***updated 2/6 with the addition of Even Shireffs
The University of Miami's Class of 2015 closed out the day yesterday with
20 21 NLIs. They could still add a few players, but for the most part what you see is what you are getting.
Full list below (courtesy 247 Sports):
There were some pleasant late surprises, particularly CB Sheldrick Redwine, DT Kendrick Norton, and DE/DT Gerald Willis (not listed above as he is considered a transfer).
But Miami also missed out on quite a few talented players from their backyard.
It particularly stung to lose both Antonio Calloway and Jordan Scarlett to UF. They couldn't pry Dexter Williams away from Notre Dame, nor Torrance Gibson from Ohio State.
And I think everyone was shocked when Marcus Lewis went to FSU.
But we will have much more on those stories later.
For now, let's mostly look at what the Hurricanes did get position by position and assign grades.
0 1 player signed) -
How did UM manage to go through this entire class and not pick up a QB? I know they were holding out hope for Gibson, and they did pick up walk on transfer Vincent Testaverde (the only reason I did not assign an F) a few weeks back. But they really needed another player at the most important position on the field (and finally got one).
Jefferson GA 3 star signal caller Evan Shireffs is a nice addition as Brad Kaaya insurance. He is a very accurate passer, and could be a sleeper as the future starter (although Jack Allison may have a lot to say about that if he sticks) when Kaaya finishes up his time at UM.
RB (1 player signed) -
That one player is Mark Walton, and he is an outstanding prospect.
But in my estimation, Walton closely resembles the skill set of Joe Yearby. And while that is not a bad thing, the Hurricanes would have been greatly enhanced had they secured the breakaway abilities of Scarlett and/or Williams. Walton may eventually develop into the best player in the class, but it's hard not to look at what might have been at this position.
WR (1 player signed) -
I really like Lawrence Cager. The Towson, Md product is a 6'5 specimen. But I would have really liked to have seen a game breaker type in this class to replaced the departed Phillip Dorsett.
There is still a chance at Terrell Chatman, who has ridiculous hands and upside.
So this class could still get a little better in the coming days.
TE (1 player signed) -
JUCO/EE Jerome Washington is a monster of a man at 6-5 260. He could pay immediate dividends as both a blocker and a play maker in the passing game. The level of competition he faced is the only question mark. But getting the #1 junior college prospect at any position has to be considered a win of some sort. We all know it could go either way though (see Jeremy Shockey/Beau Sandland) when picking up a highly touted JUCO TE.
Offensive Line (6 players signed) -
JUCO prospect Jahair Jones plays with a mean streak, and could be good enough to start at one of the T positions from day 1. Ditto Tyree St. Louis, whose decision to stick with UM on NSD was one of the highlights of the day. Kaaya's H.S. teammate Bar Milo is a ferocious competitor who could get into the rotation at G or T as a true freshman. Brendan Loftus, Hayden Mahoney, and Tyler Gauthier all look the part of RS candidates, but adding depth up front was key. When you get 3 guys in the O line class who look good enough to contribute their first seasons in the program, you have accomplished something.
Defensive Line (4, 5 if you count Willis to this class) -
Willis will have to sit out 2015, but if he can keep his calm off the field and lives up to 5 star potential, he could be a monster find down the line for a program desperate for an interior defensive line star. Norton looks like a solid prospect who could get PT from day 1 while developing. I like Scott Patchan, who many have compared to Anthony Chickillo. I see the similarities but he looks a little more explosive than Chick did at the same stage of his career. Patchan could be a sleeper. Al Golden gushed over Richard McIntosh, calling him one of the most "underrated players in class in South Florida." Jamie Gordiner is a OLB/DE hybrid type who perhaps could be a poor man's Tyriq McCord? We'll see. Ryan Fines is an inside guy who plays with a high motor. Overall Miami got much stronger in a serious area of need, with Norton and Willis being two excellent gets.
Linebacker (2 players, 3 if you count Gordiner here) -
Charles Perry could be a good player down the line. At 6'2 200 though he looks like he needs to fill into his frame more before having an impact at this level. The Hurricanes flipped James King from FAU (also undersized, 6-1, 200). He is rated as a 2/3 star prospect by most recruiting services. UM has depth concerns at the position, and are losing their best LB in years in Denzel Perryman. These players, even if you include Gordiner, do very little to ease my concerns.
Defensive Back (4 players signed) -
JaQuan Johnson has a chance to be a star, both as a tough as nails/clutch S, and as a leader in the locker room. Sheldrick Redwine is a nice rangy corner in the mold of Ladarius Gunter. He too should have a bright future. Michael Jackson is very similar, and at 6'2, should be a very good option to match up with today's taller WRs all defenses have to account for with some development. I have nothing against Robert Knowles, but watching his film did not wow me. Overall though Miami added in my estimates, 1 outstanding player and 2 potentially good ones.
Overall Class Grade:
(updated 2/6 from a C+)
Coming off a 6-7 season, UM could have really used a huge splash with this class. I started out very disappointed yesterday, but as the day progressed, this group kind of grew on me. I think Walton and Johnson have a chance to be stars. And I really like what they did in the trenches on both sides of the ball. That being said, this group is not one that you would call a program changer. And the misses at WR, LB, and
QB are hard to ignore. Unfortunately for Golden and his staff, while they closed strong, there were as many misses and hits in the Class of 2015 (so far).
Update: The addition of Shireffs and potentially Chatman (check back tomorrow) give this class a touch more luster. It is still far from a blockbuster, but adding a QB and perhaps an underrated target on the outside never hurts things.