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Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: Class Breakdown 8/11

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It’s the August and we’re back with a look at where the Canes’ 2020 recruiting class stands, and where it can go moving forward.

State of the U Illustration by Mike Meredith

Hey. Wassup? Hello!

Welcome back to the Class Breakdown, our look at the Miami Hurricanes’ 2020 recruiting class. I unintentionally took a month and a half off of this piece (vacations, time with family, other stuff), so there’s plenty to catch up on and talk about.

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.

Class Numbers

I wrote about this already earlier in the spring and you can read the whole piece here. Here is the chart with the scholarship numbers as I see them for Miami in the 2020 cycle:

Miami Hurricanes 2020 Recruiting Class Numbers

QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S Best Available
QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S Best Available
1 2 4 2 5 3 2 3 3 2 (any spots not filled)

Those are the numbers. Now, let’s look at the outlook at each of the positions on the trail this year.

Quarterback

Need: 1

Committed: 1

Recruiting Rule #1 is that you have to have a QB in every recruiting class. Luckily for Miami, they’ve already gotten their man at QB in this class.

After evaluating several players, Dan Enos zeroed in on Glastonbury (CT) Suffield Academy 4-star Tyler Van Dyke as his #1 target. And, late in April, Van Dyke committed to Miami over Syracuse and others. Van Dyke participated at Nike’s The Opening, and at this point is locked in as Miami’s QB for this cycle. With that being the case, Miami is done at QB this year.

Obviously, Miami is staying connected to Van Dyke and monitoring other options just to be prepared, but the Canes have turned their focus to the 2021 class in terms of QB recruiting.

Miami’s top target for QB in 2021 is Harbor City (CA) Narbonne 5-star Jake Garcia. A talented 6’2” 190lb player, Garcia is among the most highly coveted players in the country and has already performed to a high level on the field. As a HS sophomore in 2018, Garcia had 2130 yards and 15 TDs on 76% (!!!!) completions. Yeah, that’ll work.

Garcia is already OC Dan Enos’s top prospect at QB next cycle, and the talented Californian has already visited Coral Gables twice this year (April and June, for those wondering). Both trips were unofficial visits, meaning Garcia and his family paid his own way cross-country to visit The U. That’s a positive for sure. Another positive is the fact that Garcia included Miami in his recently-released top 10.

But, with a player of Garcia’s caliber, there will be, and are, plenty of teams competing with Miami for his services. Alabama, Nebraska, LSU, USC, Arizona State, and Tennessee are but a few other schools that Garcia has mentioned in various interviews as being interested in or wanting to visit. There’s obviously a LONG WAY until NSD 2021, but at this point, Miami seems focused on Garcia as THE target at QB in the next cycle.

Running Back

Need: 2

Committed: 1

After not getting/taking a HS RB last cycle, Miami is off to a great start at RB in this class with Miami (FL) Belen Jesuit 5-star Don Chaney Jr. already committed. Chaney Jr. is the highest rated player committed to Miami in the 2020 recruiting class, and some analysts (and college coaches, might I add) believe him to be the best RB prospect in the State of Florida this cycle (ahead of 5-star Clemson commit Demarckus Bowman). High praise, yes, but Chaney’s ability, physicality, and athleticism stand up to that scrutiny.

While having Chaney Jr. in the boat is a great thing, Miami wants and needs to pair him with another prep RB in this class.

At the top of the list of targets it Deerfield Beach (FL) 4-star Jaylan Knighton. The one-time Oklahoma commit, the 5’9” 185lb Knighton has plenty of speed and playmaking ability, and teams all over the country are vying for his commitment. What once looked like a Miami-FSU battle took an expected turn with Knighton’s visit to Ohio State. Despite OSU’s late push, FSU won out, with Knighton picking FSU at his recent commitment announcement.

Previously listed, 3-star Henry Parrish committed to Pittsburgh, 4-star Tirek Murphy has committed to Purdue, 4-star Lamy Constant is trending toward WVU and Miami hasn’t really contacted him much, and 4-star ATH Caziah Holmes’s recruitment has trended toward Penn State, and resulted in a commitment to the Nittany Lions as a result.

So, the known options have changed, but the goal remains the same: pair a talented RB with Chaney in this class. At this point, I’m honestly not sure who that would end up being. Maybe Miami will look to bring in a transfer this offseason as the other RB new to the roster for next year. Or a late riser pops up and Miami goes that route. Or something else. We’ll see.

