Welcome back, recruiting fans. It’s time for another installment of the Class Breakdown!
In case you’re new here, the Class Breakdown is our monthly look at the Canes’ recruiting class, and some of the salient recruiting moves and chatter on the radar.
I wrote about this already earlier in the spring and you can read the whole piece here. I’ve already had to update this slightly (more OL slots), but these are the numbers of players at every position that I’m looking for Miami to take in 2018:
Miami Hurricanes 2018 Class Numbers
|1||2||4||2||4||1||2+||1||3||2||1||(Any extra spots not filled)|
There is, obviously, the chance that these numbers change. Attrition from the roster has potentially opened up scholarships that Miami could potentially fill with the 2018 recruiting class. If it looks like Miami is trending to take more than 25, I’ll revisit that change later.
I think now is the “later” I’d been waiting for. Miami is heating up on the recruiting trail, with many top players seriously interested in the Canes. For the high-end players, the mentality has to be “take them now, work out the numbers later” with early enrollees and other designations being at Miami’s disposal. I’m not officially saying “Miami’s class will be more than 25 recruits” — YET — but it’s looking like more and more of a real possibility at this point.
With no further ado, let’s hop into the outlook for each position.
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.
For the majority of the 2018 recruiting cycle, it looked like Miami had their man committed in 4-star Artur Sitkowski. Standing 6’5” 215lbs, Sitkowski has great size for the position. But....things aren’t always what they seem.
The early-season starter at the football powerhouse of Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy, Sitkowski was benched in early October. Following that, Sitkowski started to feel as though staying in Florida for college might not be the thing for him, and he had thoughts of returning home to New Jersey. After some thought, and even some conversations with UM coaches, Sitkowski and Miami parted ways (the exact circumstances of who suggested the breakup first are fodder for the comments section) and the 4-star signal caller committed to his home-state school: Rutgers.
The move will bring Sitkowski home for college and gives Rutgers their highest rated recruit in this class. Conversely, that same move means that Miami is now in the hunt for a QB commit in the 2018 recruiting class. BUT, this could be a net positive for Miami, as the available and interested options would be an upgrade over the previously-committed Sitkowski.
Leading the way on the target list at QB is 4-star Jarren Williams. A Lawrenceville, GA native and former Kentucky commit, Williams has been the #1 target for Miami since Sitkowski decommitted. QB Coach Jon Richt was at Williams’ HS game just days after Sitkowski dropped, and Williams took an Official Visit to Miami during Notre Dame week — which, I mean, could there have possibly been a better week to visit? Williams got the red carpet treatment: he visited ESPN’s College Gameday, which was broadcast live from campus and described by host Rece Davis and commentators Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and David Pollack glowingly the entire show, then saw Miami destroy Notre Dame 41-8 at a raucous Hard Rock Stadium later that same night. There were other parts of Williams’ visit, but those were undoubtedly the highlights.
During his visit, Williams took “Kentucky commit” out of his Twitter bio — DURING THE 1ST QUARTER OF THE GAME. The next day, Williams publicly decommitted from Kentucky, something that I had been waiting to see happen. Williams is, simply put, too good a player to play at Kentucky. Kudos to the Wildcats on their scouting and evaluation to get Williams on campus and committed earlier than anyone else could have, but that wasn’t going to last.
Williams was the QB on the same team at Nike’s The Opening as Miami commits Lorenzo Lingard, Cam Davis, Brevin Jordan, Mark Pope, and Brian Hightower. So, there’s a familiarity both on and off field with some of the elite skill players in Miami’s class. Williams and his parents were reportedly blown away by their visit to Miami on all fronts — athletics, academics, coaching, location, weather, and social life. Williams is on record saying that he won’t make a decision until after taking all his scheduled official visits (Ohio State last weekend, and Auburn (maybe?) this weekend) but as of the writing of this piece, Miami is the overwhelming favorite here.
Another QB option is UCLA commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman QB is HS teammates with Canes TE commit Brevin Jordan, and was connected to Miami earlier this cycle. Thompson-Robinson, whose nickname is DTR (good bc who is typing that full name all the time?) was scheduled to visit Miami with Jordan for Paradise Camp in July, but canceled that trip. That was before Artur Sitkowski committed, for clarity of timeline.
