There are a lot of things to cover, so let's just jump right in.
RB commits solid?
There's a lot of talk that RB commit Jordan Scarlett may be wavering on his commitment to Miami. Scarlett is said to have reached out to FSU in the last few weeks. FSU has long said they will only be taking 2 RBs in this class. And, with 2 5-star type backs committed, there doesn't seem to be room for Scarlett in Tallahassee at this moment. With Scarlett's connection to 2016 commit Sam Bruce, and his importance to this class (which I presume will be joining a Miami team that will be losing Duke Johnson to the NFL draft) this is a situation worth watching.
Another RB commit, Dexter Williams, is the topic of much conversation. First, he visited Miami for the FSU game, and spoke in positive terms about his visit. Then, he scheduled an Official Visit to Notre Dame with a good friend of his and ND commit. Then, the day before that visit, he broke his foot in his High School Playoff game.
Wont be going to ND i fractured my foot in last night game #blessed that it's only that— 2K15FLEX (@DexterW_22) November 22, 2014
Williams has also posted "thinking about a lot of things" and other tweets of that nature recently. It's well known that Williams' family are all Gators fans, and that may be the reason for his recently reported uncertainty about his Miami commitment. Even in the face of that, Williams watched the Miami-UVa game, and saw how the team rallied around WR Herb Waters when he sustained his injury.
That's a family #Canes— 2K15FLEX (@DexterW_22) November 23, 2014
One thing working in the Canes' favor here: the way that we stuck by RB Joseph Yearby last year when he sustained his broken leg during the playoffs. The situations with Yearby and Williams are very similar, and hopefully us sticking with and helping Yearby as he recovered from his injury on the path to becoming a valued contributor on the field as a true freshman will be remembered by Williams as we move towards National Signing Day.
Kid Tested, Mother Approved
OL commit Bar Milo, Brad Kaaya's HS teammate from Chaminade HS in Los Angeles, came for an official visit to the FSU game. And Milo, a 4-star recruit and very good prospect, brought an even more important recruit with him on this visit: his mother.
Milo had stated prior to his visit that he was solid to Miami, but needed final approval from his mother to make it REALLY official. After a great weekend that included a campus tour and meeting with the coaches, Milo's mother signed off on his commitment to Miami.
And Canes fans everywhere rejoiced.
LATE UPDATE: just before publishing this article, Rivals.com recruiting analyst Adam Gorney sent a tweet (embedded below) saying that Milo won't take any further visits and is 100% solid to the Canes. Boom.
No more visits for 4-star OT Bar Milo, he's fully committed to #Miami #Canes: http://t.co/q08ImTRpa9 pic.twitter.com/vVO96Ed215— Rivals.com (@Rivals) November 25, 2014
More Cali Swag?
The Miami-FSU game had 2 more high profile visitors from the West Coast: 5-star DT Rasheem Green and 5-star LB John Houston. The pair, teammates at powerhouse Serra HS, have said they enjoyed their visit to Miami greatly. So much so that they will both have Miami as a finalist for their commitments. Now, before you get super excited about that, it's been long known that top SoCal kids don't get away from USC. So, until I hear something otherwise, I'm going to assume USC is the team to beat for both players, and I would advise you to do the same.
Another Cali kid, 2016 Chaminade WR Dymond Lee is strongly considering Miami. And with good reason: Canes QB Brad Kaaya helped Lee become an established recruit last year, current teammate Bar Milo is committed to Miami, and the Canes were the first team to offer Lee during his sophomore year. Lee may visit Miami for the Pittsburgh game this weekend. With the 2016 class already having 3 or 4 WRs committed at this point, I don't know if we have a spot for Lee at the moment, but it's always good to have more options than less.
2 other California players were offered recently in 2016 Mater Dei OL Frank Martin and 2016 Encino DE Marcus Moore.
FSU visitor nuggets
A couple quick notes on guys who visited for the FSU game:
- LB target Quart'e Sapp enjoyed his visit. Some believe that following that visit, Miami is now the team to beat for the 4-star Sapp. And, with Miami's need for LBs in this class, getting Sapp would be a big recruiting win. BUT, Sapp's visit for the FSU game was an unofficial. To really have a chance, he needs to return for an official visit, which he has yet to schedule.
- 4-star TE/DE Devonaire Clarington visited for the FSU game. He'd said that the communication between he and Miami coaches had dwindled to almost nothing over the previous months. It seems that Clarington is no longer a target Miami is actively pursuing. I would count him out of being a part of this class.
- 3-star S Hunter Dale came from Lousiana to visit for the FSU game. He, like Sapp, enjoyed his time in Miami, and may schedule an official visit for the future.
More on 2015 targets
- WR commit Terrell Chatman is being highly sought after at this point. He is a great talent, and in my mind easily the best player currently committed at the WR position. He will take official visits to Arizona and Arizona State in coming weeks. Miami may be in for a fight to keep him. But, when you can do things like the catch you'll see below, your services are worth fighting for.
Slight work pic.twitter.com/fJIQdyDHZT— Terrell Chatman (@trellc66) November 1, 2014
2015 Canes WR commit Terrell Chatman made this insane 1 handed TD grab yesterday. https://t.co/fB6Eck2Jr7— Canes Warning (@CanesWarningFS) November 1, 2014
- Another WR commit, Emonee Spence, has also set up visits to other schools. He is a solid player, but not the prospect that Chatman is. Spence will visit Auburn, TCU, and Louisville in December and January.
