Don't jinx it, but as of today, Miami currently has the 2nd best recruiting class in the country (according to 247Sports). Mark Richt and his staff are well aware, though, that nothing is set in stone and come early signing period in December, things can change immensely.
In order to keep and add on new talent for the future, Miami held it's second annual Paradise Camp yesterday and we at State of the U were there to cover it all. After the camp’s huge success in unearthing players such as WR Mark Pope in 2016, Miami expected nothing less than a spectacular event. This year, even the Paradise Camp Logo was plastered at the bottom of the pool, where Richt did his annual backflip.
The tradition continues in paradise. pic.twitter.com/clbSdoVm4L— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) July 22, 2017
This year again brought elite talent all over from Florida and beyond; Paradise was filled with elite competition and former Hurricane stars that coached the young prospects. At least for one day, Miami was again the talk of the college football recruiting landscape.
Had an amazing experience at the paradise camp this year . pic.twitter.com/8S0xynnpVB— Aydin Henningham (@Underated_561) July 23, 2017
Paradise was amazing— Gregory Rousseau (@Greg_R5) July 23, 2017
Canes Legends Coach Them Up
There were too many Miami greats that came back to coach for Paradise to list. Each and every one of them were engaging wholeheartedly with the kids out there and seemed to enjoy every moment of being back on the field at UM.
- Jeremy Shockey really took Miami commit Will Mallory under his wing; every time Mallory was involved in a play, Shockey came rushing over after the fact to throw in a tidbit to the young tight end.
Will the thrill put on a show today such a talent and great kid props to his parents a true… https://t.co/ev18cxVH8j— Jeremy Shockey (@JeremyShockey) July 23, 2017
- Antrel Rolle was loving all the DB’s that were in attendance, but when asked who he thought was looking good, he pointed to none other than Miami commit DJ Ivey.
“Ivey, the kid can play. Long, lanky, and breaks on the ball well. I think he’ll be a good one for us in the future.”
- After it was all over, Ed Reed and Michael Irvin helped to wrap-up the camp with their final thoughts, imparting their years of NFL and life experience on the youngbloods in attendance.
Ed Reed dropping some wisdom on the younguns as Paradise Camp closes pic.twitter.com/nVPXcQjcnD— Stefan Adams (@stefan_adams305) July 23, 2017
Class of 2018
Will Mallory, TE, Jacksonville, FL (Providence)
Ht 6-5 | Wt 207 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #193 Overall
Even though the QB play was spotty at best, Mallory was the star of Paradise Camp, no doubt about it. He dominated reps in 1-on-1’s with DB’s and linebackers, consistently beat defenders to the edge in the cat and mouse drill, and demonstrated quick feet with the capability to make guys miss. Mallory continued his showcase in 7-on-7 play, showing athleticism that no 6’5 man should have and catching pretty much everything thrown his way. He also seemed to develop a bond with Shockey, and the Miami faithful wouldn’t mind if that continued in the future.
Delone Scaife, OG, Miami, FL (Miami Southridge)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 305 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #377 Overall
It doesn’t seem to matter the time, place, or competition: whenever, wherever, and whoever, Scaife is always a commanding presence at the point of attack. Working at both guard and tackle, he put some of the best D-Lineman at Paradise on skates. Camp after camp, Scaife is slowly proving he’s a force in the trenches and is one of the best O-Lineman in the nation.
Mark Pope, WR, Miami, FL (Miami Southridge)
Ht 6-1 | Wt 175 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #90 Overall
Pope, who is currently Miami's highest rated wide receiver commit, did not fail to live up to the hype. In 1-on-1's and 7-on-7's, he consistently beat the defender at the line of scrimmage with his excellent footwork, and made several impressive catches in traffic. Pope is one of the best pure route runners at the high school level I’ve ever seen.
Daquris Wiggins, WR, Miami, FL (Miami Southridge)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #345 Overall
Although Wiggins is normally overshadowed by his Southridge teammate Mark Pope, he made a statement and put on a show for the Hurricanes staff. Wiggins is smooth, quick, and seemed very fluid with the ball after the catch. Wiggins plays the receiver position as shifty as a slot, yet he is still 6'2. Wiggins hasn't been very active at other camps and showcases, which is the only reason why I think he isn't a 4 star yet. If both Pope and Wiggins stay committed, they can become a very intimidating college football receiving duo.
DJ Ivey, CB, Homestead, FL (South Dade)
Ht 6-1 | Wt 170 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #497 Overall
Quite frankly, Ivey just smothers receivers in the passing game. Antrel Rolle singled him out for praise and guest coach Rolle was spot on: Ivey is an impact corner that has the ability to take half the field away from an opposing offense. Considered Miami’s lowest ranked DB commit in a class of stars, he might just be the sleeper of Storm18.
Johnathan Huggins, S, Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 200 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #1143 Overall
Huggins actually committed to FSU earlier in the week, but that didn’t stop him from making the trip down to Coral Gables to compete at Paradise. And he made believers out of the coaches, becoming one of the few to gain a Miami offer after camp was all set and done. Huggins is a underrated safety prospect that runs well for his size and can lay the wood on the ball-carrier. He says he’s solid to FSU for now, but will still consider Miami in the future. Stay tuned.
