Welcome to the second edition of the column I like to call “The Freshman 15”. If you missed the inaugural issue last month, this will be a focus on the rankings and the order of the top 15 uncommitted recruits the coaching staff is pursuing. At this time, players committed to other programs or players without offers will not be considered for the board. How do we rank the players, you ask?
Well, the order will be based mainly on:
- How likely a recruit is to commit to Miami at the time
- Skill level
- Miami's need at their position
This column will be updated throughout the cycle each month and will show movement up or down for each recruit as the list is updated, ie. who is starting to become more/less important and prioritized by the staff.
The Canes raided the board last month, adding #2 Brevin Jordan, #8 Gregory Rousseau, and #12 Will Mallory to Storm18. Miami even got a bit of a bonus when DB Josh Jobe reaffirmed his commitment to UM and shut down his recruitment after entertaining Alabama and others. Mallory in particular was a big pull, with Jordan already committed at his position and considering many thought Michigan to be Mallory’s leader due to him being a legacy. Unfortunately, #7 Jamarcus Chatman proved yet again why an unofficial/silent commitment is no real commitment at all. Chatman went from “100% going to commit to Miami” to LSU bound in a week.
Let’s get into the board for this month.
1. Al Blades Jr. , CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas) (Last Month: 1)
Ht 6-0 | Wt 170 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #76 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Blades Jr. retains the top spot on this board because of his combination of talent, Miami’s need at corner, and the fact that he’s a UM legacy that is a virtual lock for the Canes. He's an athletic specimen, and a very natural corner who makes the most of his abilities.
In The Mix: Miami. Miami. Miami. But if you’d like, we can throw in FSU, Auburn, Alabama, and Georgia for fun.
Latest: Blades has camped at FSU and has taken some unofficial visits elsewhere, but don’t read too much into it. He has been to Coral Gables countless times to see the campus, take in practices, and just hangout with the team. We fully expect Blades in this class and it’s just a matter of him taking his time going on visits and seeing some sights before announcing it. Son of the late Hurricane legend Al Blades, Blades Jr. recently said he wants to get his decision out of the way before the season and will make a commitment during early summer.
2. Tyson Campbell, CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 3)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #45 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Campbell is a corner that plays just down the road at American Heritage, where his former head coach was current Canes CB coach Mike Rumph. He sports outstanding length and unteachable instincts, along with incredible ball skills. Miami has been loading up on DB’s in this class, but is still making Campbell a priority.
In The Mix: Campbell favors Miami, LSU, and Ohio State, while Alabama, Florida, and Georgia are also hot on his trail.
Latest: On one of Campbell’s most recent visits to campus, he took in a Miami basketball game, storming the court with fans after a Hurricane win over Duke in February. He’s visited favorites Miami, LSU, and Ohio State, but Alabama hasn’t given up on him and is still lurking around. Crimson Tide DC Jeremy Pruitt recently made his way to Heritage to visit with Campbell. Certainly having Campbell’s former coach on staff at UM and coaching his position group is a boon for Miami, and current Heritage teammate and UM commit DT Nesta Silvera is also working to get Campbell to join him in the class. He will announce after his senior season and we see a slight lead for Miami at this point.
3. Elijah Moore, WR, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas) (Last Month: 4)
Ht 5-10 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #169 Overall
Behind The Ranking: A current teammate of Al Blades Jr., Moore may actually remind you of a former teammate at St. Thomas, current Hurricane and slot dynamo Mike Harley. Shifty in the slot with impressive acceleration after the catch, Moore will reel in anything thrown near him. He is good friends with many current players and commits and there is a high likelihood he joins them in Coral Gables.
In The Mix: Miami, Florida, and Ohio State seem to interest Moore the most, with Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia and others still involved.
Latest: Like Blades Jr., Moore’s been to UM countless times with other commits and targets. Moore has also seen Gainesville and plans a trip to Columbus to check out Ohio State. Moore recently showed out at the Opening Miami Regionals and earned an invitation to the Opening finals. After previously saying he would announce his commitment at the Opening, Moore has backed off that, and now plans to release a top 8 at the event. Buckle up for a long ride.