- ATH Tim Irvin visited UF on the night Miami played FSU. Irvin's recruitment has really come down to those 2 teams, but many have said Miami is in the driver's seat here. This will be virtually guaranteed if UF DBs coach Travaris Robinson is not retained by the next coach.
- JUCO DT Joshua Nijman (pronounced Ny-man) may be high on the Canes, according to InsideTheU.com (subscription required). Nijman (6'6" 265lbs) is a 4-star recruit, one of the top JUCO players in this cycle, and a potential early enrollee. And, he plays DT, a position the Canes need talented players at more than any other. So, here's hoping...
2016: The Class of Champions
The 2016 recruiting class is shaping up to be the best in recent memory for Miami. With 8 commits (7 of whom carry 4 or 5 star rankings), Miami's 2016 class is currently ranked #1 in America.
The headliner of the class, 5-star QB Jack Allison, was on hand for the Miami-FSU game. It's reported that he enjoyed himself, and was excited by the game, atmosphere, and the potential to learn from Brad Kaaya in 2 years. With the way that Allison is progressing, having him sit behind Kaaya for a year and redshirt would be the best case scenario for Miami.
UPDATE: Allison posted a tweet saying that he had successful surgery on his left foot Tuesday. We wish him a safe and swift recovery.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>Just got out of surgery! Everything went well! <a href="http://t.co/Xs9fNf47gR">pic.twitter.com/Xs9fNf47gR</a></p>— Jack Allison (@Jackof2016) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jackof2016/status/537335346972069888">November 25, 2014</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Another top 2016 commit, ATH Ahmonn Richards was also on hand for Miami-FSU. He, like Allison (and most of the visitors, enjoyed his visit. Richards, who had 20 touchdowns at Receiver this season, was initially offered as an ATH/Safety. Richards has said that he's fine playing anywhere, but prefers to stay at WR. I'd hope the coaching staff talks with him soon and tell him they want him at WR, lest we have a redux of Travis Rudolph's recruitment and end up watching Richards scoring TDs for somebody else's University.
The latest player to commit to the Canes, LB Zach McCloud, did so shortly after visiting for the Miami-FSU game. McCloud saw his recruiting profile skyrocket in the days following his commitment. He went from unranked to a high 4-star according to 247sports. McCloud, who compares his style of play to Sean Spence, and idolizes Ray Lewis, says that getting the offer from Miami was "a dream come true." He sounds like he's 100% committed right now.
A pair of elite skill position playmakers, Coconut Creek teammates WR Binjimen Victor and CB Trayvon Mullen, were also on hand for the Miami-FSU game. Both players were impressed by what they saw during the game, and the Canes' effort and performance against the Noles. Victor and Mullen both said that they are open to considering the Canes and that their experience at the game is a major factor in that development.
Lastly, national top-5 player DE Shavar Manuel was on hand for Miami-FSU as well. While he is said to have enjoyed his visit, and is seriously considering the Canes, most consider Manuel to be FSU's to lose. We'll stay involved. He'll probably visit again. But Miami, and everybody else, is running behind FSU in the pursuit of this 5-star talent.
FSU game, UVa game, and recruiting momentum
I obviously wanted to save this point for last. But, it's something that needs addressing.
Recruiting is a marathon. It is about relationships built with recruits over time, the intangible "interpersonal connection", tangible factors of the university (location, facilities, academics), intangible factors of the university (the feel of campus, prestige/reputation), and, obviously, the football team. There is no one combination of things that works for recruits, because, much like the individuals reading this article, every recruit is unique.
While recruiting is a long-term endeavor, there are still ebbs and flows of momentum on a week to week or game to game basis. This much we've seen over the last 2 weeks
The gains of momentum from the FSU game (the majority of the content you've just read here) were substantial. 5-star players, 4-star players, unranked players, local players, out-of-state players, offensive players, defensive players, and everything in between took notice of how Miami played that night, and, even in the face of a loss, the Canes came away being viewed in a positive light.
Then the Virginia game happened.
That game, an absolute debacle of a performance against a bad 4-6 Virginia team, was the "2 steps back" compared to the "1 step forward" of the FSU game. There's really no other way to say it: that loss was terrible. If Virginia fans take offense to that, whatever. They know their team isn't good. They have been talking about firing their coach. And, against that team, and on national cable television, Miami played our worst game of the season. That isn't good.
The loss to Virginia, while bad, isn't something that we can't overcome.
And, while the loss was bad, at least 1 current commit didn't see that as the end of the road.
Asked #Canes recruit Jaquan Johnson @AuthenticMade_Q if #UM loss to #Virginia changed his thinking. "Nah. Miami is where I'm going to be."— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) November 23, 2014
So, if we extrapolate Jaquan Johnson's statement out, maybe the UVa loss wasn't as huge a momentum killer as most fans think.
Or, maybe, that's just his personal view, and other recruits think differently.
In either case, the marathon that is recruiting is still ongoing. The sprint to National Signing Day won't happen until after the bowl game. And, for our sake, not until 2 more Canes wins are in the books.