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Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: Class Breakdown July 13

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The second monthly installment of our series looking at the Canes’ 2018 recruiting class.

The commitment of Al Blades Jr. highlights one thing for the Canes: Family

Hey there, recruiting fans. It’s time for another great 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.

Class Numbers

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

QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S K Best Available
QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S K Best Available
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. I’ll address that in the section for each respective number below, but recent attrition from the Canes’ roster (Jeff James, Jovani Haskins, Sunny Odogwu, Jack Allison, Cedrick Wright, Terrance Henley) have opened up scholarships that Miami could potentially fill with the 2018 recruiting class.

With no further ado, let’s hop into the outlook for each position.

Quarterback

Need: 1

Committed: 1

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 2018 recruiting cycle, Miami has their man already committed in 4-star Artur Sitkowski. Standing 6’5” 215lbs, Sitkowski has great size for the position. Additionally, he’s showed well at several recruiting camps and 7v7 tournaments this Spring.

Sitkowski, who has transferred to Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy for his senior year, will play in a pro-style offense (good for transition to Miami), have top tier skill talent on the field with him (IMG could have 3 5-star RBs on the roster, and COUNTLESS receivers and OL, too), and play competition that is light years better than what he faced back in his time at his previous HS, Old Bridge (NJ).

A 4-star recruit with a wealth of talent, Sitkowski is still going to be heavily pursued despite his commitment to Miami. Florida and Rutgers (the home state school) are still contacting him, and they figure to continue to do so throughout this cycle. There have been reports that Sitkowski and family are “all-in” with Miami and Mark Richt. There has been supposition by the fanbase, however, that if true freshman QB N’Kosi Perry is a breakout superstar in 2017 that Sitkowski may look elsewhere. That is something that logically works for me, but for the time being, I’m going to trust the reports I’ve seen that say Sitkowski is solidly committed.

On top of the already-committed Sitkowski, Miami has offers out to several other QBs in 2018, just to be safe. Some of those names to know are: Texas commit Cameron Rising, OSU commit Emory Jones, Tennessee commit Adrian Martinez, UCLA commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Kentucky commit Jarren Williams, and Texas commit Casey Thompson.

Running Back

Need: 2

Committed: 2

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 hav 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.

Even with having both Lingard and Davis committed, Miami has offers out to several other RBs this cycle.

Leading that list is FSU commit 4-star James Cook. Yes, he’s Dalvin’s younger brother, but the younger Cook recently decommitted from the Noles. Miami has been recruiting the younger Cook for a couple years, but there are other teams (USC, LSU) who seem more keen on making a move on Cook now that he’s a free agent.

At this point, there aren’t really any other RBs worth noting here with offers from Miami. The majority of those who hold offers are committed elsewhere, which is fine considering the fact that Miami holds commitments from 2 of the top 10 RBs in America this cycle.

Should Lingard or Davis decommit from Miami — something I don’t foresee happening, to be clear — then Miami could make a move toward flipping Cook (unlikely) or offering a late-rising player. Maybe a guy like Chris Curry (Najeh Davenport’s cousin, recently committed to LSU) or a local Dade or Broward county back yet to be offered.

Wide Receiver

Need: 4

Committed: 3

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.

Leading the way, as far as star rating at least, for the target group is Bossier City (LA) Parkway 5-star Terrace Marshall. A receiver with good size (6’3” 192lbs) and blazing speed, Marshall holds 26 scholarship offers from nearly every major P5 school, and could show up on ANY campus in America and have a spot. He’s currently ranked as the #1 WR in America and a top 10 player overall. Why is he so highly rated: Oh, you know, just the 2593 yards and 29 TDs over the last 2 seasons, dominating camp performances, and a college-ready frame.

Suffice it to say that Marshall is good. Real good. DAMN good.

Now, for all the skeptics, this isn’t just me throwing names out there. Marshall and a bunch of players from his 7v7 team visited Coral Gables unofficially back in mid-April, and he’s said there’s interest in the Canes.

247sports reported the Marshall stated he would return to Coral Gables for an official visit during the 2017 season. So, that’s good, but there’s still work to be done, for sure. The elephant in the room is that Marshall is from Louisiana, so LSU is going to be hard to beat for Miami, or anyone, to pry Marshall away from the home-state school.

