The last official visit weekend of the 2015 calendar year is behind us. Let's take a look at what happened then, and a peek ahead at what happens next.
Zach is back!
One of the 5 official visitors this weekend was 4-star OLB Zach McCloud. Once a Grant-in-aid agreement signee, McCloud decommitted after the firing of Al Golden. McCloud said he wanted to evaluate his options, but through that evaluation, he found out that there's no place like home.
So, on Saturday night during his Official Visit, McCloud re-committed to the Canes. Miami had always been the team to beat, and while Auburn and FSU (among others) tried to make a push for this talented player's commitment, it was clear the whole time that Miami had the upper hand.
McCloud is the 3rd LB in this class, and all 3 will be early enrollees and on campus in January. He's a multitalented tackling missile who figures to, at the very least, be a monster on special teams. I'd expect to see McCloud get plenty of snaps in base defense next year as well.
Waiting on Bethel
The other uncommitted prospect to visit last weekend was 4-star DE and Canes legacy Patrick Bethel. Another Early Enrollee (all 5 visitors last week will be EEs at their chosen schools), Bethel is a talented player whose talents would be greatly welcomed in this recruiting class and on this roster.
While I thought there was a chance Bethel may have committed this last weekend, that didn't happen. Reports are that Bethel will take time to evaluate his situation and commit in coming weeks. Miami (which has 100% of the Crystal Ball predictions for Bethel's committment on 247Sports), Auburn, and Tennessee, the other 2 schools to which he took an Official Visit, are thought to be Bethel's finalists.
Bruce locked in
Just real quick note: after winning the 7A State Championship with St. Thomas Aquinas, 4-star WR Sam Bruce reiterated that he's solidly committed to Miami. A quote from a recruiting piece by David Furones of the Miami Herald:
Still a ways until NSD, but that can't help but make you feel good about Bruce to Miami going forward.
5-star TE Isaac Nauta visited campus on Friday.
This was an Unofficial Visit for Nauta, who has already taken all 5 of his Officials. Long story short: his friend (a 3-star QB) wanted to come to Miami on an Unofficial and asked Nauta to join him. On a whim, and because Nauta has a previous relationship with Mark Richt from his time at Georgia, Nauta came.
Nauta, for his part, seemed to enjoy his visit and named Miami in his top 6 finalists. I, for one, do not think that there's a real chance he ends up as a Cane (Nauta is an Early Enrollee). This, to me, was a free trip to Coral Gables and an attempt at the homeboy hook up (yanno, get Miami to offer his friend a scholarship in the hopes of getting Nauta). But, with Jack Allison's understanding that he's going to be the only QB Miami takes in this cycle, it looks like that homeboy hookup attempt has fallen short.
While we'll all be following what happens with Nauta, I don't see any real chance he ends up at Miami.
But please, PLEASE, Isaac, prove me wrong.
A trio of decommitments
Remember when, for the last 3 years, I've been telling you that attrition is a natural part of recruiting, and like it or not it happens? Well, here's another bit of proof of that fact. Over the weekend, 2 players decommitted from Miami, and a target decommitted from elsewhere.
Let's start with the target who decommitted. 3-star ATH Malek Young decommitted from Georgia. You know, the school where Mark Richt used to be the coach.
Even before this decommitment, I wrote that Young, a U.S. Army All-American, should and would be a player that Miami would target now that CMR is the Canes coach. Now that Young is a free agent, expect the heat to turn up between Miami and this talented athlete. The last 6 predictions on 247Sports' Crystal Ball have Young picking Miami, so there's some movement going on already. Here are Young's HUDL highlights for you to see:
The first Miami decommit was 2016 TE Evan Hinson. A 3-star recruit, Hinson decommitted from Miami and is said to be "persuing other basketball options" (Hinson stars on his HS basketball team, and averaged more than 23 points per game in 2014).
With the Tight End position being one of, if not the singular most, talented on the team, with Stan Dobard, Chris Herndon IV, breakout star David Njoku, and Jerome Washington all returning for 2016, and Miami legacy Michael Irvin II committed in the 2016 recruiting class, this isn't a big loss for Miami. We wish Evan well in his future endeavors.
The other player who decommitted from Miami was 2017 TE Tre' McKitty.
McKitty, who plays at the new powerhouse of IMG Academy, is a player who some have thought to be on his way out of the 2017 class for quite a while. He's rumored to be a heavy UF lean, so it wouldn't surprise me to see him flip his commitment to the Gators in the near future.
2 things mitigate this decommitment: 1. he's a 2017 kid, so there's still 14 months until the NSD for his class; and 2. the aforementioned depth and talent at the TE position. In short, we'll be fine.
Richt making impact already
So, we knew that the hire of Mark Richt as coach was good, and there's been plenty of movement on the recruiting trail to support that. Apart from getting McCloud re-committed and Bruce locked in, other players have started to pop up on the radar for Miami as a result of Richt's hiring.
The latest such player is 4-star ATH Shyheim Carter (6'0", 190lbs) from Kentwood, LA. This UnderArmour All-American was being recruited by Richt at Georgia, and now is interested in learning more about Miami, mainly because Richt is here. Carter was once committed to Alabama, and has teams such as Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, LSU, and Ole Miss (among others) still pursuing him. This one won't be an easy fight, but Miami is at least in the conversation now, which is something that wasn't the case even a week ago.
I've previously mentioned him on this site, but keep an eye out on 4-star RB Devwah Whaley (6'0", 209lbs) from Beaumont, TX. Whaley was committed to Georgia when Richt was the coach, and is said to have a strong connection with CMR based on a shared religious faith. Whaley, who decommitted from Georgia last week, will get the full court press from Miami after the Dead Period ends in January.
Rounding out the class
A lot of you have asked me questions about "where are the DTs?!?!?!?" and "how many scholarships do we have?" and other recruiting based things. I hear you. I acknowledge your questions. And, soon, I'll have answers.
There are some players (like Malek Young) who we can reasonably pencil into this class. There are others (like Isaac Nauta) who we can't. You'll see what I mean soon enough. My plan is to have that piece with all those details and my thoughts up for you tomorrow morning.
Dead Period is here
The recruiting Dead Period started this morning. What is a Dead Period? I'm glad you asked. Here's the definition, straight from the NCAA's website:
During a dead period a college coach may not have face-to-face contact with college-bound student-athletes or their parents, and may not watch student-athletes compete or visit their high schools. Coaches may write and telephone student-athletes or their parents during a dead period.
So, basically, any and all recruiting that's going on right now (and trust me, it's going on) is happening via social media (one college coach tweeted "it goes down in the DMs [direct messages]" this morning), or via phone.
The Dead Period goes from today, December 14th thru January 13th. The next contact period, when coaches can visit players face to face, starts on January 14th. That's a mere 2 and a half weeks in front of National Signing Day.
Yeah. It's gonna be a crazy sprint to NSD from here on in, kids. Buckle up.
There's always more to be said, but that's the end of today's update.
I need a break.