Wide Receiver

Need: 3

Committed: 3

Receiver is a recruiting position of strength for the Canes so far this cycle. Miami holds commitments from Miami (FL) Northwestern 4-star Marcus Fleming, Deerfield Beach (FL) 3-star ATH Xavier Restrepo, who is a technician at slot WR that constantly makes plays, and, most recently, Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy 4-star Michael Redding III.

Once thought to be leaning elsewhere, Redding III committed to Miami over Florida State. Redding III recently told SB Nation Recruiting Analyst Bud Elliott that, had he not selected Miami, he would have likely gone to either Purdue or Notre Dame. Why’s that? Redding III intends to study Aerospace Engineering, a program offered by Miami, Purdue and Notre Dame. And, the absence of that program was “a dealbreaker” for his consideration of Florida State, too. Yay academics!!!!

Trussville (AL) Hewitt-Trussville 4-star Dazalin Worsham took an official visit to Miami the weekend of Paradise camp (June 22nd). The 6’0.5” 185lb Worsham had been committed to Alabama since April 20th (4/20 turn up) but he opened things up after his visit to Coral Gables. Immediately following that visit, it looked like Worsham was gonna flip to Miami in short order. But.....then things went silent. Even with 3 players committed at WR, Miami would love to add a player of Worsham’s ability to the roster. But it seems that there may still be a ways to go for Miami, or anyone, to get Worsham’s commitment.

Since the last installment of this piece, several targets have committed elsewhere. Even with that being the case, there are still plenty of players who have offers from Miami with varying interest. Guys like Memphis (TN) Central 4-star Darin Turner, Miami (FL) Christopher Columbus 4-star Xzavier Henderson (brother of the UF corner with the same surname), Corona (CA) Centennial 4-star Gary Bryant Jr., Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 3-star Elijah Canion, Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman 3-star Rome Odunze, and Miami (FL) Palmetto 3-star Kentron Poitier are but a few of the names out there with offers.

It remains to be seen what, if anything, Miami does to augment the WR group in this class. But, there are names out there if WR coach Taylor Stubblefield decides to hit the trail for additional reinforcements this cycle.

Tight End

Need: 2

Committed: 1

Miami is off to a good start at TE in this class with Naples (FL) 3-star Dominic Mammarelli (recently dropped from 4-star to 3-star due to previous injury, btw) already being committed to the Canes. Mammarelli has prototypical size at 6’4” 235lbs, and has been noted by several analysts and coaches as being one of the top blockers for a HS TE, along with being an athletic receiver between the hashes.

But, as listed, Miami is looking to bring in multiple players at this position this year.

Leading the list of targets is Desert Pines (NV) 5-star ATH Darnell Washington. A massive player at 6’7.5” 248lbs, Washington could be a star at TE or DE at the next level. Miami, and nearly every team recruiting him, is after Washington to play offense, and for good reason; he’s a BEAST.

With a 5-star, top 15 player overall in this class such as Washington, every high major P5 team is trying to get him to their team. All the usual suspects — Georgia, USC, Alabama, etc — and pretty much everyone in America will join the Canes in their pursuit of Washington.

Other players with offers at TE are Marietta (GA) 5-star ATH Arik Gilbert, Windsor, Ontario (Canada) Holy Names 4-star Theo Johnson, Oak Park (MI) 3-star Maliq Carr, among others. The clear top target is Washington, with the other options being on the board should things with Washington fail to materialize.

Offensive Line

Need: 5

Committed: 3

It is no secret that Offensive Line is one of the most important positions for Miami in the 2020 recruiting class. To this point, the Canes hold a commitments from Ocala (FL) Vanguard 3-star OG Antonio Smith and Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf 4-star Jalen Rivers. Smith profiles as an interior lineman, while Rivers will likely stay out at tackle with his size and length. The latest addition to this group is Nashville (TN) Overton 3-star Chris Washington.

Washington was offered by Miami shortly before Paradise Camp, which he attended and then committed after. Washington has great height and length at 6’7”, and a chance to add good weight to his 270lb frame.

Even with 3 players committed along the OL, there’s more work to be done up front in this class.

Miami has offers out to tons of linemen, mostly tackles, with new offers going out on a nearly weekly basis. OL coach Butch Barry is looking any and everywhere possible for solutions to the dearth of true OT options on the roster. “LIKE WHO, CAM?!?!” okay okay here are the names.

