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Recruiting Radar: Welcome to Paradise, Miami's new premier recruiting camp

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The brainchild of new Miami Coach Mark Richt, the upcoming Paradise Camp will be the biggest recruiting event in Hurricanes Football History.

Welcome to Paradise
Welcome to Paradise

With Miami debuting the new premier recruiting event this weekend, I just have 3 words to say:

Welcome to Paradise!!

The brain-child of New Canes Head Coach Mark Richt, who started Dawg Night at Georgia several years ago, Paradise is a  premium recruiting event for elite players. These players are largely hand selected and invited by the Canes coaches. There will be top-tier players from the 2016 thru 2020 classes on campus to compete against each other, interact with each other and get to know the Miami coaching staff.

According to the Mark Richt Football Camps website, here are the itineraries for Paradise, which will run Friday for underclassmen, and Saturday for Upperclassmen and selected underclassmen.

Friday Paradise Itinerary (Subject to change)

12 Noon-1:00 PM Registration & Testing (Height, Weight, Wingspan, 40, Broad Jump)
1:15 PM Camp Meeting
1:20-1:40 PM Offense Agility Drills / Defense Form Running
1:40 PM Water Break
1:45-2:05 PM Defense Agility Drills / Offense Form Running
2:05 PM Water Break
2:10-2:40 PM Fundamentals by Position / Group Routes on Air
2:40 PM Water Break
2:45-3:05 PM One on Ones
3:05-3:20 PM Skelly
3:20 PM Camp Meeting
3:30 PM Camp Concludes / Lunch available at dining hall

Saturday Paradise Itinerary (Subject to Change)

5:00-6:45 PM Registration & Testing (Height, Weight, Wingspan, 40, Broad Jump)
6:50 PM Camp Meeting (CMR/Michael Irvin)
7:00-7:20 PM Offense Agility Drills / Defense Form Running
7:20 PM Water Break
7:25-7:45 PM Defense Agility Drills / Offense Form Running
7:45 PM Water Break / Segment Meetings with NFL guest coaches
7:45-8:15 PM Fundamentals by Position / Group Routes on Air
8:15 PM Water Break
8:20-8:40 PM One on Ones
8:40-8:55 PM Skelly
8:55 PM Camp Meeting (CMR/Ray Lewis)
9:00 PM Camp Concludes / Pickup Box Snack

Friday will be good, and several upperclassmen will be arriving to Coral Gables. But the main event is Saturday. As I speculated after the announcement of Paradise, several former Canes players will be guest coaches at this event. As you can see from Saturday's itinerary, Michael Irvin and Ray Lewis will be guest speakers. Miami has started the announcements of the other former Canes who will be joining that pair at Saturday's camp, with the first name revealed to be former 1st round pick TE Jeremy Shockey.

Now, the itineraries and coach announcements are good, but Paradise is a recruiting event, so obviously the players attending this camp are the most important part. And, from all accounts, this first-of-its-kind event in Coral Gables will be loaded with talent. Actually, let me say that again: Paradise is going to be L-O-A-D-E-D with talent.

How loaded is the tentative list of attendees? Take a look for yourself. 
*lists of attendees per 24/7, Rivals, Scout, and CanesInSight reports

