What’s up, recruiting junkies?! Welcome back for another installment of our Miami Hurricanes Class Breakdown.
If you’re new here, the Class Breakdown is our monthly look at the Canes’ recruiting class, with the commits currently in the class, and updates and chatter about those players and others who are on the radar for UM.
REMINDER: recruiting is a fluid construct, and this list is not exhaustive. New names will pop up, and old names will fade away, over the course of this cycle. Which happens every year. And I wanted to remind you of that fact.
And away we go.
I wrote about this already earlier in the spring and you can read the whole piece here. These are the numbers of players at every position that I’m looking for Miami to take in 2018, with the caveat that this may already be changing, but I’ll address that in the position discussions below:
Miami Hurricanes 2019 Recruiting Class Numbers
|1||2||3||2||3||3||2+||3||3||2||(Any extra spots not filled)|
Like I said, we’ll discuss if the numbers eventually change, but this is where I started from as the 2019 recruiting class is getting underway.
If you’ve been reading my recruiting posts over the past few years, you know I have a closely held recruiting rule: you have to have a QB in every recruiting class. No excuses; no exceptions.
Miami has done a good job of getting highly rated players at this position, though they haven’t panned out in college yet. With Jack Allison (2016), N’Kosi Perry (2017) and Jarren Williams (2018), Miami has steadily added talent to the QB position. And, they’ll need to continue that trend in 2019, as well.
For the 2019 cycle, Miami seems singularly focused on Eugene (OR) Sheldon 4-star QB Michael Johnson Jr. at QB in this class. The 4-star prospect has been a high priority for a long time, with QB coach Jon Richt having traveled cross-country on a weekly basis to see the dual-threat QB during the previous contact period. Yes, Richt flew from Miami to Eugene, OR for 1 day for 5 consecutive weeks just to see Johnson Jr.
It is widely known that Johnson’s father of the same name is on the staff at the University of Oregon (hence why he lives in Eugene). Johnson Sr. has worked in many places between college and the NFL, so it’s not a given that Johnson Jr. will follow him to Eugene — because there’s no guarantee that the dad will be there long term. But, I can’t ignore the fact that as of now, Johnson’s father is a college coach of a team recruiting the kid.
The entire Johnson family made the cross-country trek to Miami recently, so Johnson Jr. has been on campus, and is in play as a realistic recruit for Miami. I was hesitant to put him on the board as a serious potential recruit until he visited, because visits matter, but now that he’s been to Coral Gables things are getting serious.
While Miami is the team recruiting Johnson Jr. the hardest, teams all over the country are after him. But, as of now, it’s Johnson Jr. or bust at QB for Miami in this class.
Here’s the big question: what if Miami doesn’t get Johnson Jr.? Then what?
At this point, there are offers out to several players, but there hasn’t been connection to them in quite some time. To be clear: Miami has offered 5 QBs so far this cycle, 3 are committed, one hasn’t been contacted by Miami in months, and the other one is Johnson Jr. And, there are talented players who have been to campus in search of an offer and have yet to receive one — namely Brideport (CT) Avon Farms 4-star Taisun Phommachanh.
With an evaluation period coming up in a couple weeks, it will be worth watching to see if Miami makes the move to evaluate new/different QBs in this class. With Johnson Jr. not having a timeline for a potential commit, and the dearth of other realistic options on the board, the recruiting movement during the evaluation period could give a glimpse as to where Miami will look to find the QB in this class.
Others to know: none for now but this will probably change.
Miami is off to another good start at RB, already having Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian Academy 3-star Marcus Crowley committed in this class. Crowley has already seen his stock rise, and that will be reflected once rankings update in the spring. In any event, the 6’1” 200lb Crowley will be a key player on a State Championship caliber team once again this fall, and is a very good get for Miami in this class.
Even with a player of Crowley’s caliber committed, Miami is looking to bring in 2 RBs in this class, so there’s plenty of work yet to be done.
Leading the list of targets is Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 5-star Trey Sanders. A former Alabama commit, the 5’11” 215lb Sanders is a top 10 player in this recruiting class. Miami was the first team to contact him after he decommitted from the Tide, and have gotten Sanders to visit multiple times this spring. However, Florida and Florida State both have connections with Sanders as well, and all 3 teams are well ensconced in a tight recruiting battle at current. Georgia and Alabama are also teams hanging around.
