Welcome to the fourth edition of the column I like to call “The Freshman 15”. If you missed the inaugural issue in April, May’s edition, or the most recent edition in June, 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.
In a situation that was a long time coming, Miami finally locked up the #1 guy on the board, as legacy Al Blades Jr. finally pulled the trigger for the Canes, and on Father’s Day no less. Classy move by the young Blades on what was sure an emotional day for his family. Miami also secured #6 John Campbell, another big step towards satisfying their needs on the O-Line.
Let’s get into the board for the month of July.
1. Tyson Campbell, CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 3)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #27 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 speed and length, along with incredible ball skills. Miami has been loading up on DB’s in this class, but is still making Campbell a priority. His status as a national top 30 player, high interest in Miami, and relationship with coach Rumph land him as the new #1 on the board. Campbell held his already high stock steady with a solid Opening showing.
In The Mix: Campbell favors Miami, LSU, and Ohio State, while Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Georgia are also hot on his trail.
Latest: After starting out his recruitment quickly by tapering off his many offers into a loose top group, the recruiting process has slowed for Campbell in recent months. It appears as if he’s really going to take his time to make sure he can find the best program for him. Ohio State and Urban Meyer are a real threat here, as the Buckeye’s have recently picked up a commitment from Campbell’s Heritage teammate Andrew Chatfield and have been pushing hard to get Campbell on board as well. We still think the connection with coach Rumph and the opportunity to play for his hometown school will win out though.
2. William Barnes, OG, Apopka, FL (Apopka) (Last Month: 2)
Ht 6-4 | Wt 290 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #50 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Even though the Canes already have a solid trio on the O-Line committed in Delone Scaife, Cleveland Reed, and John Campbell, 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. This need caused Barnes to jump up to #2 on our board; it’s that important. 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. Barnes made a nice effort at The Opening this month.
In The Mix: Schools like FSU, UF, Ohio State, UNC, and Auburn join Miami and others on Barnes’ offer list.
Latest: OL coach Stacy Searels has stayed in regular contact with Barnes, but he is still declining to name favorites. Barnes has visited Coral Gables twice, most recently for Junior Day, and loves the family environment of Miami. He will be back on campus sometime this summer. He wants to see all the schools recruiting him and says Miami is among the group recruiting him hardest. He was on campus at UNC in June for “Fedora’s Freakshow” football camp (sick name dude). 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. Remember, in last year’s cycle, everyone had OL Kai-Leon Herbert headed to UF before his Miami visit too. How’d that end up for the Gators?
3. Terrace Marshall, WR, Bossier City, LA (Parkway) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 190 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #10 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Marshall is that rare talent that combines the frame of a lanky outside receiver with the agility of a slot receiver. His athleticism allows him to go up and make contested catches with bigger corners, while being able to rack up yards after the catch against even the quickest defenders. He still needs a little polish to be sure, but Marshall is easily one of the top receivers in the nation this cycle. He takes over the position of top receiver on the board by including Miami in his top 5 and confirming he will official to Coral Gables in the fall. Marshall showed out at The Opening.
In The Mix: Marshall has a top 5 of Miami, LSU, Texas, Texas A&M, and TCU.
Latest: Marshall named his top 4 of Miami, LSU, Texas, and Texas A&M at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge and on Twitter, but, soon after, added TCU to the mix. He says these will be the 5 schools he will focus on until he makes his commitment and each will get official visits in the fall. Marshall already unofficially visited Coral Gables back in April and it seems like he will make good on his promise to return on an official, showing just how serious he is about Miami. Coach Richt has really made him feel like a priority and Marshall loves the Miami vibe. Getting kids out of Louisiana that LSU covets is not an easy task but buckle up, because this will be a battle until the end.
4. Rick Sandidge, DT, Concord, NC (Concord) (Last Month: 4)
Ht 6-5 | Wt 275 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #123 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. Sandidge is one who raised his stock even more with a dominating effort at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge and The Opening.
In The Mix: LSU, Georgia, Ohio State, UNC, South Carolina, NC State, UF, FSU, Michigan and Virginia Tech 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, and he wants to give all of his favorites a fair shot at him. He’s coming off a trips up north to Ohio State and Michigan and both programs did a good job of demonstrating how Sandidge could fit into their defenses. He’s now visited 7 of his top 11 schools, including Miami, and, after finishing his summer unofficials, will likely narrow his choices to a top 5.
5. David Reese, LB, Fort Pierce, FL (Vero Beach) (Last Month: 11)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 215 | 247 Composite: 3 Star, #401 Overall
Behind The Ranking: When you watch Reese, the first thing that pops out about him is how quick he is to the ball. He is a former safety, but you wouldn’t know it by the way he plays. Reese stuffs runs with aggression, effort, and power, but still has lapses in coverage from time to time. While LB is not the biggest need with Miami’s stud trio being only sophomores, they will still take at least one, and nobody has hopped on board yet. If Reese joins Storm18, he very well may be the only LB Miami takes this year. Reese showed out at the Rivals’ Five Star Challenge last month.