Another top local player at WR is Pompano Beach (FL) North Broward Prep 4-star Kevin Austin. Another receiver with good size at 6’3” 200lbs, Austin is used in a number of ways in NBP’s multiple offense. He plays Wing-back, slot receiver, and outside receiver, all with equal success. He’s used all over the field for his team, and makes plays all the time.

A key for Austin is going to be the academics of his chosen school. North Broward Prep is a top academic school, and that’s a factor here, for sure. Austin’s named final 4 is Miami, Notre Dame, Duke, and Tennessee, but Clemsono offered too so that’s another team to watch. With Tennessee being the obvious academic outlier, Miami, ND, and Duke are all fighting at the top of Austin’s recruitment. Predictions on 247sports’ crystal ball are 100% for Austin to Notre Dame. But, Miami is still involved and may try to make a move here.

An interesting target is Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Elijah Moore. An electric slot receiver, Moore fits the bill at 5’11” 170lbs. The thing about Moore, at current, is that his last major impact on the field was in 2015.

Let me recap for you: after 2 standout years at Davie (FL) Western — one of which had Moore and the previously listed Austin as teammates for the Wildcats — Moore transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas for the 2016 season. And when he did, he walked right into a crowded WR room with 5 eventual 2017 FBS signees: Trevon Grimes (OSU), Mike Harley (Miami), Joshua Palmer (Tennessee), Jonathan Moore (Kent State), and Jordan Merrell (FAU). Behind that loaded group of seniors, Moore — no relation to the Moore who signed with Kent State — found it hard to earn his way onto the field.

So, with minimal stats, Moore seemed to have taken a big step back from his time at Western....until the spring camp and 7v7 season started. Then, Moore was pretty much uncoverable, same as 2017 Canes signee Mike Harley was in the previous year. Most want to see Moore produce in games, which as I said is something he didn’t get the chance to do last season.

Miami could easily decide to push hard for Moore — who recently had a very strong showing at Nike’s The Opening — as the 4th WR in this class after seeing him in the spring. For now, Miami — and other schools as well — are in a “wait and see” mode with Moore. Even still, this is a name to know, for sure.

A late-rising player on the board is Miami (FL) Booker T. Washington 3-star WR Tyquan Thornton. A former Baylor commit, Thornton is tall and thin (6’3” 170lbs) with a world of speed. He’s one of the fastest players on any field that he steps on. Thornton dominated at a recent Miami camp, and several 7v7 tournaments, so he’s had a very strong summer season.

Thornton is looking at Miami and Florida, with many thinking Florida holds the upper hand. He’s a local player with plenty of talent, but would definitely be WR4 among the current commit group. I initially thought Thornton would only be a take if Miami were bringing in 5 WRs in this class, but reports lead me to believe that he would be a take regardless of the rest of the WR board. We’ll see what happens.

Another player Miami is looking at is Plantation (FL) American Heritage 4-star WR Anthony Schwartz. A speedster who ran 10.12 in the 100 meter dash this spring — that’s really, REALLY fast, you guys — Schwartz is a developing talent on the football field. But, he has decent size at 6’0” 172lbs, and speed that you can’t teach.

If the name Anthony Schwartz is new to you, you’re not alone. He wasn’t a top target for Heritage lat year, and has recently exploded onto the national recruiting scene. While he’s fast, I’m not sure how good he is at football. 7v7 is one thing, games are another. But, he has a season to prove his worth. At current, Florida is the overwhelming favorite in this recruitment.

Still another WR on the radar is Seffner (FL) Armwood 4-star Warren Thompson. If that name is familiar, a. you’ve been reading all my pieces, so thanks and b. Thompson was the player that was committed to Miami for about 43 minutes in March of 2016. No, seriously.

Thompson recently committed to Willie Taggart’s Oregon Ducks, and is still involved with Florida State. This will likely be the last time I devote a paragraph to him, as he’s unlikely to come to Miami by all accounts.

One of the top players locally in South Florida, Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 4-star Xavier Williams is the only presently-committed player on this list. Like Amari Cooper, Calvin Ridley, and Jerry Jeudy before him, Williams is committed to Alabama.

Williams is a smooth athlete at 6’1” 190lbs. He plays both ways — WR and DB — in HS, but he should flourish on the offensive side of the ball in college. Even with playing both ways, Williams was a 2nd team All-State pick at WR in 2016, so there’s skill and production on the record already.

Obviously, flipping a kid from Alabama is going to be tough, but Williams has visited Miami a couple of times, and is still in contact with the coaching staff. So, there’s a chance for Miami here, albeit admittedly small and probably unlikely to happen.

