Miami was set to host their first Official Visit weekend last weekend for the Florida State game, but Hurricane Matthew made that impossible. So, this week’s OV’s are the first set for Miami in this recruiting cycle, and the Canes will look to make moves with a small, but important, group of visitors. Let’s meet them:
4-star RB Anthony McFarland. This weekend’s visits are really all about Ant, in my opinion. He’s a dynamic RB, with the ability to run the ball or catch it out of the backfield with equal effectiveness. Miami has been embroiled in a heated recruiting battle with Alabama and Maryland for McFarland’s commitment. McFarland’s mother reportedly wants him to pick Miami, and he has a strong relationship with Mark Richt and OC/RB coach Thomas Brown from their time at Georgia. Even with that being the case, Alabama is Alabama, so they’re always going to matter, and the local school Maryland is making a push to keep local talent home, so they’re in the mix too.
Yeah, there are other players visiting this week, but McFarland is far and away the main attraction. McFarland is out for the season after breaking his leg in his HS team’s preseason kickoff classic, but you can get an idea about his talents from the HUDL highlights below:
3-star TE Tre’ McKitty. A one-time Canes commit (back when Al Golden still worked here), McKitty is currently committed to Oregon. Miami has a commit at TE from Texas based Brian Polendey, but McKitty could be an option for TE2 in this class. McKitty is a good receiver and a decent, but not great, blocker. You can see McKitty’s highlights here:
3-star P Zach Feagles. A Canes legacy, Feagles is a talented punter, just like his dad Jeff, who had a 22 year NFL career. The younger Feagles stars at fullback and punter on his HS team, but he’ll transition to punter full-time at the collegiate level. Zach is already committed to Miami, and with his family ties to the program, I don’t see him changing his decision. But, with a HS game on Thursday, Feagles has the opportunity to have a nice, extended weekend in Miami, and that’s what he’s going to do. Check out the highlights (both playing fullback and punter):
So, that’s your group of official visitors for this
It’s always good to get to some of your questions, and that’s what we’re going to do.
@TheStateOfTheU What's the general feeling from recruits about game/program after last week?— spydercane (@spydercane) October 13, 2016
The feeling from recruits was overwhelmingly positive. We all know the result of the game, but the atmosphere was good, the performance of the team was largely good, especially on defense. And, where the Canes were deficient (ahem OFFENSIVE LINE) it showed prospective recruits that they can come in and help right away.
There were A TON of recruits at this game. The whole section (154 if you’re wondering) was packed with HS players from beginning to end. I had a picture of this , but my phone is being stupid, so sorry.
My conservative estimate would be that there were more than 100 recruits at this game, and the returns, while early, are positive. Now, to continue to play hard, recruit them honestly, and WIN GAMES.
Under to push. I’d be very surprised if we had MORE than 25 in this class.
@TheStateOfTheU Brian Edwards do you think he sticks and if not who do we replace him with?— Gregory Parchment (@GregParchment) October 13, 2016
I see Edwards sticking, so the 2nd part of this question is a moot point, in my opinion.
Gonna be a battle, because Donaldson is REALLY REALLY FREAKIN’ GOOD, and multiple teams are after him, but I say yes, Miami keeps him in this class.
@TheStateOfTheU can Miami land a 5 star commit this recruiting cycle?— Snake Edwards (@EdwardsSnake) October 13, 2016
No. And here’s why:
According to 247sports’ composite rankings (rankings that take every major outlet’s rankings into consideration), there are only 32 5-star players in the 2017 recruiting class.
Of those 32 players, 11 are uncommitted.
Of those 11, none of them have been seriously linked to having interest in Miami.
Of the 21 committed 5-stars, Miami has offered several of them, but only 2, OT Alex Leatherwood (Alabama) and RB Stephen Carr (USC) have been reported to have even a passing level of interest in Miami.
So, you’re basically asking: will Miami flip one of the 2 5-star players they’ve even been remotely connected to, but months ago, and without official visits on deck, or even rumored?
Yeah....that’s a no for me.
@TheStateOfTheU Who is the most underrated recruit thats committed. Any postion group.— TheUofMiamiGuy256 (@ItsaUThing256) October 13, 2016
Last year, this would have been an easy answer: DE Joseph Jackson. That kid is a cyborg, and the only reason he wasn’t a 5-star was the fact that he committed to Miami early, and never had a doubt about his commitment.
For this cycle, if we go back to May, I wrote this piece about recruits I believe should get their rankings bumped. Those players were/are undervalued, so that’s a good place to start.
But, for a single player that’s underrated in this class? I gotta go with DT Jonathan Ford (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). I think he’s in the mold of an R.J. McIntosh, another player who was undervalued as a recruit and is now the dominant force at DT that Miami has been looking for over the course of many years. The argument is there for others, but I’m going with Ford for my most underrated.
