Through the 2015 recruiting cycle, one of the main storylines for the Canes was "which RBs will stick?". In the end, a class that once boasted Jordan Cronkrite, Jordan Scarlett, Dexter Williams, and, tangentially, Mark Walton (who was a 2016 player who reclassified), Miami ended up with only Walton signing a letter of intent and becoming a Hurricane.
So, after having 3 RBs and a lower class recruit for the majority of the cycle, Miami moved on to the #Swag16 class. But, history can sometimes repeat itself, and things are starting to shape up that way.
Sunday afternoon, 247Sports' Miami site InsideTheU.com reported that 2017 RB commit Bentavious Thompson is looking to reclassify to 2016 ($). With 3 RBs already committed, you can see how this pretty much exactly mirrors what happened through the 2015 recruiting cycle.
So, what could happen with this group as we move forward in the 2016 recruiting cycle? Let's take a look at the players involved and make some educated guesses.
The longest tenured of the 4 RB commits, Rasul is a player who boasts excellent speed. He committed on Christmas Day, so that was a nice gift for Miami fans.
As an early commit to the class, Rasul is one of the players upon which the foundation for this group was built. He is a very good athlete at 5'10" 200lbs with elite speed. Rasul also runs track, so his breakaway speed is beneficial in multiple sports. He has good vision and nice moves to go along with it. And, he comes from a program that has routinely had top talent end up at The U.
Only minutes from campus, Coral Gables Senior HS has an impressive list of alumni athletes who have attended the University of Miami : Jonathan Vilma, Frank Gore, Darryl Sharpton, and Denzel Perryman leading that group (major league baseball player and former Cane Yonder Alonso is on that list, as well).
However, since his commitment, there has been chatter that Rasul may not be fully solid in his commitment to the Canes. Miami is doing their part to keep him committed, however, and has turned up the contact with Rasul over recent weeks.
The 2nd RB to commit in this class, Moss is the "big back" in this class, standing 5'10" 220lbs. He isn't just an inside bruiser, though. He has surprising agility for a player of his size.
After plying his trade at a smaller school for a few years, Moss recently transferred to Hallandale HS, a team loaded with talent and considered by some to be a favorite to win the State Championship in Florida's 5A classification.
Where Moss fits with the Chargers is to balance out their offense, which has a QB and 5 WRs who are D1 players, if you include the underclassmen. If Moss has a strong season, his individual recruiting profile, as well as Hallandale's title aspirations, are sure to increase. And, with more of a recruiting profile, it will be interesting to see if Moss sticks with the Canes who offered early, or another contender who charges late.
Arguably the most physically talented RB in this class, Homer is the 3rd RB to commit in this class. Home committed to The U after playing in the inaugural adidas South Florida Shootout 7-on-7 tournament, held on campus in Coral Gables back in May. And, even more than the 4-star Rasul, Homer has taken the recruiting world by storm throughout this offseason.
After posting the top Sparq score at the Miami Regional for Nike's The Opening (a score which still ended up being 4th nationally), Homer continued to turn heads and dominate competition no matter where he went. At 5'11" 195lbs, Homer isn't the biggest RB or a punishing runner like Moss. What he is, however, is a player with elite speed and plenty of moves to make people miss in the open field.
Much like his HS, Oxbridge Academy, Homer's rise has been largely unexpected. But, now that he's competed against some of the best prospects in the country and more than held his own, he's now a household name in terms of recruiting.
Thompson, currently a 2017 player, committed to Miami in February. That was before either Homer or Moss gave their verbal to the Canes. That didn't really matter, though, since Thompson was slated to be in a later recruiting class.
But, now that he's on record as trying to reclassify to 2016, Thompson now joins the equation and conversation for another crowded RB class for the Canes.
There's a simple reason why Thompson is looking to reclassify: He's 18 years 3 months old at the time that I'm writing this article. So, he's nearly 2 years older than everybody else for his current class of 2017, which is ancient in terms of recruiting. For comparison's sake, Thompson is nearly the same proportional age that Alabama signee Calvin Ridley was for the 2015 cycle when Ridley aged out of HS athletics by turning 19 years 9 months during this past season, and Travis Homer, a fellow 2016 recruit, is currently 16 years 11 months old at this same moment.
While Thompson is old (VERY old) for his current grade, reclassifying to 2016 will put him back on track with the class he rightfully belongs in. And, as far as Miami's RB recruiting goes, it would make a loaded class jam packed and possibly overloaded with talent.
How does this situation end?
Let's look at some of the facts of this year's RB situation:
1. Miami needs to take multiple RBs in this class.
After going through all of the 2015 cycle with multiple RBs committed (until NSD, that is), Miami needs both depth and talent in this class. In 2016 Gus Edwards will be a senior, Joseph Yearby and Trayone Gray will be a juniors (unless Gray redshirts this year, which I don't see happening). With all that upperclassman talent, Miami will need an infusion of youth.
2. Commits are highly recruited
This is just the cost of doing business in today's recruiting age. The players who are committed to any school will be pursued by many other teams. Rasul is highly valued by many schools. Moss will see his profile raise throughout this cycle as Hallandale becomes more well known. Homer participated at Nike's The Opening, which puts him on the national radar. And Thompson has multiple offers as well.
I say all that to say that in the end, Miami will have to play some defense on the recruiting trail.
3. Attrition is going to happen
I'm not going to belabor this point, but I'll say this: Miami won't end up with all 4 of these players in this class. The sooner you come to terms with this, the better.
4. Other players?
Yes, there are 4 players at this position in this class, pending Thompson's reclassification. But, these aren't the only players Miami has contacted and are recruiting at this position in this cycle. According to 247Sports recruiting database, Miami has offered 24 RBs in the 2016 class alone, and that's not including Thompson.
I'm not saying that we're pushing hard for other commits, but the RB class has many, many more players in it than the ones who are committed to Miami. And, one of these other players could possibly factor into this recruiting class.
I thought about it, and it's simply too early for a final prediction. We're still 7 months from national signing day and there's a lot of time and plenty of recruiting to be done before then.
I will go back to point 1 of the above list as my battle cry: Miami needs 2 RBs in this class, but definitely won't end up with all 4 of the current commits.
But, since you read this much, I'll end this piece with my personal ranking of the 4 commits. Happy debating. Here goes:
1. Homer - His speed is electric, he has plenty of moves, and he's the youngest of the commits, so he could still develop more physically.
2. Rasul - Size and speed combo. Players from his HS who attend Miami invariably end up as great players. What's not to like?
3. Thompson - Another size/speed combo guy. He's a bit tougher inside than Rasul, but lacks the same top end speed as the other 2.
4. Moss - Decent player, but not my personal favorite. Much like Gus Edwards, I see Moss as a 2 year project before becoming a full time contributor at the college level. Lower ceiling than the other 3 backs.
So, that's my view of this RB conundrum. What's yours?