clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Recruiting Radar: Miami vs. Alabama heating up on the recruiting trail

New, comments

A rivalry that was once waged on the field of play, Alabama and Miami have positioned themselves to have many battles on the recruiting trail.

1993 SUGAR BOWL

For those who may have missed it, 4-star WR Jerry Jeudy (Deerfield Beach, FL) committed to Alabama last night. Jeudy, who was not contacted by Miami until the new staff was hired (thanks, Al Golden), is arguably the top WR recruit in America. And, while he said Florida "probably finished second" in the race for his commitment, this is another instance of Alabama beating Miami for a player that the Canes wanted.

In previous recruiting cycles, Alabama and Miami have gone toe to toe for several premium recruits. I mean, that’s all that Alabama recruits now, and Florida, especially South Florida, has tons of elite recruits. So, it stands to reason that these 2 programs would go up against each other on the recruiting trail.

DISCLAIMER! READ THIS DISCLAIMER! READ IT!!!!

Now, before I go on, let me give a big piece of qualifying information: Miami hasn’t even been able to get on the radar of some top recruits that committed to Alabama. There are top end guys who didn’t even consider going to The U. That’s just a fact, and, as we move forward, it matters.

With that being said, of the players that Alabama and Miami have both tried to recruit, Alabama has gotten the majority, but Miami has done better in these head to head recruiting battles than you might otherwise think, especially considering Miami’s W/L record over the past decade. Don’t believe me? Here we go:

Past Recruiting Battles

In 2013, Miami beat Alabama for DE Al-Quadin Muhammad and CB Artie Burns. Both players eliminated Alabama fairly early in the decision making process, and Miami ended up beating others for their services, namely Rutgers and Florida State.

On the other side, Alabama beat Miami for DE Tim Williams (who openly wanted to be a Cane, but was never high on Miami’s board, for whatever reason), stole 3-star WR Eddie Jackson from Boyd Anderson HS (Ft. Lauderdale) and converted him to CB, and got 5-star WR Robert Foster from PA away from Miami, and others.

In 2014, Miami beat Alabama for 5-star DE Chad Thomas, who took his final visit to Tuscaloosa, but maintained he "just wanted to see something new", 5-star OT Kc McDermott, and 4-star DT Anthony Moten. Admittedly, McDermott and Moten weren’t the highest targets for Bama, but even still, Miami went head up against Saban for Chad Thomas and won.

Conversely, Alabama beat Miami for really nobody. Miami tried to get in late for 5-star RB Bo Scarborough, but he stuck with his commitment to Alabama. And, before people get uppity, this is a year in which Miami couldn’t even get in the conversation with Top Alabama targets. So, the head to head saw Miami win, but that really only came down to Chad Thomas, which was a huge win for Miami.

In 2015, Miami beat Alabama for 4-star WR Lawrence Cager. That was a big get for Miami, who needed WRs in that class, and the only win for the Canes this year.

Alabama dominated Miami in recruiting this year, beating the Canes for 5-star WR Calvin Ridley, 4-star S Shawn Burgess-Becker, 5-star CB Minkah Fitzpatrick, and 4-star WR Daylon Charlot. Fitzpatrick eliminated Miami fairly early, Charlot had a late official visit to Coral Gables on the books but canceled it last minute, and the Ridley-Burgess-Becker pairing was once set to commit to Miami (I went to that recruiting event, on Superbowl Sunday, mind you, in the hot sun, and am still mad they lied to us to get us out there) before deciding against it. These HS teammates and ostensible brothers both committed to Alabama a short time later.

In 2016, Miami beat Alabama for 4-star WR Ahmmon Richards — he was Alabama’s #1 target at WR, so that’s huge — and 4-star DE Joseph Jackson, who Alabama tried to make a late run at, but he stayed firm with Miami from the start. 4-star WR Dionte Mullins also held an Alabama offer, but there wasn’t really a strong connection there.

On the Alabama side, they beat Miami for 4-star CB Shyheim Carter, 4-star DT Raekwon Davis (whose interest in Miami was well chronicled but maybe overstated towards the end of the cycle), and JUCO OT Charles Baldwin. Of these 3, Carter was the one Miami had the best chance with, but that chance was still quite small.

