The 2017 recruiting cycle is well under way, so I'm going to start the Class Breakdown series earlier this year than I have in the past. I'll probably keep this to once a month or so through the season, but this is a good way to keep track of the class, who Miami is looking at, and how things are trending.
Let's start by talking numbers. Here's what I think the Canes are looking to take at each position this year:
|Quarterback||Running Back||Wide Receiver||Tight End||Offensive Line|
|Defensive End||Defensive Tackle||Linebacker||Cornerback||Safety||Best Available|
|2||3||2||3||2||(any extra spots not filled)
I'll get into the methodology more as we look at each position, but that's where we'll start.
Away we go to the positions:
Mark Richt ushering in new era of Miami recruiting
With recent commitments in the past months from players such as DeeJay Dallas, Mark Richt is making an impact on the recruiting trail.
If you've been reading my recruiting posts over the past few years, you know I have a closely held recruiting rule: you have to have a QB in every recruiting class. No excuses; no exceptions. Miami is in good position to follow that guideline in this class, having made it clear their desire to bring in multiple players at this position in 2017.
The Canes have 2 QBs committed in this class: top target 4-star N'Kosi Perry and 3-star Cade Weldon. Perry committed to Al Golden, decommitted after Golden was fired, then recommitted to Mark Richt early in the spring. Weldon is the son of former FSU QB Casey Weldon, who was coached by Mark Richt early in his career, and has known CMR nearly his entire life.
Perry was Florida's 6A player of the year in 2015 and looks to build even more of a profile through his senior year. Weldon missed his junior year with an ACL tear, and is just now getting back onto the field for camps and competition. He's rated a 3-star now, but with a strong senior season, I could see him shooting up the charts.
UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, 5-star QB Tate Martell, formerly a Texas A&M commit, announced his top 7 schools. Included on that list are the Miami Hurricanes. Now, since this list was released just minutes ago, it's a bit too soon to know how seriously Martell is looking at Miami. But, he's a top prospect and very, VERY talented, so this is something worth watching moving forward.
Looking ahead to the 2018 class at QB, Miami has offered several top prospects from around the country. None have committed yet, but that's understandable as there's a new staff in place, and the QB position is one where the decision to commit is arguably the most important.
4-star Robert Burns and 3-star Bentavious Thompson are the commits at Running Back currently. Both are South Florida kids, so that fits the new recruiting paradigm to focus locally before looking Nationally.
But, Running Back is a position where going out-of-area may end up being key for Miami in this class. The Canes need top end talent at this position as they transition to a pro-style offense, and there's some good talent in South Florida this cycle, but looking elsewhere in Florida and Nationally may be the key to getting top players at this spot.
5-star Stephen Carr is committed to USC, but visited Miami in the spring and has repeatedly had good things to say about the Canes. He's a California native, so that won't be an easy pull, but there's room to make a move. Carr has repeatedly said he's committed to USC, but evaluating all options equally.
4-star Anthony McFarland from Washington, D.C. is a dynamic player who Miami is chasing hard. He's a national recruit with a ton of offers, so that won't be easy, but he's on the board as well.
3-star Darrian Felix is an in-state option from North Fort Myers, FL. He's really fast, and really good. And, on top of that, he's stated that Miami is the leader in his recruitment. So, that's a good thing. Oh, and don't let the "3-star" part fool you. Felix is super legit, and could easily get a rating bump in the near future.
4-star Adarius Lemons is committed to North Carolina, but may be taking a cursory look at Miami. He'll probably be a tough pull, seeing that he's committed elsewhere, but he's from Florida and can definitely play at this level. Miami is well served to at least gauge his interest.
4-star C.J. Cotman is another Florida talent that Miami is recruiting. He has 30 offers and a bunch of teams at the front of his recruitment. The summer months with visits should begin to pare down Cotman's list and give a clearer picture of where his recruitment stands.
I'll close by quoting myself from a pre-NSD 2016 version of the Class Breakdown:
Looking ahead, however, Miami will need to bring in multiple RBs in 2017. Richt has previously been able to bring in dual RB classes of Todd Gurley and Richard Marshall in 2012 AND Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in 2014 at Georgia. Those are all 4-star or better recruits, 2 each in those classes. Reasonable to project a similar type haul for Miami at this position in 2017, when it will be needed.
4-star ATH DeeJay Dallas recently committed to Miami. He's projected to play WR, although he could be used at a number of positions. For now, I'm counting him with the WRs. 3-star Rodney Scott and 3-star Kevaughn Dingle are both South Florida products, and round out the commit group.
The WR recruiting is in an interesting spot for me. Miami has talented players committed, but not a top end, alpha dog, WR1 kind of player in that group. Miami is really looking at WR1 and WR5 types to fill out this class.
