On Saturday afternoon, four-star athlete DeeJay Dallas stepped up to the microphone on a local radio show to announce his commitment. Over the course of his recruiting process, Dallas had been heavily recruited by Miami, but after he received offers from schools such as Alabama and Michigan, many wondered whether there was a legitimate chance he would choose Coral Gables.
"For the next four years," Dallas said to his national audience both listening on the radio and following him on Twitter. "I plan on attending the University of Miami."
At that moment, Miami fans breathed a sigh of relief. In a recruiting battle that involved heavyweights such as Alabama and Michigan, Miami came away with the prized recruit.
M.I.A.M.I I rep that 3-0-5 pic.twitter.com/sTaUhvVjTj— DeeJay Dallas (@Deejaydallas5) May 21, 2016
In recent years Miami has lost many of those recruiting battles; and as a result, missed out on big talent such as Amari Cooper and Calvin Ridley. Whether it was due to sanctions or underwhelming on-field performances, Miami had not been able to lock down many of the top talent.
The commitments of recruits such as DeeJay Dallas; however, is proving that the recruiting tide may be shifting. Under Al Golden, Miami's 2016 recruiting class became a string of decommitments and a steep drop from a top 3 overall recruiting class ranking to barely making the top 25.
Since Mark Richt was hired as the head coach in December; however, the 'Canes have begun to right the ship. 2016 prospects who had decommited from the program such as Zach McCloud and Ahmmon Richards began to make their way back to the program; and due to commitments from players such as N'Kosi Perry and DeeJay Dallas, Miami's 2017 class once again ranked in the top 5.
According to 247sports.com, Miami already has half the amount of four-star recruits as they did last year, and currently has one more three-star commitment than the entire 2016 class. Not only is this 2017 class loaded with talent, it is also well rounded within each position group. According to 247sports.com's rankings, three of Miami's top four prospects are versatile enough to play different positions in college, and four-star prospect Christopher Henderson is expected to fill the Hurricanes' void at cornerback.
Despite the fact that Miami's top prospect committed before his hiring, Mark Richt has already left his imprint on the class. Seven of Miami's top nine prospects committed after Richt's hiring in December, and four star prospect N'Kosi Perry recommitted to the program three months after Richt's arrival in Coral Gables.
What might be most important in Richt's recruiting path; however, is the strength to not only recruit in Florida, but also in states such as Georgia. DeeJay Dallas marks the first 2017 four-star recruit from Georgia to commit to Miami, and after hauling in two prospects from Texas and Iowa, Richt is opening up other states in recruiting.
By both carving out roads of state and luring in home-town prospects from schools such as Southridge High School in Miami, the 'Canes new staff is getting the job done during the offseason. Although at this point the Hurricanes' on-field performance is still an unknown commodity, there is no doubt that on the recruiting trail Richt is doing what he needs to do to bring back "The U's" signature talent.
DeeJay Dallas highlights:
N'Kosi Perry highlights:
Christopher Henderson highlights: