Recently, Miami had our 2nd Official Visit weekend and a Junior Day for 2015 (and beyond) prospects. With that in the past, Joe Garcia and Cameron Underwood are here to look ahead to the last week of recruiting before National Signing Day 2014.
The Travonte Valentine situation
No need to keep you waiting. Yes, this needed it's own section, as it's the main recruiting storyline that Canes fans are talking about/interested in. WARNING: you're probably not going to like what I'm going to say.
There's way to say this without saying it: Travonte Valentine will not be signing with Miami. From his decommitment from Miami (which had been rumored about for WEEKS if not MONTHS before he did it, long before any Al Golden-Penn State scenario, so miss me with that), to his having committed to 3 schools during this process, Valentine's words and actions haven't really given Miami fans much hope.
Then there's this:
Valentine said LSU "fit his country personality" and that his visit there this weekend "was amazing." Ok then.— SOTU writers (@TheStateOfTheU) January 26, 2014
And then there was this:
Travonte Valentine will wait until NSD to make his decision public. Was also informed that the official visit to Miami is unlikely.— Jimmy D Smith (@JimmyDetail) January 26, 2014
Now, with all that being said, Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald hit us with these 3 tweets on Tuesday afternoon:
Lol canesinsider basically told ppl I'm committed lol wth when did I even do an interview with them lol #yallGottaDoBetter— travonte valentine (@traveeey99) January 30, 2014
Booker T. Washington 5-star DE Chad Thomas is set to visit Alabama. He's long maintained he is 100% committed to Miami, and "just wants to see some other places." This is nothing more than a free vacation trip for him. Not concerned about this visit in the slightest.
Thomas' Booker T. Washington 4-star DE/LB Demetrius Jackson's plans are less clear.
Jackson quickly deleted his response tweet, but the conflicting statements are still out there. Is he or isn't he visiting Texas this weekend? Jackson later tweeted he was signing his LOI on Friday, but realized he's unable to sign until Wednesday since it needs to be dated. We'll see what happens with him next.
Not a visit this week, but QB commit Brad Kaaya was rumored to have silently decommitted from UM and committed to Boise State by some recruiting analysts. I'll let Mr. Kaaya speak for himself on that issue.
I will be signing the National Letter of Intent issued to me by the University of Miami on National Signing Day February 5th— Brad Kaaya (@TrinidadBrad) January 30, 2014
The rumors of me de-committing from the University of Miami are false
The rumors of me de-committing from the University of Miami are false— Brad Kaaya (@TrinidadBrad) January 30, 2014
No one can say otherwise.
No one can say otherwise.— Brad Kaaya (@TrinidadBrad) January 30, 2014
That should handle that quite nicely.
Visitors this weekend
Just like the first 2 pre-NSD weekends, here's a list (with short info capsule) on the guys confirmed or reasonably expected to take Official Visits this week:
- ATH Treon Harris - The son of legendary Booker T. Washington coach Ice Harris, and brother of former Cane DB Brandon Harris, Treon is a FSU commit. He was a superb high school QB, and wants an opportunity to play that position in college. Miami finally offered him that chance, and so he's visiting. Sure, he's teammates with commits Chad Thomas and Demetrius Jackson, but I think his decision will be made separate from theirs.
- RB Bo Scarbrough - A long time Alabama commit, the5-star rated, 6'2", 225lb Scarbrough is a highly coveted and talented player. This is admittedly a long shot, but this isn't a "free vacation" visit. Coaches feel that, with a perfect visit, there's a chance. You've probably seen me say the chances of this are infinitesimally small. Until I hear otherwise, I'm sticking with that assessment.
- DT Lamont Gaillard - Well, this visit has become much more important. With Travonte Valentine's probably commitment elsewhere, and JUCO recruit Michael Wyche decommitting after the ACC wouldn't grant his waiver appeal, Gaillard, a Georgia commit, has rocketed to the top of the DT list. He's got a big frame and should be able to develop into a solid player in time. I spoke about his displeasure with the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt in the first post-season Recruiting Radar, so he may be ripe for a flip. We'll see.
- WR CJ Worton - A one-time FSU commit, and HS teammate of UM commit Tyre Brady, Worton has not decided on a visit yet. As of the writing of this article, he was leaning towards not visiting, but Miami coaches were slated to visit him at school. Florida, who Worton visited last week, seems to lead, but things could change if Worton makes an official.
- DE Lorenzo Featherson - this FSU commit is an impressive athlete, standing 6'7" and weighing 220lbs. This is another visit that is not decided yet. There's talk that Featherston's family likes South Florida, and is interested to see what Miami has to offer.
Other blips on the radar
- Ohio State canceling David Njoku's visit is huge news for Miami. As it stood, Miami's chances were greater than most were giving them credit for. With Ohio State now seemingly out of the picture, Miami become the prohibitive favorite to land Njoku's services. At 6'4" with good hands, leaping ability, and plus athleticism, he can be a threat at either WR or TE depending on how he fills out once he arrives.
- Don't jump the gun on the Michael Wyche decommitment. I understand the kid getting desperate and wanting to look at an option that could let him enroll now, but Miami was one of the latest spring enrollment dates in the country. Chances are that even without the ACC rule holdback, Wyche could find himself struggling to get an anywhere for spring. At which point, Miami could likely thrust themselves back in the fold for a summer admission. The news is too fresh to overreact. Let's wait and see how things unfold.
- Shawn Burgess-Becker and Calvin Ridley are both expected to announce for Miami this Sunday. The track record of early commitments isn't great but both have the look of life long Canes that would be more inclined to stick than look around. Adding them as the 4th and 5th commitments to Miami's 2015 recruiting class would be a huge kick start to what has the potential to be an elite level class.
- JC Jackson is one that will likely come down to the wire. His dad is strongly in Miami's corner and the cancelled Florida State visit only helps Miami's chances. This one is boiling down to Miami vs Florida with rumors that he is truly torn between both. Miami seems to be trending a little more lately and an in home from Al Golden on Saturday could further that cause. It'll be a nail biter but there's cautious hope that Miami will sneak this one out on NSD.