In The Mix: Miami, Florida, Michigan, Florida State, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Tennessee, along with others, make up Reese’s recruiting picture.
Latest: Reese doesn’t say much, but reports have Miami, Michigan, and Florida heavily involved here. While he seems genuinely undecided in interviews, he may be favoring Miami slightly; he always has good things to say about the Hurricanes and 247’s Crystal Ball currently projects him to UM. Still, Reese is coming off a visit to Michigan on his own dime and the Wolverines could be the Canes biggest competition.
6. Kevin Austin, WR, Pompano Beach, FL (North Broward Prep) (Last Month: 8)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #140 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 flashed as a playmaker at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge and The Opening.
In The Mix: Austin named Notre Dame, Duke, Miami, and Tennessee as his top 4.
Latest: Notre Dame is leading here and many of the recruits in attendance at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge said Austin was talking up the Irish a lot. Miami will do its best to work their way to the top of Austin’s recruitment, but time is running out: he wants to make a commitment before his senior season.
7. Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 5)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #5 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Miami will shoot it’s shot 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. Surtain Jr. showed why he is considered one of the nation’s top DB’s at The Opening.
In The Mix: Every traditional powerhouse school in the nation.
Latest: Previously, we were requiring Surtain Jr. to schedule some kind of visit to campus to feel confident in moving him up the board. Well, Surtain Jr. plans to be in Coral Gables for the Paradise Camp this month and Miami will really have its chance to make a lasting impression. He also said the close proximity of Miami to home and his relationship with coach Rumph would keep the Canes in the game until the end, which is exactly what we wanted to hear. Surtain Jr. will be looking to announce his top 5 very soon. LSU probably still leads but this will be long recruitment and a battle to the finish.
8. Micah Parsons, DE, Harrisburg, PA (Harrisburg) (Last Month: 9)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 235 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #4 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Parsons is a unique prospect because he possess the size and agility indicative of a top 5 talent nationally. He is extremely explosive and his balance is a strength. Parsons is quick at the snap of the ball, and he changes direction well. He can chase a play down from behind and he uses his length to corral the ball carrier. Quite frankly, the man is a beast. He had a great performance at the Opening.
In The Mix: Parsons has narrowed down a top 9 of Miami, UF, FSU, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Georgia, and Nebraska.
Latest: Parsons was a long-time Penn State commit, but backed off that in April to ensure he was really making the best decision. Regardless, the Nittany Lions are still in it and he visited Happy Valley unofficially 3 times in June. Even so, Ohio State is now rumored to lead and he recently named his new dog “Brutus”, after Ohio State’s mascot. Miami has made quite a move with Parsons in the past 2 months, going from not even involved to routinely mentioned in Parsons’ top schools, thanks largely to a grassroots campaign by Miami commits and fans on Twitter. Is the Twitter hype real though? We’ve seen Twitter talk turn into a whole lot of nothing before, but a visit from Parsons to Coral Gables would legitimize the chatter and move him far up this board. Coach Kul himself visited with Parsons in Pennsylvania in May. A big year on the field is almost necessary to bring in a 5-star, elite out of state prospect, and that’s probably what it will take for Miami to even have a shot to land Parsons in the end.
9. Dennis Briggs, DE/DT, Kissimmee, FL (Gateway) (Last Month: 14)
Ht 6-4 | Wt 255 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #431 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Briggs is another talented prospect who has seen his recruiting stock soar as of late. He offers a great motor and his speed and athleticism will likely be amplified when he is inevitably moved inside to tackle. Briggs bumped up his stock with a strong performance at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge and The Opening.
In The Mix: This has the looks of another in-state, Big Three, battle royale. Miami, Florida, and Florida State lead, with Tennessee, Oregon, Mississippi, and South Carolina still involved.
Latest: It’s pretty obvious that Briggs is staying in-state. He talks up the Big Three constantly and his family has indicated they prefer him in Florida. He’s still planning on releasing his official top 7-10 list in July, but it seems like that will be just for show. Briggs was also in Miami for the recruit barbecue, along with his whole family, another great sign that the Canes are trending in the right direction. Briggs has indicated that UF and FSU have caught up to Miami after visiting Gainesville and Tallahassee. Still, the gut-feeling here? He is Miami’s to lose.
10. Jamien Sherwood, S, Jensen Beach, FL (Jensen Beach) (Last Month: 15)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 190 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #394 Overall
Behind The Ranking: 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. Sherwood gets a bump on the board due to the decommitment of fellow safety Randy Russell from the Canes, making it more likely the coaches will highly pursue Sherwood regardless of what the other DB’s they’re chasing end up doing.
In The Mix: Sherwood is looking hard at Miami, FSU, UF, Nebraska, Auburn, and LSU.
