Kevin Olsen orally committed to the University of Miami last May, but he was sold on the Hurricanes long before then.
Olsen, a 6-foot-3, 195-pound native of Wayne, N.J., who is regarded as one of the nation’s top high school quarterbacks, was a regular at UM practices back when he was in middle school and his brother, Greg, was a standout tight end for the Hurricanes.
Greg Olsen caught 87 passes for 1,1215 yards at UM from 2004-2006 before getting drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bears in 2007.
Kevin, now 18, is looking to make his own mark in a Miami uniform. He’s one of the prizes in a still-developing recruiting class that UM will unveil on Wednesday.
“Miami is a great place,” Olsen said this week. “You can’t beat the weather down there. And I really think coach (Al) Golden has the program going back in the right direction and is close to getting them back in the national spotlight like they were when my brother was there, and before him. I think eventually, Miami is going to be back there.”
Getting players like Olsen will certainly quicken the process. Olsen is ranked by ESPN.com as the nation’s fifth-best quarterback and the No. 87 overall prospect.
Those rankings might even be higher if not for a right foot injury that kept Olsen sidelined for much of his senior season. Olsen broke his foot in the season opener and pushed himself to return late in the year, but struggled and couldn’t lead Wayne Hills to its third consecutive state championship.
“He didn’t have to come back,” said Chris Olsen, Kevin’s father and the longtime coach at Wayne Hills. “He was already going to Miami. He was all set. He could have just sat out the playoffs instead of risking further injury. I think that shows you what type of kid he is.”
Olsen, who picked Miami over Wisconsin, Auburn and North Carolina, said his commitment to UM hasn’t been weakened by the NCAA investigation that has hung over the Hurricanes’ football program for 22 months.
But the unexpected departure of UM offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars last month threw Olsen for a loop. The chance to play in Fisch’s offense was a major reason why Olsen picked Miami.
“Coach Fisch leaving was a big surprise and a little confusing,” Olsen said. “I had a good relationship with him. It kind of hit me.”
Any concerns were set aside when Golden replaced Fisch with James Coley, who had formed a strong bond with Olsen while recruiting him for Florida State. Coley and UM associate head coach Mario Cristobal flew up to New Jersey to visit Olsen at school on Wednesday.
Olsen tried to enroll at UM this month, but his high school would not allow him to take an English course on-line. When he arrives in June, Olsen will find a logjam at quarterback.
Aside from senior starter Stephen Morris and junior backup Ryan Williams, the quarterback depth chart next August will include redshirt freshmen Preston Dewey and Gray Crow as well as David Thompson, a Class of 2012 signee who missed last season following shoulder surgery. Thompson also plays for UM’s baseball team.
It may take a year or so for the bottleneck to loosen and, when it does, Olsen figures to be at the top of the mix.
“I think he’s going to be a big-time ballplayer,” said Max Preps/CBS Sports recruiting expert Tom Lemming. “He’s perfectly suited for Al Golden’s offense. He’s got a big-time arm, decent speed and he’s a good field general — perfect for a pro-style offense.”
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