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Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: Now, the fun starts

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Now that we know Mark Richt is going to be Miami's coach, let's talk about his first job: recruiting.

Could 5-star QB Jacob Eason be in play for Miami now that Mark Richt is the Canes coach?
Could 5-star QB Jacob Eason be in play for Miami now that Mark Richt is the Canes coach?
247Sports

So, in case you missed it, reports are that former Georgia Coach Mark Richt will be the next Miami Hurricanes Football Coach. With Richt coming on board (he's said to be working on putting together his assistant staff right now), the focus for me turns from the coaching search to the player search. This, of course, is better known as the wonderful world of Recruiting.

Let's get into it.

Jacob Eason in play for Miami now

The crown jewel of Richt's 2016 recruiting class when he was at Georgia is 5-star QB Jacob Eason (6'5" 205lbs) from Lake Stevens, WA. Eason is an elite recruit. He's ranked 5th overall in this class by 247Sports, 10th overall by Rivals, and 16th overall by ESPN. Jacob's father Tony played WR at Notre Dame, so he comes from an athletic family.

After Richt's firing from Georgia, Eason started talking to Florida, who has been looking for a QB for YEARS. He's even taken an official visit to Gainesville while he considers joining the Gators.

Now that Mark Richt is going to be in Miami, Eason's recruitment has a new factor. Rivals.com reports that Eason will "for sure" consider following Richt to Miami ($). USA Today HS has an article where Eason's QB coach thinks that the 5-star player may follow Richt to Miami. This consideration would have to happen like RIGHT NOW for a simple reason: Eason is slated to be an early enrollee. That means Eason will be on-campus wherever he chooses in January.

With a quarterback already committed in the 2016 class and Brad Kaaya returning for his junior year, the path to playing time at Miami may be a bit longer than either Georgia or Florida, where he would nearly certainly step on campus and be the starter from day 1, if not sooner.

We'll talk more about QB recruiting in a bit, but for now, feast your eyes on Eason's HUDL highlights. They're good. REALLY good. One could even venture so far as to say they're elite.

Regardless of Eason, Jack Allison seems solid.

Obviously, with a 5-star, top 10 national player in Eason now having some kind of interest in Miami, attention has to be paid to the current QB commit: Palmetto (FL) 4-star Jack Allison (6'5", 200lbs). But, there's no need to worry, according to a report from Scout.com's Corey Bender.  Here's a tweet with a very good quote from Allison's father:

And another tweet:

Yeah, that'll work.

Allison, like Eason, is an early enrollee. So, he'll be on a college campus in about a month (housing at Miami opens January 6th, orientation for new students starts on January 7th, and classes begin January 11th). Allison's official visit is already scheduled for December 11th, and that will probably end his recruitment, and give Miami at least 1 top notch QB recruit for this class. And, just to refresh your memories, here are Allison's HUDL highlights:

Allison, Eason, or Both?

A lot of people asked me this question, so let me go on the record:

  1. Of the two, Eason is the better prospect in my opinion. He's the definition of a  5-star recruit. The big difference for me is his college ready frame, as opposed to Allison's slight build (will definitely NEED a redshirt year to physically develop before he's ready to play).
  2. I think both players can and will be good college starting QBs in time.
  3. I think both players have very good arm strength, with maybe a slight edge here to Allison (he has a cannon).
  4. While neither is a dual-threat QB, both Allison and Eason have the ability to move effectively in the pocket, and even pick up yards if the pocket collapses.
  5. If I HAD TO choose, I'm taking Jacob Eason. BUT, Jack Allison is a top level QB, and his commitment to Miami is still big for the Canes. I'm taking him on my team anytime, ANYTIME.
  6. Yes, I believe that Miami would take both Allison and Eason if given the chance. Get them on campus, and then let their play be the determining factor on who plays in a year or two (yanno, once franchise QB Brad Kaaya finally moves on from Miami to the NFL).

Will Canes make a run at previous commits?

As you well know, several committed players decommitted from Miami in the wake of Al Golden's firing. Now, with a coach in place, Miami could take a run at several of those players.

First among them is OLB Zach McCloud (6'2", 220lbs) from Santaluces HS. A high 4-star rated player, McCloud is the type of talent who could easily step into heavy playing time at any school in the country as a freshman. McCloud has been heavily courted by the likes of Auburn and Florida. Those teams seemed to be making strides in McCloud's recruitment, until Tuesday. Another embedded tweet for you:

So, McCloud's only official visit will be to the team to whom he was once committed? And, McCloud, like Allison and Eason, is slated to be an Early Enrollee, so this visit will take place 3 weeks before he's set to enroll to somebody's college?

I would put good money on Zach McCloud's announcement for his re-commitment to Miami to happen on his Official Visit to Coral Gables next week. GOOD MONEY.

