OXFORD, OH - After taking punches during a disappointing 2-10 football season in 2008, the Miami RedHawks may be 24 steps closer to dishing out some punishment themselves.
Haywood discusses Miami's recruiting class / Photo: Mike Smith
New coach Mike Haywood had two related themes Wednesday as he discussed Miamis signees on National Letter of Intent Day. First, Haywood is looking for tough, physical players. Second, games are won in the trenches.
There is a culture change in the entire football organization, Haywood said after a gathering at the schools Walter L. Gross Jr. Center.
Miami signed a total of 24 players, closing out a whirlwind recruiting effort by Haywood and his new staff. Ive stayed in a hotel since the 19th of December, except for two nights I spent in South Bend said Haywood, a former Notre Dame assistant.
Haywoods experience and connections not only helped him quickly assemble a coaching staff, it also facilitated the recruiting process. In the three weeks we had to recruit, our assistants went out on the road, primarily concentrating in Ohio, and I think they did a tremendous job, Haywood said.
Half of the recruits are from Ohio. The remaining signees come from Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Indiana, Louisiana and Georgia. According to Haywood, it wont be the last time Miami plucks players from those states. He plans on establishing recruiting bases in a number of the areas.
The incoming group includes fourteen defensive players and 10 on the offensive side. Overall, its a solid class with some really good football players, Haywood said.
One of the areas to receive special focus was along the lines.
As we looked at the board and evaluated the talent on the team, we realized we didnt have the numbers we desired with offensive and defensive lineman, Haywood said.
Noting his squad has just eight linemen currently on scholarship, he said the goal is to have 15 scholarship linemen available every year.
Football games are won in the trenches, said Haywood, who is bringing in a pro-style offense. People that are able to run the football and protect the quarterback and have a passing game are able to win football games.
Among the linemen committing to the RedHawks Wednesday was John Anevski (6-3, 280, Elder H.S., Cincinnati), a player who seems to fit Haywoods formula for success. Recalling a conversation he had with a former teammate of Anevski, Haywood said the teammate told him, Coach, he is a pit bull in a dog fight. He never stops. You will love him. He is relentless.
Another incoming offensive lineman is Josh Harvey (6-5, 345, Hickman H.S., Columbia, MO.) Harvey, who will major in math, was an all-state selection as a senior and managed a 58-foot shot throw while competing in track.
Among the defensive linemen headed to Oxford are two players from Houston, Texas. Joseph Jo-Jo Williams (6-2, 280) and Wes Williams (no relation) (6-3, 230). Both played D-line for Strake Jesuit.
Jo-Jo decommitted from UConn and will be a fine player for Miami. Haywood said.
Wes Williams was invited to play in the Bayou Bowl (Texas vs. Louisiana) and is a starting forward for the Strake Jesuit basketball team, which is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in Texas (No. 12 nationally).
While the Williams are not related, the Bouchers most certainly are. Austin and Collin are twins, with Collin being 23 minutes older than his sibiling.
Austin, a 6-1, 205 quarterback, guided Kettering Alter to a perfect 30-0 regular season record over three years and also helped Alter win the 2008 Ohio Division IV crown. He turned down an offer from Ohio State to become a RedHawk.
One of the first things you notice is that he does a nice job at reading his coverages, Haywood said. There are very few throws, if any, that he cant make. He has a lot of zip on the football.
Miami has two returning quarterbacks with starting experiences Senior Daniel Radabaugh and junior Clay Belton. Zac Dysert, who redshirted last season, will also be in the mix of an interesting competition for the starting position.
For that matter, there could be many interesting battles once spring practice begins in March. There is no one that really has a position on this team, Haywood emphasized while promising open competition regardless of grade or experience. It is wide open for every position.