Hello again, friends. We’re back to preview the biggest and final Official Visit weekend ahead of the Early Signing Period for the 2019.
But, before we do that, we have to talk about the elephant in the room.
Manny Diaz leaving for Temple
When you have good assistants, other teams will try to poach them. In this instance, Diaz is leaving Miami to take his first turn as a Head Coach with the Temple Owls.
Done deal: Miami Hurricanes DC Manny Diaz agrees to be next coach for Temple Owls.— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) December 13, 2018
The architect of Miami’s defense, and the iconic turnover chain, is taking his talents to Philly. #Canes #TheU https://t.co/mqlmMoxfxZ pic.twitter.com/cIkI0PBY6T
Losing Diaz hurts. That much is undeniable. He is a good evaluator of talent, connects with players well which has a positive effect on the field and in recruiting, and coordinated one of the best defenses in CFB over the last 3 years, with a huge leap being seen in the last 2 years.
But, while losing Diaz (and whoever goes with him to Temple) is a blow to the Canes, it is not a death knell by any means. Miami has the ability to go out and hire strong tactical and recruiting coaches to fill any void left on defense. And, before you let your emotions say that that won’t happen, I offer this counter-argument:
Richt’s last three DC hires:— ☃️Dommy tha Snowman ☃️ (@DomWorld_Peace) December 13, 2018
And, add to that the fact that Richt has hired every defensive coach on staff here over the last 3 years, and that’s including DL guru Craig Kuligowski.
So, there is tangible evidence over many hiring instances that Richt can and will find top tier coaches for the defensive side of the ball. Miami will need that to happen again moving forward.
Now that that’s been said, let’s turn our attention to the recruiting trail, and the visits that will occur both in Coral Gables and elsewhere that are of note and importance for Miami.
Miami Hurricanes Official Visits
This is the biggest OV weekend of this cycle for Miami, both in intangible importance and tangible number of visiting players. There is a huge group scheduled to be in Coral Gables this weekend.
To start, 9 of Miami’s current 14 commitments will be on hand. These players are mostly thought to be locked in with Miami, and several have said so in various interviews over the past few days (reporters reached out when it became clear that Diaz would be leaving). Those players are as follows:
- 4-star S Keontra Smith
- 4-star DE Jahfari Harvey
- 4-star LB Avery Huff *we’ll talk about him in a second*
- 4-star CB Te’Cory Couch
- 4-star DT Jason Blissett
- 3-star DT Jalar Holley
- 3-star DE Cameron Williams (great name)
- 3-star TE Larry Hodges
- 2-star JUCO P Louis Hedley
I said we’d talk about Huff because, well, he’s really, REALLY good, and there are many teams that were trying to flip him before Diaz’s departure, and that heat is likely to get turned up even higher now. FSU has been the team working hardest to get Huff, and that won’t stop. I will feel better about things if Huff visits this weekend, but this is a situation worth monitoring.
Miami (FL) Northwestern 3-star LB Sam Brooks was committed to Miami, but just decommitted from the Canes last night. He was a longtime commit, so he was scheduled to take an OV to Miami this weekend. But, with rumors that the Canes are displeased with the way he handled this situation and his decommitment, Miami may cancel his visit. I would understand if they brought Brooks in for a visit to try to get him back in this class, and I would understand if Miami canceled the visit and wished him luck finding a home elsewhere.
On top of the committed players who are visiting Coral Gables this weekend — players will start arriving for their OVs on Thursday evening, with most concluding by Sunday morning so the coaches can make one last round of local in-home visits — there are several other players visiting as well.
4-star DE Khris Bogle. The 6’4” 210lb Bogle has been at the top of Miami’s DE board for quite a while, and the Canes will do everything they can to lock down one of the best and most athletic players at this position. Bogle helped lead Cardinal Gibbons to their first 5A State Championship last weekend, and has suitors all over the country. Alabama is hotly pursuing him, but the Tide may not have room for him in this class. Either way, Miami is going to go all out to show Bogle the love this weekend.
Auburn RB Asa Martin. A 4-star recruit in the 2018 class, Martin has declared his intent to leave Auburn after the Tigers burned his redshirt in the last game of the year for very little playing time — he had just 13 carries in 5 games as a freshman. It has been reported by multiple outlets that Miami was among the first and most emphatic with their interest in and pursuit of Martin. He will OV to Miami this weekend and could commit to the Canes. He would have to sit out the 2019 season, however, due to NCAA transfer rules, before having 3 more seasons of collegiate eligibility.
