Earlier in the spring evaluation period, I wrote this article looking ahead at the 2015 recruiting cycle. In it, I gave a short term plan. Let's revisit it:
Short Term Plan
In the short term, there are 3 things that I would focus on:
Get commitments from 2 of the following 3 players: RB Jordan Cronkrite, S Jaquan Johnson, and S Tim Irvin. Those players, all 4-stars, are highly regarded by their peers in South Florida, and could lead to other commitments. Outlook: secured a commitment from Cronkrite shortly after publishing the article, and both Johnson and Irvin are still high priority targets for the Canes. Many, myself included, still believe both players will end up committing to Miami.
Lock up Wimbush. Look, friends, Torrance Gibson isn't coming here. And, he's not a QB anyways. He's a WR and a damn good one when he realizes it. Wimbush, on the other hand, is a top tier QB with a great arm and good instincts on the field. Miami is rumored to have said if Wimbush commits they'll shut down their QB recruiting for this cycle. Get him on campus for another Al Golden Football Camp, get him to commit, and move on to other positions. Outlook: Missed out on Wimbush, who committed to Penn State, but picked up Dwayne Lawson, a 4-star recruit out of Tampa. While he's not as polished a prospect as Wimbush, Lawson is very talented and could easily develop into a quality starter down the line. However, unlike what would have been the case had Wimbush committed, I don't see us as having shut down our recruiting at the QB position for this class.
Get another impact defender. Don't really care who. My preference would be Khalil McKenzie because he plays DT. But, this class is off to an average start at best. Adding an impact defender, along with the other guys listed above, would change that. Outlook: we did it! We got a highly rated, athletic, explosive, agile, strong Defensive Tackle to commit when Quentez Johnson picked the Hurricanes. Problem is, his commitment stuck for about 2 weeks before his decommitment, and few recruiting analysts see him ending up as a Hurricane. So, the search for an impact defender continues.
So, now that we've revisited thoughts from articles past, what's going on right now and could possibly happen in the future? Glad you asked.
Before we do that, let the record show that Miami has 11 commits and is ranked 13th best recruiting class using 247Sports' composites as of the writing of this article. Only 5 teams (Mississippi State, Clemson, Auburn, Penn State, and Alabama) have more players currently committed. And, while there are 7 other teams who have 11 commits, Miami is ranked behind 3 of them (Tennessee, Florida State, LSU). So, while there is improvement that can happen and targeted players who, if committed, would raise the profile of this class, we are far from the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad place that some think we are.
For the prime targets, let's start at Defensive Tackle. Yes, you read that right, Defensive Tackle.
Mentioned in point #3 on the list above, the Canes are pursuing Kahlil McKenzie (6'4" 309lbs) from De La Salle HS in Concord, CA. McKenzie, the son of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, is a Tennessee legacy, and an elite talent who has seen his stock rise from it's already lofty position. He was recently invited to Nike's The Opening, arguably the Nation's premier recruit showcase. He also listed the Canes 7th on his top 12 on Thursday afternoon, so the chances of him ending up at Miami are looking bleak. Still, Canes will stay in contact until the end.
Next on the list is Joseph Wicker (6'4" 265lbs), from Poly HS in Long Beach, CA. He recently named a top 3 of Miami, Notre Dame and Washington, and targets National Signing Day for his announcement date. Has been on the Radar since earning an offer last July, and Miami figures to be involved in his recruitment all the way to the end.
Another DT worthy of mention is Neville Gallimore (6'3" 300lbs) from Canada Prep Football Academy in St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada. I know what you're thinking "wait, we're looking to CANADA for a DT prospect?!?!?" In a word: yes. Miami has had success recruiting Canada in the past, with players such as Brett Romberg and Sherko Haiji-Rasouli having come to the U from the great white North. Gallimore, who is rumored to be up to 320lbs, moves like a linebacker, and has impressive strength. Obviously, he isn't playing against the best competition in High School, but his potential is easy to see. He lists 20 offers to this point, and will be highly sought after. Want to see for yourself? Here are his HUDL highlights.
Staying along the Defensive Line, DE Arden Key (6'5" 200lbs) from Hapeville charter in Lithonia, GA announced that he will be committing to a school on June 10th on his twitter account. Just last week, Key listed Miami as 2nd in his top 5. He took an unofficial to campus on April 5th (2nd scrimmage weekend), so there are no "Quentez Johnson" (i.e. "out of State prospect who hasn't visited") concerns here. Key is another long, athletic player who fits the shift to more 3-4 base defense, which we've been recruiting for over the past few years.
Other blips on the radar
Miami is actively and aggressively pursuing RB Jordan Scarlett (5'10 207lbs) and WR Devante Peete (6'5" 195lbs), teammates from national powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Scarlett, a transfer from University School, is committed to FAU, but has continued to be courted by nationally elite BCS programs who may be making an impact on him. I've maintained since his commitment that he wouldnt' end up at FAU, even despite the fact that his former HS coach is the new RB coach there. For Peete, he fits the mold of a big, physical, possession receiver. He's widely considered to be a Miami lean, and would give the Canes another weapon on offense.
Another WR Miami is after (and is arguably the #1 target at this position) is New Jersey product Irvin Charles (6'4" 212lbs). He's a big, athletic receiver with great tools. He recently listed Miami in his top group, along with Penn State, Louisville, Michigan State, and others. With the connections Al Golden has to the Northeast, I fully expect Charles to be a serious candidate to be in this class. Check out the highlights below. Kid can play.
Miami still feels good about the recruitment of TE Devonaire Clarington (6'6" 230lbs). After playing with Jordan Cronkrite and Tim Irvin at Westminster Christian for the past 2 seasons, Claringinton will play his senior year at Champagnat Catholic in Hialeah, FL. Yes, that's the same school Travonte Valentine attended last year. Despite that fact, Miami's chances are good with Clarington, who was profiled by Bud Elliott of SBN Recruiting here.
People have been getting restless about Tim Irvin and Jaquan Johnson and the fact that while they're thought to be heavy Cane leans, they haven't committed as yet. Patience, people. I haven't heard anything to make me think that either one ends up elsewhere. Do with that as you will.
ATH Deon Cain is still being recruited. And, having Dwayne Lawson, Scott Patchan and Ryan Fines all being on board as commits from the Tampa area so far could work in our favor.
WR Calvin Ridley and S Shawn Burgess-Becker remain committed to Alabama, but there are rumors they are wavering on their commitments. Nothing concrete yet, but just keep an eye on them throughout this process, especially this summer.
Rumors are flying around about ATH Torrance Gibson. He's been suspended from both his school and the football team for an altercation, the details of which are in dispute. He's a high profile player who Miami is recruiting, but doesn't figure to be in this class. For more on the aforementioned situation, click here.
Miami has given out over 300 offers for the 2015 class. Missing from those who have been offered is CB Davante Davis (6'3" 200lbs) from Booker T. Washington HS in Miami, FL. Davis, who transferred to BTW from Homestead this spring, recently committed to Syracuse and has seen his recruitment pick up since. He lists offers from Louisville, Georgia, Ohio State, and most recently, Alabama. He has the skills to play at a high BCS level, and if Miami wants to be involved in his recruitment, many believe that the Canes should offer sooner rather than later. Bud Elliott scouted Davis, and tells you about him here.
Lastly, I've said this both in articles and on the SOTU podcast, but look for this class to see movement once the Al Golden Football Camps start in June. That's when we got 8 or 9 commits last year, and similar success could easily come this year.
So, that's your recruiting update. Share your comments and vote in the poll below.
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