The top prospect on the list of targets is 4-star Jerry Jeudy. A dynamic playmaker, Jeudy's recruitment is thought to be a 2 team battle between Alabama and Miami, with the Crimson Tide currently holding a lead. Miami has kicked up their pursuit of Jeudy since Richt's hiring, but there's still work to be done.
5-star Trevon Grimes plies his trade at powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas, and is everything you could want in a WR. He's 6'4" with long arms, sure hands, explosive athleticism, and sub-4.5 speed in the 40. A transplanted Indiana native, Grimes has made well-known the fact that Ohio State leads in his recruitment. His HS teammate Jake Allen is committed to UF, so they're on the radar, and Florida State is trying to get involved also. But, at this point, I think it's a foregone conclusion that Grimes ends up playing for Urban Meyer at the next level.
4-star Tyrell Shavers is a freakish athlete and could very well be in line for a 5th star being added to his rating. The Lewisville, TX native is 6'6" 202lbs and runs in the 4.4 range. His combination of size and speed at the WR position is rare, and because of that, Shavers is a highly coveted recruit. Shavers released his top 10 within the past few weeks, and Miami made that cut. It will be tough to get him away from a host of schools recruiting him, including Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, and LSU, but nobody said recruiting would be easy.
4-star Jaylen Harris, a 6'5" receiver from Ohio, is high on Miami's list as well. He's a talented player, with very good size and skills. Jeudy ranks higher than him due to playmaking ability and proximity to Coral Gables, but Harris is a U.S. Army All-American with 30+ offers. Very very good prospect.
3-star Camron Buckley is a Texan with ties to the Miami program: his uncle is former Canes LB Jesse Armstead. Buckley could push for a 4th star in his rating, and is a well-rounded receiver who can make plays all over the field. Buckley seemed set to make a commitment earlier in the spring, presumably to Miami after a trip to South Florida for the Canes' spring game, but backed off those plans. His recruitment seems to be down to Ole Miss and Miami at current.
Miami has been connected with 3-star Emmanuel Greene in the past, but that seems to have cooled. 3-star Antoine Thompson has seen his recruiting from Miami pick up recently. 3-star Matt Landers is a 6'5" prospect with above average speed, but incredibly raw. 3-star Evidence Njoku, brother of Canes TE David, is an out-of-state option for a big receiver. 3-star speedster Sean Savoy is also on the board for Miami. So is St. Thomas Aquinas 3-star speed merchant Mike Harley. 6'5" 3-star Shimoore Stern is a local prospect, but I'd take several of the other options ahead of him.
Even with 3 players committed at this position, Miami is still quite far from being finished at Wide Receiver.
On the heels of getting Jovani Haskins and Michael Irvin II in the 2016 class, I had Miami as set at TE in this class. The Canes, however, got a commitment from 3-star Brian Polendey. He is at HS in Texas now, but his family has moved all over the country. Polendey's family is actually moving to the Tampa area soon, but he will finish HS in TX before enrolling at Miami in January.
Unless one of the few top national talents at this position wants into this class, Miami should be done at TE.
Miami is off to a good start at OL with 4-star Navaughn Donaldson and 3-star Zach Dykstra committed. Both could play tackle, but are the kind of tweeners (guys who could play either Guard or Tackle) that Miami has in spades along the OL. The focus going forward will be true tackle prospects, which is something I spoke about earlier this spring.
5-star Alex Leatherwood, an Alabama commit, is the top player Miami is after at Tackle. A native of Pensacola, FL in the panhandle, Leatherwood is actually closer to Bama that The U distance wise. That and the whole "committed to Alabama" part mean this is would take a yeoman's recruiting effort, but Miami is going to shoot their shot. And let's be clear: pulling Leatherwood would be the single biggest recruiting win of the year for Mark Richt and company. He would immediately become the best OT on the roster the moment he signed, and getting a player of this caliber away from Alabama and everybody else in America would be seismic for Miami.
4-star Kai-Leon Herbert just named Miami in his top 6. He plays at American Heritage, where new Miami CB coach Mike Rumph was Head Coach for the last 3 years. That relationship will need to be a factor for the Canes to pull this talented recruit.
3-star Kadeem Telfort, a Florida Commit, was once committed to Miami, and the Canes are working to flip him back. Not only has Telfort had multiple commitments, but multiple HS transfers as well. He has gone to several Miami area schools, ending up at Booker T. Washington for his senior year. He's got a good frame and has reshaped his body, losing about 50lbs of bad weight. He's a player Miami wants badly.
