“The party girls were far better than the farm girls we see on campus all day. All Auburn had to offer was the funny-talking farm girls.” But the girls at the party weren’t farm girls, I thought they must have been bused in from Miami.”
~ Willie Williams, former five-star recruit, University of Miami player, and America’s first “celebrity” recruit, on a recruiting visit in Auburn.
With the advent of social media and the start of sanctioned name, image, and likeness (NIL) endorsements, many of college football’s elite contenders are celebrity recruits in 2023.
This weekend, a photo surfaced of University of Miami’s top celebrity “Commit” Komani McClain visiting Coach Prime in Colorado.
In summary, McClain was a consensus 5-star recruit and would be the highest-rated DB ever recruited to the University of Miami. He is a generational talent. The Lakeland star surprisingly committed to Miami with the University of Florida and Alabama last November. But early national signing dates came and went, and McLain was the only one who refused to fax the Hurricane letter of intent. The pending decision came as a shock to everyone (Lakeland staff had prepared a celebratory Miami-themed cake at the school’s signing ceremony). After all, signing day won’t be the last time McClane will leave Miami hanging out…
Now that McLain has ghosted in Miami for the second time, is Cristobal’s egg on his face a reflection of Miami’s coaching staff, or the prima donna milking his celebrity recruits every drop of attention? A teenager? Does it matter?
We’ll be back in McClane soon, but let’s focus on Gainesville. Miami isn’t the only program in the state in danger of losing a top-rated recruit, headlining his 2023 recruit class for the Gators and his five-star QB prospect at the borderline. One he Jaden Rashada requested his release from the LOI. Kanes fans may recall that he moved to Miami last summer before Rashada turned to the University of Florida.
Rashada’s situation appears to be purely about NIL money. NCAA regulations prohibit the school from procuring, negotiating or facilitating her NIL deals. However, under the guise of educating student-athletes, educational institutions may offer services such as tax and branding advice, but only if those services are also available to the general student population. It’s a fuzzy area that’s further complicated by vastly different state laws on the subject.
Underneath this complex and ever-changing NIL rubric has arisen a vast number of NIL programs, centers or groups affiliated with particular schools. With UF becoming Gator Collective, the self-proclaimed “Proud Sponsor of the Florida Gators” is on a mission to provide UF athletes with his NIL compensation. Orlando Sentinel reported that Rashada signed her NIL contract worth $13 million with her Gator Collective, but Sentinel said it turned out to be a bad check that Rashada was unable to cash. also reported. Rashada gave her UF every chance to serve the bargaining objectives, withdrawing it when it became clear that the Gator Collective could not spit out the dough.
To its credit, Miami has been a strong contender on the front lines of the NIL. Leading the way is Megabooster John Lewis, who reportedly signed over 100 UM athletes to $7 million NIL-guaranteed contracts. It was claimed to have awarded Rashada a $9.5 million NIL contract, but at the time the Florida Collective was offering $11 million. Seemingly persuaded to turn to UF, Rashada declined when he failed to meet his payments.
Incidentally, to put those numbers in perspective, Brock Purdy, the undefeated starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers, is on a four-year, $3.7 million rookie deal. Let it marinate.
So while Miami’s 2023 recruiting class is an objective success without McClane and Rashada, each story presents a unique challenge in recruiting today’s elite athletes. This is not a reference to his 3- or 4-star players who make up the backbone of about 15-20 in a particular recruiting class. This is about elite players who can put their recruiting class into the top 5 rankings. These are the players who make up about half of the starters in Alabama, Georgia, and Ohio, who have been in the playoffs for many years.
Many of these elite players like McClain and Rashada have come to treat their college years as a celebrity business, and that’s the reality. Rashada got more money. McClane, whose nickname is literally “Money,” is clearly drawn to the coach’s prime brilliance. no matter. McClain already seems like he’s taking a page out of Deion’s playbook. Dion hired a camera crew to follow him at Jackson State University, which led to his documentary series Coach Prime on Amazon Prime. There are now reports of a film crew following McClane around Boulder. Perhaps it’s Amazon for season 2 of Coach Prime, or maybe this is the signing date that McClane didn’t sign because the video wasn’t ready as it looks like the video was still being filmed. Adds credibility to the theory.
Some Hurricane fans pay tribute to the 17-year-old celebrity. “Mario needs to focus on the right people who fit in the right culture,” he said. “All we’re looking for is Miami players, not necessarily the best players.”
Do you know who has that attitude? Program coaches and fans who can’t get their hands on the best man. Sonny Dykes gets the right guys, Nick Saban and Kirby Smart get the best guys. Once they’re in the program, you mold them into your peers or show them the door. If a highly recruited junior doesn’t hold the end of the bargain in the field, show him a transfer portal, as there are multiple highly rated underclassmen eager to step up behind him.
This is Cristobal’s strength. He walks players to the door and hands them over to a highly paid coaching staff stocked with future and former head coaches. In that regard, Miami at least seems to be cleaning up the house a bit on the offensive side of the coaching staff, with rumors circulating that QB coach Frank his Ponce is back in Appalachia and he’s not the only one left. .
As disappointing as last season was, the offseason has shown that this coaching staff can attract elite talent.The last Miami coach to attract multiple elite players was Randy Shannon. But he was fortunate enough to have a historically talented Miami Northwest team in his backyard. The last coach to truly recruit as well as Cristobal was Butch Davis. It worked pretty well.
Miami has booster support with enough NIL money to target elite players. Cristobal also has the added advantage of having Miami on the market. Miami is a marketplace that athletes can use as a platform to accelerate brand exposure. Take UM’s twin basketball sensations, Hannah and Hayley Kavinder, for example. They chose to move from Fresno State to Miami. This is undoubtedly to expand his social media platform, which has a staggering 4.1 million Tik Tok followers and earns him nearly $2 million in NIL payouts.
Haley and Hanna Cavinder have 4.1 million TikTok followers and earn $1.7 million in NIL. But the twin Miami seniors, who have an “asshole” who doesn’t think they take basketball seriously, just want to wrap up their careers with a trip to the NCAA Tournament.https://t.co/U6Mx1gXuK3
— ESPN Women’s Hoop (@ESPN_WomenHoop) November 2, 2022
Don’t hate celebrity players, hate celebrity games. If LeBron James could leave his hometown to play in Los Angeles and film Space Jam 2, a prominent college athlete could play wherever he wanted. and negotiate with anyone you like to gain their support. The harsh reality is that celebrity college athletes are proliferating. Fortunately, Miami is a celebrity destination and has the resources to reward star student-athletes.
“After dinner, we went back to Roll’s apartment and played video games for a few hours. rice field. There was Warren Sapp, Clinton Portis, Jevon Curse and a bunch of really hot girls. We didn’t last long. After that, I went back to the hotel and slept. “
~ Willie Williams on a recruitment visit in Miami.