Class of 2019
Jesiah Pierre, LB, Mount Dora, FL (Christian Home And Bible School)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 220 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #298 Overall
Pierre absolutely dominated in the cone drills early, blowing away the other linebackers in attendance. He also showed the ability to drop back and cover in space during 7-on-7 play. At 6’2 220 pounds, he already looks the part of a college-sized linebacker and is exceptionally fluid in his movements. The Miami commit is solid to the Canes, but others like Georgia, Kentucky, and UNC have not given up.
Zamar Wise, QB, Newark, NJ (Barringer)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: Unranked
There were no 2018 QB’s in attendance and, like I said earlier, the QB’s overall were pretty lackluster. Having said all that, Wise was probably the best of the bunch, making some nice lobs over the top in 7-on-7 play and showing his ability to make something happen scrambling outside the pocket. Wise was one of a few out-of-state guys to make the trek down to Coral Gables for Paradise and he proved he was well worth his previous Miami offer. Maryland, Syracuse, Missouri, and Rutgers are also involved.
Mark-Antony Richards, ATH, West Palm Beach, FL (Wellington)
Ht 6-1 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #188 Overall
Even though Richards isn't committed, his name is probably the most popular of unsigned players amongst University of Miami fans because of what his older brother, Ahmmon, is currently doing at The U. When I first found out Ahmmon had a brother, I said, "Wait, there's two?" When I figured out how good Mark-Antony Richards is, I got even more excited. He consistently made catches in traffic and had great acceleration after the catch. Although schools such as Auburn, Georgia, and Florida are trying to plead their case, hopefully Richards follows in his brother's footsteps.
Class of 2020
Marc Britt, ATH, Hialeah, FL (Champagnat Catholic)
Ht 6-0 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: Unranked
As today’s version of Paradise Camp featured mostly rising juniors (2019) and rising seniors (2018), there weren’t many 2020 guys that were invited to step up with the big boys. However, one such player was ATH Marc Britt, and he excited the Miami staff enough to earn an offer from them.
Britt now adds Miami to an ultra-early list of offers that includes Syracuse, Wake Forest, Purdue, and FAU. It’s not yet clear what position Britt will play on the field in college (likely DB or WR), but one thing’s for sure: the kid can flat out fly. He’s one to keep an eye on in the future.
Jalen Rivers, OT, Orange Park, FL (Oakleaf)
Ht 6-5 | Wt 327 | 247 Composite: Unranked
The soon-to be sophomore in high school is already a whopping 6’5 and 327 pounds, and clearly passes the eyeball-test; he’s one of the first guys coming off the bus for any team he’s on. But Rivers uses his size well, can move in space, and was stonewalling even some of the best 2018 defensive linemen. He also already claims offers from the nations best, including Miami, FSU, UF, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and others. In 2 years, watch out: we could be looking at 5-star material.
Other News and Notes
- Immediately following the camp, OT Brandon Cunningham (2019), a 4-star from Ocean Springs, MS, made the decision to join the good guys and commit to Miami. He’s the first commit on the O-Line for the 2019 class and 5th commit overall in the class. It’s a huge out-of-state win for coach Richt and coach Searels as they continue to work to fix the O-Line. Cunningham held offers from LSU, Ole Miss, Memphis, and others.
- Hurricane commits DB Al Blades Jr. and DT Nesta Silvera were both in attendance and scheduled to participate, but were instead in plainclothes and on the sidelines. It was unclear why that was, however both looked to be uninjured and were out there laughing it up and bonding with their fellow commits and recruits.
- 5-star Miami commit RB Lorenzo Lingard made an amazing catch while taking a hard hit during 7-on-7’s, drawing a mix of “Oooohhh” and “Ouchhhh” from the crowd. Coming across the middle, Lingard got his hands on the ball right as the safety arrived, and they both collided into each other and fell to the turf; however, Lingard was able to hang on and popped right back up after the crunch. Canes nation simultaneously breathed a collective sigh of relief.
- In terms of guys flying way under the radar, H-Back/TE Zatavian Morgan (2018), from Pahokee HS, was a surprise and had a very impressive camp. All night, Morgan did not disappoint. During 1-on-1's, Morgan showed relative quickness and ball skills for his build, and dominated the 7-on-7 period, catching pass after pass. Morgan has been slept on by many other schools, yet he is a 1st Team All-State tight end. Coach Richt first took notice in the team 7-on-7's about a month ago and has mentioned he would like to take a further look. Although Hurricane linebacker Mike Smith is currently making the transition to fullback, I can easily see Morgan making a similar transition if pursued by the Hurricanes.
Views From Paradise
As Richt said himself today in the opening presser, the fact of the matter is swagger is winning. And that mantra extends to recruiting as well; the only thing that can keep these recruits interested in Miami is winning. Although Paradise Camp was great, we can’t wait for the season to start so our Hurricanes can hit the field and get some wins!