With UCLA having recently fired Head Coach Jim Mora, the least Miami can do is contact DTR and see if there’s any interest on his side. As a top tier dual threat QB, DTR’s skills would be put to good use in Miami’s offense. AND he’s friends with a current commit. AND the 2018 class has a bunch of elite offensive skill players he could connect with. AND Miami’s team has loads of talent and skill which would be helpful for DTR’s performance and development. AND Mark Richt has a long history of recruiting and training high level QBs.
It remains to be seen what, if any, connection Miami can forge with Thompson-Robinson (Mora just got fired about 12 hours before I wrote this piece), but calling and asking if he’s interested is the minimum that the Canes should be doing. It should be noted, however, that reports indicate DTR is still “locked in” with UCLA, even with Mora’s recent firing. Before I got a chance to publish this piece, DTR even tweeted about it.
I’m 100000000% UCLA.— DTR (@DoriansTweets) November 20, 2017
Even if that is the case, that’s the answer to Miami (or others) asking the question, I’m not mad about it. You can’t fault any team for inquiring, and you can’t fault the kid for being solid in his commitment, despite the current circumstances at UCLA.
Lastly, OSU commit Emory Jones is a player to keep in the corner of your peripheral vision. There has been plenty of chatter that the Franklin, GA native Jones may be less than secure in his commitment to Urban Meyer’s team, and he just popped up at Auburn for a surprise visit. Alabama is scheduled to get a visit from Jones in the near future, and are thought to be the team most likely to flip Jones from his current commitment.
If Jones is looking around, as he reportedly is, then why not Miami? He holds a Canes offer already, so much like I wrote about DTR above, Mark Richt and company should reach out to the talented 4-star recruit and see if there’s interest there. This is admittedly a longshot, as there hasn’t been talk of Jones and Miami since the Canes offered him last year, but stranger things have happened.
No, I’m not predicting Jones commits to Miami or anything, especially with Williams’ interest and connection to Miami, but he’s on the radar as a talented QB who may be looking for a more Southern School for his collegiate destination, and Miami fits that bill.
Miami has offers out to several other QBs in 2018, including Texas commit Cameron Rising, Tennessee commit Adrian Martinez, and Texas commit Casey Thompson, but the above-listed trio of Williams, Thompson-Robinson, and (to a much, MUCH lesser extent) Jones are the group from which Miami is most likely to obtain their QB in the 2018 recruiting class.
For the 5th cycle in a row, Miami looks to bring in 2 RBs in the 2018 recruiting class. And, as of now, they have that many RBs committed in 5-star Lorenzo Lingard and 4-star Camron Davis (GREAT first name, btw).
Both Lingard and Davis are top 10 RBs in America for the 2018 recruiting class, and have a wealth of talent. While their styles are different — Lingard is bigger and Davis is more of a slasher — they have the skills to be very effective players for the Hurricanes. And, both seem to be locked in with Miami, and were in attendance at the season-opening win against Bethune Cookman.
So far this season, Lingard has a couple of 300+ yard, 5 TD games, and Davis is the centerpiece of the offense for defending State Champion Carol City as they look to repeat. Seems decent, if you ask me.
Even with Lingard and Davis committed, Miami looked to add size and physicality to the run game with a fullback. Earlier in the cycle, the odds-on favorite for that spot was 3-star LB/FB Abraham Alce. However, after further evaluation, Miami wasn’t enamored with him as much as they initially were, so they looked elsewhere for the fullback in this class.
Enter 3-star Realus George. The Atlanta (GA) Pace Academy player is ranked as the #1 FB in America this cycle, has great size at 6’2” 245lbs, and plays with the physical mean streak you look for in a player at this position. George, who has played RB, FB, TE, DE, and LB for Pace, skyrocketed up Miami’s board, and quickly filled the void left from them deciding not to recruit Alce further. And, to make things even better, Goerge committed to Miami on Sunday after the Notre Dame win.
