Welcome back, recruiting junkies. After a good sized visit weekend, and a couple other things since the last time we spoke, let’s reconvene and review the recruiting action that’s happened.
WE GOT AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN TO COMMIT!!!!
After an offer and a stellar visit, rumors that Loganville (GA) Grayson 3-star OL Jakai Clark would flip from Illinois to Miami were proven true on Monday afternoon.
#WelcomeToTheU, Jakai Clark. Talented OL @j_clark_55 makes his 2nd flip, this time from Illinois to Miami. And just like that, the #Canes have an OL committed in the 2019 recruiting class! #TheU https://t.co/VtLATFm5lD pic.twitter.com/9owHTdj1vo— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) December 10, 2018
Clark, an interior lineman who has played and profiles as Miami’s Center of the future, was previously committed to Illinois and before that Auburn in this cycle. He’s got good size at 6’3” 305lbs, and plays with a mean streak. And, he’s pretty athletic for a Center, a trait which could be used in various ways depending on the offensive scheme moving forward.
Miami now has 1 OL committed in this class, but the Canes are chasing several other players they hope will join Clark in this class.
Official Visit recap
In addition to Clark, whose visit was obviously stellar as evidenced by the previously-discussed flip, there was even more to discuss from the weekend.
First of all, according to Andrew Ivins of 247sports, Miami made a huge move this weekend with North Palm Beach (FL) The Benjamin School 4-star CB Kaiir Elam. The cousin of former UF star Matt Elam, Kaiir was thought to be a near-mortal UF lock. But, that hasn’t been the case, Miami Safeties coach Ephraim Banda has continued to make the younger Elam feel like a priority, and the visit to Coral Gables this weekend couldn’t have gone better.
Now, that’s not to say that things are a lock for Elam to Miami. Several other teams, including Florida — the school at which he is a legacy — are involved in this recruitment. So, while Miami is trying to make moves, and has to an extent, there are miles to go before Elam commits to or signs with any of the schools pursuing him.
Another defender who enjoyed his visit to Coral Gables this weekend was Tampa (FL) Chamberlain 3-star CB John Dixon. Dixon has seen a dip in his recruiting profile after a knee injury as a senior, but the 6’0” 170lb Corner has athleticism and projectable skill.
With Miami’s need for DBs in this class, it will be interesting to see if and how the Canes use the momentum they’ve generated with Dixon moving forward. Dixon named South Carolina as the biggest threat to Miami in his recruitment at this time.
Yet another defender who visited Coral Gables this weekend was Forest Park (GA) 4-star DE Justin Eboigbe. This long-time Alabama commit didn’t have much to say about this weekend’s trip, so the impact is either negligible at worst or unclear at best. Still, getting an Alabama commit to visit is a big step — Nick Saban’s team is NOTORIOUS for not letting committed players visit elsewhere lest they have their scholarship pulled.
Still, it might be time to chalk this one up to the game and move on. I don’t think anybody expects Eboigbe to flip from Alabama, so Miami should move on. Or, yanno, Jess Simpson can flex recruiting muscles unseen as yet and make this happen. Either one is fine with me.
Official Visit Tweetcap
Here are some tweets from the players who visited Coral Gables this past weekend:
This place is just different. pic.twitter.com/MDiwf8CnDF— Jess Simpson (@CoachHJSimpson) December 8, 2018
Big thanks to @MarkRicht and the Miami coaching staff for hosting me and my parents this weekend. With that being said I'll be going M.I.A for the next few days until I can decide what I want to do about my future! pic.twitter.com/bvxPX3MwMz— Jakai Clark‼️ (@J_Clark_55) December 9, 2018
Crazy this decision gonna be tough ♂️— Justin Eboigbe (@JustinEboigbe) December 9, 2018
Away games/visits elsewhere
Some quick notes on the targets who visited elsewhere:
Ellenwood (GA) Cedar Grove 5-star WR Jadon Haselwood took an unofficial visit to Tennessee over the weekend. His HSFB State Championship game got pushed back bc of the MLS Cup in Atlanta, so he took a visit that wasn’t previously scheduled. Miami continues to push hard for the Nation’s #1 WR, and will continue to do so throughout this cycle.
Miami (FL) Southridge 4-star DB Tyrique Stevenson changed plans from going nowhere to visiting Florida this past weekend.
Lakeland (FL) teammates 4-star DE Lloyd Summerall and 4-star TE Keon Zipperer capped their HSFB careers with a 7A State Championship victory over Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas. The duo then made their way to Gainesville for an Official Visit. Chatter is that the pair are a package deal — they will likely choose the same college destination — and that visit to UF went well. There have been some predictions that Summerall and Zipperer will pick UF, but they’re both scheduled to come to Miami this weekend for the final visit before Early Signing Period begins on Wednesday, December 19th.
So, there’s still time to make moves, but Miami has to absolutely knock this visit weekend out of the park in order to do so.
Middle Village (NY) Christ the King Regional 3-star DT Jared Harrison-Hunte had a strong visit to Penn State over the weekend. Miami is one of the more recent teams to have offered Harrison-Hunte, and will get him on campus this weekend for an Official Visit. There’s work to be done here, but with Miami commit Jason Blissett — himself a NYC native — working the peer recruiting angle, there may be a chance. But, we’ll see.
Record setting Rome (GA) 4-star RB Jamious Griffin was blown away by his visit to NC State, the school that holds his commitment. Griffin said in an interview after the visit that his commitment is “rock solid” and “like a diamond”, so I don’t think there’s room for maneuvering here.
Miami is still expanding the offer board, and needing players at nearly every position group in this class, that makes sense.
Middle Village (NY) Christ the King 3-star OT Adam ElGammal is a player that just received an offer in the last 5 days. A Cincinnati commit, ElGammal is a former basketball player with good size at 6’5” 260lbs. He obviously has room to grow into his frame, and that will happen over time.
Steve Wiltfong, National Recruiting Analyst for 247sports, reports that ElGammal is fully ready to flip to Miami, should the Canes bring him in for an official visit and push for his services. All that remains is for Miami to actually do that. We’ll see if that happens.
Hiram (GA) 3-star DE Kristian Varner tweeted that he received an offer from Miami this week. I don’t see that offer listed on any of his recruiting site profiles, but here’s the tweet for proof.
This is of little consequence, however, as Varner committed to North Carolina on his Official Visit to Chapel Hill this weekend.
Big Visit Weekend on deck
Miami hosted 2 Official Visitors 2 weeks ago.
Then, the Canes had 7 players on campus for OV’s this past weekend.
But, the real show is going to be this upcoming weekend, when the Canes are slated to have 15 players on campus for OV’s....and maybe more on top of that. Mark Richt and company have always held the belief that getting the last visit is the best idea, and they’re in position to make that happen.
Among the 15 players slated to visit this upcoming week are no less than 10 current commitments. So, it is the clear hope of the staff that Miami’s current commits help with peer level recruiting to get the other players to commit to Miami.
We’ll get into the names later, and hopefully Miami is able to add a couple players (or more) to the visiting group throughout the week. But, the success (or lack thereof) of this year’s recruiting class will largely be crafted by this upcoming visit weekend.
That’s it for today’s recruiting update. Hop in the questions with comments.
Flip it and reverse it like Missy Elliott.