Posted: 7:57 pm Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
By Jeff Greer
Ever since Yahoo! Sports’ initial report in August 2011 that detailed alleged major NCAA rules violations by players and coaches inside the University of Miami’s football and basketball programs, the school has recruited against the specter of possible significant sanctions being handed down.
That hasn’t stopped Miami’s football staff from landing back-to-back top-15 recruiting classes.
How have the Hurricanes corralled some of the nation’s top high school talent? They don’t bring up the NCAA investigation with recruits and their coaches — at least the assistant coaches don’t.
“Not at all — never anything about it,” said Fort Pierce Central coach Josh Shaffer.
That doesn’t seem to bother a handful of Palm Beach County Class of 2014 prospects who’ve interacted with Miami coaches, either.
Of the four top-flight county prospects interviewed by the Post, only one talked to Miami coaches about the scandal or its potential backlash.
“I’m just waiting to see what happens,” said Dwyer receiver Johnnie Dixon, one of Miami’s main targets in the 2014 class. “I haven’t asked them about it. I don’t think anything will happen.”
If the incendiary allegations haven’t already hurt Miami’s recruiting, perhaps the Hurricanes have avoided significant damage altogether.
This February, the NCAA acknowledged major mistakes in its investigation of Miami, and there’s a chance those blunders — plus Miami’s self-imposed bowl bans in 2011 and 2012 and player suspensions — could reduce the final punishment.
Santaluces receiver Darrell Langham and Palm Beach Central tackle Kc McDermott — ranked among the top recruits in the country — have already pledged to sign with Miami in 2014.
McDermott, whose brother Shane is Miami’s starting center, did ask Golden about the investigation during a face-to-face meeting with the coach this winter.
“He said if he hadn’t left already, why would he leave now?” McDermott said in a March interview with the Post.
The McDermotts spoke directly to Golden, who acknowledged the scandal was the chief topic recruits and their families discussed with him.
“He said that once it was over, the other schools out there better look out for Miami,” said Randy McDermott, Kc’s dad. “Because once the cloud of uncertainty was removed, he and his staff were very confident that they could out-recruit many others out there.”