OXFORD, OH - There was a whole lot of signing related to Miami football Wednesday. Head coach Mike Haywood did most of it as he signed his way through about 1400 letters going out to former Miami players who he hopes will continue to be a part of MU's gridiron program. Earlier in the day, Haywood was on the receiving end of signatures as he and his staff received signed National Letter of Intent forms from 23 high school players who will soon be part of the future of RedHawks football.
Athletes from 11 states were represented in the group, with seven coming from Texas. Six of those seven were from the Houston area.
The RedHawks also picked up a total of six players (two each) from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. Three players were from Ohio, while another hailed from Highlands High School in Northern Kentucky.
Haywood said that while Ohio is still the "primary" recruiting area for Miami, team needs and a number of "relationships" in other parts of the country shaped this year's class.
"What we were fortunte enough to do, because of relationships, is to go into Houston, Texas and sign six really good football players that are ACC, Big Ten-type players. We were (also) fortunate enough to go into San Antonio and get that seventh (Texas) player."
Technically, it is the second recruiting class for Haywood, who took over the RedHawks reigns after the departure of Shane Montgomery following the final game of 2008. However, the 2009 recruiting class was a mixture of Montgomery recruits and athletes Haywood's staff mustered.
This year's recruiting class clearly aligns with the needs Haywood outlined at the close of last season. Chief among those needs was speed.
"Our objective was speed," Haywood said. "We've gone out and recruited players, especially in the skill positions, that have great speed. Some of the players are as fast as 4.29. From 4.29 to 4.45 - there may be 7-8 players in that range."
Among the speedy offensive threats is Orne Bey from Monroeville, PA. Although he is listed at 5-8, 170 pounds, he can bench over 350 pounds and has the speed to "make the big run." Haywood said Bey could play running back on be used as a slot receiver.
Willie Culpepper (5-9, 175) out of San Antonio, TX also has the speed to be a "gamebreaker any time he touches the ball," according to Haywood. He ran for 1,812 yards on 186 attempts (9.74 ypc) and 21 touchdowns in high school.
Haywood indicated getting runners who could "make it around the corner" was one of the team's recruiting goals.
Another area in need of speed was the secondary, and six members of the new class are defensive backs.
"We really had a dire need for corners, especially with all the spread offenses we face in this league," Haywood said. "We felt we needed more cover guys. We recruited guys that had great speed, but at the same time were physical."
In addition to the defensive backs, MU received commitments from four defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, three running backs, a pair of wide receivers, a running back/wide receiver, a quarterback, a tight end and a placekicker.
Robert Partridge (6-1, 192)out of Washington H.S. in Massillon, OH. fits the prototype that Haywood likes in a quarterback. He is a dual threat who can hurt an opponent with the pass or a run. "He does a nice job of sitting in the pocket. He has done a really good job of improving from a junior to a seniorof reading coverages and understanding where to go with the ball," Haywood said. "When the play breaks down, he has the athletic ability and speed to be elusive and make big plays."
Jeff Tanner (6-3, 265) out of Moeller High School in Cincinnati is part of a this year's offensive line group, a key part of Haywood's offensive philosophies. Haywood noted Tanner had committed to Wake Forest before changing his mind and opting for Miami. "He's an outstanding athlete and another physical offensive lineman with great size and initial quickness. He does a great job of finishing blocks and he plays until the whistle blows," Haywood said.
Mwanza Wamalumba (6-3, 240) is originally from the Congo in Africa, but he was a second-team all-state player in Maryland. "We'll get him bigger and stronger in his upper body," said Haywood, who was very impressed with Wamalumba's 4.5 speed and ability to make plays around the field.
In addition to the 23 high school seniors who signed, Miami is also acquiring the services of four transfers who will be eligible this season.
Among the transfers is Vince Helmuth, a huge (275-pound fullback) who was formerly in the University of Michigan program. Haywood hopes Helmuth and an improved, deeper line will be able to help the RedHawks fare better in the redzone.
Linebacker C. J. Marck comes to the RedHawks via UConn and joins his brother Steve Marck, a tight end who came to Oxford last year. Jordan Padgett, a safety played high school ball in Georgia, while defensive end Jason Simms was in the Iowa program.
Asked if Miami's recent records - one Division I win in each of the last two years - affected recruiting, Haywood said only in that athletes saw opportunity.