Another target is Ft. Lauderdale (FL) University School 4-star Kenny McIntosh. He is the younger brother of former Canes DT RJ McIntosh, and at 6’1 205lbs McIntosh has great size and athleticism for the position. He’s got 21 offers from top teams, but Miami is thought to be way, way in front here. 247sports has reported that McIntosh will make a decision in June or July, and as of today, all signs point to that decision being to make the crib great and commit to Miami.
Naples (FL) 4-star Chez Mellusi is a player who has risen up the board in recent weeks. Well built at 6’1” 205lbs, Mellusi recently visited campus with his teammate 2020 TE Domminic Mammarelli when the underclassman committed to The U. Mellusi has size, speed, and skill, and has the production and offers to back that up. Once thought to be heading north to Notre Dame, Mellusi’s most recent trips have been to Miami and South Carolina. With all 3 teams involved in this recruitment, things are in the air. But just know that Miami is a real and serious player for Mellusi as of now.
Others like Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 5-star Noah Cain, Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Daniel Carter, and Carol City (FL) 4-star Nayquan Wright all have offers, but seem to be further down the list for various reasons.
Cain played at Denton (TX) Guyer with current Cane TE Brian Polendey 2 years ago before transferring to IMG, and has visited Miami a couple of times, but seems to be focused elsewhere.
Wright has endured injuries over the course of the last 2 years — he missed the 2017 season with an ankle/foot injury — so his on-field production is low recently.
Carter is a good prospect who has visited a couple of times, and of the 3, he would be the player I could most easily see in the class, should Miami choose to go that way.
With Crowley in the class, I’d probably go in order down the list for Miami’s preferred players to be the other RB in 2019. Some may want to flip McIntosh and Mellusi on this list, and that’s fine by me.
But, with a STACKED RB room, and plenty of talent on the radar now, Miami is in a great spot to have one of the preeminent collections of Running Backs in America by the time National Signing Day rolls around.
Before going any further, let me start with the number needed. I’ve been operating off the stance that Miami would take 3 WRs this year, but that may not be the case. There has been talk that Miami is looking to take only 2 WR in this class, and that means that the Canes have the ability to be incredibly selective in terms of recruiting. That means selective on who they offer, who visits, and who the press for a commitment down the line. FOR NOW, I’m leaving the number at 3, but I’m close to dropping it to 2.
The ability to be very selective has already had a tangible result for Miami as former commit Doral (FL) Academy 4-star Brieon Fuller decommitted/was dropped from this class recently. And that took the number of commits at this position from 2 to 1, but Fuller hadn’t been on campus since November and hadn’t heard from the staff in nearly that same amount of time, so that move was in the works for a while.
Neptune Beach (FL) Duncan U. Fletcher 4-star Jeremiah Payton is an elite player, and he’s the player committed to Miami at this position. At 6’1” 190lbs, Payton has good size and elite playmaking ability on the outside. He’s a top 100 player in this class, and was the top target to commit this spring. Area recruiter Todd Hartley got another good one from Jacksonville for Miami.
The top target for Miami at WR is Homestead (FL) South Dade 5-star Frank Ladson. At 6’4” 170lbs, Ladson has the size and skill that teams all over the country are after. He’s a bit thin, but not unreasonably so for a WR. Ladson is one of few receivers of his height who is able to get in and our of breaks smoothly/without extra steps.
For a long time, Clemson was the unquestioned leader for Ladson’s services. Miami, however, has been able to get him on campus multiple times over the last month, and those trips have moved the Canes up into serious contention. When you’re talking about a 6’4” 5-star WR, there’s going to be plenty of teams who are interested in recruiting him. But, as of now, this seems to be a 2-team race between Miami and Clemson.
And, furthermore, with Miami’s improved chances in Ladson’s recruitment by all reports, it stands to reason that the Canes would be comfortable with a 2 receiver group of Ladson and Payton in 2019. I know that there is strength in numbers, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better 2-man group at WR anywhere in America than that.
While Miami seems focused on adding Ladson to go along with Payton as a the 2-man WR group in this class, there are plenty of other players with offers. Some of those names include 4-star Ramel Keyton (Marietta, GA), who has Miami in his top 6, and 4-star Kendrell Scurry (Thompson’s Station, TN), among others.