So, let’s see the 4 year recap:

Alabama vs Miami Recruiting 2013-16
Year Alabama Commits Miami Commits
2013 DE Tim Williams DE Al-Quadin Muhammad
CB Eddie Jackson CB Artie Burns
WR Robert Foster
2014 RB Bo Scarbrough DE Chad Thomas
OT Kc McDermott
DT Anthony Moten
2015 WR Calvin Ridley WR Lawrence Cager
CB Minkah Fitzpatrick
S Shawn Burgess-Becker
WR Daylon Charlot
2016 CB Shyheim Carter WR Ahmmon Richards
DT Raekwon Davis DE Joseph Jackson
OT Charles Baldwin WR Dionte Mullins
TOTALS 11 recruits (5 5-stars, 6 4-stars) 9 recruits (2 5-stars, 7 4-stars)

As you can see from the above chart, Miami and Alabama have pretty much gone head up for premium recruits over the last 4 years. That’s not bad.

In the 2017 class, Miami and Alabama are continuing this recruiting battle. With Miami having a new staff, led by Head Coach Mark Richt, the Canes will look to maintain if not increase the recruiting winning percentage against the Tide.

As previously noted, Alabama beat Miami (and plenty of others) for 4-star WR Jerry Jeudy. Add him to the list with Calvin Ridley and Amari Cooper as premium WRs from South Florida to elect to go to Tuscaloosa. Jeudy says he’ll take visits, even potentially one to Coral Gables, but I personally consider this one a done deal. Along with Jeudy, Alabama beat Miami for LB VanDarius Cowan (who was reportedly going to commit to Miami at one time), WR Tyrell Shavers (though that was a longshot for Miami), and JUCO CB Jhavonte Dean, a Homestead, FL native who has used his time at JUCO to really develop his skills.

Miami Hurricanes class ambassador DeeJay Dallas, a 4-star ATH from Brunswick, GA, picked Miami over Alabama already. Dallas was absolutely a take for Alabama, and they wanted him badly. So, that’s a win. Just wanted to get that out there before I forgot and moved on. Fellow Canes commits DE D.J. Johnson and RB Robert Burns both hold Alabama offers, as well.

Another player that Miami is chasing is 5-star OT Alex Leatherwood. The Pensacola, FL native is an über-elite player and would start here from Day 1. Not a question in my mind. Put him at LT and prosper. While that’s a great theory, Leatherwood is committed to Alabama, and has been since June of 2015. Leatherwood has visited Miami — he participated in the inaugural Paradise Camp — but getting serious traction here will be very, very tough. This is a "battle", I guess, but it’s more Miami trying to play catch-up with Bama.

In the chase to get an Alpha Dog at WR, both Miami and Alabama are after 5-star Devonta Smith (Amite, LA). Smith has named a top 3 of Alabama, LSU, and Miami, but multiple reports said that LSU is only there for show, and the real battle is, you guessed it, Alabama vs Miami. For Miami, a strong season, and a strong official visit figure to be the key here.

4-star RB Anthony McFarland (Hyattsville, MD) is another top player on both team’s recruiting lists. The dynamic back has Alabama, Maryland, and Miami as his final 3. Like some others, I don’t think that Alabama is actually a fit for McFarland based on style and scheme. Couple that with McFarland’s relationship with Canes OC/RB coach Thomas Brown — "he’s like a brother to me" McFarland has repeatedly stated in interviews — and this is one where I think the Canes have the upper hand.

4-star LB Christopher Allen (Baton Rouge, LA) is yet another player both of these schools are chasing. He may be tough to get away from SEC country, and LSU in particular, but both are still involved here. Alabama is most decidedly the team with the better chance here.

The battle lines are drawn, and everybody knows where each team stands. Alabama is a self-sustaining, physical, dominant program that selects players to plug in and keep the train rolling. Miami is a team with a new staff, a new direction, and a new focus on returning the program to past glory.

For each team, their goals will be achieved, at least in part, through recruiting. These teams are well acquainted with one another on the recruiting trail, and with Mark Richt coming over from Georgia, a school at which he routinely recruiting against Alabama, there’s a new level added to this competition. Miami may not be recruiting, or playing, on the level that Alabama has reached. But, this recruiting class can be a step towards making that become a reality.

Go Canes