"We need to make immediate changes," said Haywood, who has already demonstrated a willingness to use freshmen. A total of 11 freshmen were in starting positions for Miami's final game of 2009.
In addition to announcing NLI signings, Miami also announced the promotion of coaches Morris Watts and J.D. Vonderheide, as well as the addition of Alex Wood. Watts, who handled quarterbacks in 2009, is assuming duties as offensive coordinator.
DT 6-1 285
Houston, Texas (Eisenhower HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Delvin Becks is defensive tackle out of Houston Eisenhower. He's an extremely powerful young man, explosive. He gets off the ball well and uses his hands. He plays with a lot of passion and emotion."
Becks played with fellow 2010 signee Allen Veazie at Eisenhower High.
RB/WR 5-8 170
Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Orne Bey is from Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa. He's extremely strong for his size, over a 350 bench guy with outstanding speed, exceptional quickness, and has turnover speed to make the big run. We'll be able to play him at running back and wide receiver because of his athletic ability and hand-eye coordination."
As a two-way player, Bey had 95 carries his senior year for 817 yards (8.6 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns, while hauling in three passes for 143 yards, two of which went for scores. On defense, he recorded 18 tackles while defending four passes and recovering a fumble. Rivals.com named Bey one of five "Super Sleepers" in the class of 2010 (nationwide). He also earned First-Team All-Defense at the U.S. Army All-America Combine.
RB 5-9 175
San Antonio, Texas (Brackenridge HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "When you talk about speed, you think of Willie Culpepper. He's a gamebreaker anytime he touches the ball. He's got tremendous turnover speed and does a great job of running with his eyes. In the spread offense, he will be outstanding in the backfield."
Culpepper was an All-4A District 28 First-Team selection as a senior, when he ran for 1,812 yards on just 186 attempts (9.74 yards per carry) and a whopping 21 touchdowns.
OL 6-4 305
North Bethesda, Md. (Georgetown Prep)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Green's a big offensive lineman out of North Bethesda, Maryland. He's an extremely powerful guy playing guard. He comes off the ball really well and he's going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Mid-American Conference."
Green's uncle is former Dallas Cowboys running back Doug Dennison.
RB 6-0 189
Chicago, Ill. (Mount Carmel HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Milton Greer is a good-sized back, 6-foot, 189. He runs with a lot of power, has breakaway speed and has great vision."
Greer is ranked as the 174th-best running back in the class nationally by Scout.com. He ran for 2,215 yards and 34 touchdowns his last two years. As a senior, Greer racked up 1,082 yards on the ground with 15 scores while returning 16 kickoffs for 346 yards, running one back for a touchdown. He also saw some time on the defensive side, making 22 tackles and recording an interception as a defensive back. The Chicago native also received offers from Minnesota and Western Michigan.
OL 6-5 286
Fort Thomas, Ky. (Highlands HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Tyler Grubbs is a Second-Team All-American out of Fort Thomas, Ky. He's an athletic young man that runs well. He's a really good basketball player because he can get up and down the court so well. He has a lot of athletic ability with good feet and is a powerful guy playing tackle."
Grubbs was often the lead blocker for a Highlands offense that ran for 3,865 yards his senior year and totaled over 6,000 yards on offense, while scoring 597 points. He helped pave the way for six Highlands running backs that had at least 250 rushing yards. Grubbs helped lead the Bluebirds to a Class 5-A state title in 2009 and was part of a senior class that went undefeated as freshmen and went 44-1 over the next three years.
WR 6-1 175
Missouri City, Texas (Elkins HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Harwell's got really good speed. He's a young man that came to us mid-semester from the Air Force Prep. Academy. He's a more mature football player because of his age and being at the military academy. He runs really good routes and has turnover speed to make the big play. He has great hand-eye coordination and is a physical blocker."
Harwell attended Air Force Prep in the fall and is currently enrolled at Miami after coming to Oxford starting with the second semester. As a junior (2007) at Elkins High School, he grabbed 36 balls for 490 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.
DE/LB 6-3 240
Missouri City, Texas (Hightower HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Jackson played mostly offensive tackle his senior year. He attended some of the Notre Dame camps and played defensive end, that's how we really noticed him as an athlete--other than him being my cousin. He plays really physical and has good athletic ability for a big man. We're looking for some good things out of him."
After finishing at Hightower High School, Jackson, who is a cousin of Coach Haywood's, attended a naval prep school before enrolling at Miami, where he takes classes currently.
