Miami Hurricanes head coach Kevin Ollie has spent the offseason working to improve his recruiting rankings, which he shared with me this week.
Ollies first recruiting priority was to improve the defensive recruiting class, which ranked 20th nationally last season.
Miami currently has a recruiting class of just four returning players, with the team’s class ranking 10th in the country.
“We want to make sure we’re getting the best of the best and have the best chance of making it to the Big 12 championship game,” Ollio said.
“The only way we can make it is if we’re recruiting well.
The other thing that we want to do is recruit the right talent.”
Olls goal is to recruit at the highest levels of the Big East and Big Ten conferences.
“If we recruit well, the people in those conferences will follow us,” Olliks stated.
“And that’s the biggest thing.
It’s the fans, it’s the players, it was the coaches that did that for us.”
With Miami ranked in the top 25 in the Big Ten, Olliets goal this year is to get Miami to the title game and get its team to a bowl game.
“What we want is to win the Big Dance,” Ollo said.
“[We want] to be the best team in the conference.
We want to win every game.
We have a lot of good players, so we have a good opportunity to make it.”
Miami also needs to find a way to overcome an injury to senior linebacker Jaylon Smith, who tore his ACL in November.
The Hurricanes will need to find an answer for Smith, whose injury has been a major concern for the Hurricanes since they entered the league.
Olli said Smith’s injury is not a concern for his team, but he is “still looking into that.”
“We have to get him back, but at the same time we have to figure out how we’re going to do it,” Olla said.
Ollies team also needs a healthy starting quarterback, but Olliot has been very pleased with sophomore quarterback Mike Leach, who has been playing well.
“I’m pleased with the performance of the quarterback position,” OLLI said.
Leach is averaging over 24 points per game this season and has thrown for 4,532 yards and 30 touchdowns.
He has completed 60.7 percent of his passes, while also completing 62.1 percent of passes against the run and has rushed for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Hurricanes’ offense will be led by sophomore tight end Johnnie Clark, who is averaging 14.8 yards per reception this season.
Clark, a four-star recruit, is also a standout linebacker in the state of Florida and will be an immediate upgrade over his former teammate, Deandre Harris.
“He’s a dynamic player,” Oello said of Clark.
“His physical ability and his skill set is phenomenal.”
Miami also has a solid backfield, led by senior tailback Mike Davis, who led the nation with 1,082 rushing yards last season and also rushed for 2,531 yards and 22 touchdowns.
Davis also caught 62 passes for 1,052 yards and four touchdowns last season, as well as catching six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown.
With tight end Jordan Payton also returning, the team has three returning starters on the offensive line, including senior right tackle Andrew Jones.
Jones, a three-star prospect, had three career starts at left tackle last season with the Hurricanes.
In addition to the return of all of their key players from last season’s squad, the Hurricanes have added four recruits to the 2016 recruiting class: defensive end David Williams, safety D.J. McWilliams, and wide receiver Christian Jones.
The new recruiting class should help the Hurricanes win some games against other teams, including the defending Big Ten champions Wisconsin Badgers, which is coming off a victory against Miami last week.
For the season, Miami has a 6-6 record, including a 3-2 mark against Big Ten opponents.
“This team is going to be one of the most improved units in the league,” Orell said.