4. William Barnes, OT, Apopka, FL (Apopka) (Last Month: 6)
Ht 6-4 | Wt 290 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #44 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Even though the Canes already have a solid pair on the O-Line committed in Delone Scaife and Cleveland Reed, they are desperate for more talent in the trenches. The O-Line simply must be fixed at all costs and the best way to do it is to load up on studs like Barnes. Barnes is an advanced run-blocker and has the frame and athleticism to excel in pass protection with more development. He is also known for being proficient at the mental side of the game. In addition, Barnes won MVP at the Rivals Orlando Camp in March and earned an invite to Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge.
In The Mix: Schools like FSU, UF, Ohio State, UNC, and Auburn join Miami and others on Barnes’ offer list.
Latest: Not much has changed in Barnes’ recruitment lately. Barnes has visited Coral Gables twice, most recently for Junior Day, but claims no favorites at this point. He wants to see all the schools recruiting him and says Miami is among the group recruiting him hardest. Barnes expects his recruitment to go all the way to signing day. Rumor has it that Florida leads, but Miami just needs to stay in the game and position themselves for an official visit in the fall. If they can do that, all bets are off.
5. Rick Sandidge, DT, Concord, NC (Concord) (Last Month: 9)
Ht 6-5 | Wt 275 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #115 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Sandidge has a great get-off that, when combined with his amazing power and length, can be overwhelming for any offensive lineman. With the bulk of Miami’s talent at DT being upperclassmen, there is a huge need for a guy like Sandidge in this class. He’s a truly elite defensive lineman that has shown interest in Miami. Sign us up.
In The Mix: LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, UNC, South Carolina, NC State, UF, FSU, Michigan and Virginia Tech (whew) join Miami in Sandidge’s top 11.
Latest: Sandidge is a kid who plays things close to the vest. He is hard to get a read on and seems to have cast a wide net, being interested in so many schools. He’s already visited UNC, South Carolina, UF, and FSU, and visited Miami in April. He toured campus with Coach Kool and loved it enough to say Miami would definitely be on his top 11 list, which he released earlier this week. Miami’s top notch sports marketing program is something that appeals to him greatly.
6. Keondre Coburn, DT, Houston, TX (Westfield) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 305 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #93 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Coburn comes from Westfield HS in Texas, a program known for producing bountiful D-I talent. He is explosive with his first step and is powerful at the point of attack, being able to push even the best offensive linemen off balance. During the last ranking, Coburn didn’t even have a Miami offer, explaining his rise up our list.
In The Mix: Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Oregon, LSU, and Washington are some of the many that have offered Coburn.
Latest: His father being a big Canes fan, Coburn is a kid that was dying for a Miami offer and finally got his wish last month. Curious to say the least, since he is a top 100 talent at a position of need, but better late than never. He plans a summer visit to Miami, but, so far, he is taking his recruitment slow and currently lists no favorites. He wants to release a top group on his birthday (May 23) and claims Miami has already made the cut. After losing Jamarcus Chatman to LSU, expect Coach Kool to really turn up the heat on Coburn.
7. John Campbell, OT, Orlando, FL (Dr. Phillips) (Last Month: 13)
Ht 6-5 | Wt 290 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #383 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Campbell’s size, athleticism, punch, and overall ability make him coveted by the Miami staff. At a big position of need, the coaches will be sure to pull out all the stops to obtain his services. Campbell makes a big jump on the board due to some very pro-UM comments recently, as well as his rising recruiting profile.
In The Mix: Campbell has a fluid group of schools like Florida, LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Auburn, Ohio State, UCLA, and Michigan.
Latest: Campbell is a mellow kid and is not one to get overly excited. So it’s a big deal that he raved about his March visit to Coral Gables, saying it was special and had a different feel than any of the other places he’s been. Campbell followed that visit up by stopping by to take in UM’s final spring scrimmage in April. It seems to be neck and neck between the Canes and UF (he visited for their spring game) at this point, but you have to love the big leap in Miami interest after his visit.