PK 6-3 185
Shelby Township, Mich. (Eisenhower HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Mason has a really strong leg. The most impressive thing is that he's kicked off the ground [instead of using a tee] in high school, so there won't be a major transition to the college level. He's a very accurate field goal kicker with a big leg. He [didn't use a tee] because he was preparing himself to play in college."
Krysinski went 9-for-11 on field goals and 34-for-36 on PATs as a senior in 11 games. He also kicked off for 38 touchbacks and landed six of his 33 punts inside the 10-yard line. He was named first-team all-state and selected to the Michigan Academic All-State Team. Krysinski was also chosen to participate in the annual East/West All-Star Game in Michigan and is ranked as the No. 22 kicker in the nation.
DB 5-8 161
Monroeville, Pa. (Gateway HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Same High School as Orne Bey. He's a physical hitter who really plays well, a good cover man with really good speed."
Nunley played in all three phases of the game at Gateway High as a senior, recording 79 tackles with four interceptions for 113 yards while defending a total of eight passes. He also forced and recovered a fumble as a defensive back. On offense, Nunley caught 19 balls for 307 yards with three scores and also ran 20 times for 153 yards and four touchdowns. On special teams, he gained 221 yards on eight kickoffs, taking one back for a score.
QB 6-1 192
Massillon, Ohio (Washington HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "An athletic quarterback who's extremely talented and elusive. He does a nice job sitting in the pocket. He has done a really good job of improving from a junior to a senior of reading coverages and understanding where to go with the ball. And when the play breaks down, he has the athletic ability and the speed to be elusive and make big plays."
Partridge was named All-Ohio as a senior, throwing for 2,631 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final year at Washington High. He is ranked as the 92nd-best player in the state of Ohio for the 2010 recruiting class.
WR 5-10 166
St. Louis, Mo. (Hazelwood East HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "He initially signed with Iowa and played three games at Iowa as a freshman before attending a JC. He ran a 10.4 100 in high school. He's got really good balance and body control and runs really nice routes. He's an exceptional deep ball guy. And I think the most impressive thing about him is his maturity and the maturity he will bring to this receiving corp."
Paine, who originally signed with Iowa in 2008, will have two years of eligibility remaining when he joins the RedHawks, after playing at Iowa Central Community College. He was ranked as the 42nd-best cornerback in the 2008 class by Scout.com, but will play on the offensive side of the ball for Miami.
DB 5-8 153
Spring, Texas (Klein Oak HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Trey was on the national 4x200-meter relay team and 4x100-meter relay team. He has tremendous speed and does a really good job in man-to-man coverage. He comes up and makes solid tackles."
As a senior, Payne made 55 tackles while picking off six passes and defending three more. He also forced and recovered a fumble. On special teams, Payne returned three kickoffs for 110 yards, taking one back for a touchdown.
DB 5-8 140
Woodbridge, Va. (Woodbridge HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "I had an opportunity to see him as a junior because of the recruitment of Austin Brown. While I was watching Austin Brown on tape, I said `who is that guy?' And he ended up getting hurt his senior year and didn't get to play that much, but he has tremendous speed and good coverage ability. He does a nice job of judging the deep ball and going up and getting it. He can plant on the dime and make great things happen. He has great hand-eye coordination."
Quarles was a first-team all-district selection, as he recorded six interceptions his junior year. He also played some offense as a junior, catching 10 passes, half of which were touchdowns. Quarles also considered Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina and Connecticut.
DT 6-3 280
Cleveland, Ohio (South HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "We recruited John a year ago, but due to academics he wasn't able to get in school. A special program here allowed him to come to school. He did a tremendous job with school here his first semester. He made the University proud. John is a big defensive lineman who has really worked hard in the weight room. He has gotten a lot bigger and stronger and his initial quickness has gotten a lot better. John Steele will be a success story here at Miami."
Steele, who has been attending classes this past year at Miami while improving his grades, was a team captain his senior year on the football, basketball and track teams. He earned his high school's MVP award for lineman as a junior and senior, while also earning all-city, all-county, all-district and all-state honors as a junior and senior. As a senior in high school, he recorded 69 tackles--10 for a loss, including nine sacks--while forcing a pair of fumbles.
OL 6-3 275
Columbus, Ohio (St. Charles Prep)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Justin is a physical player who will be lining up at the guard position. Justin counts his success by the number of flat-backs he gets. He's extremely powerful with good lower body explosion. He uses his hands well and finishes plays, dominating the line of scrimmage."
