Miami football keys to recruiting protecting home turf and cultivating local relationships

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: D'Vonte Price #24 of the Florida International Golden Panthers stiff arms Nesta Jade Silvera #1 of the Miami Hurricanes in the fourth quarter during the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida International Golden Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: D'Vonte Price #24 of the Florida International Golden Panthers stiff arms Nesta Jade Silvera #1 of the Miami Hurricanes in the fourth quarter during the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Florida International Golden Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Miami football director of player personnel Andy Vaughn told reporters earlier this week that protecting their home turf and the state of Miami along with cultivating relationships with high school coaches are the most critical factors for the Hurricanes in recruiting.

Andy Vaughn joined the Miami football program to work on Manny Diaz’s staff after one year on Kevin Sumlin’s staff at Arizona. Vaughn has Miami’s 2020 recruiting class positioned in the top five nationally.

Upgrading recruiting processes for the Miami football program was one of the priorities for Diaz when he succeeded Mark Richt as the Hurricanes Head Coach in December. Miami has a big built-in advantage with having more talent in their back yard than any major program in the country.

Recruits can drop into Miami practices on any given day. Getting the players on campus has been easy. Convincing the players from the state of Miami to sign with the Hurricanes has proven far difficult.

Seven of Miami’s 12 commits in the 2020 recruiting class come from the Howard Schnellenberger founded State of Miami. Recruiting well in its backyard of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach Counties is critical for the future success of the Miami football program. Schnellenberger built the Hurricanes on that premise.

Vaughn knows the Hurricanes have a huge advantage having so many four and five-star players within 100 miles of campus. The competition for players is far greater now than the Schnellenberger era of the late 1970s and early 1980s. The Hurricanes were the only Division I program in South Florida then.

The Miami football program is now one of three Division I programs in the region. Add in two other Division I programs in the state plus more schools from out of state recruiting South Florida than ever before and the task of signing players is more difficult than ever. Vaughn met with the media earlier this week to discuss recruiting.


"“Not many places I’ve been are you going to have multiple five-star [recruits] just pop in every day for practice. Everywhere else I’ve been, you’ve got to find those guys and then talk them into coming to campus,.You know, you could probably walk out here on the street, throw a rock and hit a couple of them. So that’s the best thing about this place or one of the best things about this place — just the quality of talent that’s nearby, it’s in this area. That makes it a little bit easier.”"

Miami signed five players from the State of Miami in the Surge ’19 recruiting class. The 2020 Class is far from complete, but 12 players in two recruiting cycles from South Florida isn’t good enough if the Hurricanes are going to return to being among the elite programs nationally. Vaughn discussed the type of player Miami wants.

"“What we’re looking for is guys that can translate his (Diaz’s) vision of what a Miami Hurricane should be over to the field. So the passion for the game of football, the willingness and ability to compete, the toughness, all those things that he talks about that created Miami and those great players that came through here.We’re looking at those things probably just as much or more than the actual ability for football. Obviously we want guys that can play the position and do those different things and it varies by coach to coach, but those are the main things that we’re going to look for … competitiveness, toughness, passion.How much does he love playing football? It takes a different kind of guy to be successful here. It’s been proven out through the past and if can find a guy that has those qualities I think we’re going to be alright.”"

The 2020 Miami recruiting class is off to a great start. The Hurricanes currently have the nation’s four ranked class behind Clemson, Alabama and LSU. Diaz and Vaughn beth realize the importance of protecting South Florida in recruiting.

Several players from the State of Miami were high draft picks in April’s NFL Draft. None of them were Miami Hurricanes. Retaining the majority of the elite talent in South Florida is the goal for Diaz, Vaughn and the Miami football staff. Vaughn discussed the recruiting battles with the local players.

"“We’re going to have to fight a lot more battles than maybe other schools would, because this is our home turf. We’ve got to protect it. Everybody knows this is where the players are. So those kids are going to get hit up a lot more than anybody else. You can’t hide them,We just have to build those relationships, cultivate those relationships with the coaching staff, make them feel comfortable here and make them realize that you don’t have to go somewhere else to represent somebody else’s city when you can stay home and do that here.You know, great college education, great football, you can do all those things in Miami. You don’t need to leave.”"

Miami needs more players like rising sophomore defensive tackle

Nesta Silvera

. Silvera decision to sign with Miami in February 2018 was in large part due to his desire and commitment to bring the Hurricanes back to prominence. He discussed his motivation when he signed his Letter of Intent.

"“Why not make the crib great?… I could go to Tuscaloosa, I could go to Gainesville, I could go to Tallahassee and make those schools great. Why not make the crib great?”"

Having players like Silvera on the roster is critical to creating the culture that Diaz and Vaughn want in their program. The players are the individuals who host the recruits, take them around campus and play a major factor in recruiting the players during their campus visits. Silvera’s comments perfectly align with Vaughn’s.

Convincing potential recruits that they can be great at Miami instead of going hundreds or thousands of miles away to star are a strong selling point. The players family and friends can attend every game. It will also help the student-athletes build a foundation to help them post-college.

Next. Miami fans versus national media expectations clashing. dark

Building the relationships Vaughn was talking about is critical for the future of Miami football. Every recruit can use five official visits to a school. Unofficial visits are unlimited. Being able to see the South Florida players face to face more often than any other program should be something the Hurricanes continuously tap into.