George, who is 18, was mistaken by a Miami staffer as the parent of a recruit, not a current HS kid. When you click on the piece linked above, you’ll see why. (That doesn’t really affect his recruitment, but it was funny, to me).
Miami has other offers out at RB in this class, but that’s just the way the game works. Barring a seismic recruiting event and some unforeseen circumstances, the trio of Lingard, Davis, and George will be the 3 RBs in this class for Miami.
After needing a 2 RB class for years and striking out, OC/RB coach Thomas Brown has locked down a top 3 RB, another top 10 RB, and the #1 FB in this class for Miami. JOB WELL DONE!!!!
Miami has 3 WRs committed in the 2018 recruiting class: 4-stars Brian Hightower, Mark Pope, and Daquris Wiggins. This 3 man group has good size (Pope is the shortest of these committed WRs at 6’1”) and dynamic skill. You’d be hard pressed to find a current group of WR commits anywhere in America that rival this trio. Hightower is a long-strider who does numbers at Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy. Pope and Wiggins are teammates at Miami (FL) Southridge and are both elite talents. Of the two, Pope is the better player, and could (should?) be a 5-star. He’s so good. SOOOO good.
But, even with those 3 very, VERY good WRs committed currently, Miami isn’t done recruiting at WR. The Canes are looking to take 4 WRs in the 2018 class, so there’s 1 more spot open — and maybe more depending on how the rest of the class comes together.
4-star Devonta Jason (New Orleans, LA) recently released his top 6 which included Miami. Currently committed to Kansas — no, that’s not a typo — Jason is a big bodied WR with plenty of skills. While I don’t think that he’ll end up in Coral Gables, I’ve long maintained that Jason won’t end up at Kansas, either. This commitment to Kansas feels a lot like RB Jordan Scarlett’s commitment to FAU a while back: good PR for the school, but absolutely not a realistic landing location for a player of his talent.
With the recent firing of Jim McElwain at Florida, Miami could circle back on a couple once and former UF commits. Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington 3-star WR Tyquan Thornton is such a player, and Miami has been looking his way the entire cycle. Thornton’s parents reportedly work on UM’s campus, so there is understandably at least some interest on his part.
Additionally, Miami may make a run at Metarie (LA) 4-star Jamarr Chase. Chase was committed to UF for a long time, but recently dropped when McElwain was fired. A 6’1” playmaker, Chase has the kind of skills and athleticism that Miami should get in their WRs. He would probably be the best case scenario for WR4 in this class for Miami.
The elephant in the room is that Chase is a Louisiana native. Miami recruited 5-star WR De’vonta Smith in the 2017 recruiting cycle, and had good connection to him....until he canceled his OV with a suspect reason (to be very, VERY nice about it) before committing to Alabama. Similar things have happened with other Louisiana-native recruits in the recent past, so it wouldn’t shock me if Miami’s pursuit of Chase were to follow a similar path.
Another player who has had their named linked to Miami in recent days is Stockbridge (GA) 4-star WR Marquez Ezzard. A one-time Florida State commit, the 6’2” 208lb Ezzard is an intriguing player who has good size and runs like a running back in the open field. Ezzard is a player I wrote about in my early 2018 targets piece just after signing day, so he’s been on the radar for quite some time.
Ezzard, who just last weekend took an official visit to Oregon, is still being evaluated by the Miami staff. With the fact that Ezzard is an early enrollee, decisions and moves will have to be made quickly here. I would probably prefer Chase or Thornton to Ezzard, but he’s a Miami-caliber player and that matters.
While the names Thornton, Chase, and Ezzard are known, Miami could reach out to and get connected with players they haven’t been strongly recruiting yet this year. If you remember, this is exactly what happened last cycle with Jeff Thomas (who is now a starting WR for the Canes) so you don’t have to look very far in the rearview mirror to see how this can and has worked for the Canes.
On top of that, why couldn’t/shouldn’t Miami try to flip a kid currently committed to another school? The Canes are 10-0, #3 in the CFP rankings, and the talk of the College Football World. The worst thing that could happen is a kid says he’s not interested. But that’s fine. At leat Miami asked.