Another once-committed player is WR Ahmmon Richards (6'2" 175lbs) from Wellington, FL. Another high 4-star rated player, Richards is a player who has seen his recruiting profile skyrocket over the course of the last year. I have been very vocal about the fact that Richards was under ranked and in need of a spot in an All-American game. His ranking rose shortly before his decommittment from Miami, and his invitation to the U.S. Army All-American game came 2 days after his decommittment.

In the aftermath of his decommittment, Richards has taken visits to Alabama and Auburn. While Alabama was long thought to be the team at the front of Richards' post-Miami recruitment, Auburn has made a serious move in recent weeks. The Tigers are said to be Richards' leader at this point.

With McCloud potentially coming back into the fold next week, and several other Canes commits still communicating with him as his recruitment progresses, there is a chance that Richards will do an about-face and re-commit to Miami. It's far too early to predict that to happen, however. As a regular signee (not EE), I think Richards' recruitment will go down to the wire, with an announcement probably coming on or around National Signing Day.

Other recruits could now be in play for Miami

Jacob Eason isn't the only recruit who could now be in play for Miami after the hiring of Mark Richt. A few others:

  1. 5-star ATH Mecole Hardman - A player who has already taken an official visit to Coral Gables, Hardman, who hails from Georgia, could take a renewed look at Miami. Hardman is a top 20 player in this class, and could be an impact player at RB, WR, CB, or S in college. Currently, Georgia is thought to be the leader in his recruitment, but with Richt in Miami, that could potentially change.
  2. 4-star WR Binjimen Victor - A talented player from South Florida, Victor is a tall, rangy, and talented WR who never seemed to click with Miami when Al Golden was the coach. Now that Richt is at the helm for the Canes, it's possible that Victor could take an official visit to Coral Gables. And, if he does, then anything can happen.
  3. 4-star CB Trayvon Mullen - Teammates with Victor at Coconut Creek, Mullen is a top cover corner in this recruiting class. Mullen is probably a longshot for Miami, but can't hurt to try, right?
  4. 3-star ATH Malek Young - the third Coconut Creek HS player on this list, Young is currently committed to Georgia. Young's future at the collegiate level is most likely at cornerback, a position that Miami DESPERATELY needs talented players in general, but moreso with the chance that either Artie Burns or Corn Elder (or....gulp....BOTH) could forego their remaining eligibility to enter the NFL draft.
  5. 4-star DE Brian Burns - Burns is a lean and quick pass rusher from American Hertage. This is a school that sent plenty of talent to Georgia when Mark Richt coached there, including WR/Returner Isaiah McKenzie and RB Sony Michel. Richt obviously has a good relationship with that school and success recruiting its' players, and Burns could be the latest player from American Heritage to choose to play his college football for Richt, this time in Miami.

Helping towards Mullen, Victor, and Young: coaches from Miami reportedly stopped by Coconut Creek HS earlier on Thursday. So, face to face conversations have been had. Not saying that anything is immiently forthcoming, but just keep an eye on this.

All 5 of the players in this section are U.S. Army All-Americans. So, that would be kinda nice if they were to choose to enroll at Miami.

Attrition: it's coming.

Yeah, the A-word is back:

Attrition.

I'll handle this point quickly. Here's a tweet:

So yeah. There's going to be attrition. Some of the kids currently committed to Miami will have their offers pulled, or be told by the new staff that they're going in another direction, or whatever. It happens, and it will be fine.

The lower tier recruits may have a hard time finding a committable P5 offer, but in the end, I expect everyone to find a college home.

Like I said, and like the above-embedded tweet says, this is what happens when a team gets a new coach. It doesn't make Richt a bad guy (he's a great person by all accounts), and it doesn't make Miami a bad program. There's a change going on, and with that change, some recruits will get left behind.

It happens. It will be fine for all involved parties.

Richt to Miami is a class maker, not a class saver.

Last point of this article: this move can pay off for Miami in a big, BIG way.

Usually, when a coach is fired, the next coach's job is to simply "save" the recruiting class. Don't let too many commits go elsewhere. Add a couple players of marginal talent to get to a full class so the roster has appropriate depth and balance, even if the talent isn't exceptional. Steady the ship for a year, then focus on the next class.

In this case, however, this move could end up helping Miami's class end up as one of the best in the country for this cycle. Mark Richt's teams always recruited well at Georgia. They were one of 6 teams who were on the right side of SBNation Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliot's Blue Chip Ratio, with 51% of the roster being 4 and 5-star ranked players.

Just by virtue of hiring Richt, Miami now has a shot with a top 5 player in this class, and several other local and national recruits who probably would not have ended up as Canes if Al Golden was still our coach.

The move to hire Mark Richt will help Miami on the field in the future, but also off the field in recruiting, even as soon as this February.

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Whew. That's the end of this installment of the Recruiting Radar. Vote in the poll and leave a comment below.

Go Canes