4-star Adrian Ealy is another player Miami is targeting at Tackle. He's a Baton Rouge native who attends University Lab School, which happens to be located on LSU's campus. Ealy has said he's interested in Miami, but the fact that LSU gets virtually any Louisiana-native player they want, and his HS being ON LSU'S CAMPUS mean this will be an incredibly tough pull for Miami.
As far as Guard is concerned, Miami should take the "best player available" route, in my opinion. 5-star Tedarrell Slaton is a top prospect and teammate of Herbert at American Heritage. He has a basketball background, but don't let that fool you: unlike most basketball-turned-football players, Slaton plays with a mean streak. Slaton has said he likes playing defense (DT) and could have a future there, but I think he's a better prospect at OG.
4-star Nick Brahms was recently offered, and could be a fit at Guard in this class. Bad news though: Brahms is projected to pick Auburn for his collegiate destination. Maybe things could change moving forward, but Miami has a long, LONG way to go here.
Miami needs both depth and talent at OL in this class, but to get there, the staff, led by OL Coach Stacy Searels, has their work cut out for them.
For DeeJay Dallas "Now is my time to lead"
In a pivotal recruiting class for Miami's future, 2017 prospect DeeJay Dallas is becoming a vocal leader.
3-star Jon Ford is the only player committed to Miami along the Defensive Line right now. After a strong spring, and based on his impressive 6'5" 280lb frame and brute strength, Ford leads the pack of several committed players I expect to get a rankings bump in the very near future.
With Miami needing both quantity and quality along the DL in this class, there are many players that the Canes have been connected to early in this cycle.
At DE, 4-star Deonte "DJ" Johnson is a national recruit from Sacramento, CA with a high ceiling. Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com recently reported that Johnson has Miami far and away as his favorite school and the leader in his recruitment. So much so that Johnson wanted to commit earlier in the spring, but didn't because his parents haven't visited Miami with him. Johnson, who loves adidas and is ecstatic that his favorite school and favorite brand have a partnership, will likely take an official visit to Coral Gables during the fall. As of now, it seems that the only thing that would keep Johnson from being a Hurricane is an unforeseen miracle.
5-star Jarez Parks is another DE target for the Canes. He's cousins with 2016 signee Pat Bethel, and that could work in Miami's favor. To this point, Parks' recruitment is a 3-way battle between Florida, Florida State, and Miami. Parks is thought to be leaning towards UF currently.
3-star Jordan Wright is an interesting prospect. A star basketball player, Wright is starting to devote himself more to football, and it's paying off. Wright has good length at DE and the athleticism you'd expect from a basketball player. He is teammates with DL commit Jon Ford, so Miami has that added recruiting benefit. Miami has made it known Wright is one of their top DE targets, and have to be thought as the leaders in his recruitment.
3-star Owen Carney is another good local prospect. Making the move to Miami Central from Miramar, Carney is a player who has a big upside. Miami and Duke are at the front of Carney's recruitment currently. Having seen both play, I think Wright and Carney are largely interchangeable. In a perfect world, Miami would take one of those two, and look elsewhere to continue to build this DL class.
3-star Jonathan Garvin has potential at DE as well. He's a bigger body/wider frame than Wright or Carney, but plays with great explosiveness. Garvin attends Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, the same school that produced 2016 RB signee Travis Homer. He has shown well through spring football and camp season and could be a nice option in the same DL slot as Wright or Carney.
At Defensive Tackle, the options are far less clear. Ford, who can play DE or DT, is already 280lbs heading into his senior season, so most, myself included, see him transitioning inside to DT full-time at the college level.
3-star Kane Taylor is one of the top DT targets for Miami currently. He has a good frame and plays with aggression. He can get up the field in both run defense and pass rush situations, and is exactly the kind of player that could be a great fit in Miami's projected 4-3 scheme.
3-star Alec Jackson recently released a top 10 that had Miami 9th. He's an interesting out of state prospect, but with Miami so low on his list, it's hard to see him choosing the Canes in the end.
The listed options are a good and diverse group. Miami will have to close on a couple of the DEs, and find more targets at DT to pair with Ford as this cycle progresses.
3-star Waynmon Steed is committed to Miami in this class. He missed most of his junior year of HS due to a shoulder injury, but should be one of the anchors for a Miami Central defense that ranks among the best in America.
4-star De'Andre Wilder is the top prospect on the board. He has said Miami is #1 in his recruitment, and there's no school that stands out as #2 behind the Canes. With plans to enroll early, it's looking like a matter of when, not if, Wilder commits to Miami.
4-star Ventrell Miller is another player who Miami is targeting at LB. Miller lists 35 offers currently, with Miami and Florida at the forefront. Miller is in no hurry to commit, but if he wanted to commit to Miami, it would be interesting to see how things would fit.
