The day has come! The spring semester at the University of Miami is around the corner and student move-in day is now. And that means one thing:
The 2018 Football Early Enrollee recruits coming to campus!!
These players have all signed their National Letter of Intent during the new Early Signing Period (Decemeber 20-22, 2017, in case you missed it) and will have orientation in the coming days. By virtue of the players enrolling at Miami, their collegiate careers have begun.
At Miami, classes don’t start until January 16th, and the deadline for registration for spring semester is January 24th. So, if any of the projected early enrollees aren’t on campus today (hey there, Mark Pope), there’s still 2 weeks for them to make their way to Coral Gables.
This group of Early Enrollees — 9, maybe 10 this year — is the 2nd largest in Miami Hurricanes history, following last year’s 11 EEs. So over half the players committed in this class are moving in and are officially Hurricanes.
Here are your 2018 Early Enrollees: (note: I’ve linked our Recruit Notebook from early signing day to each player’s name)
QB Jarren Williams. A U.S. Army All-American, Williams will try to push for playing time as a freshman. He is a polished passer, but like all HSFB QBs, can use refinement to his already impressive skillset. Miami obviously needs upgraded QB play in the 2018 season and beyond, and Williams will look to prove that he is the player to bring that to the field.
RB Lorenzo Lingard. The Gatorade Florida Player of the Year, Lingard is the highest rated player in Miami’s recruiting class. A 6’0” 190lb beast, Lingard was a star on the gridiron and track in high school. A multiple time champion in the 110 and 300 hurdles, Lingard will not defend his state championships, instead moving on to college this spring. Absent injury, it is a virtual certainty that Lingard will be on the field for Miami this season.
WR Mark Pope. This one isn’t finalized yet, but I’m putting him on the list on the in-case. An über talented player hailing from Miami (FL) Southridge, Pope is the kind of elite playmaker that can score from anywhere on the field at any time. He was pretty much uncoverable during U.S. Army All-American week, and is one of, if not the most explosive WR in America. He’s already signed his NLI so he’s coming to Miami. The only question is whether he’s coming to campus now or in May. This one will probably be decided close to the end of the drop/add period (January 24th) so stay tuned.
WR Brian Hightower. This Los Angeles, CA native transferred to IMG Academy (Bradenton, FL) for his final 2 years and was a key player for the Ascenders. The 6’3” 202lb Hightower repeatedly showed great athleticism and skill during U.S. Army All-American week, in both practices and the game. A 4-star recruit, Hightower largely went under-the-radar in this class, but his performance last week put that in the past. Hightower is damn good, y’all.
WR Dee Wiggins. One of several Miami (FL) Southridge players who has signed with Miami, Wiggins is a size/speed combo player at WR. One of the first players to commit to Miami in the 2018 class, Wiggins is another under-the-radar player because he shut down his recruitment 2 years ago. He may not be a day 1 player like some others in this class, but Wiggins should develop into a nice player in time.
OL Delone Scaife. Another Miami (FL) Southridge player, Scaife is a talented lineman who has seen time at both guard and tackle in his career. He played both during Under Armour All-America game week, and could try his hand at both once he arrives at Miami. My money is on Scaife sticking at guard, but we’ll see what happens.
OL John Campbell. A pure tackle prospect, Campbell helped Orlando (FL) Dr. Phillips to a 8A State Championship in 2017. Campbell has the size and length you look for in a tackle, which Miami needs on the roster, which is filled with guard types. If Campbell can get stronger, he might crack the rotation. But, the smart money is on him making a push for PT in 2019 and beyond.
S Gurvan Hall. One of the best safeties Nationally in the 2018 recruiting class, Hall will look to earn his way into playing time immediately for the Canes. This Palm Beach Gardens (FL) alum could follow the footsteps of fellow PBG alum Amari Carter and earn his way onto the field. Hall might be a bit undersized at 5’11”, but he has everything else you want: speed, instincts, and he’s P-H-Y-S-I-C-A-L. Oh, and he’s going to wear #26. Yeah, learn the name.
CB D.J. Ivey. This Homestead (FL) South Dade alum has long been compared to former Canes CB Artie Burns due to his height, length, and speed. Ivey missed his junior year with a broken ankle, but came back like gangbusters as a senior. Ivey is a pure cover corner with impressive skills. I fully expect him to earn his way onto the field this season.
CB/S Gilbert Frierson. A local player hailing from Coral Gables (FL) HS, Frierson is a Canes legacy — he’s cousins with former Coral Gables HS and University of Miami standout and future NFL Hall of Fame RB Frank Gore. Frierson has great height and length in the secondary, and could find a home at several positions. The coaches have already said they’re going to try Frierson out at CB first, with the hopes that he sticks there. Regardless, I expect him to play on special teams at a minimum.
With a QB who will battle for playing time, one of the top RBs in this class, 2 OL with size and skill, 2 (3?) fast, playmaking WRs, a hard hitting, rangy safety, a shutdown cover corner, and a lengthy DB who could play anywhere in the secondary, Miami has one of the biggest group of early enrollees in program history. They will look to join the stellar 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes and help Miami return to past greatness.