Landing top offensive line recruits is a goal every season for every school in college football, and 2019 has proven that even more for the Hurricanes. An issue that has plagued Miami for years, there were worries about the OL heading into this season, and then when the Canes gave up 10 sacks against the Florida Gators, and have proven to struggle since, the need for more offensive lineman recruits became an immediate demand. Cleveland Reed announcing that he’d been entering the transfer portal last week certainly didn’t help either.
There are several positions that Miami needs to add-on to for the 2020 recruiting class, offensive line, running back, just to name a couple. Another one of those positions was linebacker, that was until senior Zach McCloud announced on Wednesday that he’d be redshirting the remainder of 2019 and be returning in 2020. Obviously Miami will still look to add on another linebacker, but the need isn't as strong as it was just a few days ago.
With that being said, the Hurricanes can now add even more time into landing a few more offensive lineman to the class. As Cam Underwood wrote about this past weekend, Miami currently have three OL committed at the moment, but should aim to end with five when this class wraps up. Those three are four-star Jalen Rivers, and then three-stars Antonio Smith and Chris Washington.
Landing Rivers was arguably one of the most important commits of the 2020 class, and is viewed as an anchor for the Canes line while he’s at UM.
However, a majority of the recruiting attention for Miami’s staff now has to be geared towards adding 2-3 more lineman before signing day. Here are some that UM should go hard after:
- 4-Star tackle Isaiah Walker Jr. Norland High School (Miami) 18th OT in 2020 class
This is the obvious number-one target, and Walker has been that way for quite a while now. A 4-star tackle de-committed from South Carolina on July 2nd, and has narrowed his choices to the Canes, Gators and Seminoles. Walker was on campus three times during the summer, taking unofficial visits in June and July, saying that he enjoyed working with OL coach Butch Barry and talking with Manny Diaz. Coach Barry went on September 12th to watch Walker and Norland take on South Dade.
While UF is definitely the front-runner to sign Walker, he’s been vocal that Miami is still very much in contention. He attended the Canes-Gators game in Orlando on August 24th, and following the UF win he said Florida was leading. Issiah has said that he’s a fan of UF OL coach John Hevesy.
I had an amazing time today pic.twitter.com/TbPGPHwiI5— Issiah Walker 〽️ (@walker_issiah) June 16, 2019
He has tremendous ability when it comes to pass blocking, and put on more weight prior to the start of his senior season. Scouting reports have also mentioned that Walker could turn into a multi-positional offensive lineman.
If I'm the Canes, I am throwing every ounce of energy into signing Walker. He told the Miami Herald this week that coach Barry is in touch with him nearly everyday. If Walker committed to Miami, he’d automatically be in conversation for starting at tackle, since UM has had their fair share of problems there. The dream scenario for the Hurricanes would be to have Walker and Rivers starting as the two tackle spots. Going to high school less than two miles from Hard Rock Stadium also has to play a role for Walker, knowing that he could be the next great tackle for his hometown Canes. Walker has said that he plans on taking an official visit to Miami at some point.
However, landing Walker at the moment seems to be unlikely. He hasn’t visited UM since the contact period opened, so Miami needs to get Issiah back on campus for starters. Issiah will be in Gainesville next Saturday when the Gators take on Auburn.
- 4-Star tackle Marcus Dumervil. St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft.Lauderdale) 10th OT in 2020 class
Dumervil is like Walker, and is considered to out of reach, but recently there’s been talk that Marcus could slide to Miami. Again, just like Walker, the fact that Dumervil is in Broward County and so close is important to remember.
Rivals has Florida as the favorite to sign Dumervil, while 247Sports put out a Crystal ball prediction within the last week with him going to LSU. Louisville is also in contention, which is where Marcus’ cousin, defensive end Elvis Dumervil attended.
He’s played both right and left tackle and possesses the patience for pass blocking, as well as the power and strength for run blocking. He hasn’t been to UM’s campus since March, so getting him to Coral Gables at all needs to be done. Though, Barry Jackson from the Miami Herald reporter that Dumervil told him that Miami is still in the running.
- 3-Star guard Marlon Martinez (LSU commit). St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft.Lauderdale) 28th ranked OG in 2020 class
A teammate of Dumervil’s, Martinez is currently committed to LSU and has been since May, though he was at the last Hurricanes game against Central Michigan. Since committing to LSU, Martinez hasn’t visited anywhere else. Though, as Andrew Ivins from 247Sports talked about recently, Martinez is a native of Cuba, so Miami’s staff is hoping that his family will want to keep him in South Florida.
