clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: Class Breakdown 9/24

New, 7 comments

It’s September so let’s check back in on how the Canes’ 2020 class is shaping up.

State of the U Illustration by Mike Meredith

Hello, fellow recruiting aficionados!

Welcome back to the Class Breakdown, our look at the Miami Hurricanes’ 2020 recruiting class. We do this every month around these parts, so it’s time for the latest installment.

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. I updated the number at WR, but we’ll talk about that in that section of this piece. 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.

Van Dyke opened his senior year going 10/15 for 166 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT in a 26-6 win.

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 has been ballin’ as a junior, too. He’s nearing 1,000 yards already, and had a 360 yard effort in a shutout win recently.

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. Garcia also included Miami in his top 10, released before the start of his HSFB season.

UPDATE: I always pre-write this piece (it’s like 4500 words, you guys, c’mon) but after I scheduled it to publish, multiple recruiting analysts, namely Steve Wiltfong and Tom Loy of 247sports, flipped their predictions on Garcis from Miami to USC.

The logic is clear: USC just lost 2020 5-star QB Bryce Young as he flipped to Alabama this weekend. So, the Trojans are pushing hard for local star Garcia in 2021. The idea, which they tried and failed with Young, is to lock in Garcia’s commitment now and play defense to keep him committed until he signs.

Garcia and family are scheduled to come to Miami October 5th weekend for an unofficial visit for Miami-VT. Per Andrew Ivins of 247sports and Gary Ferman of CaneSport (Rivals’ Miami site), that visit is still on the books. But, with 2 weeks lead time, and USC’s apparent HARD push, we’ll see if that happens. Stay tuned.

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:

Garcia committed to USC on Monday night.

There’s obviously a LONG WAY until NSD 2021, and there are tons of P5 teams chasing after Garcia (as expected with a player of his caliber) 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 Donald 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.

Here’s the thing though: everybody they’ve offered is committed elsewhere.

Could Miami circle back on Miami (FL) Columbus 3-star Henry Parrish? Sure. Parrish is a local kid and several Columbus players are on the roster at Miami or committed for the current or future classes. But, Florida and others are now lobbing him offers after Parrish’s fast start to his senior year, and since Miami already turned him down once, that puts the Canes behind the 8-ball a bit.

Could Miami offer a blue chip player committed elsewhere and/or flip a player they’ve already offered who is committed elsewhere? Sure. They could. But with Chaney Jr. as the clear RB1 in this class, I don’t see that as being likely.

The most likely scenario to me is that Miami ends up taking 1 RB yet again, same as they did every year from 2014-2017. Before y’all jump down my throat, DeeJay Dallas was listed as an Athlete in the class of 2017 and started out at Miami as a WR, so yes, that counts. Either way, the point is that while Miami endeavored to sign multiple RBs in each of those years, they only secured the signature of one player at that position annually.

Could Miami look to the transfer portal to find another RB to join the roster? Sure. But, remember, the Canes tried that with Asa Martin this year and he didn’t even make it to spring practice after coming over in January. But hey, maybe that just wasn’t a fit and the next (?) guy brought in from the portal will be.

All of that is to say that I’d get used to the thought of a recruiting class with Donald Chaney Jr. as the lone RB this year. Unless something crazy happens, that will likely be the case.

Wide Receiver

Need: 3 4

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.

I don’t have much to say about that group of commits, except that it’s a good group and Redding III made this awesome catch which was high up in Sportscenter’s top 10 the day it happened.

As you can see above, I’m moving the number at WR up from 3 to 4 in this class. That’s based on the roster, including Evidence Njoku’s position change to TE, the chatter surrounding Miami’s recruiting. This was always a position where I thought the Canes could be planning to use one of the “Best Available” slots, and at this point, I think this is the likely plan. So, that means Miami needs to add another player at this position in this class.

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. And since, the trend seems to be Alabama over Miami (the only 2 teams Worsham has named as being considered). Even with 3 players committed at WR, Miami would love to add a player of Worsham’s ability to the roster. But unless things take a bit of a change, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards.

Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna 3-star Elijah Canion and Miami (FL) Palmetto 3-star Kentron Poitier are local players with offers. Miami (FL) Christopher Columbus 4-star Xzavier Henderson (brother of the UF corner with the same surname) isn’t coming here, so Miami has decided to move on according to 247sports’ Andrew Ivins. Receivers are a dime a dozen, so I think Miami could find SOMEONE for this spot. But, to get to where the Canes want to be, they’ll have to make a move with a player of high quality, not just a warm body to fill a scholarship slot. And there, my friends, is the rub.

Remember what I said about the transfer portal in the RB section? Copy and paste that here. And, it should be noted, that the portal addition at WR this year — K.J. Osborn — is currently Miami’s leading receiver. So unlike Martin at RB, the portal player has worked out very well for Miami at WR.

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. And, after a visit to Athens this past weekend, I’d be pretty surprised if Washington doesn’t end up at Georgia (former Canes TE coach Todd Hartley is a monster recruiter, and he’s at UGA now so....)

A new name on the radar is Sammamish (WA) Eastside Catholic 4-star D.J Rogers. The 6’3” 230lb standout included Miami in his top 10, and the Canes are pushing to have him take an official visit to Coral Gables. Obviously, for a player clear across the country, there’s work to be done, but TE coach Stephen Field recently worked at Oregon, and he probably has a connection with Rogers from his time with the Ducks. Still, unless/until Rogers sets foot on campus in Coral Gables for a visit — likely 2 visits — this probably isn’t A THING....yet.

Windsor, Ontario (Canada) Holy Names 4-star Theo Johnson is another player Miami has been recruiting through this cycle. The 6’6” 240lb standout is fresh off a visit to Georgia for the ND game (that visit weekend was L-O-A-D-E-D if you couldn’t already tell since both Washington and Johnson were on hand, and trust there were PLENTY more blue chippers on hand too), and is scheduled to come to Miami for an Official Visit on the October 4 weekend for the Virginia Tech game. Getting Johnson to come on a visit is a big step, but there’s still the hurdle of getting him to come so far away form home for college. Still, the Canes are getting a talented player on campus for another visit to shoot their shot. Get buckets, Coach Field.

Other players with offers at TE are Marietta (GA) 5-star ATH Arik Gilbert, and Oak Park (MI) 3-star Maliq Carr, among others. The clear top target is Washington — he’s the best player in the group and among the best players in the country, regardless of position — but Rogers and Johnson are quality options for this class as well. Miami COULD choose to go with 1 TE in this class only, but I’m sticking with 2 for now. It’s the good and smart play.

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, Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf 4-star Jalen Rivers, and Nashville (TN) Overton 3-star Chris Washington. Smith profiles as an interior lineman, while Rivers and Washington will likely stay out at tackle with their respective size (6’6” and 6’7”) and length.

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 — that’s clearly where Miami needs the most help on the roster. OL coach Butch Barry is looking any and everywhere possible for solutions to the dearth of true OT options on the roster.

Miami (FL) Norland 4-star Issiah Walker Jr. is the top target at OT in this cycle. A former South Carolina commit, many teams around the country are pursuing the 6’4” 302lb lineman. While Walker Jr. has narrowed his recruitment to Florida’s Big 3 — Miami, Florida, and Florida State — he’s been open about the fact that Florida stands #1, and that lead appears to be increasing with the Gators’ 4-0 start this year. Miami was named as Walker Jr’s #2, but unless something major changes he looks like he’s heading to Gainesville.

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. Teams such as Oklahoma, Alabama, Ohio State, and LSU are thought to be running at the front of his recruitment, but Dumervil is on the list for another month. Dumervil hasn’t been to Coral Gables since March 30th — 6 months this week. That’s a long time for a local player. We’ll see if he makes it to the October installment of this piece.

