It’s All About The ‘U’: My Day As A Miami Hurricanes Football Recruit
Someone once coined the phrase, “It’s all about the U,” and a tidal wave crashed down on college football like none other before, as it became the mantra for one of the most successful collegiate programs ever, defining the swagger that past and present Miami Hurricanes have carried themselves with since.
Now, imagine being a high school kid, considered to be one of the top recruits in the country and rolling into Coral Gables, Florida, where the University of Miami is situated among palm trees and flashy houses, with a campus that’s more country club than your standard university. You’re being treated like luxury, with stories told of the rich history of players like Ray Lewis, Michael Irvin, Andre Johnson, Warren Sapp, Ed Reed… should I keep going? Yeah, those are some gigantic names, not just form the college gridiron, but in the NFL, too, as those five have or will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The aura of each of those guys fills the hallways that you’re being walked through, with photos of and quotes from each plastered all over the walls of the Schwartz Center, otherwise known as the school’s premier football complex.
Now, I don’t know if that above scenario is too realistic for you or me, but, thanks to Adidas—who recently inked the Hurricanes athletics program to become the official merch and marketing brand for the school—I at least got the opportunity to live out what it would be like to be recruited by the Canes, with both the three-striped company and the school rolling out all the stops (and gear) to get me to sign on the dotted line.
It all began with a free trip to Miami courtesy of Adidas Football for the unveiling of the new Miami football uniforms, which, unquestionably, would be on fire in terms of both style and performance.
Putting me up in the Fontainebleau Miami Beach—otherwise known as the swankiest damn hotel I’ve ever stayed at—it was like rolling into a night club just walking into the lobby, with scantily-clad stunners walking around and hanging out in the bar, awaiting for the doors to the night club LIV to swing open.
Unfortunately, the party would have to wait on the first night, as a late dinner turned into some early shuteye after the cross-country trip—which was a good idea after seeing what the next day had in store.
The morning started with a trip to the U’s campus, filing into the aforementioned Schwartz Center as I was blinded by the glare off of the amount of trophies just chillin’ in the foyer. Included in some of those cases were two Heisman Trophies—Vinny Testaverde (1986) and Gino Torretta (1992)—and all five of the school’s national championship crystal balls, with the light making them glimmer enough that wearing shades inside is happily accepted at the U.
After a quick tour of the campus, it was time to head to the coaches locker room—which, even for actual Hurricane players, is off-limits—where I found my own locker, complete with nameplate above, and Adidas-Canes gear like cleats, running shoes and patented Climalite clothing awaiting me to rep.
Told that I was about to, “get my ass whipped into shape,” I had a personal training sesh with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Andreu Swasey, who made me go through the exact same drills he was doing a few days prior with a couple NFL guys by the names of Andre Johnson and Jimmy Graham, so, really, no big deal.
Believing I held my own, I took to the Canes’ practice field after Swasey wore my ass out, swooping my leg as if I could still kick a damn ball like I did back in high school and tossing around the pigskin like I was playing backyard football—except, this happened to be on a five-time national title-winning school’s facility.
I could keep going about how they wined and dined me for the next few hours—which included a tour of The Wynwood Walls, a tapas-filled lunch at the restaurant in the heart of art and, get this, a gift card that bought be more than just a few things at the Adidas store. I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what it’s always like to be part of the U?
More glitz and glam came at night, though, as a private party was held at LIV for the unveiling of the Canes’ new, Adidas football uniforms, with current coaches and former players finding their way to the festivity—which included a not-so-sober interaction with a former Hurricane who will remain unnamed to protect his Tinder-loving status.
As rapper Pusha T lit the house up with his performance and Sebastian the Ibis—the school’s mascot—hyped the audience, the new uni’s were dropped, showing off a sleek design that, might just be, one of the dopest in college football this season.
Drinks were flinging all night, conversations with old and new Hurricanes went down and, for a second, I understood why the hell it’s all about the U, baby—so when can my 30-year-old ass formally commit?