Shooters shoot like FIU Mike on the TL, and I’m sure that Ron Dugans will go after and likely get a quality 4th WR for Miami in this recruiting class.
After landing only 1 TE (Brian Polendey) in a 2017 class when 2 was the preferred number, Miami has already secured commitments from 2 of the top TEs in America for the 2018 recruiting cycle.
Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman 4-star Brevin Jordan — who some think is the best TE prospect in this class — and Jacksonville (FL) Providence 4-star Will Mallory are the players Miami has committed at TE in this class, and they’re going to end up being the #1 group of TEs that sign with any school in America this cycle.
Jordan has been a beast this season. Mallory came back from a concussion to dominate the last few games of his senior season. This is a talented and diverse group of players, and both will have high level impact and performance for the Canes in years to come.
Others have offers, but this position group is a wrap. Jordan and Mallory will be your 2018 TE signees. Done.
Miami continues to rebuild along the offensive line, and the 2018 is another step along that path. In the quest to increase the talent on the OL and build quality depth, the Canes are looking to bring in 4 OL in this class. While I had already been using this number for this position group in my previous piece, a summer article by Andrew Ivins of 247sports’ Miami site InsideTheU.com states the same thing.
Already committed in this class are Lakeland (FL) 4-star Cleveland Reed, Miami (FL) Southridge 4-star Delone Scaife, and Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips 3-star John Campbell. Both Reed and Scaife attended The Opening, Nike’s elite recruiting camp, which was held in Oregon earlier in July. They are both talented players who have played tackle in HS, but figure to be interior linemen at the collegiate level. Campbell has good size and length and will likely stick at tackle in college, although he will probably need time to develop into a rotation player at the next level. Campbell is now on track to be an early enrollee, per Peter Ariz of CanesInsight.com
In the pursuit of another OT in this class, Miami has been looking at 3-star Jalen Goss. The Valdosta, GA native has good size at 6’7” 265lbs with long arms and room to add weight to his frame.
Per reports, Miami is “really pushing” for Goss to join their 2018 recruiting class. Goss has had a strong season, and his recruiting profile has continued to rise. He could likely end this cycle as a 4-star rated player, but his size, length, and skill have always been there. With continued skill development, and added weight and strength, Goss could be a very nice player at the collegiate level down the line. BUT, it should be said that he is probably not a day 1 contributor in college.
Miami is reaching out to some players committed elsewhere, according to recent reports. First up, Miami has contacted Knoxville (TN) Catholic 5-star Cade Mays. A consensus top 15 player nationally in this class, Mays is a Tennessee Legacy — his father played for the Vols — who has been committed to UT since July 2015. But, Mays recently decommitted from Tennessee, so the door is open. Miami hasn’t offered yet. But, per 247sports’ report, Mays and Miami have discussed a visit. Like always, if he comes to campus, then things become real. Until then, this is an interesting anecdote, and nothing more. (Mays has visited other schools such as Alabama and Clemson but seems, to me, like he may not visit Coral Gables).
Another player committed to an SEC school who has recently received a Canes scholarship offer is Cypress (TX) Cy Ranch 4-star Colten Blanton. Blanton is committed to Texas A&M, and has been since last November. Like Mays, Blanton has very good size and the skills to be able to play early at Miami. And, like Mays, until/unless he visits, that’s nothing more than a cool story, bro.
Montgomery (AL) Park Crossing 3-star Tank Jenkins is another player that Miami is recruiting. He a guard and not a tackle, but he’s got good skills and you can never have too many talented and physical offensive linemen.
Tampa (FL) Cambridge Christian school 4-star Richard Gouraige, Tampa (FL) Berkley Prep 4-star Nicholas Petit-Frere, and Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 3-star Daniel Faalele are players with offers who figure to head elsewhere. They all have good size — Faalele is a huge player at 6’9” 400lbs — and undeniable talent, but their sights seem set in places other than Coral Gables. That being said, both Gouraige and Petit-Frere were high on UF, and that program is a dumpster fire, so maybe there’s a chance?