Miami (FL) Norland 4-star Issiah Walker Jr. is another player Miami is after at OT in this cycle. Despite the fact that Walker Jr. is currently committed to South Carolina, many teams around the country are pursuing the 6’4” 302lb lineman. Walker Jr. has been on campus in Coral Gables multiple times, including for Paradise Camp, and routinely RT’s graphics and comments from Miami Athletics on his twitter account. Don’t get too cocky though, because he’s also visited Florida and Florida State multiple times over the summer, as well. This is going to be a Big 3 battle to the end, so get ready for a months-long rollercoaster (or just check back around signing day to see who won).

Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Marcus Dumervil is yet another tackle with an offer. The 6’5” 300lb Dumervil is cousins with former Louisville and NFL DE Elvis Dumervil, so he has great pedigree. And, he plays for one of the preeminent HSFB programs in the country. Dumervil currently holds 46 scholarship offers, which is expected for a player of his size, pedigree, and HSFB program. Dumervil tweeted out his official scholarship offer from Miami on August 1st (the first day such offers can be extended to rising seniors), so that puts him back on the list this month. I say again, however, that this might be the last time I write about him, as teams such as Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, and LSU are thought to be running at the front of his recruitment.

Several other players with offers committed elsewhere in the last month and a half since this piece’s last installment, so Miami will have to add new targets to the list to get the talent they need and want in this class, most likely.

Defensive Line

Need: 5

Committed: 6

Miami’s defensive line has been among the best in the country over the past few years, and another crop of premium recruits up front in this class, especially at DT, would help keep that going. While the number remains the same, the composition of the group has changed.

Miami holds commitments from Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 4-star DT Willie Moise, and St. Petersburg (FL) Lakewood 3-star DE Tre’Von Riggins, who will surely move inside to DT at the college level (he’s already 279lbs). These 2 have been committed to Miami for quite a while, and are the constants among the change at this position so far this cycle.

After visiting for an exclusive invite-only recruiting event the day before Paradise Camp, Miami (FL) Columbus 3-star DE Elijah Roberts re-committed to the hometown Canes. He said his heart was always in Miami, but the coaching change in January gave him pause. Those issues and emotions were smoothed out, and this dynamic defender reaffirmed his pledge to The U. Already weighing 270lbs, Roberts could move inside to DT at the next level.

Later that same week, Miami went up the Atlantic Coast a bit to get a commitment from Charlotte (NC) Mallard Crek 3-star DE Quentin Williams. Yet another well-built, talented, and accomplished defender, Williams committed to his father’s favorite team — THE U — a handful of days after Paradise Camp.

Shortly after the commitments of Roberts and Williams, Hollywood (FL) McDougle Career Institute 4-star DE Samuel Anaele decommitted from Miami at check-in for Nike’s The Opening. This move had been rumored for a while, and finally came to fruition. Anaele committed to Kentucky about 2 weeks after decommitting from Miami.

A day after Anaele decommmitted, Miami gained a pledge from Dublin (GA) 3-star OLB Romello Height. Why am I listing an OLB in the DL section of this piece? Because Miami plans on playing the 6’5” 218lb Height at DE, that’s why. And, as many recruiting analysts have opined, Height should/will probably be re-ranked as a DE sometime this cycle, and likely gain a 4-star grade when that happens. So yeah, that’ll work.

If you thought that was all that changed since the last installment of this piece, you’re wrong! To further add depth and talent to the DL group, Miami got a commitment from Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf 4-star DE Chantz Williams as well.

A dynamic rush end, Williams joins teammate Jalen Rivers in committing to Miami.

So, Miami has 6 DL committed and needed 5 in this cycle. I’d like another DT, if possible, and I’m always on the look out for upgrades. But, if this is the group that ends up on campus in Coral Gables for next season, I’d be happy (but probably not ecstatic).

Defensive Ends

Miami has recently secured commitments from 4 players listed as top targets in this section: Williams, Williams, Roberts, and Height. Absent attrition, which could happen though I’m not predicting it, anything else at this position would be a bonus.

Tampa (FL) Berkeley Prep 4-star DE Jaylen Harrell— not to be confused with the 4-star CB of the same name (without the “y”, though) from Miami Central — is another player on the board for Miami. He’s got good size at 6’4” 235lbs, and could develop into a big time edge rusher. It’s unclear if he has a spot at this time with Miami already having 4 DEs committed. But, Harrell received an official scholarship offer and plans to take an Official Visit to Coral Gables this season so stay tuned.

Miami (FL) Gulliver Prep 4-star DE Donell Harris recently transferred there from Booker T. Washington, decommitted from Miami, and reclassified from 2021 up to 2020. He’s an option, sure, but Harris looks to be focusing his recruitment elsewhere at this time.

