During the 2012 draft, the Dolphins decided to tap the South Florida pipeline, selecting University of Miami teammates Olivier Vernon and Lamar Miller, both of whom grew up in Miami.
Hurricanes head coach Al Golden recently joined The Finsiders to talk about Vernon and Miller and his team’s prospects heading into the 2012 season.
Though he only coached Vernon and Miller for one season, Golden clearly came away impressed with the pair.
“When you get into the 13 and 14 years (down the road), I think the Miami Dolphins and Jeff Ireland will look back and say they got three first-rounders in this draft,” Golden said. “I really believe that. Both guys are really developing, they’re incredible players, incredibly talented. I think they’re only going to get better; they’ve got so much in front of them right now.”
Prior to April’s draft, it had been nearly a decade since the Dolphins had selected a Hurricane–offensive tackle Vernon Carey in 2004. Many wondered, especially with so many Hurricanes thriving for the better part of the last decade, why the local NFL franchise had bypassed what could potentially be a de facto feeder system.
You, of course, don’t want to draft a local player for the sake of drafting one, but if a Hurricane succeeds with the Dolphins, it can be a big boost for both teams.
Golden feels that the reach of the mutually beneficial relationship extends past those who are directly involved, also affecting what he referred to as one of the “meccas” of high school football.
“It’s vital that we have that relationship,” Golden said. “It’s not just about the Dolphins or about the Hurricanes; it’s about the vitality of football in South Florida and making sure that stays strong and that the next generation can continue to grow and be just as good as the previous generations have been.
“I know these things go in cycles, and I know both the Dolphins and the Hurricanes are going to be back here very soon.”
Recruiting top-end talent can be both a blessing and a curse for a college coach. Sure, in the moment, it’s a necessity. To compete with the other powerhouse programs, you need to bring in potential pro prospects. If too many players begin to leave early, however, it can hurt continuity, forcing coaches to lean on freshmen and sophomores.
In a sense, though, it all ends up coming back full circle. Young players want to go to schools that churn out NFL players, and historically, arguably nobody has done that better than the University of Miami.
“Once a kid makes a decision, they have our support,” Golden said. “These two young men, I think Dolphins fans are going to be really excited about moving forward. Not just how they play but how they conduct themselves in the community. I think incredible value for the franchise in rounds three and four. From what I hear, management feels the same way.”