8. Warren Thompson, WR, Seffner, FL (Armwood) (Last Month: 5)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #124 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Thompson has the frame to high-point a ball and flat out go get it, making him an instant red zone threat for any lucky team that retains his services. He demonstrates fluid route running skills and is dangerous with the ball in his hands. Moreover, Thompson was a former Miami commit (for all of 5 seconds) and grew up wanting to play football for the Hurricanes.
In The Mix: Thompson boasts a loose top group of Miami, Florida, Florida State, North Carolina, Alabama, and Oregon.
Latest: What once looked like a sure thing has seen the interest fizzle out on both sides. Thompson has not visited or mentioned Miami in interviews in months and, in this case, no news is bad news. Miami had been recruiting like it was holding the last 2 receiver spots for Moore and Thompson, but lately has expanded its board to other guys and has not been communicating much with Thompson. Although Thompson’s Miami recruitment is trending downward, there is still enough of a previous connection there for the Canes to get back in this if they really want him.
9. Kevin Austin, WR, Pompano Beach, FL (North Broward Prep) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #153 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Austin is a big bodied WR that creates mismatches with his physicality and playmaking ability. He can out-muscle any defensive back for a ball, shows strong field vision after the catch, and can make cuts on a dime. With the staff looking for more size at receiver, they have been working extra hard to bring him into the fold. Austin makes a move onto the board due to Thompson’s recruitment being in limbo a bit. We aren’t quite ready to move him above Thompson just yet, but the needle is certainly trending in that direction.
In The Mix: Austin lists Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, and Tennessee as his top 4.
Latest: Austin took in one of UM’s spring scrimmages last month and was able to interact with WR coach Ron Dugans a bit. The Canes seemed to make strides on this visit and he even brought his mom along, something that always bodes well in recruiting. Helping Miami even more is Austin’s preference for a school with great academics. Miami is right in the thick of things and, according to Austin, he will be announcing “soon”.
10. Ed Montilus, OG, Apopka, FL (Apopka) (Last Month: 10)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 295 | 247 Composite: 3 Star, #392 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Montilus is a powerful guard prospect that is strong at the point of attack. He’s always been high on Miami and continues to consider them along with a few others. Montilus is also linemates with Barnes at Apopka and could be a factor in helping to secure Barnes’ commitment. OL coach Stacy Searels is a huge fan of Montilus and has been to Apopka to visit with both him and Barnes.
In The Mix: Auburn, Miami, and UNC currently lead for Montilus.
Latest: Montilus has unofficially visited Miami on his own dime many times and was even on hand for a Hurricanes Russell Athletic Bowl practice in December. He plans to head back to Coral Gables in the summer. Montilus has camped at Auburn and recently visited UNC for Junior Day. He sees himself taking his recruitment to signing day, and it will be a battle, but we feel UM has a slight lead here.
11. Amari Gainer, LB, Tallahassee, FL (Lawton Chiles) (Last Month: 14)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 200 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #317 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Gainer has elite speed and quickness at the linebacker position and is a natural playmaker. He will have to add size to be ready for the next level, but he possesses a long and athletic frame to do just that. Living behind enemy lines in Tallahassee depresses his ranking a bit and we want to see just how interested in Miami he really is. Gainer moves up mainly because of others coming off the board, but he also seems to be the staff’s top target at LB right now. However, with Miami’s trio of young starting LB’s being only sophomores, LB is not the biggest need in this class at the moment.
In The Mix: Gainer’s top 6 is Miami, Florida State, Auburn, Alabama, UCLA, and Texas.
Latest: Some believe FSU is the team to beat; however, Gainer maintains his top six are all even. He wants to take visits to all his favorites before making his decision. Even so, at the end of the day, FSU usually gets the kids they want out of Tallahassee. Miami will have their chance to impress though; he’ll be on campus with good friend and UM commit Lorenzo Lingard later this summer.
12. Rosendo Louis, LB, Deerfield Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 225 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #599 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Louis is not the most highly ranked recruit, but the staff sees something it likes in him. Living nearby in Deerfield Beach, he’s been one of the more pursued LB’s in this class. He reads and reacts to plays quickly and takes good angles when pursuing the football. Louis is also extremely physical and a good tackler.
