Grade Hurricanes' 2012 football recruiting class (with poll); plus Angelo Dundee, Super Blog Thursday (pray for Tommy), Matt Moore, LeBron, Cats & more
[1) Happy Groundhog Day! Although it was sad to hear about Punxsutawney Phil (pictured) being run over by that 18-wheeler. Hey that's just a rumor. Can't swear to it. 2) Join us on Twitter @gregcote]
Click on Triumphant Day for Golden, Canes for today's latest column from me.
UM WINS TRACY HOWARD SWEEPSTAKES, CLAIMS TOP-10 CLASS: Tracy Howard (pictured), the elite cornerback from the backyard, Miramar High, chose Miami over Florida and FSU in a nationally televised announcement this morning. Howard was the most prominent South Florida football player not yet committed and is a huge National Signing Day prize for the Canes -- one that elevated UM's 2012 recruiting class into the No. 10 spot nationally in ESPN's rankings. Howard's announcement came in his school auditorium, cheers erupting as he pulled on a UM cap and touched his thumbs together in the familar "U" sign. "Why not win in my city and my hometown?" Howard said. "Why not do it here?" A big, big victory for coach Al Golden and the Canes. Howard is the sixth Canes recruit rated in the ESPN Top 150, and the highest ranked at 18th. The others: RB/CB Duke Johnson, Miami Norland (35th); WR Angelo Jean-Louis, Palm Beach Central (41st); DE Tyriq McCord, Tampa Jefferson (96th); S Deon Bush, Miami Columbus (101st); and WR Malcolm Lewis, Miramar (145th). All in all, a big day for Miami considering the school was recruiting under the cloud of likely NCAA sanctions ahead. How do you feel about UM's new recruiting class? Hey, here's a poll! I know, I don't like instant grades, either. So just think of it as a statement of your level of excitement over this class, all things considered. Vote now.
ANGELO DUNDEE, R.I.P.: Legendary boxing trainer Angelo Dundee passed away at 90 in a Clearwater hospital last night after a heart attack, family at his side. Dundee shaped Muhammad Ali's career; they are pictured here way back when. Dundee stands with the fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, as kings of Miami's heydays in the sweet science, days when the 5th Street Gym reigned. Farewell, Angelo.
SUPER BLOG THURSDAY: PRAY FOR TOMMY: Supermodel and superwife Giselle Bundchen, a.k.a. Mrs. Tom Brady, sent an email to family and friends that became privvy to the nefarious media. "I feel Tommy really needs our prayer, our support and love at this time," it partly read. Tommy! Giselle is pictured. Should the Patriots lose Sunday, think of it as one of the better consolation prizes out there. Or perhaps two of the better consolation prizes. (I didn't just say that did I?) Two other quick Super Blog Thursday thoughts: 1) EA Sports' annual SB simulation, using Madden NFL '12, has the Giants winning, 27-24, so why play the actual game? 2) The National Chicken Council reports 1.25 billion wings will be eaten Sunday. And that's just by me!
SUPER BLOG WEDNESDAY: MADONNA, ELTON: Madonna, oldish but aging well, is Sunday's Super Bowl halftime performer and her setlist is revealed! Reportedly Madge's 12-minute show will find her lip syncing singing a new song, "Gimmie All Your Luvin," the classics "Ray Of Light and "Vogue," as well as samples of "Music" and Holiday." Meanwhile, the commercials are always a favorite part of the Super Bowl -- according to the people who produce Super Bowl commercials -- and among them Sunday will be a new Pepsi ad featuring Elton John as a king. This would be the same Elton whose feud with Madonna included him recently exhorting her to "lip sync good" on Sunday. Elton is pictured here in a still from the new ad. (Love your music, Sir, but you are one strange, strange man).
A LITTLE R-E-S-P-E-C-T FOR MATT MOORE, PLEASE?: I'm talkin' to you, Brandon Marshall. But not just to you. Click on Chopped Liver for the column by me (and thanks for making it the most-read thing on all of MiamiHerald.com today). See, the Dolphins' opportunities to upgrade their quarterback situation are few, and risky. They almost certainly won't trade up to draft Robert Griffin III. Peyton Manning is looking more and more doubtful for medical reasons. Matt Flynn stands as the likeliest path, but he is unproven with all of two career starts. The options after those three are marginal free agents and lower-ranked draftees. Don't write off Moore just yet. That's all.
MY BLOG READERS VS. STATEWIDE VOTERS: In my Republican primary poll (a few posts back), rounded results were Mitt Romney 48 percent, Ron Paul 25, Newt Gingrich 19, Rick Santorum 9. In Tuesday's statewide vote it was Romney 46, Gingrich 32, Santorum 13, Paul 7. The big difference: More Paulies here, fewer Newts. That's OK.
LEBRON AND HIS BICYCLE: Heat star LeBron James made big news for bicycling (pictured) the 40 minutes or so from his home to the downtown arena for the recent game vs. the Bulls. I'd be more impressed if he biked last night's game: Heat at Milwaukee. Postscript: LeBron scores 24 in first quarter, Heat lead by as many as 18, but somehow lose to Bucks. Miami forming a reputation for rising for the glamor opponents but sometimes coasting vs. the lesser foes. LeBron, though, has been consistent and consistently great. What a season he is having!
PANTHERS' PASS HUGE TEST: It was overshadowed by National Signing Day and the Heat playing, but the Florida Panthers' 4-2 home win over the Washington Capitals last night was the game of the year so far for the Cats -- one for first place in the NHL Southeast. Bulls-at-Heat the other day was billed as a big statement game but it was false drama; those teams will meet again in the playoffs and everybody knows it. With Caps-at-Cats, this was a truer declarative for the Panthers, who must win the division or risk continuing the club's long playoff drought.
TERRELL OWENS BROKE: Terrell Owens says he is broke (story here) after making more than $80 million in his NFL career. The national group, People Who Feel Sorry For T.O., will be meeting tonight at the Waffle House. Corner booth.
Click back. Will be adding to and updating this latest blogpost throughout the day...