Port St. Lucie (FL) West Centennial 3-star DE Jamari Stewart is a player that Miami has been after for a while. Previously listed as an OLB, the 6’4” 215lb Stewart primarily rushed the passer as a junior and could really see his stock elevate this season. Miami was the favorite for a while this spring, but after taking another OLB to DE convert in Height — who’s an inch taller and 5lbs heavier than Stewart — Stewart’s spot may no longer exist in this class.

Tampa (FL) Chamberlain 3-star DE Johnny Walker is another player on the board whose spot was likely taken by the run of commitments at DE over the past 7 weeks. And South Miami (FL) unranked DE Khaya Wright, a fringe player at best, committed to Georgia Tech back in late June.

Defensive Tackles

Miami (FL) Gulliver Prep 4-star Westley Neal had long coveted a Miami offer. The wait for that offer ended on June 3rd when the Canes finally extended a scholarship slot to Neal. While he’s a bit shorter than optimal at 6’0.5”, Neal weighs in at 317lbs and he makes plays up front. Neal recently released his top 8 prior to receiving his Miami offer, but has openly stated that the Canes were his “dream school” since he was a kid and finally getting this offer is a “gamechanger” for him. So, basically, it’s up to Miami to decide if they want to push for a commitment or not.

Outside of Neal, other targets at DT have either committed elsewhere or fallen off the radar a bit. So either Miami will need to make a move on Neal, work to flip someone from elsewhere, or count on moving Roberts to DT and add another DE to the class instead. Any of those are possible, but that’s where things stand right now.

Linebacker

Need: 3+

Committed: 3

Arguably the most important position in the 2020 recruiting class, Miami has to restock the cupboard as all 3 starting LBs and the starting STRIKER (hybrid OLB/S) are seniors this season. Both quantity AND quality are an absolute necessity at LB in this class.

The longest tenured commitment for Miami at LB in this class is Largo (FL) Pinellas Park 3-star Alvin Mathis. He’s got good size at 6’1” 210lbs, and can run, but other players will need to join this group to fulfill Miami’s clear and present need at LB.

But, there are new names to know in this group for Miami.

Houston (TX) North Shore 3-star Corey Flagg Jr. was a prime target for the staff and committed to the Canes shortly before the last installment of this piece published (but I was overseas on vacation at the time so I couldn’t update it). A bit undersized at 5’10” 223lbs, Flagg Jr is highly productive (144 tackles as a junior) and very instinctual. Once thought to be a near-lock to go to Oklahoma State, Miami rose up toward the front of Flagg Jr’s recruitment and the Canes got their guy.

Camden (NJ) 3-star Tirek Austin-Cave committed to Miami on the 4th of July. A dynamic All-State defender, Austin-Cave picked Miami over a host of P5 teams. An incredibly productive player, Austin-Cave fits the physical and performance profile of a top-level prospect for the Canes.

Even with the trio of Austin-Cave, Flagg Jr, and Mathis Jr committed, Miami could still use another player at LB in this class.

Leading the target list is Upland (CA) 5-star Justin Flowe. The #3 overall player in America and the top LB in this class, Flowe is the prototype at LB. A chisled 6’2” 225lbs, Flowe has a game-ready physique and all the talent in the world. Flowe has already taken an unofficial visit to Coral Gables, and plans to make a return trip for an OV during the season. As I’m sure you expected, every top team in America is chasing Flowe. Clemson. Alabama. USC. Georgia. Texas. You name ‘em, they’re after him. This is a recruitment that will likely go all the way until NSD, and Miami has a serious fight on their hands for one of the nation’s most elite prospects in this class.

Burien (WA) Kennedy Catholic 5-star Sav’ell Smalls is a game-ready OLB who will be an impact player at the next level. The nation’s #1 OLB and #4 player overall, Smalls is well-built at 6’3” 230lbs and has no shortage of teams chasing him. Like several others I’ve written about in this piece, unless/until he visits Coral Gables, this can only be classified as a dream. Alabama, Washington, Clemson, Florida, and Florida State are but a few of the many teams who are chasing after Smalls. And, after the latest round of visits, this might honestly be the last time I include Smalls in this piece. It doesn’t look like Miami has much of a foothold, if any, in this recruitment.

Ft. Lauderdale (FL) St. Thomas Aquinas 4-star Derek Wingo flipped from Penn State to Florida since the last installment of this piece. He’s a local player, sure, but I find it hard to see him ending up at Miami.