Miami’s in a good, but not great, spot at OL in this class. To really knock it out of the park, the Canes would need to add another Tackle to this group, and preferably one who is a bit more polished than Campbell. Unfortunately, the OL crop from SoFLA isn’t the strongest this cycle, so Miami will have to look elsewhere to find the player(s) to round out this group in 2018.
Miami not only has arguably the top DL in America, but they’re off to a good start in recruiting to keep the talent and depth at an elite level.
Miami has commitments from Plantation (FL) American Heritage 4-star DT Nesta Silvera, and Hialeah (FL) Champagnat Catholic 3-star DE/OLB/ATH Gregory Rousseau. Silvera has had a good camp season, and continued that into the fall. Rousseau has great length and positional versatility. He should be a weapon at the VIPER and OLB positions for Manny Diaz’s defense.
Even with Silvera and Rousseau committed, Miami has plenty of work to do recruiting on the Defensive Line in 2018. Miami could potentially lose 4 DTs from the roster if RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton, and Gerald Willis all elect to go to the NFL Draft. So, additional bodies will be needed there, as well as at DE, where you can never have enough pass rushers.
One of the top targets at DT is Kissimmee (FL) Gateway 3-star Dennis Briggs. He’s long been at the top of the list, and the connection between Briggs and Miami is very strong. Briggs is active on Twitter, and lots of posts are Miami-centric.
Briggs has good size and length at 6’4” 260lbs. No, he’s not the biggest DT prospect right now, but he has the frame to put on good weight in college. Some have compared Briggs’ build to starting DT RJ McIntosh coming out of HS, and if Briggs follows McIntosh’s physical and performance development, that would be a win for all parties. Miami is the far and away favorite to land Briggs’ commitment at current, with Florida State also involved.
The thing about Miami’s pursuit of Briggs is that he’s stopped tweeting and talking to media. It’s still been reported that Miami believes they are in a good place with this recruitment, but something needs to happen here. A visit. A conversation. A COMMITMENT. Something.
Another player that Miami may turn the heat up on is 3-star JUCO DT Jared Goldwire. Currently committed to Louisville, Goldwire has game-ready size at 6’7” 280lbs. His ceiling is lower than Briggs’ due to age, but Goldwire profiles as a plug-and-play talent along the DLine.
Like the previously-discussed Jarren Williams, Goldwire took an Official Visit to Coral Gables for the Notre Dame game, which can only be viewed as a positive. Miami hasn’t pushed hard for a flip from Goldwire yet, but that could be coming in the near future. Stay tuned.
Yet another player Miami has contacted at DT is 3-star JUCO DT Michael Boykin. He, like Goldwire, is currently committed to Louisville. And, like Goldwire, Boykin has game-ready size at 6’6” 285lbs.
The difference here is that Goldwire has already visited and Boykin has not. This would lead me to believe that Miami likes Goldwire more than Boykin. If you’re using the “follow the visits” rule, that makes sense. We’ll see if Miami pushes Boykin for a visit in the coming weeks.
According to a report by Andrew Ivins of InsideTheU, both Boykin and Goldwire will have 3 years to play 3 at their next school after sitting out the 2017 season to save their eligibility. That’s huge. Getting either player would add extra depth to the DT position for multiple years, not just 1 or 2.
Miami is also recruiting Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep 4-star Tyler Friday, St. Louis (MO) Parkway North 4-star Michael Thompson, St. Louis (MO) Chaminade 4-star Trevor Trout, Concord (NC) 4-star Rick Sandidge, and Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek 4-star Jordan Davis, and Hollywood (FL) Chminade-Madonna 3-star Davoan Hawkins (Kentucky commit) at DT.
Trout and Davis are probably off the board, however, with their recent commitments to USC and Georgia, respectively.
All the targeted players have good size for the position, and are top tier recruits at this position of need for the Canes. There is work to be done here, but with Coach Kool at the helm — his reputation and coaching ability is what has gotten Friday and Thompson (and likely others) interested in Miami at all — I’m not worried.
