So, the last time I wrote a recruiting update piece, Miami had never lost a game by 58 points, Al Golden was the coach, and there were 22 commits in the 2016 recruiting class.
All of those things have changed in the last few weeks.
You know about the first couple of those things, let's get caught up on the last one, shall we?
Since the Clemson loss on the field, there have been plenty of losses off the field in recruiting for Miami. Here's a quick list of the recent decommitments:
2016 WR Ahmmon Richards - Richards is an electric playmaker who has totaled more than 2,500 yards and 35 touchdowns in his last 2 years of High School. He has been heavily linked to Alabama throughout his recruitment, and was rumored to have had one foot out the door even before the loss to Clemson/Golden's firing. Shortly after that loss (which occurred on Richards' Official Visit to Miami, by the way), Richards decommitted.
Then, 2 days after that, Richards, who I've been saying was criminally underranked for MORE THAN A YEAR (seriously, you can look it up on the site), got his ranking elevated from 34th WR in the country to 15th. AND, on top of that, he miraculously earned an invite to the U.S. Army All-American game.....immediately after decommitting from Miami.
Then, as a shock to no one, Richards named Alabama his leader according to a video by Scout.com writer Corey Bender.
Miami is still in the picture for Richards, but, like I said, he was on his way out of this class for quite a while. While he could make a U-turn and come back to the Canes with the hire of the right coach (i.e. one he connects with and wants to play for), I'd say the safer bet is that we've seen the last of this talented player connected with the University of Miami.
2016 DE/DT Izon Pulley - Once the only out-of-state commitment for the Canes, DL Izon Pulley recently decommitted from Miami
I have no comments regarding my recruitment right now. pic.twitter.com/e6mDYnUyxR— zon (@TunnelVision15) November 6, 2015
An under the radar but solid player, Pulley says that he, like Richards, has Miami high on his list even after his decommitment. With Miami having a great need for DL talent, Pulley could be a great addition to the program. He won't be a game changer on day 1, but he could be a nice developmental piece moving forward.
2016 RB Zack Moss - yet another decommitment, this time from 3-star RB Zack Moss.
It's still ALL LOVE pic.twitter.com/Wy7bpZ0t2i— ZMIV (@D1_Zeezy) November 11, 2015
Moss says, and stop me if you've heard this before, that Miami is still a high choice option for him moving forward. An underrated 3-star RB, Moss figures to garner plenty of attention throughout the rest of this recruiting cycle. He plays for a top HS team now after transferring in the offseason, and a deep run in the playoffs will give more teams a chance to look at him.
I'd be remiss without saying that a team to look for here is Utah. 2 of Moss's teammates (starting QB and WR) are committed to Utah, and will undoubtedly push Moss to join them in Salt Lake City. Kentucky has also been a team recruiting Moss heavily throughout this cycle.
2016 DE/OLB Joshua Uche - When Uche committed, there were cries of "WHO?!??!?!" from the fanbase. But, Uche proved to be a worthy offer throughout a summer and fall that saw him dominate multiple camps, showcases, and games.
Uche's play in these events and games has earned him offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn (who offered like minutes after Uche decommitted), and Florida. All of those schools were in hot pursuit before he decommitted, and that figures to continue, or even increase, now.
2018 CB Al Blades Jr. - A Canes legacy (Al Blades Sr. was a standout player at Miami), Blades Jr. looked to follow in his father's footsteps and committed to Miami in this, his sophomore year of HS. However, like the players listed above (and others), he decommitted from The Hurricanes recently.
It is in my best interest at this time... pic.twitter.com/rvWq37Av6o— Al Blades Jr (@AlBlades_Jr) October 26, 2015
Since Blades is a 2018 recruit, there is still plenty of time (read: YEARS) in his recruitment. But, it's hard to think that he'll end up anywhere but Miami. His family is Canes royalty. And, his late father gave us this iconic chant.
I mean...he has to be a Cane. It'll just take a few years until we get there.
The decommitment list for 2016
So, after previous years with losing recruits due to decommitments and flips, I started to keep track of that for this class way back before NSD 2015. So, here's the list of decommitments JUST FOR THE 2016 RECRUITING CLASS/CYCLE. Hold onto your butts....
|Name||Flipped commitment to...|
|4-star DT Keyshon Camp||USC|
|3-star WR Isaiah Johnson||Florida|
|3-star OLB Greg Simmons||Nebraska|
|3-star ATH McArthur Burnett||Florida|
|3-star JUCO DT Walvenski Aime||Florida State|
|4-star WR Dredrick Snelson||Minnesota|
|4-star DB Chauncey Gardner||Florida|
|3-star OLB/DB Devin Gil||Michigan|
|4-star RB Amir Rasul||Florida State|
|4-star WR Ahmmon Richards||UNDECIDED|
|3-star DL Izon Pulley||UNDECIDED|
|3-star RB Zack Moss||UNDECIDED|
|4-star DE/OLB Joshua Uche||UNDECIDED|
Look at that list. LOOK AT IT. There are ready-to-play players, All-Americans, multiple time flippers (Camp and Gardner have both committed and decommitted multiple times in this process), underrated players (Richards, Moss, and Uche are STILL underrated in my opinion), and just an overall high level of talent that the Canes could use on the roster. And, that's just the list of decommitments FOR THIS RECRUITING CYCLE.
So, like the title of this piece says: the struggle has been VERY real for Miami.
Other decommitments coming?
When you read this heading, odds are you thought of one name:
The highest rated recruit in the 2016 class, St. Thomas Aquinas WR Sam Bruce is a player that has been at the top of the list for Miami for quite a while. And, to keep him in the fold, it's going to take a fight.
Let's first look at Bruce's own words about his recruitment:
After news of Golden's firing broke...
Wow..— 6-3 (@_QUICK6) October 24, 2015
Then, in response to ALL the conversation that he would drop immediately...
As long KB there, I'm there.— 6-3 (@_QUICK6) October 26, 2015
Really wish they didn't fire Al Golden. Dude gave a lot of players the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Truly a genuine man of society!— 6-3 (@_QUICK6) October 27, 2015
So, after like 1600 words of terrible, let's end with positivity.
Miami Jackson ATH Desmond Phillips is one of the latest players to be offered by Miami. He's an electric player who has had great success on the prep level. A legit 4.4 kid, Phillips has the speed to impact games as an offensive skill player.
The thing with Phillips, like many at the HS level, is that since he's the best player on his team, he played QB more often than not (he also spent some time at WR and DB). Phillips' future is NOT at QB. He was committed to Toledo to play QB until yesterday, but that only proves my point: he could play QB for a team such as Toledo, but at Miami, he's a skill guy. And, he could be a damn good one.
Phillips has visited Miami unofficially twice in recent weeks leading up to his decommitment from Toledo. He wouldn't be a 1 for 1 replacement for Richards in this class, but regardless of any other situation, I would take Phillips at Miami (under the understanding that he is NOT playing QB) in a heartbeat.
I'm sure you want to see the kind of player Phillips is. So, here are his HUDL highlights for your perusal:
Another player who was recently offered is Homestead South Dade RB Jawon Hamilton. Obviously this looks like a reactionary move to Moss having dropped (and Rasul before him), but many in South Florida think Hamilton is the best RB in Dade County for this class.
An FIU commit currently, Hamilton is a smaller back at 5'9" 185lbs. But, he runs hard, and has very good speed. And, with a year or more in a collegiate strength and nutrition program, he could easily follow the same physical development path as Duke Johnson. The PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT PATH, guys. That's the only level of comparison I'm saying.
Anyways, you don't want to read any more words. Here's Hamilton's HUDL highlights for your eyeballs: