Miami football shouldn’t make same mistake twice with Alonzo Highsmith

Fullback Alonzo Highsmith of the Miami Hurricanes runs with the ball during a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Fullback Alonzo Highsmith of the Miami Hurricanes runs with the ball during a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. /

The Miami football program had a chance after the first season under Manny Diaz to bring in Alonzo Highsmith as analyst and it was turned down by recently fired athletic director Blake James. Miami booster Dan Lambert discussed the plan that was eventually squashed by James with the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson.

The opportunity to bring in Highsmith who is a former Miami football All-American and has over 20 years as an NFL Scout and executive would have been worth the attempt to see if it could have worked. Arizona State has somewhat changed the structure of their football program when they hired Herm Edwards as head coach.

Lambert told Jackson he felt that the reason Highsmith fell through in a potentially created role of Director of Football Operations fell through is that too many people in the administration (especially and likely James) did not want to look over their shoulders. With Highsmith that would have likely happened.

The comments from Lambert seem to indicate that James and others in the Miami Hurricanes athletic department were more concerned with their job security than the potential for hiring Highmsmith who has an extensive resume working in NFL front offices. “WPLG-ABC 10 reported that Diaz nixed the idea of hiring Highsmith.”

"“I said I have a simple question for you: ’If you did not have the budgetary concerns that we always hear as excuses and you had the money available to do something big…what would you do? Before you answer, know that the people across this table are willing to make a commitment.If what you say excites us, we’ll come back with the money you’re asking for.’ I asked [James], ‘What would you do?’ His answer was ‘I’ll probably hire a couple more analysts and improve the locker room.’ I said, ‘Come on, seriously! It was a serious question. Give me a serious answer.’ He said ‘that’s my answer.’Whatever you call it — director of football operations, senior athletic director in charge of football. Why don’t you bring in Alonzo [expletive] Highsmith? This guy has a resume a mile [expletive] long? This guy has forgotten things you’ll never know and I’ll never know. Why don’t you bring him in? I’ll pay for him.’”"

Jackson reported that Highsmith and James declined to comment on the potential hiring. Highsmith has reportedly been approached by multiple Power Five schools about high-level jobs in their football programs according to Jackson. Highsmith is backed by some Miami Board of Trustees per Jackson.

The problem with the Miami football program has been a lack of development more than signing talent. Miami has the 13th most talented roster in college football according to the 247 Sports composite ratings. The Hurricanes missed on the 2018 class that was ranked eighth nationally.

Next. Miami football issues are development not lack of talent. dark

Having someone like Highsmith on the staff would give Miami an elite talent evaluator to minimize missing on potential recruits. Miami has had several signees who ranked high on the 247 Sports composite ratings who have missed. The new structure for the Miami football program would benefit from Highsmith on the staff.