This is the spot where Miami has picked up the activity in recent days. The Hurricanes have offered several new players, and been in contact with plenty more, in an effort to find and secure a commitment from another DE or two in this class.
The big development in the last month is that 4-star DE/LB Andrew Chatfield finally got the Miami scholarship offer he had long been chasing. The Plantation (FL) American Heritage standout (teammates with DT commit Nesta Silvera) is a very productive player, amassing 24.5 sacks as a junior, and similar numbers as a senior.
The concern with Chatfield was length, and projection to the collegiate level. After being evaluated at camps and games over the course of the last year, Miami is finally comfortable with Chatfield and how he would fit into the Canes’ attacking defense.
Chatfield was initially thought to be an LSU lean before he committed to Ohio State. He has since decommitted, and while Florida was the team thoguht to lead his recruitment for a time, all signs point to Miami being the clear leaders at current. It would not surprise me to see Chatfield commit sooner rather than later. Hes the #1 target at DE for Miami and by all reports should end up in this class.
Apart from Chatfield, Miami has offers out to several other DEs. Here’s a quick rundown:
- 5-star Micah Parsons (Harrisburg, PA). National top 5 player. Hasn’t visited, and likely won’t visit. He’s not coming, and I probably won’t write about him again this cycle.
- 4-star Ronnie Perkins (St. Louis, MO). Good size at 6’3” 255lbs. A U.S. Army All-American, Perkins holds 32 offers at current. No plans to visit currently. And, as you know, no visit = no chance.
- 4-star Elijah Wade (Las Vegas, NV). A player seeing his profile rise, Wade is one of the many new offers at DE for Miami. He’s from the same city, but different school, as TE commit Brevin Jordan, so it will be interesting to see if Jordan starts doing some peer-level recruiting to help the staff in their new pursuit of Wade.
- 4-star Christian Barmore (Philadelphia, PA). This is a prospect who has seen his stock SKYROCKET recently. Nearly every major team is offering the 6’6” 297lb defender. He profiles more as a DT than DE, but he’s definitely on the list of new contacts for Miami. Cool note: Barmore attends the same HS (Neumann-Goretti) that Canes senior PG Ja’Quan Newton did.
- 4-star Jayson Oweh (Blairstown, NJ). Only in his 2nd year of football, the 6’5” 236lb Oweh oozes athleticism and potential. I’ve mentioned this comparison using another player before, but Oweh is like David Njoku with his size, athleticism, and limited football experience, but on the defensive side of the ball. Here’s a good profile on Oweh by Tyler Donohue of Landof10.com, with a Penn State slant (bc, I mean, that’s who Donohue covers now). Unlikely to visit.
- 4-star Chris Collins (Richmond, VA). This UNC commit is tall and thin at 6’5” 212lbs, but he has good skills and a high motor. UNC is imploding this season, so it’s worth the shot to lob and offer and see if anything happens.
- 4-star Nik Bonitto (Ft. Lauderdale, FL). Miami has not yet offered Bonitto, but the sides have met (at the GT game when Bonitto took an unofficial visit to HRS, and other unofficials) and spoken. If Bonitto is fully invested in Football (he had dreams of playing basketball in college but he’s not a high major prospect in that sport), Miami would be wise to make moves to get the St. Thomas Aquinas star in this recruiting class. Some think Bonitto is a DE, others think he’s an OLB. Miami may decide to pass on Bonitto, who is fast and quick but not the physical kind of player Miami covets on defense.
With all those new/increased contacts and offers, it’s easy to see that Miami is not settled with just Rousseau at DE in this class, and is looking to add both depth and talent to that group in this class. This is the position where the most movement is likely to be seen — such as Chatfield’s long-awaited offer — because there’s room to add players, and no real leaders for any of the available scholarship slots.
Previously, I said that 1. there would be new names popping up at DE (and DT) for Miami as the cycle progressed and 2. I wasn’t concerned bc Coach Kool is one of the best recruiters and the best development coach at DL in America. Both of those continue to be true, so we’re right on track. Miami is in a good spot, Coach Kool is gonna pull in a couple more good players between DT and DE, and all will be well.
