This afternoon, in the wake of 5 star wide receiver Jerry Jeudy spurning the ‘Canes for Alabama, Miami began to regain momentum with the commitment of 3 star Trinity Christian defensive back Derrick Smith.
Smith stands at 6’3” 190 lbs, and is known for being a hard-hitter throughout the year. As Smith told InsideTheU’s Andrew Ivins, he expects to compete for playing time early at Miami, an idea Mark Richt has preached to recruits the entire season.
Mark Richt's recruiting pitch: If you want to play early, come to Miami (and injury updates on Thomas, others) https://t.co/pyZBuNGeSs pic.twitter.com/L8KwH0v6iE— Matt Porter (@mattyports) October 25, 2016
Smith’s addition puts Miami in a comfortable position at safety, where the ‘Canes are also adding Amari Carter and Billy Gibson. Gibson, Carter, and Smith will compete with Miami’s returning defensive backs this offseason, and will provide more depth to the position. That type of competition is something Richt’s staff has seeked out ever since landing on campus, and should put the ‘Canes one step closer to stability in the secondary.
When Al Golden left campus, Miami was falling downhill quickly in the secondary, with Jamal Carter and Rayshawn Jenkins nearing graduation and little experience returning at cornerback aside from Corn Elder.
Once Richt came in; however; he made the secondary an immediate priority. It started with the hiring of individual coaches for safeties and cornerbacks, and has bled into recruiting. Richt brought in Malek Young right away, and has been developing the secondary ever since.
Young showed signs of potential during his freshman year, and if Miami closes the deal in their recruitment of JUCO cornerback Jhavonte Dean, the ‘Canes will feel confident after bringing in both Dean and Trajan Bandy at the cornerback spot.
In the 2 classes which came before Mark Richt (2014 and 2015) only Sheldrick Redwine has received significant playing time at cornerback, and only Jaquan Johnson has received significant playing time at safety.
The cornerback position began to embody Al Golden’s struggle to recruit quality depth, and dug Miami at the time of his departure.
Smith’s commitment doesn’t solve Miami’s problems at safety, but after Golden and his staff dug a massive hole, the addition of 5 defensive backs in 2017 begins the process of climbing their way out.