Welcome to the eleventh and final edition (for the 2018 cycle) of the column I like to call “The Freshman 15”. If you’re a first time reader, this will be a focus on the rankings and the order of the top 15 uncommitted (to Miami) recruits the coaching staff is pursuing. 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.
It’s here: we’re down to the last week before February Signing Day. With only a few days to spare before the remaining members of the 2018 class make it official, there aren’t many prospects left on Miami’s board. Only six to be exact, but we wanted to keep the branding and continuity of the Freshman 15 alive. Get over it. From last month’s board, the Canes locked up #12 Nigel Bethel, finally extending him a committable offer after Malek Young’s career-ending injury. The Canes then identified sleeper DT Jordan Miller from off the board, and within days of his offer, he pledged to Miami.
Let’s get into the board for the month of February, along with my final predictions on where each target will end up.
1. Andrew Chatfield, DE, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 2)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 220 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #213 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Questions about his size and run-stopping ability are valid, but there’s no doubt Chatfield is an explosive and impactful pass-rusher off the edge. He’s a quick-twitch athlete with elite production over last two seasons at American Heritage. Chatfield shows a variety of subtle pass rushing moves for his age, the type of stutter steps and head fakes that can get offensive tackles off-balance just enough to cause problems. Chatfield also has a devastating spin move in his arsenal. He’s one of Mike Rumph’s former players at Heritage.
In The Mix: Chatfield’s top 4 is made up of the in-state powers Miami, UF, FSU, and rounds out with Oklahoma.
Latest: Chatfield has officially visited both UM and UF in January, while finishing the Florida trifecta and also taking an OV to FSU back on 1/19 to meet with Willie Taggart’s new staff. Oklahoma hasn’t given up though, and they’ve sent coaches to Heritage once a week in January to sway Chatfield to Norman. Chatfield officially visited OU back in November. Chatfield has been thought to be a Miami lock since he got his offer in November, but reports are that UF has made a big push and are now his leader. For me, I’d need to see it to believe it: Chatfield spurning his childhood favorite with an extreme need at his position makes no sense. Maybe he’s just building up drama for his announcement ceremony? Chatfield plans to be on campus at Miami for an unofficial this weekend while teammates Nesta Silvera, Tyson Campbell, and Patrick Surtain Jr. take their officials to UM, so the coaches will have the final chance to lock him up. I still have him choosing Miami in the end.
2. Jamarcus Chatman, DT, Rome, GA (Rome) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-3 | Wt 265 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #506 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Chatman is a talented prospect that exhibits a great initial punch of the snap. He has a great motor and his speed and athleticism will likely be amplified when he is inevitably moved inside to tackle. With Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh going pro, there is a huge need for a guy like Chatman in this class.
In The Mix: Chatman’s top 4 features an ACC quartet of Miami, FSU, Virginia Tech, and UNC.
Latest: Chatman is a new-old name that makes his return to the board: back in April, he was a Miami lean and tried to commit to UM before the staff backed off on him. Chatman then committed to LSU with 2 other teammates, but flipped to Tennessee soon after. When the UT coaching staff was let go, Chatman re-opened his recruitment yet again. Now, after seeing RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton go pro, Miami’s staff got back in touch with Chatman and now he’s expected to be on campus for an official visit this weekend. After claiming Miami as his leader, Chatman officially visited VT, FSU, and UNC all in January, and now it seems that FSU and UNC have caught up to the Canes. To counter, Miami sent 5 coaches, including Mark Richt, to go in-home with Chatman this week ahead of his OV. Chatman’s official visit this weekend will be all about stressing early playing time and how he fits in Manny Diaz’s defense. If the coaches do a good job at that, there’s no reason he won’t be a Hurricane.
3. Tyson Campbell, CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 1)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #12 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.
In The Mix: Campbell lists his top 4 as Miami, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia.
Latest: Campbell has taken officials to Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama in January and plans to make his fourth and final OV at Miami this weekend with the rest of the Heritage crew. After being a tentative leader for Campbell’s signature throughout the entire process, it feels like Miami is now looking up at Georgia to land the talented 5-star. The rumors are that Campbell is enamored with “SEC ball” and Kirby Smart has pulled out all the stops to get him to Athens. UGA is my pick here, but who knows what can happen to change his mind on his Miami OV this weekend.
4. Marquez Ezzard, WR, Stockbridge, GA (Stockbridge) (Last Month: 8)
Ht 6-1 | Wt 205 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #344 Overall
Behind The Ranking: Ezzard has great hands and is a powerfully built receiver that can bully defensive backs that try and get physical with him. He’s not the fastest wideout ever, but plays without concern going over the middle and uses his frame to box-out defenders on contested catches. Ezzard is an early-impact type of talent.