One of 2 positions, along with QB, at which Miami does not currently hold a commitment, Miami has work to do at Linebacker. But, with low numbers needed and plenty of interested prospects, recruiting at this position shouldn’t be too tough for Miami as this cycle progresses.
Miami is pushing for a flip from Homestead (FL) South Dade 3-star Patrick Joyner. This FSU commit has a good combination of size and skill, and would be a nice addition to Miami’s recruiting class. When you add in the bonus of taking a talented player away from a bitter rival, getting Joyner would be that much better for Miami.
Additionally, a new name that has recently popped up at LB is Seffner (FL) Armwood 3-star James Miller. The 6’1” 225lb Miller doesn’t yet have a scholarship offer, but visited HRS for Miami-Virginia, and the coaches got to see him in person. Miller is a very productive player with 120 tackles in his senior season, and could potentially be a fit in Manny Diaz’s defense.
A footnote here is Miami’s lack of recruiting connection to Armwood HS in recent years. The current success has obviously made an impact with players all over the State, and having an Armwood player interested (to what degree is debatable) is a positive recruiting development. Even if Miller isn’t the player to end Miami’s recruiting drought at Armwood, his connection to Miami (even as small as it currently stands) is a net positive for the Canes.
With only 1 (maybe 2?) LB spots in this class, Miami can be very selective looking for prospects. As the cycle continues, I fully expect additional names to pop up as Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz and the Canes’ staff continue to eval players from around Florida and the country.
That being said, it’s almost December, early signing period is in mid-December, and the players with even a moderate connection to Miami at LB are a player currently committed to Florida State and uncommitted but attends a HS that Miami has struggled to recruit from. Suffice it to say that, even on the heels of 2 classes with 3 LBs in each year, Miami has work to do at LB in this class.
This, like Wide Receiver and Running Back, is a position where Miami needs big numbers and top talent in this recruiting class. And, like WR and RB, Miami is off to a stellar start recruiting this position group in this class, too.
Miami has 5 DBs committed in the 2018 recruiting class:
Miami (FL) Columbus Cheshire (CT) Academy 4-star CB Josh Jobe, Palm Beach Gardens (FL) 4-star S Gurvan Hall, Coral Gables (FL) 4-star CB Gilbert Frierson, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star CB Al Blades Jr., and Homestead (FL) South Dade 3-star CB D.J. Ivey. Every one of those commits has the ability to be an All-American, and all 5 of them are from Palm Beach County (Hall), Broward (Blades Jr.), or Dade County (Jobe — yes he’s at prep school in Connecticut now bc he aged out of eligibility in Florida, but I’m still counting him — Frierson, and Ivey). For all the years of talking about “getting back to the South Florida Roots of Miami Hurricanes Recruiting”, this is what it looks like in application.
Before going to the targets, let’s start with a commit. EVERYBODY is watching the recruitment of Josh Jobe. Miami continues to be in a good place with him as he’s moved to Connecticut to finish his HS career, but many schools, most notably Alabama and Michigan, continue to try and push for a flip. I’m not panicking or anything like that, but I wanted to put it on record that Miami still has to fight to keep Jobe in this class. And, to assuage any anxiety you may have after reading this paragraph, all reports recently have Miami firmly in a good position to fend off these opposing attacks and keep Jobe in this class.
Still leading the way on the target list is Plantation (FL) American Heritage 4-star CB Tyson Campbell. A tall (6’3”) corner with very good speed (State Champion in the 100 meter dash with a 10.41 in 2017), Campbell has the build, athleticism, and skill that has colleges all over the country fighting for his commitment.
Currently holding 22 offers, Campbell is a top 30 player in the 2018 recruiting class. Miami, Clemson, LSU, and OSU are just some of the teams from which Campbell has been offered. He’s a premium player at a premium position, and Miami would be thrilled to add him to the commit list, and continue to rebuild the connection with American Heritage that was so badly damaged back when that other guy was Miami’s head coach.
