Thursday, September 11, 2008 11:41am
August 25, 2003
- The Hurricanes lost four players from their latest top-five recruiting effort, including at least one prep All-American who was denied admission to the university despite meeting NCAA minimum eligibility standards. The academic casualties included three local signees: Miami Central linebacker Ali Highsmith, Miami Carol City defensive end Eric Moncur and Miami Northwestern linebacker Leo Waiters. A fourth prospect who failed to enroll offered the most interesting and unusual story, because his case showed that the Hurricanes are not going to lower their admissions standards to the NCAA's new (reduced) minimums, as many of their competitors do on a regular basis. Nate Robinson, a 6-5, 305-pound defensive tackle from New Jersey considered one of the jewels of the class, would have been considered a partial qualifier under the NCAA's old eligibility rules. As a member of the Big East, the Hurricanes did not admit any partial qualifiers or non-qualifiers, even though the rules in that league have no prohibition against either. The ACC limited its programs to one partial per year (under the old rules) and continues to prohibit non-qualifiers. Under the NCAA's new (and more flexible) eligibility standards, in place for the first time this year, there is no such thing as a partial qualifier. Prospects with SAT scores under 820 and/or ACT scores under 17 the minimums to be a full qualifier under the old rules can achieve full qualifying status as long as they have a higher GPA to go with it. The lower the SAT score, the higher the required GPA to be a qualifier. Robinson, who said he had a 2.9 GPA and an 800 SAT score, automatically received approval from the NCAA Clearinghouse under the terms of its new sliding scale. Nevertheless, he said he was told by Miami officials that the school was going to continue with its 820 SAT limit as a matter of university and athletic department policy. The Hurricanes asked him to sit out the fall semester and re-take the SAT in an attempt to attain the score he needed to get into UM, but Robinson wanted to play right away and had plenty of suitors knocking at his door. He soon enrolled at home-state Rutgers, where he is eligible to play this fall. He also considered North Carolina.
- The good far outweighs the bad when you're a perennial national title contender, but one of the few negatives is the extremely difficult task of keeping everybody happy. Most prep All-Americans tend to think they have NFL potential, and when they find themselves stockpiled behind other prep All-Americans a year or two into their college careers, they're much more likely to look for the transfer door than the typical prep signee. Miami learned this difficult lesson yet again during preseason drills, when third-string quarterback Marc Guillon shocked (Larry Coker's word) the coaching staff by leaving the team and announcing his intention to transfer to another program immediately in search of playing time. The odd man out during and after the heated spring battle between Brock Berlin and Derrick Crudup, Guillon left the program in the undesirable position of having only two ready-to-go quarterbacks on the entire roster. The Hurricanes all along planned to redshirt prep All-American Kyle Wright, who enrolled in January and looked very good during spring practice. Now Wright, who by most accounts has the most promising long-term future of the bunch, suddenly finds himself one injury away from the two-deep. Ironically, should Berlin and Crudup struggle this season, Miami fans ultimately may classify the unexpected departure of Guillon as very good news.