Class of 2017 attendees
Position Name Height/Weight School Commitment (if any)
QB N'Kosi Perry 6'4" 180lbs Vanguard (Ocala, FL) Miami
QB Cade Weldon 6'2" 220lbs Jefferson (Tampa, FL) Miami
RB Robert Burns 5'11" 210lbs Gulliver Prep (Miami, FL) Miami
RB Anthony McFarland 5'8" 192lbs DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)
RB Darrian Felix 5'10" 170lbs Fort Myers (Fort Myers, FL)
RB Bentavious Thompson 5'11" 190lbs Southridge (Miami, FL) Miami
WR Jerry Jeudy 6'1" 190lbs Deerfield Beach (Deerfield Beach, FL)
WR Devonta Smith 6'1'" 190lbs Amite (Amite, LA)
WR Evidence Njoku 6'4" 185lbs Wayne Hills (Wayne Hills, NJ) *just transferred*
WR Kevaughn Dingle 6'1" 180lbs Carol City (Carol City, FL) Miami
WR Rodney Scott 6'1" 190lbs Southridge (Miami, FL) Miami
WR Mike Harley 5'10" 160lbs St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) West Virginia
ATH DeeJay Dallas 5'10.5" 195lbs Glynn Academy (Brunswick, GA) Miami
ATH C.J. Cotman 5'10.5" 175lbs Catholic Central (Clearwater, FL)
TE Brian Polendey 6'5" 230lbs Guyer (Denton, TX) Miami
TE Kemore Gamble 6'3" 220lbs Southridge (Miami, FL) Florida
OL Navaughn Donaldson 6'6" 330lbs Central (Miami, FL) Miami
OL Zach Dykstra 6'4" 285lbs Spirit Lake (Spirit Lake, IA) Miami
OL Marquis Hayes 6'6" 320lbs Pattonville (Pattonville, MO)
OL Kadeem Telfort 6'7" 300lbs Booker T. Washington (Miami, FL) Florida
OL Alex Leatherwood 6'6" 327lbs Washington (Pensacola, FL) Alabama
OL Adrian Ealy 6'7" 290lbs University Lab (Baton Rouge, LA)
OL Zalon'tae Hillery 6'6" 275lbs Glynn Academy (Brunswick, GA)
DL Deonte DJ Johnson 6'5" 240lbs Luther Burbank (Sacramento, CA)
DL Bryan Jones 6'5" 240lbs Madison Prep Academy (Baton Rouge, LA) Ole Miss
DL  Owen Carney 6'4" 230lbs Central (Miami, FL)
LB Christopher Allen 6'4" 234lbs University Lab (Baton Rouge, LA)
LB Waynmon Steed 6'0" 220lbs Central (Miami, FL) Miami
LB Bradley Jennings Jr 6'2" 218lbs Sandalwood (Jacksonville, FL) Florida State
LB De'Andre Wilder 6'2" 190lbs Carol City (Carol City, FL)
CB Christopher Henderson 6'1" 190lbs Columbus (Miami, FL) Miami
CB Trajan Bandy 5'9" 190lbs Columbus (Miami, FL) Oklahoma
CB Marco Wilson 6'1" 170lbs American Heritage (Plantation, FL)
CB Brad Stewart 6'0" 185lbs McDonough 35 (New Orleans, LA)
CB Randall Haynie 6'0" 175lbs Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Vanderbilt
CB Antwan Collier 6'3" 180lbs Southridge (Miami, FL)
CB Shawn Davis 6'0" 190lbs Southridge (Miami, FL)
S Billy Gibson 6'1" 190lbs Southridge (Miami, FL) Miami
S Amari Carter 6'2" 175lbs Palm Beach Gardens (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)
S Brian Edwards 6'3" 170lbs St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Laduerdale, FL)
S Derrick Smith 6'3" 190lbs Trinity Catholic (Orange Park, FL)

Of the 2016 attendee list, there are 13 players currently committed to Miami. Of those committed players, DeeJay Dallas is the vocal leader, and expect him to be recruiting the uncommitted or otherwise committed guys very, very hard throughout this weekend.

To my mind, the top targets of the non-Canes commits on the above list are:

  • 5-star OL Alex Leatherwood (Bama commit; probably a longshot)
  • 4-star CB Trajan Bandy (teammates with Christopher Henderson and self-professed lifelong Canes fan)
  • 4-star CB Marco Wilson (Father Chad played CB at Miami; brother Quincy plays CB at Florida)
  • 4-star WR Jerry Jeudy (should be 5-star soon; elite player)
  • 5-star WR Devonta Smith (was committed to UGA when Richt coached there; elite like Jeudy)
  • 4-star RB Anthony McFarland (Canes on him hard; close with RB coach Brown; with Maryland and Bama in top 3)
  • 4-star DE Deonte DJ Johnson (very good player from California has Canes in front; loves adidas and has said he wants to play for an adidas-sponsored school in college)
  • 3-star CB/S Brian Edward (height, length, fluid hips in coverage; underrated IMO)
In that above group, Miami would be happy with nearly any of those players choosing to commit to the Canes. I mean, look at that list. Not a single "filler" player to be found. You might prefer one guy over another, but there's no player who's on the tentative attendee list who you can say is clearly not Miami caliber. Oh, and for the record, the list above could change; guys who are tentatively scheduled to attend may not, and other guys who aren't scheduled to attend may possibly do so.

But, in my mind, that is the short list of guys at the top. By all means, feel free to disagree with me in the comments below.

