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Recruiting Radar: Class Breakdown 7/25

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The 2nd installment of our running series evaluating the Canes' 2017 recruiting class.

After a great visit to Miami, 4-star DE D.J. Johnson could soon join the Canes' 2017 recruiting class.
After a great visit to Miami, 4-star DE D.J. Johnson could soon join the Canes' 2017 recruiting class.
247Sports

Welcome back to the Class Breakdown. No, I didn't post one in June, but the last one was on May 31st, so it's not that big of a loss. And, I wanted to wait until there was more movement in the target and commit group before putting out a new one. Lucky for us, there has been sufficient movement in a number of areas, so we're back for July breaking down this class.

Just as a reminder as to what numbers I'm projecting in this class, here's the chart that I've been using: (note, I edited the numbers along the DL based on reports from multiple outlets)

Quarterback Running Back Wide Receiver Tight End Offensive Line
1+ 2+ 4+ 0 4+
Defensive End Defensive Tackle Linebacker Cornerback Safety Best Available
3 1+ 2 3 2 (any extra spots not filled)

We'll get more to the numbers (I have one update to the chart, too) later as we look at each position.

So, here we go.

Quarterback

Need: 1+

Committed: 2

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 Perryand 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.

Both Perry and Weldon competed at the inaugural Paradise Camp, and showed well in the elite recruiting event. Miami is set with them as the tandem of recruits at this position in this class.

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.

Some 2018 names to know moving forward: Cameron RisingArthur SitkowskiTrevor LawrenceEmory Jones, and Casey Thompson, who participated at Paradise Camp and showed very well.

Running Back

Need: 2+

Committed: 1

4-star Robert Burns is the commit at Running Back currently. He's a South Florida kid, so that fits the new recruiting paradigm to focus locally before looking Nationally.

Miami is looking to upgrade the level of talent on the roster, it was widely speculated that 3-star Bentavious Thompson was in line to be dropped sooner rather than later by Miami. That finally came to fruition when he decommitted on July 20th, after participating at Paradise Camp, but tweeting (then deleting) his displeasure that Miami coaches didn't "show him love" during that event. Thompson dropping from the class opens up a scholarship spot for a more talented back, of which there are plenty who are interested in Miami.

As far as Burns is concerned, Notre Dame is trying to make a push to flip him from his commitment to Miami. At this point, however, that seems to be a largely one-sided endeavor and Burns is solidly committed.

Leading the target list is 4-star Anthony McFarland. The talented player from powerhouse Dematha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) has said Miami, Maryland, and Alabama lead his recruitment. McFarland was close to committing to Georgia when Mark Richt and Thomas Brown were on staff there. While the pair has moved from Athens to Coral Gables, their connection with McFarland has remained steady, if not increased. McFarland has said he views OC/RB coach Brown "like a brother", and has a great connection with him. All 3 of McFarland's named top schools are in the running, and Miami is in a good place to make a push.

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, especially after his strong showing at Nike's The Opening. Oregon is thought to lead Miami for Felix.

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. It remains unclear whether Carr will return to Coral Gables for an Official Visit during or after his senior season.

4-star Adarius Lemons is committed to North Carolina, just flipped from UNC to Florida on Sunday evening, but may be taking a cursory look at Miami. He'll probably be a tough pull, seeing that he's committed elsewhere, and JUST committed there no less, but he's from Florida and can definitely play at this level. Miami is well served to at least gauge his interest.

Miami is looking to bring in 2 RBs in this class, something Mark Richt teams have done repeatedly in previous years. With Thompson having dropped/been dropped, McFarland now moves to the top of the list. A class of Burns and McFarland would be a big win, and is the exact kind of pairing that Miami should be getting in a recruiting class.

Wide Receiver

Need: 4+

Committed: 4-ish

3-star WR Evidence Njoku, younger brother of burgeoning star TE David Njoku, committed to Miami on the heels of Paradise Camp. The recent transfer to Wayne Hills (NJ) HS is a 6'4" 185lb player with good hands. His best asset, however, is his 4.4 speed. The younger Njoku is sure to be compared to his brother, but that would be faulty. Evidence has a leaner frame, and is faster than his brother. He's a good fit for what Miami is looking to do at WR in this class, and in the future.

Joining Njoku at WR in this class are 3-star Kevaughn Dingle3-star Rodney Scott, and 4-star ATH DeeJay Dallas. Dallas participated at Paradise Camp, working on both sides of the ball. For the list (at right) I'm leaving Dallas with the WRs, but he could full well switch to DB by the time he hits campus.

The WR recruiting is in an interesting spot for me. Miami has talented players committed, but still lacks a top end, alpha dog, WR1 kind of player in that group. Miami is really looking at WR1 types to fill out this class now.