In The Mix: Louis claims a top 4 of Miami, South Carolina, Ole Miss, and Arkansas.
Latest: Louis made his way to Boca for the Canes final spring scrimmage in late April and had a good time watching the LB’s and being around the team. For his part, Louis comes from a family of UM fans and is looking for a school where he can fit into the defensive scheme, while also not having to travel too far from home. This looks to be a Miami and South Carolina battle and we won’t have to wait long to find out the winner. He is targeting a decision date of May 17th, his Grandma’s birthday.
13. Jamien Sherwood, LB/S, Jensen Beach, FL (Jensen Beach) (Last Month: 11)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 190 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #429 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Sherwood was tough to place on this list. A gifted prospect in his own right, Sherwood uses his size and physicality to bully receivers across the middle and to make plays in the box. He’s also shown high interest in donning the green and orange for the next 4 years and Miami seemed to be his de-facto leader. In any other year, Sherwood would be a no-brainer take for the coaching staff. But Miami is filling up quickly at DB in this class and there are others the coaches seem to prefer over him.
In The Mix: Sherwood is looking hard at Miami, FSU, UF, Nebraska, and Auburn.
Latest: As more and more time passes, the less likely it seems that there will be room for Sherwood in this class. Having Jobe reaffirm his commitment to UM really hurt his chances. There are now a whopping 5 DB’s in Miami’s class, with coaches expecting a commitment from Blades Jr. any time now and feeling good about Tyson Campbell. Besides those two, unless an elite 5-star DB decides he wants in, there just isn’t space for anyone else, and 2 DB commitments already had to be pushed out of the class (Jalen Patterson and Thomas Burns). However, what is really interesting is that there are rumors that the coaches may move Sherwood down into the box and take him as a linebacker. Depending on what happens with top LB targets Gainer and Louis, there may be room for Sherwood yet. Stay tuned.
14. Tyreke Johnson, S, Jacksonville, FL (Trinity Christian Academy) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-1 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #17 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Johnson is a size/speed force that could play either safety or corner at the next level. He is a natural defensive back with amazing ball skills, while still being stout against the run. Johnson is considered a longshot by many and, to a certain extent, he is. But visiting with Miami twice in the past few months shows he has at least some interest, and with his elite skills, is enough to get him on the board.
In The Mix: Florida, Ohio State, FAU, LSU, UCLA and Georgia are recruiting Johnson the hardest in addition to Miami.
Latest: Johnson visited Coral Gables for Junior Day in February and was on hand for the Canes’ final spring scrimmage in April. He still refuses to name a top group and doesn’t seem to have much figured out in his recruitment right now, but many peg him as a UF lean. Johnson has no set visit plans as of now, but he will go on a college tour of his favorites with coaches and teammates during the summer. Miami will try to get him on campus as much as possible the next few months and hope for the best. Until Johnson officially makes a top group that doesn’t include UM, we’ll keep him on the board if he’s still showing cursory interest.
15. Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 15)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #4 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Surtain Jr. rounds out our list yet again purely on his talent alone; we just haven’t seen enough interest in UM from him to justify moving him up higher. Miami will shoot it’s shot though on the blue-chip corner who is fleet of foot, with quick hips and instincts to match. Like his fellow secondary-mate Tyson Campbell, Surtain Jr. played under Mike Rumph at American Heritage and is also the son of former Miami Dolphins star Pat Surtain, who is now the coach at Heritage.
In The Mix: Every traditional powerhouse school in the nation.
Latest: Even though Miami is filling up at DB, Surtain Jr., along with Johnson, are the types of talents you can’t turn away. Many say LSU leads here with FSU close behind, but Surtain Jr. has stayed tight lipped; he claims he is wide open and wants to go through the recruiting process. Barring any changes, he’ll take all his officials and announce on signing day. For Miami to win out, they’ll have to make sure they can snag an official visit, and push the connection of Rumph coaching his position group. It’ll take a yeoman’s effort from the staff and Rumph to reign him in to be sure, but anything can happen in recruiting. HS teammate and current Cane commit Nesta Silvera has been working on him too. Any scheduling of unofficial or official visit plans to Coral Gables would move him up this list in a hurry.