In The Mix: Ezzard’s final 2 are Miami and Ole Miss.
Latest: Ezzard has visited Ole Miss and Miami the past 2 weekends and decided to shut it down instead of making a final trip elsewhere this weekend. He will choose from the Rebels and Hurricanes at his school on Signing Day. In Miami’s favor is Ezzard’s friendship with his potential future QB and fellow Georgia native, Miami signee Jarren Williams, and his close relationship with WR coach Ron Dugans; Dugans has visited Stockbridge to see Ezzard multiple times over the past month, while Mark Richt went in-home with him last week. To even further sew it up, Dugans and offensive coordinator Thomas Brown are coming to visit Ezzard on Friday. Everything is all leading up to Ezzard throwing up the U next week. Bank on it.
5. Keondre Coburn, DT, Houston, TX (Westfield) (Last Month: NR)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 305 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #123 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.
In The Mix: A long-time Texas commit that did not sign in the early signing period, Coburn is only considering a flip to Miami.
Latest: Like Chatman, Coburn is another wayback playback from the early days of this board. He fell off when he committed to Texas in August, but Coburn never signed with the Longhorns. Coach Kool reached out to Coburn after Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh went pro and there was still some interest between both parties, which led to an official visit to Coral Gables back on 1/19 weekend. Coburn previously officially visited Texas back in December. Richt and 4 other coaches flew out to Texas last weekend to go in-home with Coburn for one final push and show him how wanted he is at the U. Coburn also bonded with Miami signees like Brevin Jordan at the UA All-America game earlier this month and seems to have a legit interest in the Canes, but could he really make the flip from the hometown school? The smart pick is Texas here, and I think the Longhorns get him, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he recognized the opportunity at Miami and went with the orange and green.
6. Patrick Surtain Jr., CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 7)
Ht 6-2 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #6 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 and DE Andrew Chatfield, 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 head coach at Heritage.
In The Mix: Miami, LSU, Alabama, and Clemson make up Surtain Jr.’s finalists.
Latest: Like most others on this list, Surtain Jr. held off on his OV’s until January, where he visited LSU, Alabama, and Clemson in recent weeks. He’ll take his final official visit to Miami this weekend with the rest of the Heritage crew and he took an unofficial visit to Coral Gables for the basketball game against Duke two weeks back. With anyone else, that might be seen as quite a lot of interest, but with Surtain Jr. it seems like window dressing. While I believe he enjoys being around the local program and kicking it with Rumph, unlike the others on this list, I can’t realistically picture Surtain Jr. at Miami. The only way I could see it happening is if all 4 of the Heritage guys make a pact to play together in college, which is extremely unlikely. While his family wants him closer to home, Surtain Jr. has been a national recruit from day 1 and has always had the feel of a kid that wants to get away for college. I’m picking the long-time favorite LSU here, but Alabama has really made it close lately and I wouldn’t be shocked if Surtain Jr. ends up with the Crimson Tide.
3. DT Daniel Carson: After feeling good about his Miami visit back in December, the good feels wore off and Carson decided he’d like to stay closer to home in the Mid-West. He then committed to Texas.
4. DT Dennis Briggs: Like I said last month, things had been trending in FSU’s direction for months behind the scenes despite his claims to the contrary. Briggs then committed to FSU on his official visit to Tallahassee last weekend.
5. OG Christian Meadows: He made plans to visit Miami in January, but Meadows ended up shutting down his recruitment instead and will sign with the Noles next week.
6. OT Jalen Goss: He got a late offer from new FSU O-Line coach Greg Frey and committed to the Noles after a visit to Tallahassee.
9. DT Michael Thompson: Narrowed down his final options to Oklahoma and Mizzou.
10. DT Tyler Friday: Committed to Ohio State without ever visiting Miami.
11. OT Nicholas Petit-Frere: Recruiting’s greatest enigma finally released a top 5 of Michigan, Notre Dame, UF, Alabama, and Ohio State.
13. OT/OG William Barnes: Was thinking about a visit to Coral Gables, but it never materialized. Barnes was more than a longshot anyways.
14. DE Dorian Gerald: Fielded a late Miami offer in the beginning of January, but it was too little, too late, and Gerald decided to use his OV’s elsewhere.
That’s it and that’s all for the final Freshman 15 of the 2018 cycle. It’s been a pleasure recapping all the Miami targets every month of the past year, so thanks for joining me on this wild ride. And don’t fret, the first Freshman 15 of the 2019 cycle is already cooking up, so be on the lookout for that next week after Signing Day. Cheers, and as always...