CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami's 26-player recruiting class is widely touted as its best since Al Golden became coach four years ago, with the program finally past the NCAA investigation that left it under a cloud for several seasons.
The group announced Wednesday is notable for the depth of talent rather than for elite recruits. Golden did overcome stiff competition to land several players, but he also missed out on some of South Florida's best prospects.
There were no surprises in the final hours before players signed, with the Hurricanes closing deals as expected and not making any unexpected last-minute additions. They added two highly regarded quarterbacks in Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier, addressed thin depth on defense and bulked up in the offensive line.
"We have a lot of guys that everybody wanted," Golden said. "That's the thing we're excited about. In years past we haven't been in that business to the extent we were this year. I think that's a reflection of moving the program forward and not having the NCAA to deal with."
National rankings (Rivals 12; Scout 11).
Best in class: Brad Kaaya, QB, West Hills, Calif.
Best of the rest: Malik Rosier, QB, Mobile, Ala.; Trevor Darling, OL, Miami; Joseph Yearby, RB, Miami; KC McDermott, OT, Wellington, Fla.; Chad Thomas, DE, Miami, Fla.; Michael Wyche, DT, East L.A. College.
Late addition: David Njoku, a 215-pound wide receiver and tight end from Cedar Grove, N.J., committed last week.
One that got away: Travonte Valentine, a 335-pound defensive tackle from Hialeah, Fla., had committed to the Hurricanes but re-opened the recruiting process last month and signed with LSu.
NOTES: Alabama made a strong run at five-star defensive end Chad Thomas, but the Hurricanes managed to keep him on board.