Latest: Sherwood has shown high interest in donning the green and orange for the next 4 years and Miami has been his de-facto leader; his current 247 Crystal Ball predicts him to Miami. We’ve previously said there would probably not be room for Sherwood, but with spots opening up at DB in the class, it seems the staff will put the pedal to the metal until the very end in this recruitment. If there’s one school to watch out for here, it’s Auburn. They’ve made a strong play for Sherwood in recent weeks and have a chance of stealing him from the state.
11. Elijah Moore, WR, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas Aquinas) (Last Month: 7)
Ht 5-10 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #175 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. Moore turned in a sub-par performance at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge last month but bounced back and played well at The Opening.
In The Mix: Miami, Ohio State, and Ole Miss are Moore’s top 3.
Latest: Moore was interviewed at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge last month and while he still listed UM among his favorites, he indicated communication from them was “dying”. Not a good sign for his prospects of landing at Miami. We believe he would love to commit to UM at this time but the coaches are waiting to hear from Terrace Marshall and Kevin Austin first. Just goes to show the sheer depth of talent at WR that is interested in joining this class.
12. Daniel Faalele, OT, Bradenton, FL (IMG Academy) (Last Month: 12)
Ht 6-9 | Wt 390 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #348 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Faalele is an Australian native that is a mountain of a man but is brand new to football, having never even seen a football game until a year ago. As such, you can imagine his offers and recruiting rankings are based mostly on potential and he still has a lot to work on. But you can’t teach a 6’9 390 pound frame with the feet of a tap dancer and, based on the IMG spring game, he’s really made some strides technique-wise. He had a solid performance at The Opening.
In The Mix: Faalele boasts offers from Miami, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, and FSU among others despite not even playing in an actual game yet.
Latest: Not much has changed here. Faalele might be the most intriguing recruit in this cycle. He’s a coach’s dream, basically being a blank slate to mold paired with almost unheard of size and athleticism. Coach Searels wants him bad, and has already visited IMG multiple times to see him and other IMG prospects. 2 of Faalele’s IMG teammates in Artur Sitkowski and Brian Hightower are already committed to UM and will really push to get Faalele to join them in Miami. As of now, Faalele seems to be focusing on acclimating to American life and culture and learning the game instead of recruiting, so don’t expect a top 10 list or a commitment anytime soon.
13. Kayode Oladele, DE, Hialeah, FL (Champagnat Catholic) (Last Month: 13)
Ht 6-4 | Wt 235 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #388 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Oladele plays hard, he is violent, his hands stay active, and he has speed to the ball. He can improve his pad level, and work leverage more, but you always see his hands flying around, you always see him working to get to the ball, and when he gets that window, he closes in a blur. As a Nigerian native that is new to football, Oladele is the type of raw athlete that Coach Kul has had success with many times in the past. Oladele has been racking up offers in spring and his recent decommitment from FSU gets him on this list. He had a solid performance at the Rivals’ Five-Star Challenge.
In The Mix: Oladele has focused on Miami, Georgia, Oregon, Baylor and FSU since he opened up his recruitment.
Latest: Oladele has been active on the camp circuit and attended camps at Ole Miss, Alabama, and Miami in June. His Crystal Ball on 247 is currently highly in favor of Miami and if the Canes stay the course with him, he will likely land in Coral Gables. However, since he recently rebooted his recruitment, Oladele is going to want to draw out the process and visit a lot of programs before he’s close to being ready to make a decision.
14. Keondre Coburn, DT, Houston, TX (Westfield) (Last Month: 10)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 305 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #94 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. Coburn falls a bit on the board because of high interest from so many other talented prospects and the fact that he is a out of state prospect that has yet to visit.
In The Mix: Coburn made a top 16 (my god) that includes (here we go): Miami, Texas, TCU, Texas A&M, FSU, UF, Penn State, Oregon, UCLA, LSU, Washington, Michigan, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Houston (whew!).
Latest: It’s hard to get a read on Coburn. In every interview he does, Coburn ends up gushing about how much he loves <insert school here>. Coburn has family that identify as Canes fans, and, while he has assured he will be visiting Coral Gables in the near future, it’s not a guarantee with so many schools still on his list. Texas leads his early Crystal Ball predictions.
15. Trevor Trout, DT, Saint Louis, MO (Chaminade) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 315 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #169 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Trout is a stalwart in the middle of the defense who is at his best when he is taking on double teams and funneling runs to the linebackers. With a pretty quick first step for a big man, once Trout establishes a gap, he can be almost impossible to move. He is proficient at collapsing a pocket from the inside and opening up pass rushing lanes for his teammates.
In The Mix: Trout has a top 9 of Miami, Oklahoma, PSU, Georgia, Missouri, TCU, Texas A&M, USC, and UCLA.
Latest: Trout has a national list of offers and recently narrowed down his choices to his top 9, which included UM. He has built quite a connection with coach Kool, who recruited him as the D-Line coach of in-state Missouri 2 years ago. Having already visited Missouri and Oklahoma, Trout plans on visiting Miami at some point this summer. Trout is taking his recruitment slow and plans to announce on Signing Day but, similar to Coburn, until Trout gets on campus, we just can’t consider him likely to end up at Miami.