Miami pledges happy about NCAA ruling

Braxton Berrios was intrigued, but hardly worried. He did not expect the NCAA to alter his future Tuesday when it announced its long-awaited sanctions on Miami.

Now that Miami will not face any further bowl bans and will lose only nine total scholarships over the next three seasons, Berrios is ready to move on to Coral Gables, Fla., with the rest of Miami’s top-five 2014 recruiting class.

“It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane,” the four-star receiver from Raleigh (N.C.) Leesville Road said. “I’m glad this 2½-year investigation is over and the university as well can move on.”

Miami is 6-0 and No. 7 in the initial BCS standings, and ESPN 300 defensive end commit Trent Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park) believes the news of the NCAA sanctions had benefits in the present and future.

The Canes’ self-imposed postseason ban kept them from competing for an ACC title in 2012, but they are in the driver’s seat for a conference championship in 2013.

“Well, I think it’s great that they weren’t banned from any bowl games and I know that the current players on the team just got an extra boost of excitement,” Harris said. “I just can’t wait to go out there and win a national championship."

Miami coach Al Golden has told recruits not to worry about the NCAA, and they heeded his advice. Top target Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer), No. 42 in the ESPN 300, told the Palm Beach Post’s Anthony Chiang he “wasn’t too worried about the Miami sanctions.”

Asked if he was concerned the NCAA’s decision could impact his verbal commitment and future with the program, Berrios said, “Not really.”

“I figured they wouldn’t get much. Al Golden played a great part as well as [Miami president Donna Shalala] in assuring Miami did all they could to minimize the sanctions,” Berrios said.

Already with the No. 4 class nationally, Miami has exceeded expectations despite terms like “death penalty” being thrown the Hurricanes’ way the past two years. West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman coach Steve Walsh, a former Miami and NFL quarterback, said the school's proactive approach to the NCAA investigation has allowed the program to put the worst behind it and recruit like a program that was once annually in the hunt for the nation’s top class. Miami is already well below the scholarship limit of 85, so the Canes are not strapped for spots in future classes despite dealing with three fewer scholarships the next three cycles.

"Miami really prepared for so much, sacrificing a couple of games and sacrificing scholarships," he said. "I think, because [of] the university preparing, they are well prepared to handle the scholarship loss and move forward."

With the black clouds lifting from Coral Gables, ESPN 300 commit Nigel Bethel II (Miami/Booker T. Washington) spoke for the entire 2014 class when he said: “Ready to get Miami back on top.”

RecruitingNation reporters Corey Dowlar and Gerry Hamilton contributed to this report.