Underclassmen Attendees
Year Position Name Height/Weight School Commitment (if any)
2018 QB Casey Thompson 6'1" 184lbs Southmoore (Moore, OK)
2020 QB Max Johnson 6'2" 165lbs Oconee County (Bogart, GA)
2018 RB James Cook 5'11" 190lbs Central (Miami, FL) Florida State
2018 RB Camron Davis 5'11" 191lbs Carol City (Carol City, FL) Oregon State
2018 RB Christian Turner 5'10" 188lbs Buford (Buford, GA)
2018 RB James Graham 6'1" 180lbs Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald, GA)
2018 RB Lorenzo Lingard 6'1" 185lbs University (Orange City, FL)
2019 WR Nayquan Wright 5'8" 185lbs Carol City (Carol City, FL)
2018 WR Warren Thompson 6'4" 185lbs Armwood (Seffner, FL)
2018 WR Mark Pope 6'1" 160lbs Southridge (Miami, FL)
2018 WR Elijah Moore 5'11' 170lbs St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
2018 WR Brian Hightower 6'3" 195lbs IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL)
2018 WR Lawrence Keys III 5'11" 160lbs McDonough 35 (New Orleans, LA)
2018 WR Daquris Wiggins 6'2" 180lbs Southridge (Miami, FL) Miami
2019 WR Breion Fuller 6'1" 170lbs Doral Academy (Doral, FL)
2018 ATH Justin Watkins 5'11" 165lbs Vanguard (Ocala, FL) Florida State
2018 ATH Amari Burney 6'2" 205lbs Catholic Central (Clearwater, FL)
2018 ATH Kearis Jackson 6'0" 191lbs Peach County (Peach County, FL)
2018 ATH Tre Turner 6'4" 175lbs Northwest Guilford (Greensboro, NC)
2019 ATH Jashawn Sheffield 6'2" 175lbs Frederica Academy (St. Simons Island, GA)
2018 OL Blaine Scott 6'5" 300lbs Sciotoville (Sciotoville, OH)
2018 OL Delone Scaife 6'4" 270lbs Killian (Miami, FL) Miami
2019 OL Keiondre Jones 6'3" 265lbs Callaway (Callaway, GA)
2018 LB Donovan Georges 6'1" 228lbs Champagnat Catholic (Hialeah, FL)
2019 LB Jesiah Pierre 6'2" 207lbs Mount Dora Christian (Mount Dora, FL) Miami
2018 CB Gilbert Frierson 6'1" 185lbs Coral Gables (Coral Gables, FL) Miami
2018 CB DJ Ivey 6'0" 175lbs South Dade (Homestead, FL) Miami
2018 CB Tyson Campbell 6'2" 180lbs American Heritage (Plantation, FL)
2018 CB Al Blades Jr. 6'0" 170lbs St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
2018 CB Asante Samuel Jr 5'9" 170lbs St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
2018 CB Stanley Garner 6'3" 180lbs Coconut Creek (Coconut Creek, FL)
2018 CB Miguel Edwards 6'0" 160lbs Coconut Creek (Coconut Creek, FL)
2018 S David Reese 6'2" 210lbs Central (Ft. Pierce, FL)
2020 LB Jesus Machado 6'0" 180lbs Champagnat Catholic (Hialeah, FL)

This list of underclassmen is as loaded as, if not more loaded than, the list of seniors who will be attending Paradise. A number of guys, like Pope and Frierson and Garner and Watkins and Burney and Thompson and Hightower figure to be among the top players at their position in the coming years.

Obviously, I have to mention Al Blades Jr. His father of the same name played at Miami from 1997-2000 and was the vocal leader of the Canes. Blades Sr. passed away in a car accident in 2003.

Blades Jr. has the talent to be one of the best players in his class, as evidenced by the fact that he won DB MVP at Deion Sanders' Prime 21 camp, a showcase for elite underclassmen.

The younger Blades was once committed to Miami but decommitted after Al Golden's firing. He has repeatedly said that he's open to all schools and the fact that he has his father's name does not mean he's a lock to be a Hurricane. I get where Hurricanes fans want to push him to uphold the legacy of his famous family, but as a young man looking to make a name for himself, I understand Blades Jr's desire to forge his own path, wherever that may lead. In short, let him make his own choice and don't pester him on social media just because of his name. Please.

Outside of Blades, there's just a ton of underclassman talent coming to Paradise, the majority of which figures to be rated 4-stars or higher when they're seniors. That's impressive.

For Mark Richt and the Hurricanes, they're bringing in nearly 100 elite players to showcase their talents, experience campus, and bond with each other and the current team members. This is, without a doubt, the biggest single recruiting event Miami has put together in more than a decade.

Hopefully, the commits will be solidified even more, and a couple other players decide they want to join the family.

We'll see how this plays out through the course of this weekend. But I, for one, am all in with CMR and Paradise.

Leave a comment below and vote in the poll.

Go Canes