There are plenty of top level options for Miami to fill the WR4 spot in this class. In addition to the 6 players discussed in this piece, Miami has offered quite a few other WRs. With so many talented players in-state, the Canes should focus there (and they are in this class overall) and only go out of state for a player of Marshall’s caliber. There is a chance new names will pop up on the board, but these are the top guys to know.

Tight End

Need: 2

Committed: 2

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.

Miami needs 2 TEs in this class.

Miami has 2 of the top 10 TEs in America committed to the Canes in this class.

Unless Jordan or Mallory drop, Miami is done recruiting at this position in this cycle.

But, for the sake of argument, Miami has other offers out at TE. Some of the other players who hold offers are: Jeremy Ruckert, Mustapha Muhammad, Camren McDonald, Kyle Pitts, and Bralen Taylor. Though, admittedly, the focus is on keeping Jordan and Mallory in this class as opposed to making moves with any of those listed players.

Offensive Line

Need: 4

Committed: 3

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 recent 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.

The most recent commit to the group and class overall, Campbell selected Miami over Auburn, Florida, and a host of others. He is a good tackle prospect who may take time to be game ready at the college level, but brings needed size, length, and athleticism tot he Canes’ OL.

A player Miami is interested in adding at OT is Apopka (FL) 4-star William Barnes. Teammates of another OL offeree (3-star guard Ed Montilus), Barnes is a player whose name is known on the recruiting trail. In a recent article on 247sports, Barnes said that Florida and North Carolina are the two schools recruiting him hardest. Whether Miami will make a move to enter than conversation remains to be seen, but at this time, Florida holds 100% of predictions for Barnes’ commitment.

Yet another interesting prospect at OT is Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 3-star Daniel Faalele. An Australian native, Faalele is a giant of a man at 6’9” 400lbs. The thing about Faalele is this: he’s never played a snap of football before. Everything he’s doing is new, and reports are that he’s doing well to pick up the necessary technique for the position. Going up against a plethora of top FBS talent at IMG Academy should only help Faalele develop.

There is palpable buzz about Faalele, due to his enormous size, the school he attends, and unique background for a top FBS prospect. Here is a profile on Faalele from Sports Illustrated, and here’s one from 247sports.

While he’s new to football, the sky is the limit for Faalele, and many, many teams are already recruiting him. Faalele already has 18 offers, including Miami, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, and Tennessee. In that he’s new to football, he’s new to recruiting, so it’s a bit early to guess where he’ll land, but many teams are after this talented, but VERY RAW, player.

Tampa (FL) Cambridge Christian school 4-star Richard Gouraige and Tampa (FL) Berkley Prep 4-star Nicholas Petit-Frere are players with offers who figure to head elsewhere. They both have good size and undeniable talent, but their sights seem set in places other than Coral Gables.

Miami has 1 open spot at Tackle in this class, and this list has plenty of talented players on it. But, with the majority of them mildly interested in Miami at best, other names are likely to emerge to fill these spots with the kind of talent that Miami should have in this, or any, recruiting class.

Defensive Line

Need: 4

Committed: 2

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.

Early on in this cycle, 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 is another Miami commit headed to Nike’s The Opening. 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.

Defensive Tackle

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.

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 at DT. All 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.

Whether it be one (or more) of the listed players, or prospects yet to be identified or linked to Miami, I am 100% confident that Coach Kool will get the player(s) he needs at DT.

Defensive End

A top 5 player Nationally in the 2018 recruiting class, Harrisburg (PA) 5-star DE Micah Parsons can pick anywhere in America to play his college football. A recent decommit from Penn State, the 6’3” 235lb Parsons holds scholarship offers from 20 schools, and that number is sure to grow.

Let me be clear: Parsons is an elite talent. Miami DL coach Craig Kuligowski visited Harrisburg earlier this spring, and Miami will continue to build a relationship with Parsons. At this time, OSU is the trending pick for Parsons’ collegiate destination, but nearly every top program in the country i trying to get involved in this recruitment.

A local player, Miami (FL) Edison 3-star DE Kayode Oladele is a player that is shooting up the board. He is a recent decommit from FSU, and seems to be favoring Miami over a current list of 16 offers from all available reports.

At 6’4” 235lbs, Oladele is chiseled physically, and has room to add muscle to his already impressive frame. He dominate The Opening’s Miami regional (see tweet below, ignore the FSU commit part), and is getting better by the day.

