Miami football alums connections with recruits critical factor at Paradise Camp

ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Fanatics)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 02: (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Fanatics) /

Entering its fourth iteration, Paradise Camp is one of the most anticipated events of the year on the Miami football calendar. The core of Paradise Camp is when the Hurricanes alums talk to potential recruits.

The Miami football legends are what make Paradise Camp according to Hurricanes co-defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda. Pro Football Hall of Famers and Miami legends Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin have all participated in at least one of the first four installments of Paradise Camp.

Reed has been a big part of the Miami football program in recent years. According to Manny Navarro of The Athletic, Reed gave a powerful speech before Miami’s victory over Notre Dame in 2017 and spoke to recent 2020 commit, linebacker Corey Flagg from Houston.

The commitment and appearance at Paradise Camp by the Miami legends allow the Hurricanes coaching staff to sit back and let the alums run part of the camp. The recruits and alums have a special connection that is not visible to the media and public. A question and answer session between recruits and alums is powerful.

Banda explained to Navarro what happens when the Miami football recruits interact with the alums. The question and answer session gives the Hurricanes coaching staff a chance for their culture to be set without the coaches preaching.

"“When those guys show up, I grab my whistle and I put it on top of them and I just sit back and I watch. My favorite part that you guys don’t get to see is when we go in the meeting rooms and we hand the mic over to the current NFL guys and we allow the recruits and our players to ask questions.The things you get out of it is priceless. I mean, Coach Diaz talked about it in our staff meeting Tuesday. He’s like, ‘That’s the most important part guys, make time for it.’ We’ve cut out more time for it so those type of guys can preach and talk to our players and future recruits and future players about what it’s like to play here.”"

With Miami opening the season a week earlier than the majority of FBS teams, they moved Paradise Camp up a month. The earlier date allows for current Miami football alums to be able to attend this year. Paradise Camp will not conflict with NFL training camps with the June date. That should make a difference.

The Miami football program is often lauded as the most participatory from its alumni base. “It’s a Cane thing, you just wouldn’t understand.” While every program would like to believe their stands out above others, Miami truly has. The involvement of football alums stands out far more than even fans understand.

Banda spoke to Navarro about the connection that the Miami football alums have.

"“It’s a brotherhood. Bottom line, they talk about it. Our NFL guys, they know, they watch, they know who we’re recruiting. Some of them even have them in camps. Coach Ray Lewis had his camp recently (in Bradenton, Fla.), and had a lot of those guys and he knows the ones that are committed or that we’re recruiting.So, we can’t (ask them to call), but the brotherhood takes care of it itself. And that’s what you see. We get phone calls all the time from the NFL guys, from our players, they’ll tell us, ‘Hey, check this guy out.’ And sure enough, more often than not, they’re right (about a recruit).I can think of several recruiting situations over the last few years where guys called and said, ‘Hey, check this guy out.’ Sure enough, he’s a dude."

The involvement of the alums in the recruiting process for the Miami football program shows that the Hurricanes brotherhood extends beyond their time in Coral Gables. Any school can cite a list of the player(s) they send to the NFL. Getting those alums to work with recruits and current players helps in recruiting.

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Current players have a handle on what type of player can work best in a system. They know what it takes to succeed at Miami and in the NFL. The coaching staff has to focus on what they teach at the collegiate level. They don’t have time to evaluate the talent in the NFL. Having alums discuss the NFL gives recruits an insiders viewpoint.