After signing the best TE class in America in 2018, the Canes are off to another fast start in 2019. Already committed is Tampa (FL) Jesuit 3-star Larry Hodges. Hodges is an H-Back type who lacks elite height — he’s only 6’1” — but is fast and athletic and explosive and can impact games in a number of ways. Hodges has shown well on the spring 7v7 circuit, and figures to get a ratings bump in the future.
Even with Hodges committed, however, Miami is not done recruiting at Tight End. Looking to add another player to this group, the Canes have several offers out, and are evaluating players at this position.
The first name to know on the offer/target list is Lakeland (FL) 4-star Keon Zipperer. Once considered a lock to go to Florida, Zipperer has visited Miami a couple of times, and the Canes are trying to make a move to get the 6’2” 240lb playmaker in their class. There is still lots of time left, but this isn’t a firm “no” as many perceived tit to be at one time.
Another player Miami has offered at TE is Dickinson (TX) 3-star Jalen Wydermyer. This is more your prototypical TE prospect, standing 6’5” 235lbs. Wydermyer has offers from all over the Southeast, with notable teams such as Alabama, Georgia, LSU, and Texas A&M being on his list. As of now, all signs point to Wydermyer staying in Texas and picking A&M.
If not Zipperer or Wydermyer, Miami could look elsewhere — Concord (CA) De La Salle 4-star Isaiah Foskey already holds an offer, for example — to get TE2 for this class. This will be a key moving forward, as depth and talent are still needed for Miami at TE.
Need: 3...and maybe more
Let’s start with the commits: Ocean Springs (MS) 3-star OT Brandon Cunningham, and Jacksonville (FL) Atlantic Coast 3-star OG Kingsley Eguakun. Both players gave good size for their respective positions, and will likely get ratings bumps in the near future. They might still be 3-stars, but their rating will increase nonetheless. There is talk that Cunningham could potentially be a candidate to be dropped, and multiple predictions on 247sports have him flipping to Mississippi State. Nothing is certain as of now, but I wanted to mention this as possible so if it happens you’re not caught unaware.
UPDATE: Brandon Cunningham did indeed decommit and flip to Mississippi State....3 hours after I published this piece.
Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: OL Brandon Cunningham Decommits, flips to MSU. Mentioned this as possible just yesterday. We’ll be fine. #Canes #TheU https://t.co/bTjQVTyxWe pic.twitter.com/pzq2SpHWYY— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) April 14, 2018
There is another player listed at OT currently — West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Central’s Renato Brown — but his stated preference according to multiple reports is to play DT at the next level, and Miami is moving forward with him on the DL commit group. Hence, I’m mentioning him here but listing him with the DL. Got it? Good.
Now, as far as targets, there are several players with size and skill that Miami is chasing along the OL. Due to their elite potential, it stands to reason that if multiple players from the offer list want to come to Miami, the Canes would either 1. expand the number of OL they’re looking to take this year — and honestly I should probably bump this number to 4+ — or 2. upgrade a particular scholarship slot by taking the more talented player and telling the less talented player to find other arrangements (see the above note about Brandon Cunningham, maybe?). And, before you get all high and mighty, that happens all the time. (See: Fuller, Brieon or Howard, Diamante for proof). And, I’m just mentioning it now; we’re still a couple commits and a long time from Miami being in the position to make such a move with OL recruits in this class.
Leading the offer list is Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 5-star OT Evan Neal. A towering hulk of a man, Neal stands 6’8” 381lbs and none of that is exaggeration. Neal can play guard or tackle, and has excelled at both in his time at IMG. A Central Florida native, Neal has visited Miami multiple times over the last year and a half. He’s far and away the #1 target at OT, and the Canes are battling the likes of Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, and Oklahoma for his services.
Another top-tier player from Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy is 4-star Dontae Lucas. The former Miami High standout just recently transferred to IMG and will play there as a senior. Before, and after, his transfer to IMG, Lucas has visited Miami’s campus and games multiple times — I personally saw him at 4 home games last year walking with Miami staffers. So, there is a connection there.
There is also a connection between Lucas and Florida State. FSU RB coach Telly Lockette coached Lucas’ older brother, and the Lucas family is understandably close to him because of that. Because of that, many view Lucas as a near-lock for FSU. Miami is obviously going to continue to recruit the 6’3” 323lb Lucas regardless of the optics. But, this is a battle that Miami is fighting a bit uphill, it seems.