With limited needs at LB in this class after taking 3LBs in 2016 (Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney, and Zach McCloud), it seems Miami is focused on Wilder and Miller for the remaining scholarship slot.
Henderson is a highly coveted athlete who has several teams, including Florida, chasing him. Gibson seems like a perfect fit at Safety in Miami DC Manny Diaz's scheme. Roberts hails from the same HS as 2016 LB signee Shaq Quarterman and has been good through the spring. Miami is looking to lock down more South Florida players at the skill positions, however, and Roberts might end up getting dropped for that reason.
4-star Trajan Bandy is a player that many Miami fans have wanted to see get an offer for quite a while. The current Oklahoma commit finally got his offer after his spring game, and Miami has immediately vaulted directly into the center of his recruitment. Bandy has reportedly been a Canes fan for a long time, and was hurt by the fact that he hadn't received an offer, most likely due to his 5'9"-ish stature. That, however, is in the past. Miami sees Bandy as a top prospect at corner, and are doing everything they can to get him to flip his commitment. Added bonus: Bandy and Canes commit Christopher Henderson, and 2018 commit Josh Jobe are all teammates at Miami Columbus HS.
4-star Marco Wilson is another top CB target for Miami. His dad, Chad Wilson, played at Miami in the 90s, and his brother, Quincy Wilson, plays for Florida. The younger Wilson was coached in HS by Canes CB coach Mike Rumph for the past 3 years, so that relationship is already well cemented for recruiting purposes. Wilson tore his ACL in his junior year, but is back to 100% health now. Due to family ties, it should come as no surprise that Miami and Florida are two schools at the forefront of Wilson's recruitment.
4-star Brad Stewart has good size and skills at the cornerback position. He could be the latest New Orleans native to join the Canes roster, following the likes of Standish Dobard and Gerald Willis to Coral Gables. Stewart has 27 offers at current, and Mississippi State is thought to be his clear leader.
3-star Latavious Brini is a top prospect that Miami is chasing at CB. He's 6'2" with long arms and fluid hips. Brini is highly sought after, and with a strong spring already in the books, he could be primed for a bump up to the 4-star range. Although he had to sit out his spring game with a sports hernia, Brini's recruiting profile has steadily risen in recent months. Florida is thought to be the leader for Brini currently.
3-star Shawn Davis is a player who is also a top priority for Miami. The Miami Southridge star has offers from teams all over Florida and the South. Right now, Florida is thought to be the leader for Davis, but Miami will continue to recruit him hard. Several of Davis' teammates are committed to Miami, like WR Rodney Scott, S Billy Gibson, and 2018 WR Daquris Wiggins.
3-star Brian Edwards is an interesting prospect. The Miramar HS product has great size/length at 6'3" 190lbs. Edwards has worked both at Corner and Safety in HS, and could be a nice player at either spot. Edwards has Miami on his list, but Syracuse and Louisville are the teams battling it out at the top for him currently.
4-star Daniel Wright is one of Miami's top targets at Safety. He's the younger brother of former UF and NFL Safety Major Wright, so he has football in his blood. Florida State is presumed to be Wright's leaders currently, but Miami is trying to make a push.
4-star Grant Delpit just transferred from Houston (TX) Lamar HS to the football factory known as IMG Academy. Miami would like to make a move with this rangy 6'3" talent, but the New Orleans-born Delpit seems focused on LSU.
3-star Amari Carter is a tough and rugged hitter who Miami has been after heavily. Players from his Palm Beach Gardens team have been some of the top defenders locally over the past few years. Carter has 20 offers at current, and his recruitment is a 2 team battle between Miami and Notre Dame, where his former teammate LB Tevon Coney plays.
3-star Derrick Smith is a dynamic player at the Safety position. He's repeatedly said that Miami is his recruiting leader, and it seems like a commitment could be more a matter of when than if for the Jacksonville Trinity star. Oh, and don't let the position listed in the link fool you: Smith's future is on defense.
After getting P Jack Spicer to transfer from Florida, and K Diego Marquez to transfer to from JUCO, Miami doesn't have a pressing need at Kicker.
That being said, Miami has offered national #1 kicker Adam Stack from Hawaii. Stack has visited Coral Gables unofficially already in the spring, so this isn't just a "throw a verbal offer and hope" situation.
Getting the #1 kicker in America would be awesome for Miami, but getting a commit from any kicker in this class seems like a luxury. But, I'm good for luxuries. I'd rather have a DT or OL instead, but if Stack wants to be a Cane, I'm here for it.
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That's it for the first edition of the Class Breakdown for the Canes' 2017 recruiting class.
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Other? Hop in the comments section below and keep the conversation going.