4-star TE Keon Zipperer. The biggest fish in the group, the 6’2” 240lb Zipperer has long been Miami’s #1 target at TE in this class. While some think Florida is the team to beat after a strong visit there last weekend, Miami gets the last shot. And that’s important, not only because Zipperer is the kind of player Miami needs on their roster, but because he’s widely thought to be a package deal with...
4-star DE Lloyd Summerall. The 6’5” 220lb Summerall is HS teammates with Zipperer at newly crowned 7A State Champion Lakeland. Each recruitment is individual, sure, but with the prevailing thought that these players will both pick the same college as a package means Miami has to knock this visit out of the park, too. So, like Zip, many thing UF leads, but Miami gets the last shot to change that situation.
3-star DT Jared Harrison-Hunte. A 6’4” 285lb lineman from NYC, Harrison-Hunte is a late riser on Miami’s board. He’s friends with DT commit Jason Blissett, and Miami is obviously trying to use that connection to their advantage. Harrison-Hunte is fresh of a strong visit to Penn State, who most presume to be his leader, but a strong visit to Coral Gables could change things. And, he’ll be visiting with..
3-star OT Adam ElGammal. Another native New Yorker who is teammates with Harrison-Hunte, ElGammal is a Cincinnati commit. However, he’s reportedly had his eye on Miami for a long time, and could be ripe for a flip if the Canes push for him this weekend.
3-star DB Martin Emerson Jr. A tall and long DB at 6’2” 185lbs, Emerson Jr. is a Mississippi State commit. Miami has been recruiting him for quite a while, laying the foundation for a potential flip. While a strong visit this weekend would help Miami’s case along those lines, nothing is guaranteed. But, just know that Miami likes Emerson Jr’s size and skill, and will show him plenty of love this weekend.
3-star RB Jalen Mitchell. A new name on the board (I think I mentioned him wayyyy back when in a Class Breakdown), the Rockledge (FL) standout will be on campus this weekend. Miami is still searching for an RB in this class, and Mitchell could be that guy. He’s not the top option, but he’s the one visiting campus this weekend so stay tuned.
Commits and Targets taking Official Visits Elsewhere
The “away games” matter in recruiting as much as the home ones. Let’s take a look at who is visiting elsewhere this weekend.
Miami commit 4-star LB Anthony Solomon - Michigan. Miami beat out Michigan for Solomon’s commitment over the summer, but there have been rumblings recently that he may be interested in leaving SoFLA for college. And that was before DC/LB coach Manny Diaz left for Temple. It is highly likely if not certain that Solomon will flip from Miami to Michigan on or after his OV to Ann Arbor this weekend.
5-star WR Jadon Haselwood - Georgia? While nothing is scheduled (or announced as scheduled) at this time, Georgia is working to get Haselwood, the nation’s #1 WR, on campus for an OV this weekend. Haselwood is a Georgia native and was committed to the Dawgs for about 18 months prior to his October decommitment. Miami is in a good spot with Haselwood, but Georgia is up in his final 5 as well. This is a situation worth watching.
4-star DE Justin Egboigbe - Alabama. Miami was able to get Egboigbe on campus last weekend, and the visit went well by all accounts. Egboigbe even went so far as to tell coaches he had a tough decision ahead of him. But, he’s going to Tuscaloosa this weekend and that will probably put an end to all of that.
3-star CB John Dixon - West Virginia. Miami made a big move with Dixon on his OV last week. He will continue his visit tour up in Morgantown this weekend. Miami and South Carolina were named leaders for Dixon, but visits matter so stay tuned to this one.
3-star RB D.J. Williams - Georgia. The Miami legacy will take another visit to an SEC school, this time in Athens. He’s one of the biggest risers in the late part of this cycle, and the Appalachian State commit is enjoying his time being recruited like a blue chip prospect. Williams could end up in a number of places and it wouldn’t surprise me. Which is to say who knows where he’ll end up.
Carol City (FL) 3-star CB Jarvis Brownlee decommitted from Miami while I was writing this piece.
Lots going on for this last OV weekend prior to the Early Signing Period, which starts on Wednesday, December 19th.
And, with the news that Canes DC Manny Diaz is leaving for another job, even the things on this list might change, and other things as well.
Recruiting is a fluid construct, so embrace the waves. Long way to go until things are done, you guys.
Questions? Concerns? Theories? Hop in the comments section and let’s hear them.