Next on the list is Belleview (FL) 4-star OT Michael Tarquin. This is a recruitment that has already had several ups and downs. Early on, Miami looked to be a near lock to sign Tarquin. Then, Miami faded a bit and Ohio State and others moved to the forefront. Now, after a recent visit, Miami is surging again for Tarquin’s commitment.
At 6’5” 290lbs, Tarquin has the size teams want at tackle. And, with Miami’s still desperate need for Tackles (yes, even after signing 3 of them in the last 2 years), getting a player of Tarquin’s size and ability would be a boon for Miami. At current, all signs point to Tarquin picking Miami.
Yet another OL Target is Tampa (FL) Plant 4-star Will Putnam. A player who can play either Guard or Tackle, the 6’4” 280lb Putnam has good size and pedigree, and plays for one of the best HSFB programs in the State of Florida, one that ha routinely produced top level P5 talent.
With a more pressing need at tackle than guard, Putnam is at the bottom of the wishlist at OL in my opinion. He’s a good take, could probably play tackle if needed, and I’d surely take him in this class and on this team, but given the choice between Putnam and any of the above-listed players, I’m taking the other option first — as long as those “other options” are still on the board.
Miami needs a bigger DL class this year due to a bunch of losses from the roster, and only replacing them with 3 DL in the 2018 recruiting class. But, there needs to be quality with those numbers, and there’s talent available to fill this need.
Already committed to Miami in the 2019 class are Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 3-star DE Cameron Williams, Doral (FL) Academy 3-star DT Denzel Daxon, and West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Central 3-star lineman Renato Brown.
Williams is a 6’5” 215lb edge rusher with burst and skill. Daxon is a stocky DT with a good motor and good size at 6’1” 315lbs. I’ve already discussed Brown, a 6’5” 310lb 2-way lineman in HS whose preference is to play defense in college. Putting him at DT is not some stupid platitude; Brown can be an impact player on that side of the ball for Miami.
With more talent needed, let’s look at the targets.
Leading the list is Largo (FL) 4-star DT Jaquaze Sorrels. An elite player ranked 5th nationally at DT this cycle, Sorrells checks in at 6’3” 270lbs with room to grow. He’s already been impactful and impressive on the HSFB level, and projects to continue that path in college. Sorrells and DE target Khris Bogle (we’ll meet him in a minute) have talked about playing in college together, and I think it would be cool if they did that at Miami. Sorrells holds 21 offers from top P5 teams across the country, so Miami has a battle on their hands in pursuit of this talented player.
Next is Apopka (FL) Wekiva 4-star DT Tyler Davis. Another top prospect, Davis holds nearly 30 offers, and figures to get a ratings bump after a dominant spring camp and combine circuit. He’s a bit shorter than you’d like at just 6’0”, but he’s 293lbs and wears it well. Davis is a penetrating DT who disrupts plays on a routine basis. Miami is trailing Ohio State and Florida in this recruitment at current.
Another option who will grow into a DT is Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star DE Braylen Ingraham. Formerly at Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Dillard HS — the same school that produced current DT Jon Ford — Ingraham is a big player at 6’4” 270lbs. With a very lithe frame, Ingraham could add weight, move inside, and be the next iteration of an RJ McIntosh-type DT for Miami. While Ingraham holds 25 offers, Miami is thought to be the far and away favorite to sign this talented defender.
Another future DT is Ft. Myers (FL) Dunbar 4-star DE Derrick Hunter. A one-time Miami commit, Hunter has been all over the place in his recruitment recently. With 40 offers to his credit, Hunter is one of the more highly recruited players in this class. And, he’s been basking in all that attention, to say the least.
Hunter is earning a reputation as a bit of a head-case with recruiting fans, due to his antics on social media. While that is a fan perspective, it could impact his recruitment down the lien, as has happened with other players. Hunter seemingly has a new leading school every week, with Florida being the flavor du jour. It’s rare you find 6’4” 280lb defenders with the athleticism Hunter showcases and potential he could realize, and those are the things that have Miami, and many others, still connected to Hunter’s recruitment.
Miami is also pursuing a couple of FSU commits who figure to end up at DT in college. Lehigh Acres (FL) Senior 4-star DE Quayshon Fuller and Delray Beach (FL) American Heritage — the sister school of the Nesta Silvera, Pat Surtain Jr, Tyson Campbell American Heritage — 4-star DE Mike Morris are both prospects who will grow into DTs at the next level and have Canes offers.
