The 2020 Early Signing Period is nearly over. And, like most teams, the Miami Hurricanes had their fair share of players sign during the newly-instituted signing period.
However, yet again, there are holes to fill in this recruiting class due to misses or decisions not to take certain players in this class.
Before we talk about where Miami goes from here, let’s take a second and grade the class as it currently stands.
Note: As has been the case for years, for star ratings and rankings, we are using 247Sports composite.
Signee: 4-star Tyler Van Dyke
I’ve long said that Recruiting Rule #1 is that you have to have a QB in every recruiting class, and Manny Diaz even stated in his presser on Wednesday that a recruiting class “starts with the quarterback”. For Miami in 2020, that means the class starts with 4-star Tyler Van Dyke.
Ranked as the #9 pocket passer in the country, Van Dyke has the size and skills you love to see from a QB prospect. And, more importantly, he’s used those skills to great success, including leading his HS team to a Championship in 2019.
Elite 11 participant. Top 10 at his position nationally. State Champion. Elite stats (discussed in his recruiting notebook, which you can find here). Sky high potential. If that’s not an A grade, then nothing is.
Signees: 4-star Donald Chaney Jr. and 4-star Jaylan Knighton
This one is simple: Miami just brought in the best RB class of any team in America. And, to make it even better, that class consists of the #1 RB in Dade County (Chaney Jr.) and the #! RB in Broward County (Knighton), the latter of which is 2nd all-time in Broward County HSFB rushing yards and hails from a school — Deerfield Beach — where, prior to this year, Miami had not secured a single recruit from since 1999!
A++. Yes, A DOUBLE PLUS.
THIS IS HOW MIAMI SHOULD RECRUIT!!!!
Signees: 4-star Michael Redding III, 4-star Daz Worsham, 3-star ATH Xavier Restrepo
Each of the 3 signees fills a role in the WR room, with Redding III being the bigger feature receiver, Worsham being the complimentary piece who can score at a moment’s notice, and Restrepo a technician with great moves and hands in the slot who is always open, even when he’s not open. 2 All-Americans, 3 early enrollees. This is just a great group.
The ONLY thing keeping this from being an “A” grade in my book is the fact that with the attrition we’ve seen from the WR group — Evidence Njoku, Brian Hightower, Jeff Thomas to the league early, and KJ Osborn graduating — a 4th player would have really set this group off.
Signee: 3-star Dominic Mammarelli
Yes, I could talk about Mammarelli’s blocking prowess and potential. Yes, I could talk about his athleticism and how he could fit in the passing game. And all of that is good and true. But with Miami still chasing 5-star TE Darnell Washington, this isn’t a couple position group....yet.
Do I think Miami is getting Washington? No. I do not. But, until he signs, the jury is out on Miami’s TE recruiting to this point in 2020. (But, if I had to give a grade based on Mammarelli alone, I’d give a B, just for future reference).
Signees: 4-star OT Jalen Rivers, 3-star OT Chris Washington
Rivers is an All-American who can (and hopefully will) challenge for playing time as a true freshman. Washington is a tall and lean prospect who will probably take a couple years to fill out his lithe frame before he’s able to crack the rotation. Both players — at 6’6” and 6’7”, respectively — are true tackle prospects with the height and length needed to play that position. All of that is really good. And I like it.
The demerits here are two-fold: first, Miami missed on every local OL prospect of consequence in South Florida this cycle. That’s doubly bad because there were All-American tackles in Miami’s literal backyard — Marcus Dumervil at St. Thomas Aquinas and Issiah Walker at Norland — and it’s few times and far between that that is the case. Additionally this was bad because Miami desperately needs additional depth and talent along the OL, and getting just 2 players, one who might play early and the other who is clearly a multi-year developmental prospect, doesn’t address the needs of the roster. Not even close.
Do Rivers and Washington fill part of the need along the OL in this class? Yes. But there’s still holes on this roster, and Miami needs more OL, and the OL misses, especially locally, HURT BADLY. That’s why this gets a C from me. And that might even be generous considering the situation a this position, to be perfectly honest.
Signees: 4-star DE Chantz Williams, 4-star DE Elijah Roberts, 3-star DE Quentin Williams
Chantz Williams is a twitchy athlete with sky-high potential. Roberts is a big DE who could stay there or bump inside to tackle a la RJ McIntosh. Quentin Williams is an athletic freak who is stongly built and will likely make his 3-star rating look laughable in a few years when we revisit this class. That’s all VERY good.
But missing on 4-star DE Romello Height, who flipped to Auburn, and having 4-star DT Willie Moise not sign, reportedly due to academic concerns, puts a damper on this group a bit. But, when you consider what Miami brought in last year along the DL, and how this class augments that group, and also consider the talent in this group by itself, a “B” grade is fitting.
Signees: 3-star Tirek Austin-Cave, 3-star Corey Flagg Jr.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more productive pair of LBs in the country. With over 300 combined tackles as HS juniors, and similar numbers as seniors (minus the fact that Flagg Jr. missed some time with injury, but the per-game rates for both were the same or better), this pair of LBs knows how to find the ball, and get the ball-carrier on the ground.
But, neither is especially tall. Neither is especially fast. And, though it was a longshot, missing out 5-star LB Justin Flowe casts a shadow over this group. Oh, and pushing out AJ Mathis late in the cycle didn’t help things either.
Good but not great. Solid but not spectacular. C+.
Signees: 4-star DB Jalen Harrel, 4-star DB Keshawn Washington, 3-star CB Marcus Clarke, 3-star S Brian Balom
Harrell is a well-built, freaky athlete who, according to Manny Diaz, could end up at CB, S, or STRIKER. Washington is a STRIKER waiting to happen once he adds weight to his thin frame. Clarke is a speed demon who is inexperienced and raw at CB due to the fact he mainly played WR until this year. And Balom is an instinctual and intellectual player with good range at S but needs further physical development.
And, much like OL, the misses, or lack of hits (however you want to think about it) matter. Miami needed CBs in a bad, BAD way in this class, and you get 1 and a possible (and that possible will likely NOT end up at CB)? That’s not good enough. Sure, the Safety position group is even more loaded than it already was now. But the dearth of talent at CB, just like at the OL, is a glaring issue that will need to be addressed somehow.
I think there was a walk-on kicker, maybe, but no scholarships for specialists were used this year. And that’s fine. We’ll circle back on this position group next year.
Offensive Signees: 8
Defensive Signees: 10
Where the recruiting was good for Miami, it was great! QB. RB. WR. DL (mostly). But where it was lacking, it was pretty bad. OL. LB. CORNERBACK. So, a mixed bag, and maybe I’m jaded bc of Height flipping to Auburn and the misses along the recruiting trail so far this cycle. Or maybe not.
Either way, those are my grades. Hop in the comments and share yours and let’s talk.
More on Miami Hurricanes recruiting in the coming days.