Stumph is ranked as the 70th-best guard nationally by Scout.com and the 69th-best player overall in Ohio, while also performing in the classroom with a 4.0 GPA. He won his team's Most Efficient Offensive Lineman award as a junior, when he also earned all-district honorable mention. Stumph maxed out in the bench press at 365 pounds and has a 28-inch vertical leap. He is a member of the National Honor Society and also received offers from Louisville and Northwestern, among other schools.
OL 6-3 265
Cincinnati, Ohio (Moeller HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Jeff came to us during the summer, then went to Wake Forest and committed there. After his official visit, he decided it wasn't for him and decided to come to Miami and we are extremely happy. He's an outstanding athlete and another physical offensive lineman with great size and initial quickness. He does a great job of finishing blocks and he plays until the whistle blows."
Tanner, who had an offer from Wake Forest, is rated the 90th-best guard in the 2010 class by ESPN and the 79th-best player in the state of Ohio. He has a max bench press of 300 pounds and a max squat of 440 pounds.
DB 6-0 180
Springfield, Va. (Lee HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "He's a safety with 4.5 speed, who's a physical hitter and he comes out of nowhere like a flash. The first time I saw him on tape I said `you sure this isn't the Pittsburgh Steelers tape, looking like Polomalu?' Because he is a physical downhill football player with great initial quickness. He is also an extremely smart young man with outstanding ACT tests. We're going to put him in position like a lot of the other guys and try to get him to play early."
As a senior, Taylor made 64 tackles and had three interceptions, earning first-team all-district and all-region, as well as second-team all-state. As a junior, he recorded 47 tackles and a pair of picks. His high school coach, Rob Everett, says Taylor's work ethic and commitment to improving his game in "unrivaled" and separates him from most other players.
DB 5-11 165
Houston, Texas (Eisenhower HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "As a junior he was a 48-second quarter-miler. He has really good speed. Allen was committed to Minnesota and he decided that because of academics, it would be better for him to come to Miami. He made a good decision for us and a good decision for him and his future. He's a great man to man cover guy with good size. He will come up and hit you."
Veazie is rated a three-star cornerback by Rivals.com and earned a grade of 75 by ESPN, who ranked him as the 61st-best corner in the class. He played with fellow 2010 signee Delvin Becks at Eisenhower High. Veazie also received an offer from Minnesota.
DE 6-3 240
Fort Meade, Md. (Meade HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "He is a 4.5 defensive end. When you watch his highlight tape you'll get excited because he is a young man who can come off the ball, provide pressure and he plays with tenacity and finishes every play that he starts. He has great lower body strength. We'll get him bigger and stronger in his upper body. He's an outstanding football player and we're looking for some great things out of him."
Wamulumba was named Big School All-Maryland by ESPN at defensive end, earning second-team all-state honors as a senior, after logging 87 tackles, including 13 sacks. He was named first-team all-county as a senior, as well. Wamulumba is also a state champion in wrestling.
TE 6-3 230
Lake Charles, La. (Barbe HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "White's a young man that can stretch the field for us because of his athletic ability and his speed. He has great hand-eye coordination and when you come out of Barbe High School, the number one thing you're going to be is physical because they teach physicality at that institution and he's a physical football player. Either he's going to play the Y or the H and we'll move him around. One thing you can guarantee is he's going to be assignment competent and a physical player."
DB 5-9 160
Cooper City, Fla. (Cooper City HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "We had the opportunity to get him in camp at Notre Dame. We were fortunate to beat some Big Ten and some ACC schools to get him. He's a young man who has great speed and hand-eye coordination. He does a nice job in seeing the deep ball and does a great job changing direction. He's extremely smooth and a physical hitter."
Williams, who also received offers from Clemson, Michigan, Syracuse and Wake Forest, recorded 43 tackles and five interceptions as a junior, when he also snagged 15 receptions for 425 yards and six touchdowns as a wide receiver.
RB 5-10 208
Galena Park, Texas (North Shore HS)
Coach Haywood's Comments: "Woods is one of those downhill, physical runners. He's able to break tackles at the line of scrimmage and then he has the speed to take it the distance."
As a senior, Woods carried the ball 105 times for 658 yards with five touchdowns, while not fumbling once. He also caught 32 passes for 284 yards and a touchdown.