You've heard it before, but it's worth repeating: Official Visits are arguably the single most important thing in recruiting. This weekend, Miami will have a ton of prospects on campus for their OVs, and it's a great time to have a big recruiting weekend. Coming off the month-long dead period (where coaches can't have any face to face interaction with recruits), it's a good time to re-establish that personal connection, and make a push towards keeping and securing commitments.
With 18 (!!!!) players scheduled to be on campus this weekend, we'll look at them in 2 groups: targets and Canes commits. Here we go.
CB Marcus Lewis (6'1" 187lbs) - an Under Armour All-American, Lewis is a supremely talented player whose talents are highly coveted by many schools. Lewis, who has previously visited finalists Washington State and Kentucky, is arguably the biggest remaining target on the Canes' board. This visit is huge for Miami. With Jaquan Johnson, Michael Jackson, and Robert Knowles committed at DB currently, Lewis would be a welcomed addition to this class, and almost certainly see the field early and often in his freshman year at Miami. Lewis may not commit this weekend, but this visit could go a long way to securing his signature come National Signing Day.
OLB Saleem Brightwell (6'3" 205lbs) - Brightwell, a New Jersey native, is a top target for Miami currently. The Canes only have 1 player committed at linebacker (Charles Perry), and with just 7 scholarship 'backers returning, depth and talent is needed at the position. Brightwell has been trending toward the Canes for more than a month, with the last 8 crystal ball predictions for him being Miami. He's another player who could commit this weekend.
OT Fredrick Johnson (6'7" 303lbs) - Johnson is a talented player who has seen his recruiting profile skyrocket through his senior season. A teammate of LB commit Charles Perry, Johnson is considered a Miami lean at this point and could very well commit while on his visit this weekend.
WR Antonio Callaway (5'11" 185lbs) - A skilled player from Booker T. Washington HS, Callaway is a prospect who Miami has been following for quite some time. Callaway will take 4 official visits between now and signing day to Miami, Auburn, Alabama, and Florida, in that order. The Canes have been trending positively for Callaway, and he could very well be a part of this class. As a clear upgrade over Therell Gosier, I personally wouldn't mind taking Callaway instead.
CB Davante Davis (6'3" 200lbs) - Another Booker T. Washington player, Davis recently committed to Texas. While Miami is still recruiting him (as evidenced by this visit), the chances that Davis flips his commitment from the Longhorns to the Canes are slim. While Miami is looking to bring in more talent at DB in this class, I don't think Davis will be among those players when National Signing Day comes around.
DE Austrian Robinson (6'6" 265lbs) - A jumbo athlete who profiles well for the 3-4 defense Miami is clearly trying to implement more, Robinson, a native New Yorker, could add depth and athleticism to the DL class for 2015. Robinson has 0 crystal ball predictions to Miami. Most (60%) have him pegged to commit to Maryland. However, a strong visit could change things for him.
DE Russell Ude (6'3" 252lbs) - Ude, like Robinson, is a player who could be a valued addition at DE in this class. Currently committed to California, the Atlanta native will visit Miami this weekend and Cal next week. I don't see Ude ending up in this class, but it's worth the shot to bring the 3-star DE in for a visit.
LB Mohamed Barry (6'1" 210lbs) - a late addition to the list, Barry is another LB target who the Canes are high on. Again, with only 1 LB committed and 7 on the roster, this is a position of great need in this class. Like Ude, Barry is a Georgia native who is already committed to a school: Kansas State. Unsure at this point how this visit will impact Barry's recruitment, if at all. But, he's a player we like at a position we need.
On top of the above listed 8 targets, 9 current Canes commits will be on campus this weekend as well. They are
DB Robert Knowles (6'1" 185lbs) - The latest player to commit to the Canes, Knowles will take an official to Coral Gables this weekend. By all accounts, Miami is Knowles' "dream school", and now that his grade concerns have been appropriately addressed, he's earned an offer fitting his skills and talent. This visit will only strengthen his commitment.
OT Tyree St. Louis (6'5" 300lbs) - St. Louis was a late addition to the Under Armour All-American game, but he wasted no time in showing that he's one of the top OL prospects in this class. Canes are confident he'll be in the class.
