IMG Academy. It’s a private boarding high school that has taken the recruiting world by storm and needs no introduction if you are a recruiting fan, but I’ll attempt to do so anyways for the sake of satisfying sportswriting conventions.
IMG Academy is home to some of the nation’s top high school football prospects and almost half of it’s roster has Division 1 scholarship offers. Even the Hurricanes have been getting involved with IMG lately; IMG alums dot the Canes current roster in the form of OL Tyree St. Louis, DE Scott Patchan, and DT Ryan Fines and UM also holds commitments from current IMG players QB Artur Sitkowski and WR Brian Hightower in the Class of 2018.
Last Wednesday, IMG players met with the media to talk about school, their upcoming season, and, of course, recruiting. SB Nation’s own Recruiting Director Bud Elliot was there to cover IMG Media Day and although Sitkowski was not present, Elliot brought us some helpful tidbits about both Hightower and another prominent target for Miami.
From Bud Elliot
Brian Hightower, four-star WR (Miami commit)
Hightower said that he is solidly committed to Miami, but that he is still being pursued by Nebraska, Georgia, and UCLA, and that he is not sure if he will take official visits other than Miami. Hightower plans to be an early enrollee.
For those that don’t already know, Hightower is not from Florida orginally; he actually calls California home and came across the country to play for IMG for 2 seasons. The allure of returning home for college will always be there and until he stops flirting with the idea of other visits and really shuts down his recruitment, the rumors of him potentially flipping to local powerhouses USC or UCLA will continue to persist. It is also a known fact that Hightower is close with the staff at Georgia. At the end of the day, we still see Hightower ending up in Coral Gables, and having his high school QB in Sitkowski also solidly committed to the Hurricanes is a huge plus. Keep him only lightly on your decommitment radar for now.
From Bud Elliot
Daniel Faalele, four-star OL
Faalele is the 6’8, 390-pound Australian import whose only experience in a game is his spring game. He’s rapidly improving as a player, and it’s fun to see someone so talented, yet so raw be molded into a star.
What he said: “No interviews,” he responded when asked several questions.
What his teammates said: Ten picked Michigan, while three picked Georgia. All of the Georgia picks were hedges accompanied by a pick of Michigan.
With Miami looking to fill its last tackle spot on the offensive line in Storm18, Faalele has been seen as a prime target to occupy that void. The problem? The man is as massive as he is mysterious, both in terms of potential and personality. Faalele has yet to play in an official football game and he is famously a steel trap when it comes to his recruitment. It does say something that his teammates believe him to be so high on Michigan, and the Wolverines should probably be considered his leader as of now, but until we hear it from Faalele himself, I wouldn’t count anybody out. Miami will continue to put effort into getting Faalele on campus for an official visit.