Oladele will likely camp at Miami this summer, and the Canes could push for a commitment from him then. A native of Nigeria, Oladele is new to football, but his ceiling is very high. Think “Defensive David Njoku”. Yeah, that’ll work.

There are a few players to know who don’t hold scholarship offers yet. First is Plantation (FL) American Heritage 4-star Andrew Chatfield. A very productive player (23.5 sacks in 2016), there are questions about Chatfield’s length and consistent production. Miami continues to evaluate him, while LSU is in front (Chatfield said as much to another reporter that I overheard at The Opening Miami regional).

Teammates of WR commits Mark Pope and Daquris Wiggins at Miami (FL) Southridge are 3-star Randy Charlton and 3-star James Head. Neither holds a Miami offer, but they’ve both got good size (Charlton 6’3” 235lbs; Head 6’5” 213lbs) and they’re the starting ends for the reigning 8A State Champions, so they have talent. Each player holds 10 offers currently, but their lists should grow through summer camps and the 2017 season.

Much like with DT, Miami is working from a position of strength at DE. The roster is stacked, the 2017 signees are great, and Gregory Rousseau is already committed at this spot in this class. And, if there’s anybody on the staff I trust to find and close on talent, it’s Coach Kool. There will likely be new names to know as this cycle progresses, but I am not at all concerned with the talent that Miami will end up with along the DL in the 2018 recruiting class.

Linebacker

Need: 1

Committed: 0

The only position 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.

Leading the way at this position is Vero Beach (FL) 3-star David Reese. A former-Safety who grew out of that position, Reese is well-built at 6’2” 213lbs. Reese, whose brother Stewart plays OL for Mississippi State, should continue to grow into his frame, and easily be in the 225-235lb range in college.

For a while, Reese seemed like a heavy FSU lean. But, recent reports have indicated that Reese’s top 2 schools are Miami and Florida. The heavy consensus at current is that Reese will be a Cane, but there’s still work to be done here. And, for those singularly concerned with star-ratings, don’t be. Reese can play. Here’s what I wrote about him from Nike’s The Opening’s Miami regional in 2016 (note: Reese was at Fort Pierce Central HS then, but he has since transferred to Vero Beach):

Fort Pierce Central's David Reese is an interesting prospect as a tweener S/OLB. He's got a good frame (6'2" 205ish), and I found myself catching him making plays throughout the competition day. He's a 2018 kid, so there's time for his profile to rise. But, after seeing him on Sunday, his is a name that I'll remember.

Another LB on the radar for Miami is Deerfield Beach (FL) 3-star Rosendo Louis. A tough and rugged MLB prospect, the 6’1” 225lb Louis was a lynchpin in Deerfield’s 2016 defense that got the Bucks to the 8A State Semi-Finals. Louis currently holds 21 offers, with South Carolina leading the predictions for his commitment. There’s plenty of time left here, and Miami will continue to build a relationship with Louis moving forward.

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.

Other players like Tallahassee (FL) Lawton Chiles 4-star Amari Gainer and Cincinnati (OH) Winton Woods 4-star Christopher Oats are on the board with offers, but aren’t likely to end up in this class.

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.

Defensive Back

Need: 6

Committed: 5

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.

Since the last installment of this piece, 3-star S Randy Russell decommitted from Miami to explore other options in his recruitment, and 4-star DB Al Blades Jr. committed to Miami on Father’s Day, following in the footsteps of his late father and 2 uncles in joining the Hurricanes.

Miami has 5 DBs committed in the 2018 recruiting class: Miami (FL) Columbus 4-star CB Josh Jobe, Palm Beach Gardens (FL) — he announced this transfer on July 11th in a tweet that I’m SURE had Canes fans worried for a minute — 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, 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.

Jobe, Blades Jr., and Frierson could play either CB or S, so their versatility is great. Hall is a physical force in the middle of the field at S. Ivey has been favorably compared to former Canes CB Artie Burns due to his combination of height, long arms, and coverage skill, so that’s not a bad thing.

Even with a cadre of 5 very, VERY good DBs committed, Miami isn’t done recruiting at this spot in this class. There are several high level targets on the board, and Miami is doing their best to land at least one, but likely multiple of those remaining targets.

Cornerback

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. While most intel has this as a Miami-OSU recruiting battle, Campbell could choose to go any number of ways. 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.