DL Richard McIntosh (6'4" 270lbs) - Canes are confident he'll be in the class. Played DE in HS. May grow into a DT and get reps there in college.
DE Jamie Gordinier (6'4" 235lbs) - Canes are confident he'll be in the class.
OL Hayden Mahoney (6'5" 280lbs) - Canes are confident he'll be in the class.
OL Tyler Gauthier (6'5" 305lbs) - Canes are confident he'll be in the class.
DT Ryan Fines (6'4" 305lbs) - Canes are confident he'll be in the class.
RB Mark Walton (5'11" 179lbs) - Walton has been the most solid of the RB commit group, which once numbered 4 players. Now reclassified to his original class of 2015, Walton figures to be in this class, and would be the 2nd consecutive star RB from Dade County to join the Canes, following in Joseph Yearby's footsteps from 2014.
RB Jordan Scarlett (5'11" 210lbs) - Scarlett, the highest rated player in this recruiting class, is the player that everyone will be watching over this visit weekend. There has been growing chatter that he may not be solidly committed and is evaluating other options to the point that he may decide to sign a LOI elsewhere. To say that this visit is huge is an understatement. Massive. Enormous. Scarlett is the player who has the greatest chance to come in and play right away. And, in the first season of the Post-Duke Johnson era, his talents would be put to great use. THIS is the storyline I'm watching most closely.
Bonus Visit (Jan 19th)
DE Arden Key (6'5" 230lbs) - Miami, still looking for a couple more players at DL in this class have been connected to Key for the duration of his recruitment. No matter how good this visit goes for the Lithonia, GA native his recruitment will go until National Signing Day. Key, an Under Armour All-American who has committed to and decommitted from South Carolina TWICE already in the 18 months of his recruitment, will take visits to Miami, South Carolina, Georgia, and Auburn before National Signing day. It wouldn't shock me to see him commit to any of those schools. But, with 2 commitments and decommitments already on his recruiting record, I'll wait until his final decision on National Signing Day before I make any assumptions as to Key's future plans.
Other Visits to watch
There are several Canes targets and commits who are visiting elsewhere this weekend. Here's where they'll be going:
- WR commit Lawrence Cager - Alabama. This is a visit Canes fans will want to watch very closely. Cager, who chose Miami over Alabama at the U.S. Army All-American game, is still very much in play for recruiting. If the Tide are going to flip him, this would be the time. Cager's visit to Miami is scheduled for next week.
- WR target Daylon Charlot - Alabama. Charlot, who is scheduled to visit Miami next week, is considered a heavy lean to Bama at the moment. Should he commit this weekend, I doubt he'll make it to Coral Gables at all. And, even so, that visit may be one of the famous "free trip" visits that are all the rage in recruiting.
- LB target John Houston and DT target Rasheem Green - Southern Cal. This pair of 5-star teammates will travel to the heavy favorites to sign both players: USC. With former HS teammate Adoree Jackson on campus (among others), the Trojans could land commitments from both players as soon as this week. Some in recruiting circles call Houston and Green's high school (Junipero Serra) "USCerra", because all their top players invariably end up as Trojans. This may be the visit that keeps that local pipeline going strong. Both Houston and Green have previously visited Miami.
- CB commit Michael Jackson - Clemson. Jackson, a big CB prospect, will be visiting Death Valley this weekend. I'm not too concerned by this visit, but it's still good to keep a watchful eye. Jackson will visit Miami next week.
- OL/DL target Kendrick Norton - Ole Miss. Hugh Freeze has had very good recruiting success, and the uncommitted Norton is a prospect many schools covet. Norton is scheduled to visit Miami next weekend.
- WR commit Terrell Chatman - TCU. If you've read any of my articles, you know that I'm absolutely infatuated with Chatman's ability and athleticism. TCU, coming off a very strong season, could try to make a move for him this weekend. Chatman has maintained that he's still solid to Miami, though. His visit to Coral Gables is scheduled for later this month.
- DE target Shareef Miller - Arizona State. The uncommitted Philly product will begin taking his visits this week, with trips to Penn State and Miami rounding out his travels prior to National Signing Day. While most have him heading to Penn State in the end, his taking trips to warm weather locations leave me to believe that much is yet to be decided. Miller visits Miami on January 30th.
Updates will come after this weekend.