@TheStateOfTheU what position aside from WR are the focus of crootin and how does Richt historically do in finding good OL?— Chris Cheung (@FFDynasty101) October 13, 2016
The entire roster needs depth, so this should be a balanced class. But, as far as focus? QB, OT, EDGE, and DB.
As far as Richt’s history recruiting OL, it’s strong, just like every position.
I’m gonna let you guys in on a secret: Mark Richt did a damn good job coaching AND recruiting at Georgia. I get that 10-3 (his average record) isn’t what UGA fans/admin wanted, but CMR wasn’t deficient to a point of being poor.
But, if you want numbers to support my point, here you go:
Over the last 10 recruiting classes (yes, I’m counting UGA’s 2016 for CMR since the OL that were committed there committed to him), Richt got 42 OL to sign with Georgia. Of those 42 commits, 1 was a 5-star (Ben Cleveland in 2012), 14 were 4-stars, and the rest 3-star or below. With overlapping careers, that is very good balance. 5-star and 4-stars play early, 3-stars develop and play later in their careers and provide depth at the position.
Also of note, Georgia AVERAGED 2348.25 yards rushing per season over the last 8 years. It’s not the only one indicator, but that’s a pretty solid endorsement of the Georgia OL, in my opinion.
@TheStateOfTheU with the loss of Bruce, who is the top target at receiver that we will be going after to replace?— Chris Rubio (@ChrisRubio22) October 13, 2016
Another good question here. Miami will obviously ramp up the efforts to bring in WRs in this class to offset graduation (Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis) and attrition (Tyre Brady, Sam Bruce).
While Miami has 2 players already committed at WR (Evidence Njoku and Kevaughn Dingle), the list for players Miami is after to add to that group is pretty much the same as I put in the latest Class Breakdown:
- Devonta Smith. Yes, Miami is still going after the 5-star WR from Amite, LA
- Jeremiah Holloman. Played on a 7on7 team with DeeJay Dallas. Arguably the TOP target at WR right now.
- Kalem Reddix. A new name, but a late rising player who could fit in here at Miami
- Mike Harley. Speedster from St. Thomas Aquinas could be in line for a Miami offer in the near future.
Other names could emerge, but those 4 are the top 4 on Miami’s radar at WR for the moment.
@TheStateOfTheU If you were in charge of recruiting for the next 2 years, what would you focus on each year?— Jorge A. Fernandez (@Paposaurus) October 13, 2016
Good. Question. Man, you guys brought your A game this mailbag.
First up, gotta follow recruiting rule #1: Lock down a QB in every class. Need it every year. Can’t go a year without one. Must have. IDC IDC IDC. This is a foundational belief I have for recruiting, and is, in my mind, of the utmost importance.
Now, as far as other goals, here are my answers:
- Get elite players. 4-star and 5-star types. IDC if they’re from SoFLA or elsewhere, but we have to get those top tier talents to Coral Gables, by any means necessary.
- Continue to grow the grassroots recruiting connection to local players by repeated appearances at optimist parks and schools.
- Continue to grow the Paradise Camp. It’s already, after one year, one of the elite recruiting camps in America, but there’s much more growth potential there.
- Continue to have the Social Media department come up with interesting and engaging edits for recruits. Miami is one of the leaders in this already, but we always gotta keep pushing.
- Recruit THE HELL outta OLine. Every year. I talked about CMR’s ability to do that earlier, but upgrading this OL has to be at the top of the to-do list.
- Each year has an “it” position, the one that’s loaded with talent. The goal is to identify it, and then do WORK with it. In the 2018 cycle, that’s Defensive Back, so that would be my focus. It is conceivable that ALL of the All-American DBs in the East of either AA game could come from South Florida. THAT is how stacked with talent it is down here at that position next class. Josh Jobe. Patrick Surtain Jr. Asante Samuel Jr. Al Blades Jr. Tyson Campbell. Nadab Joseph. Gilbert Frierson. DJ Ivey. Gurvan Hall. All those guys will be 4-star or higher prospects in the 2018 class, and those are just the names off the top of my head. Yeah. LOADED. Gotta get 4+ of those guys, period. That’s my focus in 2018.
- In 2019, it’s too soon to tell what the premier position is going to be. Could be RB, where there are several high profile players already. Could be WR. Could be DL. But on the heels of what would be a STELLAR DB class in 2018, I’d shift focus to RB/LB or DL as the main focus for the class.
Obviously, recruiting is dynamic so even the best laid plans may have to change. But, as we sit and talk today, those would be the things at the top of my to-do list if I were in charge of recruiting for the next 2 years.
That’s it for today’s Recruiting Radar.
Keep the conversation going in the comments below.