Alright, guys. I (like others) have been saying that recruiting was going to pick up in a bunch of different ways after the hiring of Mark Richt.
First of all, there's a bunch of movement in the target list. New staff means there are A LOT of new players popping up on the radar for Miami. Several of those players will be visiting in coming weeks, including a couple of them coming to campus this week.
Next, there has been and will be movement in the commitment list. Simply put: there are guys who have been dropped from this class, and there will be others who will also be dropped in the coming days or weeks. A new staff has new priorities and wants their own kids here. So, if and when current commits are let go, don't be surprised. That's the way things work. I know there are going to be comments and questions about this, but we'll look at this part more tomorrow.
Last, there's been repeated references to "after the dead period" for the last month. Well, friends, the Dead Period ends at 12:00am tonight. So, that time of movement that we've been talking about as "off in the future" is here.
The future is now.
And, with that said, let's look at the huge list of players who will be taking Official Visits to Coral Gables this upcoming weekend (January 15-16):
There are several commits who are visiting campus this week. These players figure to remain in this class.
WR Dionte Mullins. Coming off a season in which he did not play due to academic ineligibility, Mullins had a very strong showing in the Under Armour All-American game. Mullins will be heading to campus for a visit this weekend. He's a very talented player who figures to challenge for playing time early in his career at Miami.
DE Joseph Jackson. A very talented and physical player on the defensive line, Jackson is, perhaps, the best player currently committed to Miami that nobody is talking about. Simply put, he's a FREAK of an athlete, and has a college ready frame right now. Jackson Could easily see playing time as a freshman on an already talented defensive line.
DB Cedrick Wright. A very smart and talented player, Wright has a great deal of talent to go with that intellect. In one game during his senior year, Wright had 27 (!!!!) tackles. Wright could be a good addition on special teams right away, but his full value to the Canes won't be seen for a couple seasons.
RB Travis Homer. This talented player burst onto the scene nearly a year ago with an eye-popping performance at a recruiting showcase and never looked back. With more than 1100 yards rushing in his senior year, Homer showed time and again that he has the skills to impact games. While best as a runner on the edges of the defense, Homer can also be a functional runner inside the tackles, as well as a valued asset in the passing game. He won't start from day 1 with our LOADED RB corps returning (Yearby, and Walton, and Edwards, and Gray OH MY), but make no mistake: Travis Homer will be a big time player here in years to come.
WR Ahmmon Richards. A one-time Canes commit, Richards decommitted from Miami following the debacle of the Clemson game and Al Golden's subsequent firing. Even before then, this talented player was being heavily pursued by teams all over the Southeast. Now, the battle seems to be between Miami, Alabama, Auburn, and Tennessee. Richards, who has already visited Auburn, and will visit Alabama and Tennesse in the weeks after his visit to Miami, is among the biggest targets on the board for Mark Richt. Now, let's see him work.
WR Javon Wims. A very talented JUCO player who is committed to Georgia, Wims is another talented receiver who could would definitely see immediate playing time in Miami. At 6'4" 215lbs, Wims has the kind of size that few receivers on the roster (Lawrence Cager, Darrell Langham) have. In an interesting twist, Wims is actually originally from South Florida, and his mother lives close enough to campus that she'll join him on his visit this weekend. Like all JUCO products, Wims wants to play right away. Miami offers that opportunity, AND the chance to play for the coach (Richt) to whom he originally committed.
WR Nate Johnson. A Michigan Wolverines commit, Johnson is an undersized but incredibly talented player out of Tennessee. He has put up incredible numbers in his last 2 years of high school, totaling more than 3,000 yards and 44 TDs. IN TWO YEARS. While Johnson is committed to Michigan, many think this battle will come down to Tennessee and Vanderbilt. But, Johnson has said he's open to Miami, and a good visit could catapult the Canes into the conversation for his final commitment.