With Miami seeming to be on the outside looking in on the top targets listed above, a guy like Fort Myers (FL) 3-star Cayden Baker could move up the board into “take” territory for the Canes. All the other targets, mostly Guards, have committed elsewhere since I last wrote this piece. So, for Miami to get to the 5 number they need this year, moves will need to be made somehow.

And, it should be noted, flips and transfer portal additions are possible also, with the latter more likely than the former.

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, 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), and Miami (FL) Columbus 3-star DE Elijah Roberts, another player who could move inside to tackle at the college level.

But wait; there’s more. Miami has 3 very good DE’s committed in this class, with Dublin (GA) 3-star OLB Romello Height, Orange Park (FL) Oakleaf 4-star DE Chantz Williams, and Charlotte (NC) Mallard Creek 3-star DE Quentin Williams being the commits. Height is a 4-star DE talent who should get bumped when service classify him there instead of OLB, Williams is a talented player joining teammate OT Jalen Rivers in committing to Miami, and the other Williams is a dynamic player from NC who has an elite athletic profile and whose father is a huge Canes fan (that has nothing to do with him as a player, but it’s cool!)

Defensive Ends

Miami has secured commitments from 4 players listed as top targets in this section: Williams, Williams, Roberts (likely moving to DT), 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 after this season (currently schedule for December 13th) so stay tuned.

Miami (FL) Gulliver Prep 4-star DE Donell Harris 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, Texas A&M being the front runner.

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 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 the last one is the scenario I see as most likely.

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. Joining him are more recent commits Houston (TX) North Shore 3-star Corey Flagg Jr. and Camden (NJ) 3-star Tirek Austin-Cave. Both are über-productive, and very athletic as well. This is a solid group, but Miami could use a premium player at this position.

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. WITH THAT BEING SAID, most expect Flowe to end up at Clemson. I know. I know. That’s just how it goes, guys.

A player moving up the list quietly in recent weeks has been Hollywood (FL) McArthur 3-star Ruben Hyppolite II, an athletic LB who is committed to Maryland. Been telling you for months in this space not to 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 process and visit other schools. If Miami were to cut bait/lose out on Flowe — more and more likely as his recruitment continues to trend toward Clemson — Hyppolite II would then become one of the top flip candidates for Miami this cycle. With Hyppolite II having been in attendance for each of the last 2 home games, it seems that the game may be afoot here. Stay woke.

Other players previously listed haven’t been connected to Miami so I’ve taken them off the list.

While the dream would obviously be to add 5-star Flowe to the Austin-Cave/Flagg Jr/Mathis trio, the more attainable scenario would be to flip Hyppolite II from Maryland and have him be the 4th LB in this class. To get to where Miami wants to be, they’ll have to start winning battles for players of Flowe’s caliber, but it doesn’t look like now is the time that that will happen.

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, Winter Park (FL) 3-star ATH Marcus Clarke, 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, Clarke is a speedster who doubles as a WR and DB at the HS level but has been recruited to Miami to play CB, and Branch is a big bodied CB at the HS level, but Miami views him as a STRIKER at the college level.

Of the current commit group, the one to watch most closely is Francois. He’s been open about his interest in Ohio State, and will likely take a visit there sometime in this process, so things are far from settled there to my eye.

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. And, as more time passes, the connection between Miami and Balom seems to grow. So keep a lookout for this one.

You’ve heard this before, but Miami will need to work for a flip — maybe circle back on 4-star Keyshawn Lawrence (Corn Elder’s cousin) and see if he’s happy with his commitment to Tennessee — or maybe the transfer portal for additional depth in the secondary ahead of the 2020 season.

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 has the #1 kicker in the country, Hollywood (FL) Chaminade-Madonna standout Andres Borregales, committed in the class of 2021 (next year’s class). I know the sentiment for Baxa is not strong presently, but I don’t see any scenario where Miami takes a Kicker this year with Borregales on deck to join the team in the next recruiting cycle. Sorry.


So there you have it. Miami sits with 23 commitments in the 2020 recruiting class, but there’s plenty of work to be done to get this group where we’d like it to be.

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

Go Canes