Ray Lewis III part of Miami’s signing class
For Ray Lewis III, going to Miami has been a safe assumption
since the day he was born.
His father – the newly retired Baltimore Ravens star linebacker
Ray Lewis – played for the Hurricanes. His mother went to Miami as
well. So when it came time for their son to pick a school, the
decision was easy.
Lewis III was one of 11 players to send letters of intent back
to Miami on Wednesday, joining a group of five more early enrollees
in a class that the Hurricanes think can make an immediate impact.
Other big additions for Miami included wide receiver Stacy Coley,
linebacker Jermaine Grace, safety Jamal Carter, defensive end
Al-Quadin Muhammad and quarterback Kevin Olsen, the brother of
another former Hurricane, NFL tight end Greg Olsen.
Lewis III sent his letter of intent in very early Wednesday,
then with his father at his side, went through a ceremonial signing
later in the day at his school, Lake Mary Prep near Orlando,
”I made a stand my junior year in college, the year he was
born, that it was time for me to go to the league,” said Ray
Lewis, who helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl on Sunday in his
last game. ”Now the year that he’s walking into college I’ve made
another stand that it’s time for me to leave the league. Him being
born has been a factor in entering the league and leaving the
Miami landed several of its top targets, even with the
incredibly long NCAA investigation into the school’s athletic
compliance practices still unresolved.
The NCAA was poised to send the Hurricanes their notice of
allegations a couple weeks ago – then, in a bizarre twist, ordered
an external inquiry into how its own investigators collected
information. At the center of that external probe is the NCAA’s
relationship with attorney Maria Elena Perez, who represented
convicted Ponzi scheme architect and whistle-blowing former booster
Perez has not divulged the nature of her contractual
relationship with the NCAA, and NCAA President Mark Emmert wants to
know why one existed. Shapiro is serving a 20-year prison term for
masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme, and the claims he made
in an article published by Yahoo Sports have hung precariously over
the program for more than two years.
”We’re not just fighting the opposition,” Miami coach Al
Golden said in a televised interview Wednesday. ”We’re fighting
the term `sanctions’ all the time. So it’s sanctions and the
opposition versus us.”
Once Miami receives its notice of allegations, then the sanction
process would begin. That could take several more months unless the
NCAA and the Hurricanes settle beforehand, something that would
appear to be possible given the college governing body’s own
acknowledgement that it botched parts of the Miami probe.
”The sanctions and some of those things, it didn’t change my
decision whether I wanted to go there or not but it was something I
thought about,” said Lewis III, who likely will be a defensive
back in college. ”It is unfortunate, but sometimes it’s got to get
worse before it gets better.”
The way Miami sees things, things got better Wednesday.
While the Hurricanes missed out on some blue-chip targets like a
pair of Miami Booker T. Washington High teammates in linebacker
Matthew Thomas (Florida State) and offensive lineman Denver
Kirkland (Arkansas), they did make some late splashes, including
Coley, a top-ranked player from talent-rich Broward County.
Many expected Coley to sign with Florida State. Instead, he
pulled out a cap with the word ”Swag” and done in Miami colors to
announce his decision.
Coley’s goal at Miami: ”Win a national championship.”
Running back Augustus Edwards of Tottenville High in Staten
Island, N.Y. was the day’s first commitment, his letter arriving by
fax right around 7:01 a.m., one minute after the allowed start
time. Edwards likely will be a short-yardage and blocking back at
Miami, a key need in the class.
Another big need was defensive linemen, and Miami added
junior-college player Ufomba Kamalu of Fayetteville, Ga., at that
spot. Two of Miami-Dade’s top prospects also signed with Miami, as
expected – defensive back Artie Burns of famed Miami Northwestern
High, and Carter, who played at Miami Southridge.
Grace had people guessing until late in the day, when he
announced his intention at Miramar High, the same school that
produced 2012 Miami signee Tracy Howard. Grace also said he wanted
to play alongside Miami safety Deon Bush, another South Florida
”My auntie, she’s in love with coach Golden,” Grace said.
”That’s a big reason why I came, too. He’s just a great guy. He’s
got a great spirit. He’s down to earth. That’s why I like
Ray Lewis, the now-former NFL star, has never hidden his
affinity for Miami, and said he was doubly proud – both as a father
and a former star `Cane – to watch his son finally put his name on
that coveted letter of intent on Wednesday.
”It’s almost overwhelming to try to understand what I’m feeling
as a father,” Lewis said. ”You have to keep your emotions in
because it’s the unreal part about it, that I walked two days from
retiring and winning a Super Bowl to walking in and seeing my son
following me to my alma mater. Who writes a storybook ending like