As I said, both players are committed to Willie Taggart and Florida State, but Miami is still recruiting them both. The hope, obviously, is that Miami is able to get Fuller and/or Morris on campus for a visit and then....whatever happens happens. In that they’re both committed — and to a rival program, on less — it’s safe to say that there is substantial work to be done in recruiting both Fuller and Morris to Miami.
He’s new to the scene as he recently switched to football full-time after being mainly a basketball player in the past, but Southwest Brevard County (FL) Rockledge DE Dorien Josey is a name worth knowing. He’s currently unranked, but recently visited Miami and has said the Canes are one of the top teams recruiting him. It will be interesting to see how the 6’4” 255lb Josey progresses both physically and on the field, and if he rises up Miami’s board in the future.
Though Miami holds commitments from Daxon and Brown, the Canes would be well-served to add 2 of the above-listed targets to this class.
At the top of the target list at DE is Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons 4-star Khris Bogle. An athletic 6’4” 207lbs, Bogle is one of the premium pass rushers in the 2019 recruiting class. He’s visited Miami multiple times over recent months, and Florida State and Clemson are also chasing after the star player. As stated above, Bogle and DT target Jaquaze Sorrells have said on social meida in the past that they want to play together in college. I mean, I think Miami is the place for them to do that, but that’s just me.
Another target at DE is Auburndale (FL) Senior 4-star Lloyd Summerall. A long and lean edge rusher at 6’6” 215lbs, Summerall is exactly what Miami wants at DE. The problem with him being a prototypical DE is that teams all over America want him on their roster, as well. Summerall has visited Miami, and that visit went well. Even still, Florida State are said to be the leaders, with Alabama, Clemson, Florida, and Georgia joining Miami in hot pursuit.
Yet another target at DE is Loganville (GA) Grayson 4-star Kevin Harris II. A top prospect from the Atlanta area, Harris has shown interest in Miami. The 6’4” 210lb DE has good physical skills, and should be able to add size in the future. Harris has had to cancel 2 planned trips to Miami in recent weeks due to his father’s job as a Fire Department Captain, so I’m waiting to see him in Coral Gables before I take this too seriously. The good news is that Harris is supposed to visit Miami next weekend, so positive movement could be coming soon.
Lastly, Vero Beach (FL) 3-star Jahfari Harvey is another player who holds a Miami offer at DE currently. At 6’3” 215lbs, Harvey has the physical traits that Miami looks for at DE. He’s kind of on the outskirts of the radar right now, however, as Miami continues to evaluate him. Still, Harvey is a name to know who could become a prime target in the coming months.
With Miami likely to lose 2 DEs from the roster after this season (SR Demetrius Jackson and JR Joe Jackson likely to head to the NFL), there’s room for Miami to take 2 of these targets, to go along with commit Cameron Williams at DE in this class.
Need: 3 (but probably 4 unless we drop a commit)
After only taking 1 LB in 2018, and a less-than-inspiring group in 2017, the Canes need big numbers and talent in this class at LB. The good news is that Miami has 3 LBs already committed: Mount Dora (FL) Christian Home and Bible School 3-star Jesiah Pierre, Miami (FL) Northwestern 3-star Sam Brooks, and Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Anthony Solomon. Those players are a divers group, and a great foundation for the kind of LB class Miami needs this cycle.
Pierre is the longest tenured Miami commit BY FAR — he pledged to the U back in June of 2016. So, unless Miami makes moves to upgrade that scholarship slot (which has already happened twice in this recruiting cycle), Pierre figures to be in this class. Brooks was leading Miami-Dade county in sacks with 16.5 before he tore knee ligaments near the end of the HSFB regular season. He’s a dynamic athlete who impacts games from sideline to sideline. Solomon is the most recent commit in this group, and he’s GOOD. He’s got outstanding instincts and range, and, like Brooks, tracks plays down from sideline to sideline.
There was another player committed at this position, but Miami dropped Miami (FL) Southridge 3-star Diamante Howard a while back. It was the same situation as what happened with WR Brieon Fuller: Howard hadn’t visited campus in forever, and the staff hadn’t reached out for contact. Writing was on the wall, and Howard is now looking elsewhere. Miami was quickly able to upgrade that scholarship slot, however, with the recent commitment of Anthony Solomon (listed in the paragraph above as a commit).
