Scott is 1st to send signed letter to Miami

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CORAL GABLES, FLA. (AP) - With a massive cup of iced coffee at his side, Al Golden leaned back in a leather chair early Wednesday morning and relaxed.

His first signing day at Miami brought excitement _ and relief.

At precisely 7:01 a.m., the earliest allowable moment under NCAA rules, wide receiver Rashawn Scott of Melbourne (Fla.) High sent in his letter of intent to join the Hurricanes, making him the first formal signing-day arrival of Golden’s era at Miami.

“There is a sense of accomplishment because we only had about 15 actual days on the road,” Golden told The Associated Press as he waited in a meeting room while the faxes were arriving. “This class is a testament to a lot of hard work by the coaches and a lot of kids that wanted to be Miami Hurricanes.”

Golden and the Miami staff allowed an AP reporter and photographer to chronicle the early moments of signing day, which started long before sunrise in South Florida.

A car pulled into the coaches’ parking lot at 5:27 a.m., and a half-hour later the football offices were teeming with anticipation. Some chomped on bagels or doughnuts, others guzzled coffee, and just about everyone lamented the lack of sleep for the past few weeks.

Come signing day, that’s all worth it.

“It’s Coach Golden’s first class and it may not seem that significant today, but going forward, through his era, this will always be remembered,” said Brennan Carroll, the Hurricanes’ tight ends coach and national recruiting coordinator. “There will always be nostalgia about this first class.”

Carroll was loaded with nervous energy as the clock slowly ticked toward 7:01 a.m. He looked at his cell phone often, trying to speed up time.

“It’s 6:54,” he said. “Time to send a test fax.”

Carroll has been offering a cryptic tweet in recent weeks when players have verbally committed to Miami, typing “Welcome to The U.” NCAA rules do not allow him to say more than that, since coaches cannot comment on commitments until the signed letters actually arrive.

Minutes later, Scott’s letter came in, followed quickly by wide receiver Phillip Dorsett of St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale and linebacker Gianni Paul of Lakeland. Once the letters arrived, they were checked by compliance officials to make sure everything was done properly, and then Golden and other coaches were informed of the news.

Finally, names could go with the tweets. When the letters came in, the new player’s name was added to a white board in the team meeting room, listed alongside all the returning Hurricanes for the 2011 season.

“Relief,” Carroll said.

Scott said he wanted his letter to be the first to reach Golden’s desk.

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