247sports recruiting analyst Steve Wiltfong predicted Campbell would commit to Miami back in September. Multiple subsequent reports by Peter Ariz of CanesInSight and Andrew Ivins of InsideTheU both state that Miami is in a good place with Campbell, if not leading outright. Many recruiting analysts, myself included, have logged predictions on 247’s Crystal Ball that Campbell will pick Miami as his college destination. Obviously, that could change, so take all of that with a grain of salt. But, things still appear positive for Miami relative to Campbell at current and definitely worth watching.
Plantation (FL) American Heritage 5-star Patrick Surtain Jr. released a top 6 without Miami on it. Unless one of the biggest surprises in recent recruiting history happens, Surtain Jr. is most assuredly headed somewhere other than Miami.
OR IS HE???
Surtain’s parents both attended the Notre Dame game (Surtain Jr wasn’t there), and the whole family returned for the Virginia game. Surtain is on record saying that Miami is a school he’ll continue to look at, so there might possibly be a window of opportunity in the near future here.
Just like with Campbell (and Silvera, and Chatfield), Surtain Jr. has a strong connection with Miami CB coach Mike Rumph, who was the head coach at American Heritage for years before stepping up to college coaching. Surtain Jr. and Rumph talk frequently, and Mark Richt has also spoken with the 5-star player. If Miami is able to get Surtain Jr. to take an official visit to Coral Gables, it would be a huge win, and the payoff of a long-term recruiting strategy not usually seen (or successful). If he were to commit? Jackpot. Grand slam. Whatever you want to call it. HUGE.
Now, we’re a long way away from either a visit or commitment from Surtain Jr., but if Miami keeps winning and keeps talking to him, who knows what could happen. And, if Rumph pulls this off, I DON’T EVER WANT TO HEAR ANOTHER NEGATIVE WORD ABOUT HIM RECRUITING EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!
Miami (FL) Northwestern 3-star CB Nigel Bethel is an interesting talent who rose up and has fallen down (off?) Miami’s recruiting board. Bethel has good speed and good talent, but mainly has mainly played WR in this HSFB season. I wasn’t fully sold on him as a take before, and after having seen him play, I’m all the way out on him. No thanks.
Miami is reportedly also recruiting West Palm Beach (FL) Oxbridge Academy 3-star Keidron Smith at CB. He doesn’t have an offer at current, but was in attendance for several recent Miami home games. Smith has said that while Miami likes him, they’re trying to find a spot for him in this class. Without an offer at this point, and with the above section about Miami moving on from Bethel, Smith is now the top backup plan option at CB should Miami miss on Tyson Campbell (and/or Surtain Jr? WHAT A TIME!!!)
Miami looks to be settling in on a S group of Gurvan Hall and Josh Jobe, and setting their sights on landing another premium CB as the 6th DB in this class.
Though he’s committed to Auburn, Miami has reportedly circled back to contact previous target Jensen Beach (FL) 3-star S Jamien Sherwood. Miami is trying to get Sherwood down for a visit, but that may or may not happen. We’ll see if movement happens here, but at current Sherwood is solid in his pledge to Auburn.
Now, the focus is going to be on keeping Hall and Jobe in this class. Miami is going to have to battle a host of schools who are trying to flip each of these talented players away from the Canes. But, with many schools chasing after each player, Miami will have work to do to keep them in this class. No, I’m not preaching doom and gloom, I’m simply stating the fact of the situation. I believe Miami will be able to keep both players committed, but it won’t be without plenty of work.
Miami has arguably the best kicker in America in this class in Pasadena (TX) Memorial K Bubba Baxa. Baxa committed to the Canes back at the end of May, had elite performances at every camp and competition he attended this summer, and is having a great senior season.
Oh, what’s that? You want to see Baxa hit one from 60 yards in warmups WITH EASE? Something he says he does all the time? Well, if you insist:
Miami needs a kicker. Miami has arguably the best kicker in America committed in this class.
Seems like a job well done in recruiting kickers, if you ask me.
And that, my friends, is that. Hope you enjoyed the fifth installment of the Class Breakdown for the 2018 recruiting cycle. After months (and several installments of this series) with little movement, things are picking up for Miami recruiting.
As always, hop in the comments and keep the conversation going.