WR Latrell Williams. A former USF commit, Williams is a late riser who can flat out FLY. He was recruited to USF by new Miami WR coach Ron Dugans, so there is already a built-in recruiting connection. While not as heralded as the other receiver recruits on campus this week, make no mistake that Williams can play here. And with a scheme that fits his talents (I mean, when is elite speed not a good thing to have?) and very good coaching at his position (Hey, Ron Dugans), there's good reason to think Williams could develop nicely in a Canes uniform.
DB James Pierre. A former Miami commit who flipped to North Carolina a few months ago, Pierre will reportedly be on campus for an OV this weekend. He's a talented player who might need a year or two before he's ready to start, but he's got a good ceiling for future potential. AND, Pierre's recruitment could impact the next player on this list.
DB Aaron Robinson. A Florida commit and HS teammate of the aforementioned Pierre, Robinson has very good skills and a bright future. On top of the fact that it's always nice to make Florida's life a little more difficult, Robinson is a prospect who could flourish in the new scheme of Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz.
DB JJ Givens. Now THIS is a new one. Givens, a Virginia native, popped up on Miami's radar in the last few days. He's got good size for a DB at 6'2", and could have a future at CB or S. And, with spots opening at DB in this class (we'll talk about this in a minute), Givens could be a great addition for Miami.
#ESPN300 & UA @AllAmericaGame CB Shyheim Carter OV's: #Miami Jan 15, #Alabama Jan 22 & #OleMiss Jan 29. pic.twitter.com/exNgPUwBBF— Gerry Hamilton (@HamiltonESPN) January 14, 2016
CB Shyheim Carter. A National recruit who has been heavily linked with SEC schools throughout this process, Carter will be on campus this weekend. He played QB in high school, a testament to his athleticism. But, his future is 100% at corner. With future visits to Alabama and Ole Miss on the books, Miami will need to make a major move with this talented player this weekend.
Other Blips on the Radar
Malek Young visiting next week
A top target, Coconut Creek DB Malek Young is slated to visit Coral Gables next week. He was committed to Mark Richt and Georgia for months, so there's a history there. Miami has to be the prohibitive favorites to land this talented athlete at this point.
What about Pie?
Miami High WR Keyshawn "Pie" Young is somewhat of a mystery. He's still deciding his official visit plans and Miami may or may not be a part of them. For a team that needs WRs in this class (can't you tell by the visitor list for this week?), Young would be a much welcomed addition. But, unless he visits, and even if he does, Miami may be on the outside looking in.
Just at the beginning of the Dead Period, 4-star WR Eli Stove from Niceville, FL, an Auburn commit, made plans to take an official visit to Miami. While that is a big move on its own, Stove's teammate S Romeo Finley will also be visiting Miami in the coming weeks.
While getting either Stove or Finley would be big (they're both 4-star recruits and very talented athletes), getting both would be a massive win for Mark Richt. The pair is slated to visit Coral Gables ont he last weekend before National Signing Day. So, trust and believe, there will be updates to this story between now and then.
Hoping for Whaley?
4-star RB Devwah Whaley, once committed to Richt and Georgia, announced his commitment to Arkansas at the Under Armour All-American game. That has not deterred Miami from continuing to recruit the 6'0" 209lb RB, however. Obviously, Mark Richt and RB Coach Thomas Brown have a previous relationship with Whaley, and they're leaning on that familiarity to try and flip him to the Hurricanes. There's not much time left to make moves, though, so Richt and Brown better kick the 'crootin up into high gear.
I know, I know....Miami needs DTs. I know it. You know it. Mark Richt definitely knows it, since he's been offering nearly every breathing DT since taking the Miami job.
At this point, however, there's only 1 DT scheduled to visit Coral Gables before National Signing Day: Marcel Southall, a 3-star player from TX. But, do not let that discourage you. The staff is working overtime to get DTs to visit and commit, and with the combo of DC Diaz and DL coach Craig Kuligowski leading the charge, I wouldn't be surprised if more names and visits start popping up in the near future.
WHEW. That's a lot. But, like I've been saying, now is the time that recruiting picks up as we sprint to National Signing Day. So, be sure you stay plugged in with SOTU as we give you many, many updates in the coming days and weeks.