Over the course of the spring, the Miami Hurricanes have employed a bit of a new recruiting strategy, leaning heavily on invite-only events.
Now, the invite-only event is something that Miami, along with nearly every program, has done in the past, but the Canes have extended that from 2 events — usually a junior day and underclassmen day — to multiple smaller junior days (which still could have an underclassmen or three) and an underclassmen day that was the most tangibly successful day of its kind in recent memory.
Let’s start with the commits and work backward.
Underclassmen Commits from this weekend
At this weekend’s underclassmen day, Miami gave out several offers to 2020 and 2021 prospects, and picked up several commitments along the way. Here’s who committed:
- 2020 CB Henry Gray. A lengthy corner at 6’1”, Gray starred for Miramar this past season before transferring to Miami Central in the spring. He’s got good size and very good skills, and has the look for a top 100 recruit. I tweeted during the last HSFB season that Gray would be a player to know, and now he’s committed to Miami. The interception in the tweet below came against St. Thomas Aquinas, for reference.
Interception in the end zone by Henry Gray. 6'2" safety. Will be a name to know in 2020— Cam Underwood (@UnderwoodSports) November 4, 2017
- 2020 TE Dominic Mammarelli. The nation’s top rated 2020 TE, this Naples (FL) standout is the latest in the long line of players that Todd Hartley has targeted and closed on in recruiting. Mammarelli has great size at 6’4” 235lbs as a HS sophomore, with room to grow and develop. That’ll work for me.
Man I’m at a loss of words and just blessed I have this opportunity. With that being said I’m beyond honored to say I’ve committed to the University of Miami . #Category20 #TEU pic.twitter.com/RFovih8OUF— D O M I N I C M A M M A R E L L I (@DomMammo) March 31, 2018
- 2021 S James Williams. Of the players who committed to Miami on Saturday, Williams is arguably the best. The former Monsignor Pace, now Carol City star is a grown man at 6’3” 200lbs. Still only 14 years old, Williams could grow into a linebacker, or develop into a huge, game changing Safety (which he already is, but bigger). Williams will be recruited by everybody in America. He’s got the size, skill, athleticism, and potential physically and athletically to be a top 5 prospect in his class. Yeah.
- 2021 OL Laurence Seymour. Now teammates with the recently transferred Gray at Miami Central, Seymour is on pace to be one of the top OL in the state in 2021. He could end up at Guard or Tackle, depending on his growth moving forward.
Making moves with 2019 kids, too
While underclassmen day netted 4 commits at one fell swoop, the connection to and payoff from the invite-only events for 2019 players has been making a slower crescendo. After every event — a day where a handful to 10 2019 players make their way to campus to watch spring practice and meet with coaches — reports have been overwhelmingly positive.
There are plenty of names that I could attach to this. RB Cesaire Mellusi. DB Tyrique Stevenson. DT Derrick Hunter. WR Frank Ladson. QB Michael Johnson Jr. And more. But regardless of who it is, Miami has used this new, more intimate approach to recruiting to build relationships with players and their families.
One position where the smaller visit days is really helping build relationships is defensive line. This is key because Miami has a new DL coach, Jess Simpson, and players don’t really know him. Getting players around Simpson (and OLB coach Jon Patke) is a good thing. I wrote earlier this year about Miami needing to change up the recruiting paradigm at DL when Coach Kool was struggling on the trail, and many of the items I wanted to see change are being addressed. That’s a win for me (BECAUSE YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO ME, ALREADY), and for the Canes.
Hopefully the 2019 commits will start coming so there’s tangible success from the smaller invite-only events. But, even without them, it’s clear that Miami’s new recruiting paradigm is making players and their parents take notice.