Miami has 2 very good targets for the WR1 spot in this class. 4-star Jerry Jeudy should be moved up to 5-star status after flat out DOMINATING at Nike's The Opening. I wrote previously that he could be a good WR2 at the collegiate level, but I vastly undersold his abilities. Jeudy is 100%, completely, and totally the truth. He's the Alpha Dog Miami has been looking for at the WR position. Many mention Jeudy in the same breath as his former HS teammate Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper because of his elite level of talent. Like those players, Jeudy is looking hard at Alabama in his recruitment. Jeudy recently participated at Paradise Camp, and continued his dominant summer. Miami will have to make up ground to keep this talented player in South Florida.

Another option for WR1 in this class is 5-star WR Devonta Smith from Amite, LA. He, like Jeudy, was a dominant force at both The Opening and Paradise Camp. Smith has a longstanding connection with Mark Richt; Smith was formerly committed to Richt at Georgia. After Richt was fired by UGA, Smith decommitted, and has seen his recruiting profile continue to rise. In a similar fashion to Jeudy, Smith's recruitment seems to be boiling down to a battle between Alabama and Miami, with Alabama holding a slight lead at current. LATE EDIT: Smith released his top 3 on Saturday night: Miami, Alabama, and LSU. This recruitment may go down to the wire between those 3.

St. Thomas Aquinas 3-star WR Mike Harley is a speedster who has been literally uncoverable for quite some time. Harley dominated several Rivals Camp Series events, and every single college-based camp that he's attended, including Paradise Camp. Harley recently committed to West Virginia, but has been open about wanting an offer from Miami. Not saying he would be a definite flip if it came, but a Miami offer would change the landscape of Harley's recruitment, for sure. He's smaller than optimal for a WR, but with legit 4.35 speed, crisp routes, and great hands, Harley is intriguing as a prospect. He's clearly behind Jeudy and Smith on the target list, but this could be a nice option later on in this class.

4-star Jaylen Harris, a 6'5" receiver from Ohio, is on Miami's list as well. He's a talented player, with very good size and skills. Jeudy and Smith rank 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. Harris hasn't been to campus, though, so the connection with Miami is surface level, at best.

For those wondering, previously listed prospects Tyrell Shavers, and Camron Buckley have committed to Alabama and Texas A&M since the last installment of this series. Also, raw talent Matt Landers committed to Georgia.

Even with 4-ish players committed at WR in this class, with targets such as Jeudy and Smith still on the board, Miami is far from finished at this position.

Tight End

Need: 0

Committed: 1

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 has actually moved to the Tampa area, but he will finish HS in TX before enrolling at Miami in January.

Miami is done at this position in this class.

Offensive Line

Need: 4+

Committed: 3

Miami is off to a good start at OL after getting 3-star Zalontae Hillery, who committed at Paradise Camp, joining 4-star Navaughn Donaldson and 3-star Zach Dykstra in the commitment group. Hillery is an athletic but raw player who is teammates with 4-star ATH commit DeeJay Dallas in Brunswick, GA.

Miami is still looking to add a top end player to this group. 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. Leatherwood attended Paradise Camp, and could be in line to take an Official Visit to Coral Gables in the fall.

3-star Marcus Minor is one of the top targets for Miami still on the board. He recently released his top 7 list, which included Miami, and continues to be connected to the Canes. Minor visited Miami in the spring, and had a return trip on Sunday just after releasing his top 7. Minor would be a good get for Miami, but would probably need a redshirt before contributing. Still, I'd take him on this team no question.

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.

Miami needs depth and talent at OL in this class. The 3 players currently committed are a great start, but there's still work to be done up front in this class.

Defensive Line

Need: 5 4 (updated per reports)

Committed: 1 2 (updated per the update below)

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.

Miami has said that they are comfortable with Ford being the only player they take at DT in this class. The only other realistic option to join him at current would be 3-star Kane Taylor. 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. Should Taylor decide to go elsewhere, Miami is fine with a DT class of Ford by himself.

The story is a bit different at Defensive End. Miami is looking to bring in multiple players at this position. For now, I'm putting that number at 3, considering last year's class, and the potential to lose multiple players from this position group to the NFL after this season.

Leading the way at DE is 4-star Deonte D.J. Johnson from Sacramento, CA. Johnson has said in numerous interviews and reports that Miami leads his recruitment. After attending Paradise Camp recently, Johnson said that Miami's lead has grown even further above the other schools who are recruiting him, even to the point where he considered committing to Miami when on his visit. It seems only a matter of time until Johnson commits, if he isn't one of the "silent commits" Mark Richt referenced at ACC Kickoff last week. Barring a dramatic shift, this one is a done deal.

UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long. Not even 12 hours after this article published, Deonte Johnson committed to Miami. Boom.

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. Not this summer, tough. He's playing AAU basketball instead of football. 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 had been heavily pursuing Wright, but that seems to have cooled recently.

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. In a perfect world, Miami would take one of those Carney or Wright, and look elsewhere to continue to build this DL class. Carney was just offered by FSU at their camp, and nearly committed. Seems like he'll be going up to Tallahassee.

Outside of Ford, who's already committed, and Johnson, who is a foregone conclusion to be in this class, Miami is still looking to add other talent along the DL In 2017.

Linebacker

Need: 2

Committed: 1

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.

The 2nd LB spot in this class doesn't have a ready-made candidate right now. 3-star LB De'Andre Wilder, once the odds on favorite for this spot, seems to have fallen out of favor in the staff's eyes. 3-star Bradley Jennings Jr., a Florida State legacy commit, may be the top target right now for Miami. Jennings Jr. participated at Paradise Camp, and the Canes continue to push for a flip.

Outside of Jennings Jr. or Wilder, a late riser or player whose interest in Miami is piqued by the new staff may be the target for the 2nd LB spot in this class.

Defensive Back

Need: 5

Committed: 3

Miami has maintained 3 commits, but the composition of that group has recently changed. While 4-star ATH Christopher Henderson (now the #106 player in this class per 247sports' rankings) and 3-star S Billy Gibson remain committed,  3-star CB Nick Roberts was dropped/decommitted shortly after the last installment of this series. He has a good skillset, but it became clear quickly that the staff was looking to go in a different direction at DB. This is something I called previously, fyi:

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.

Yup.

Roberts recently committed to USF, a place that I believe to be a much better fit for him than Miami.

To replace him, St. Thomas Aquinas 3-star DB Brian Edwards was one of several players who committed at Paradise Camp. Edwards has great size and length at 6'3" with a wingspan around 6'9", and has the ability to play both CB and S, something I see him doing at the collegiate level. Additionally, I have maintained that Edwards is underrated for months, and continue to hold the belief that he should be bumped up to a 4-star level. With a strong season at Aquinas, that ranking increase could come, albeit months late.

4-star CB Trajan Bandy is at the top of the board for Miami currently. After receiving an offer from Miami after his spring game, Bandy, a self-professed lifelong Canes fan, moved Miami into his top group of schools. After a dominant showing at Nike's The Opening, saying he was firm in his commitment, Bandy decommitted from Oklahoma just after Paradise Camp, an event Bandy was unable to attend due to school/team obligation. While he maintains all schools are even, it's only a matter of time before Bandy commits to Miami. The Canes are the OVERWHELMING favorites here, and short of a miracle, Bandy will commit and be in this class.

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, with Georgia, Ohio State, and Southern Cal rounding out Wilson's top 5.

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. Miami has made Carter a top priority at Safety, and is working hard to get him in this class.

4-star S Xavier McKinney is a player that is just now popping up on Miami's radar. A one-time Alabama commit, McKinney decommitted from the Tide, and has seen a wave of new recruiting interest. The Roswell, GA native says that several Miami coaches have contacted him on social media, and he has interest in the Hurricanes. It's still early in his newly opened recruitment to tell just how strong a connection Miami may have here, but this is a very talented player who Miami would undoubtedly love to add to this class. Keep an eye on this one going forward.

3-star Shawn Davis is a player who is also on the board 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 Derrick Smith is a dynamic player at the Safety position. He had previously said that Miami is his recruiting leader, but that may have changed. Smith is a good player, but Miami seems to have moved him into "plan b" territory. It stands to reason that Miami would take all the players listed above him in this section before Smith. Could he end up here? Sure. But, that won't happen before Miami has exhausted efforts with others at this position. Oh, and don't let the position listed in the link fool you: Smith's future is on defense.

3-star Latavious Brini committed to Georgia recently. Miami is still engaged in his recruitment, but not at all to the level that they once were.

Special Teams

Need: 0

Committed: 1

After getting P Jack Spicer to transfer from Florida, and K Diego Marquez to transfer to from JUCO in 2016, Miami doesn't have a pressing need at Kicker.

That means that any commits at these positions would be gravy. To that end, Miami recently picked up a commitment from legacy P Zach Feagles. If the name sounds familiar, that's because Feagles' dad Jeff is a Miami alum and played in the NFL for 22 years. So, he knows a thing or two about punting, and passed that knowledge along to his son. Yeah, that'll work.

In addition to Feagles, 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 it would still be 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.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

That's it for this 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.