broward County from Tuberville's first two classes and the start of the 2015 class.

Class Player County
2015 Antonio Howard Miami-Dade
2014 Frank Labady Miami-Dade
Alex Thomas Broward
Carter Jacobs Broward
Davon Witherspoon Broward
2013 Tyler Cogswell Broward
Hosey Williams Miami-Dade
Mark Barr Broward
Aaron Brown Miami-Dade
Johnny Holton Miami-Dade

Tuberville has signed 44 players and taken the commits of four more in the class of 2015, so call it 48. Of those 48 10 hail from Miami-Dade or Broward counties. Look at the JUCO guys from Tubs first class and you see that Miami connection, even if it wasn't obvious at first. Both Johnny Holton and Hosey Williams are Miami natives who hit some under the radar JUCO's before joining the Bearcats program. Add in guys like Adrian Witty (Broward) and Clemente Casseus and you have a stew with a very strong Miami flavor, which is all to the good from where I am sitting.

It will be years before it is possible judge the effectiveness of the Bearcats forays into South Florida, but it seems clear that the decades of recruiting experience accrued by members of the Bearcats staff in Miami-Dade and Broward counties is paying off handsomely.

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