Hollywood (FL) McArthur 3-star Ruben Hyppolite II is an athletic LB who is committed to Maryland. Don’t let that commitment stand in your way about considering him a target for Miami; Hyppolite II has repeatedly said that he will continue to go through the progess and visit other schools. If Miami were to cut bait on Flowe, Hyppolite II would then become one of the top flip candidates for Miami this cycle, along with OL Issiah Walker Jr. (who I have previously discussed in this piece). But, That depends on how Miami views the triumvirate of players they have committed at LB this cycle, and their chances with the Nation’s #1 LB, as well.

Defensive Back

Need: 5

Committed: 5-ish

Miami’s secondary has been among the best, and was THE best pass defense in the country in 2018, and looks to continue that high standard of play with a new group of players making the plays.

So far this cycle, Miami holds commitments from Homestead (FL) South Dade 4-star DB Jaiden Francois, South Dade 3-star DB Keshawn Washington, Davie (FL) Western 3-star CB Justin Hodges., and Amite (LA) 3-star DB Daran Branch. Francois has been a standout at corner, but has stated a desire/intent to move inside to Safety in college; his teammate Washington is a tall and lean Safety who will likely move to the OLB/S hybrid STRIKER position in college; Hodges is a big corner with some skills but questionable speed, having run in the 4.9’s this offseason at a recruiting combine, and Branch is a big bodied CB at the HS level, but Miami views him as a STRIKER at the college level.

To help at cornerback, Miami got a commitment from Winter Park (FL) 3-star ATH Marcus Clarke. A 1,000+ yard receiver (with like 22 TDs, by the way), Clarke has blazing speed and fluid movement skills. It’s for those reasons that Miami wants to transition him to defense at the college level.

With Branch not really counting as a DB (since he’s likely to bump down to STRIKER), Miami likely needs 1 more player in the secondary to round out this class.

Cornerback

Miami has also offered Highland (KS) C.C. 4-star CB Brian George. A Belle Glade native, George is a top-5 JUCO prospect for the 2020 class. He’s a big corner at 6’2” 190lbs with good speed, and holds 22 offers at present. If Miami looks to add an experienced player, the transfer portal or George could be the route they take.

Lakeland (FL) Kathleen 4-star Kendall Dennis, and Lakeland (FL) 3-star Fenley Graham both hold offers. But, Miami has struggled mightily in recruiting Polk County both recently and historically, so the odds are not in the Canes’ favor with either player.

Miami (FL) Central 3-star ATH Deidrick Stanley is a bit undersized at 5’8” 178lbs, but he’s quick, fast, and feisty. With his lack of size, however, Stanley is probably low on Miami’s list, especially with 3 other sub-6ft corners already on the roster and another committed in this class already (Bandy, Couch, Bethel, and new commit Clarke).

Safety

Miami could be set at this position. Jaiden Francois is moving to S in college, teammate/fellow commit Keshawn Washington already plays S and will stay there. But there are other names to know at Safety.

Former Miami commit/current Oregon commit DeLand (FL) 4-star Avantae Williams is a name to know. He’s cousins with RB Lorenzo Lingard, and has been seen at several Miami recruiting events. Some recruiting analysts believe he’s going to stay closer to home for college, and Miami could be that spot. Williams has maintained his commitment to Oregon for more than a year, however, so there’s still much to be done before he’s a probable option in this class.

Miramar (FL) 3-star Brian Balom is a late riser who repeatedly impressed Miami coaches at camps and events this offseason. The 6’0” 180lb Balom is a top player on one of the best defenses in SoFLA HSFb, and he will look to leverage his build, athletic ability, and intellect into a P5 scholarship slot. I know Balom personally from my time teaching at Miramar, and think he’d be a good get for Miami, if the Canes chose to go in that direction.

Outside of Williams and Balom, Miami would need to add to the board to get another Safety in this class.

Special Teams

Need: 0

Committed: 0

Bubba Baxa was a blue chip kicker recruit, and he’s only a sophomore. Louis Hedley looks to continue the trend of Australians in their mid-20s coming to America and being solid to great punters. Any number of skill position players could try their hand in the return game.

Miami will look to address special teams with scholarships for a kicker or punter in 2021 or beyond.


Whew. Okay. Sorry for the long delay between these pieces, guys. I know I said that last time I wrote one, but there’s been a lot going on in my life and I’m gonna do better the rest of this season. I promise.

As always, hop in the comments and keep the conversation going.

Go Canes