Posted: 10:20 am Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Hurricanes’ recruit Shane McDermott center of attention 

By Jorge Milian



One of the biggest question marks that will confront UM next season will surround the center position.

With A.J. Trump gone, the Hurricanes are left with only one player who has ever snapped the football in a college game. That player, rising junior Tyler Horn, barely played in his first two seasons, seeing action primarily in garbage time situations.

Which brings us to incoming recruit Shane McDermott, the former Palm Beach Central standout who graduated early from high school and will begin classes at UM a week from today.

Coming in early greatly improves the chances that McDermott will play next season. Mike James, Olivier Vernon, Curtis Porter, Brandon McGee and Brandon Washington took that route last January and were big contributors during their freshman campaigns.

“It’s a big head start,” McDermott said. “My ex-teammate, Jon Bostick, who is up at Florida right now said he’s so much further ahead of all the other freshmen that didn’t come early. You get to know the playbook, you get around the guys and, for an offensive lineman, that’s crucial.”

As it stands now, McDermott will likely enter fall practice as the No. 2 center behind Horn. Washington can also play center, but he’s expected to be UM’s starting left guard.

“I hope to play next season,” said McDermott, who said he played mostly left tackle in high school but saw action at every position on the line. “It’s definitely one of the reasons I’m coming in early – to play early. But if I do redshirt, there’s a positive to that – I get my master’s [degree] paid for.”

Yeah, McDermott is a brainy guy. He won the Palm Beach County science fair with a project on the effects of acidification on the asexual reproduction of corals. Those smarts will serve him well as he learns the intricacies of playing offensive line.

But McDermott also has good physical tools. He’s 6-foot-3, weighs 275 pounds, bench presses 370 pounds and squats 495 pounds. McDermott received rave reviews for his performance in the Under Armour All-American game last month where he played center.

McDermott, whose older brother Tyler is an offensive lineman at Colorado State, took his only official recruiting visit to Miami where he orally committed on March 10.

“It was a great environment,” McDermott said. “It’s such a family down there. Everywhere else I went – Florida, South Florida, everywhere – it wasn’t even like what it was down there.”

By this time next week, McDermott will be a full-fledged member of that family.

“I think we’re going to have an elite team in the next couple of years,” McDermott said. “I think we’re going to win a national championship.”

Couple other recruiting notes:

….The Hurricanes have had a handful of key recruits de-committ over the last several months. Washington D.C. linebacker Javarie Johnson committed to UM in June, but backed out last week and said he will attend Maryland. Recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill told ESPN’s Heather Dinich that UM fans needn’t worry. “With Miami, there is no doubt that Javarie Johnson is a fantastic prospect, but the Hurricanes should never sweat losing any prospect, especially a defensive end, that isn’t from the Southern part of Florida,” Luginbill said. “That is and will always be the foundation of the Miami program. In a group of 20-27 signees a year — give or take a few — the strength of a class top to bottom means more than missing out on one guy,”

….CaneSport is reporting that Miami Pace quarterback Stephen Morris will be allowed to graduate high school early and will begin classes at UM next week. That’s great news considering the Hurricanes were looking at going into spring practice with only one available scholarship quarterback in A.J. Highsmith.