2020 OG Marlon Martinez representing himself well during 1-on-1’s at Miami @UAFootball camp. Out of St.Thomas Aquinas he already reports some offers. #GeorgiaTech #BBN #Hoosiers @Marl0n77 #UAALLAMERICA pic.twitter.com/7AO7liwYGL— Craig Haubert (@CraigHaubert) February 3, 2019
Standing at 6.4/5 and weighing 287 pounds, Martinez can play both either tackle or guard, though LSU recruited him as a tackle. Talent wise, and this’ll sound cliche, but Martinez is much better than his ranking in my opinion. He punishes defensive lineman, doesn’t matter if its run or pass blocking. He needs to improve on moving his feet, but the upside to Marlon is huge. Of all the lineman Miami is looking at who are already committed somewhere, I believe Martinez is the best chance to flip to UM.
- 3-Star guard R.J. Adams. Woodbridge High School (Woodbridge, VA) 15th OG in 2020 class
If I was writing this article a week ago, I probably wouldn't have added Adams to the list. However, the former Penn State commit announced on the 18th that he would be de-committing from the Nittany Lions. Committing back in April, reports say that Adams passion for Penn State had dwindled over the past several months. His de-committing came a week after his visit to State, and then three days after visiting Kentucky.
The 6-3 and 309 pound guard has been a popular recruit since his junior season, becoming one of the top players in Virginia. At the time of his commitment to Penn State in April, the Hurricanes had been perhaps the next team for Adams, as well as N.C. State. Butch Barry’s experience with Tampa Bay in the NFL had made an impression on Adams. Coach Barry was one of the biggest things that stood out to Adams when he attended Junior Day at Miami in March.
First 3 Games , Check it out ♂️https://t.co/qnXVHnsgUn— Rj Adams ✌ (@exclusivejaayy) September 24, 2019
I’m a huge fan of Adams and how he is on the offensive line, the dude is a straight up bully, and is very physical. Very similar to Nesta Jade Silvera, Adams has a nasty streak that has been missing from a Miami line for years. It was said that Adams probably would’ve redshirted his first year at Penn State, though Miami may be a whole different situation. If you get him with coach Feeley in the weight room, redefine his body, Adams could be a legitimate force with the Canes. Expect the UM staff to go at Adams hard.
- 3-Star tackle Cayden Baker. Fort Myers High School (Fort Myers) 96th OT in 2020 class
Baker is a player that caught my eye following Paradise Camp in June, when 2020 quarterback commit Tyler Van Dyke told 247Sports that Baker was a player he was trying to get to come to Miami. UM was the first P5 school to offer Baker after he attended Junior Day in late March. Baker visited Miami twice in the spring, but hasn't been back since.
Coach Barry had good things to say about Baker, and is one of his top prospects for the 2020 class, as he fits the athletic type of offensive lineman that Butch looks for. Baker moved to the line this season, and played tight end and defensive end prior. He’s also quite the basketball player, earning second-team News-Press 2019 Boys Basketball All-Area Team honors. Baker has told reporters that several Ivy League schools are looking at him for basketball.
News-Press listed Baker as the sixth best high school football recruit in Southwest Florida in early August.
Standing at 6-7 and weighing 275 pounds, Baker would come to Miami looking to beef up as opposed to slim down, which is something else Coach Barry prefers. Baker has also received offers from North Carolina, Purdue, Pitt, Boston College and more. UNC was the last school Baker visited, taking an unofficial back in June.
247Sports haven't made any predictions on where Baker will end up, so hopefully him and Van Dyke stay close through the fall and we’ll see Cayden in Coral Gables for a visit, but he’s a player that Miami needs to go after hard as well.
- 3-Star tackle Eli Acker (Ole Miss commit). Heritage Academy (Columbus, MS) 32nd OT in 2020 class
Another player who came forth as a result of Paradise Camp, though Acker actually attended the camp in Miami. According to reports, Acker thoroughly enjoyed UM, and his father was very impressed, and wants to come back for a visit. Acker is currently the top ranked offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi, and Max Preps named him first-team in their preseason all-state list.
Though, we haven’t heard much about Acker since Paradise Camp. His senior season is off to a good start, and Acker has recovered nicely from shoulder injury he had done in the spring.
The Ole Miss commit signed to the Rebels back in May of 2018, and has made two unofficial visits to Oxford this month alone. Though, he has offers from several other schools, such as Mississippi State, Alabama and Nebraska being the main ones, along with Miami, of course.
With a similar build (6-5 285 pounds) to Baker, Acker possesses great athleticism for a lineman, and posted a 5.0 40-time at The Opening in March. Scouting reports say that Baker has tremendous upside if keeps developing at this rate.
Acker told reporters that he plans on taking official visits following his season, but doesn't plan on enrolling early. Having been really impressed with Acker following Paradise Camp, I could see a situation where Miami could flip him from Ole Miss to come to UM. Hopefully we hear his name come up soon.
More names will emerge as the Hurricanes amp up the recruiting heat on OL, but as of right now these are the lineman Miami should be focused on bringing to UM. If you ask me, Walker is probably going to Florida, but the rest I listed, I believe Miami has a legitimate shot at landing. Dumervil should be the number one target, but full court press the others as well. Each lineman here can develop into starters for the Canes, and help fix this issue.