Plantation (FL) American Heritage 5-star Patrick Surtain Jr. is another top CB on the board. Miami is thought to be well on the outside looking in on this recruitment.

Son of the former Miami Dolphins CB of the same name (who is now American Heritage’s coach after Mike Rumph moved up to coach at The U), Surtain Jr. is the prototype at CB. He’s 6’3”, with long arms, great speed (was on Heritage’s track team in the past but missed this track season with a knee injury), great technique (thanks dad), and incredible instincts. He’s generally regarded as a top 10 (top 5 for some) player nationally in this class, so....he’s kind of good.

As of today, LSU, FSU, Clemson and OSU lead Surtain Jr’s recruitment. With that being the case, I don’t know how much of a push Miami will make for Surtain Jr. If Miami chooses to focus on Campbell, Blades, and a S target (we’ll get there in a second) to round out this class, the multiple players they could land would probably be enough for them to cut bait on Surtain and focus on the others. That’s probably what I would do, to be honest.

Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard 3-star CB Stanley Garner is another CB with an offer, but I feel confident saying Miami would rather have either of the above listed players in this class as opposed to Garner. Still, Garner has a good combination of size (6’3”) and speed, and should be the best defensive player at Dillard HS this season, a team with a strong history of performance, and the program that produced 2017 signee DT Jon Ford as well.

Miami (FL) Northwestern 3-star CB Nigel Bethel is an interesting talent who has risen up the recruiting board recently. Some think that Bethel is the odds-on favorite to replace Randy Russell at that scholarship slot in this class. Bethel has good speed and good talent, but I’m not fully sold on him as a take just yet.

Safety

Looking to round out the DB group, Miami has offered Jensen Beach (FL) 3-star S Jamien Sherwood. A late riser who had a stellar 2016 season, Sherwood has great size at 6’2” 195lbs. Some have hypothesized that, much like the aforementioned David Reese, Sherwood will outgrow the S position.

Sherwood has visited Miami several times, and has met with Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz. While Sherwood was in a LB position meeting during one visit, he has said that Diaz like his versatility to be a Safety that can both walk down into the box and float back into man or zone pass coverage.

Sherwood has 25 offers as of now, but Miami looks to be in a good spot. 86% of predictions for Sherwood’s commitment on 247sports’ crystal ball have him picking Miami. Florida State, once thought to be the leaders in this recruitment, have the other 14% of predictions. Florida and Auburn are involved as well, with LSU having recently jumped in with an offer back on May 10th.

Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian 5-star S Tyreke Johnson and West Palm Beach (FL) Dwyer 3-star S Cameron Jonas are other players with offers at this position. While Johnson seems focused on other schools, Jonas is very high on Miami, but it appears the Canes are looking in another direction to fill out this position group in this class. Still, both are names to know, because recruiting is weird and things can change in a hurry.

Special Teams

Need: 1

Committed: 1

Special Teams coordinator Todd Hartley got his man at Kicker when Pasadena (TX) Memorial K Bubba Baxa committed to the Canes back at the end of May.

Baxa is as talented as any kicker in America this cycle. Previously, based on reports and evals I read, I said that Baxa could potentially ascend from 5th to 1st in the kicker rankings for 2018. A couple months later, that has come to fruition.

Here is the most recent eval on Baxa by Kohl’s Kicking, the industry leaders in kicking and punting training and evaluations.

Baxa most recently competed at the 2017 Texas Showcase. He regained his #1 spot nationally by hitting two charted KO’s that had over 4.3 seconds of hang-time. He had by far the highest charted KO of the Spring Showcase Camp Tour with a 4.5 second blast. His FG’s off the ground have improved to the point where he was able to go kick for kick with the nation’s best FG kickers. Baxa is a multi-sport athlete who should continue to develop in college. His upside is outstanding and his “A” ball is different from the rest of the 2018 class. His punting is solid but his overall ability on KO’s and FG’s is what he should focus on in college. Baxa is very competitive and has either won or been a finalist at multiple Kohl’s camps during the FG competition phase of camp. His height off the ground on FG’s has improved drastically this spring and he should be in contention for many All-American Teams.

So, Miami not only got their Kicker to replace Michael Badgley, who will graduate following the 2017 season, they got the BEST kicker in the Nation this recruiting cycle to boot.

That’ll work.


And that, my friends, is that. Hope you enjoyed the second installment of the Class Breakdown for the 2018 recruiting cycle.

As always, hop in the comments and keep the conversation going.

Go Canes