Leading the target list is Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Jahmar Brown. Teammates with recent commit Solomon at STA, Brown looks the part of a fast, speedy OLB at 6’1” 192lbs. Brown has visited Miami a couple of times, and has been a standout performer on the spring camp circuit. Miami is in a good place here, but Brown holds 21 offers from teams all over the country, so this is far from a done deal.
Next up is yet another player from Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas: 4-star Avery Huff. A recent transfer to STA from Hollywood (FL) McArthur, the 6’3” 200lb Huff is built like a prototypical OLB. Huff’s recruitment exploded with offers after his transfer to STA with Miami joining teams like Alabama, Florida State, and Texas jumping in the fray with offers. In that his recruitment is jut now heating up, there is probably a long way to go before Huff makes a choice. Even still, Florida State is said to be a favorite of sorts at this time.
On top of the STA LBs, Miami has offered Deerfield Beach (FL) 4-star Ge’mon Eaford, Apopka (FL) Wekiva 4-star Rian Davis (who could end up at DE), and Miami (FL) Norland 3-star Darius Williams. All 3 are options for the 4th LB spot in this class, but each has plenty of offers and options to choose from. Of these 3, Eaford is probably the most-wanted due to his size and the HS where he plays (where Miami hasn’t REALLY recruited all that well in recent years). But, Miami would probably take Eaford or Davis, with Williams being a bit lower on the list.
Yeah, you read that right: Miami currently holds 0 commitments from defensive backs in this class. But, no need to worry. Miami brought in 5 talented DBs in 2018, and there are PLENTY of elite options available from which Miami should be able to do the same again in 2019.
“Options like who, CAM?!?!?!?”
Miami (FL) Southridge 4-star Tyrique Stevenson is a potential 5-star player in this class and an elite athlete. A recent (last week) transfer from Homestead (FL) South Dade, Stevenson would be at the top of Miami’s board no matter the school he attended. At 6’0” 190lbs, Stevenson has the height, build, and athleticism to be an impact player in the secondary from day 1. Obviously, a player of Stevenson’s caliber has his fair share of suitors — he claims 28 scholarship offers, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida and Florida State. Even still, Miami is thought to be far and away at the top of Stevenson’s recruitment, and hold all predictions for his commitment as of the writing of this piece.
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Jaden Davis is another player on the radar for Miami. At 5’9” 170lbs, Davis is built similarly to current Canes CB Trajan Bandy. a player with great cover skills, Davis is being highly recruited by teams all over the country. Currently holding 44 scholarship offers, Davis has his pick of schools. Miami has been recruiting Davis, and Davis has visited campus a couple times, but it’s unclear as of now whether Miami would take Davis in this class due to his lack of height. Even without that being the case, Florida has been viewed as leading Davis’ recruitment.
Bellflower (CA) St. John Bosco 5-star Chris Steele is a top 30 recruit in this class and the #3 CB nationally. At 6’1” 188lbs, Steele has the height and length to be a lockdown corner, and his rating reflects that. Steele is taking a different approach to his recruitment, Spring official visits scheduled to LSU, Oklahoma, and Florida. Miami is not taking anyone for Spring officials, so Steele will have to wait until the fall to do that. Even with those officials scheduled, the overwhleming favorite to sign Steele is the team who is ALWAYS the favorite to sign 5-stars from California: USC.
West Palm Beach (FL) Palm Beach Central 5-star Akeem Dent is the #1 CB in the 2019 recruiting class. Once committed to Miami, Dent flipped to Florida State last July. Obviously, the #1 CB in America is a player that Miami — and many schools — want, and they’re trying to get him to flip from FSU. Dent and his mother visited Coral Gables for a recent Junior Day event, so there’s been connection to campus. Even still, the Canes are fighting an uphill battle in this recruitment.
Miami recently offered Arizona Western College (JUCO) 4-star Elijah Blades. Originally from Pasadena (CA) John Muir, Blades was committed to Florida, flipped to Nebraska, but didn’t qualify in the class of 2017. Blades just finished his first year at AWC, and is the #1 JUCO CB in this class. Teams like Alabama and Texas have recently entered the fray — same as Miami — with offers, and more teams are sure to do the same. Blades’ recruitment is just getting started, but he’s a name to know for this year.
Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 4-star Te’cory Couch is committed to Tennessee, but lists other teams — including Miami — in his top group. Couch is a bit undersized at 5’9.5” 150lbs, but has long arms and length matters. He’s more a take than the previously-mentioned Jaden Davis because of that, and Miami is actively engaged in his recruitment.
Tampa (FL) Chamberlain 4-star John Dixon is another option at CB for Miami. At 6’0” 170lb, Dixon has good height and length for the position. He fits the physical profile that Miami wants, and that’s a good thing. With 18 offers at current, Dixon has plenty of options. Florida is widely seen as the unquestioned leader in his recruitment.
Apopka (FL) Wekiva 3-star Renardo Green has visited Miami a couple times with teammates Tyler Davis and Rian Davis (no relation), and is an option for Miami at CB. He’s lower on the list of targets than those I’ve already discussed, but his recruiting profile is rising after a strong spring. While Kentucky has some traction with Green, if Miami or another bigger proram were to push, I’m sure Green would leave the Wildcats behind for greener pastures. I’m just not sure that there will be a spot for him at Miami this year, but Green can play.
Miami (FL) Palmetto 3-star Cornelius Nunn holds an offer, but he’s a clear plan B option at CB as of now.
And, just to update from the Defensive Targets piece I wrote a while back, you can take North Palm Beach (FL) The Benjamin School 4-star Kaiir Elam off the list. He’s no longer being recruited by Miami per multiple reports.
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) University School 4-star Josh Sanguinetti leads the list of Safety targets. At 6’2” 165lbs, Sanguinetti has good height and length but needs to add size in the future. Sanguinetti is a rangy Safety who is able to blanket the field in the secondary with good speed and great instincts. As he attends a top educational institution for HS, academics matter for his college decision. Miami is battling Stanford for Sanguinetti’s commitment.
Wellington (FL) 4-star ATH Mark-Anthony Richards is a name all Canes fans should know. The younger brother of star WR Ahmmon Richards, Mark-Anthony is a multi-talented athlete would could find a home on offense at WR or on defense in the secondary (or even Linebacker or the hybrid STRIKER position). Obviously, with his brother being a star player here, Miami is in good position for the younger Richards. There are plenty of other interested teams — Richards holds 17 scholarship offers with more likely coming during the spring evaluation period — but as of now, it would be a shock if he ended up anywhere other than Miami.
Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 4-star Keontra Smith is another very good option at Safety. The 5’11” 195lb Smith is found making plays in the box, deep down the field, and anywhere in between. Currently committed to Kentucky, Smith is a prime candidate for a flip, and Miami is pushing for that to happen.
Lakeland (FL) Kathleen 4-star Brendan Gant is another player Miami is interested in flipping. This one would be a bit more difficult, however, as Gant is committed to Alabama. BUT, Gant has visited Coral Gables, so this isn’t just a shot in the dark. Even still, there’s a lot of work to be done if the flip I’ve described here were to happen.
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Jordan Battle is a very nice prospect at Safety. He’s 6’1” 187lbs, and plays to that size. He teams with Sanguinetti and Smith on the elite South Florida Express 7v7 team, which recently completed an undefeated run to the championship at Adidas 7v7 Nationals. Battle, like all his STA teammates, has been to campus multiple times this spring. But, Battle has named Ohio State his #1 school so he’s probably heading up to that infernal institution.
St. Augustine (FL) Pedro Melendez 3-star Kenny Logan is another option at S. He’s 6’1” 183lbs, so he fits the mold of what Miami looks for physically at this position. There was a rumor that Logan tried to commit earlier this spring, but Miami wasn’t ready to accept that commitment.
Translation in my eyes? “We like you, but don’t love you, and maybe down the line you’ll be a take, but there are other players we have above you on the board right now.” Take that as you will.
Miami has room for plenty of DBs in this class, and with the list of offered and interested players in this section, this should end up being a very strong group when all is said and done.
After taking a punter (Zach Feagles) and a kicker (Bubba Baxa) in the last 2 years, Miami is not in the market for a scholarship specialist in this class.
Whew. Okay. 6,000 words about where Miami stands at each position on the recruiting trail.
Who are your favorites? Where do you really want to see Miami find success in this recruiting class? Hop in the comments and let’s talk!