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Recruiting: How Have the Miami Hurricanes Done in South Florida?

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A 5 year look at the best positions in South Florida and how the Canes have recruited them

North Carolina v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

WARNING: This Article has some meat. If you just want the results scroll down to Verdict. Or else enjoy the ride.

Oh Florida.

The Sunshine State.

Home to arguably the most fertile recruiting grounds in the COUNTRY.

Over the last Five recruiting cycles, the state of Florida ranks Number One as the best producer of college talent. behind Florida are the usually suspects, California, Teas and Georgia.

Top Producing States since 2015

State Total 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
State Total 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
Florida 249 50 47 42 65 45
Texas 238 47 52 47 44 48
California 220 44 45 35 48 48
Georgia 173 34 26 33 40 40
Louisiana 73 13 21 12 12 15

Its no surprise that these four monster hotbeds of talent hold the top spots with Florida as the lead car. The disparity however between Number Four, Georgia, and Number Five, Louisiana, shows just how much more talent Florida produces than everyone else.

Get more granular and you’ll see the dominance of South Florida. A 2018 ESPN article charting the Top 100 recruits from the past 10 years broke down the top talent producing counties. The top county was the Los Angeles County. However, Texas and Florida make up the majority of the list. Texas was represented with three, while Florida placed a whopping SIX counties, making up 50% of the list.

The Top Two Florida Counties?

Broward and Dade. The 954 and the 305.

Broward was Second, producing THIRTY EIGHT top 100 talents from 2008-2018. Miami-Dade wasn’t too far behind at Sixth with 23.

I highlight all this just to state and prove what we ALREADY know, South Florida is the deepest, richest area in the country for college football talent.

Now the second, seemingly obvious question is, how much of that Talent has Miami gotten?

The Answer?

More than everyone else. But, not nearly enough.

Since 2015, Miami has secured 27* (26 without Issiah Walker) commitments from South Florida athletes, nearly double the next teams. Those teams? Surely another obvious answer. Florida with 15 commitments, Florida State with 12, and good Ole’ Alabama with 11. For some arguments that is enough to start and stop a debate that Miami has done well enough to corner the talent in South Florida. As mentioned its nearly double UF. It IS more than double FSU and Alabama. Sheesh, its literally double any two team combination of those teams you can create.

But its not always the quantity of what you have. Its almost assuredly the quality.

South Florida’s Finest

I took some time to create top 20 lists of each recruiting cycle dating back to 2015 using 247Sports composite Rankings. I like these rankings best because it incorporates all the big graders like 247, ESPN and Rivals into one, neat rating. What I found was not surprising but still disappointing.

2015 Recruiting Class

2015 UM Commits From the FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
4th Walton RB 83rd 14th 10th 2nd
11th J Johnson S 207th 29th 13th 3rd
NA St. Louis OT 283rd 37th 28th 5th

2015 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Calvin Ridley WR ALA
2 Tarvarus McFadden CB FSU
3 Torrance Gibson ATH OSU
4 Mark Walton RB UM
5 Da'Vante Phillips WR FSU
6 Jordan Scarlett RB UF
7 Tyrek Cole CB WVU
8 Jovon Durante WR WVU
9 Shawn Burgess-Becker ATH ALA
10 Devonaire Clarington TE TX
11 Jaquan Johnson S UM
12 Davante Davis CB TX
13 Te'von Coney ILB ND
14 Tim Irvin ATH AUB
15 Sh'mar Kilby Lane OLB FSU
16 Calvin Brewton S FSU
17 Kendrell McFadden S MD
18 Devante Peete WR LOU
19 Carlton Davis CB AUB
20 Antonio Callaway WR UF

Tarnished Gold

We start with the most bereft grouping on the list with the 2015 Florida Class. In what would be Al Golden’s last class, it had become clear to local recruits that what Golden and crew were selling wasn’t worth the trouble. Though preceded by a strong 14’ class headed by Miami’s last 5 star, defensive recruit Chad Thomas, the 2015 incoming class’ most recent advertisement was a 6-7 season. Unlike what we recently saw in Manny Diaz’s first season as Head Coach, the 2014 season was Al Golden’s 4th, a glaring indicator that even with solid recruiting the coaching was not up to par for recruits to believe. The 2015 class fell, per 247sports, from 12th in 14’ to 27th in 2015.

Clemson v Miami

The Good? Each player from FL in the class would be drafted, two of which, Mark Walton and JaQuan Johnson, were featured in the South Florida Top 20. However, as Miami fell, teams like WVU and Maryland were able to take players Miami can usually have, while the big three of Bama, UF and FSU accounted for 7 commits including 4 of the top 6 and, the jewel of the class, Calvin Ridley. By far the worst showing in SoFL, UM only secured two players in the top 20.

2016 Recruiting Class

2015 UM Commits from FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
4th Bruce WR 84th 13th 11th 2nd
NA Quarterman ILB 111th 18th 5th 2nd
7th Richards WR 147th 23rd 27th 8th
NA Allison PRO 176th 28th 8th 3rd
9th Jackson WDE 215th 30th 16th 3rd
11th Homer RB 240th 34th 10th 2nd
13th Mullins WR 257th 36th 48th 13th
NA Bethel SDE 287th 40th 14th 2nd
NA McCloud OLB 317th 45th 21st 1st

2016 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Nick Bosa SDE OSU
2 Brian Burns WDE FSU
3 Trayvon Mullen CB CLEM
4 Sam Bruce WR UM
5 Binjimen Victor WR OSU
6 Jamel Cook ATH USC
7 Ahmmon Richards WR UM
8 Joshua Hammond WR UF
9 Joe Jackson WDE UM
10 Amir Rasul RB FSU
11 Travis Homer RB UM
12 Riley Ridley WR UGA
13 Dionte Mullins WR UM
14 Darnell Salomon WR USF
15 Devin Bush Jr ILB MICH
16 Nick Eubanks TE MICH
17 Dredrick Snelson WR UCF
18 Deion Jackson CB NA
19 Keyshawn Pie Young WR USC
20 Keir Thomas SDE Sce

Out with the Gold(en), in with the New

The year of 58-0 saw a changing of the guard, while refreshing to any maligned fanbase, is a death knell to most recruiting classes. Surprisingly, the entry of SEC power Mark Richt was able to mitigate the transition class, holding on to 9 top 50 FL players, including 5 from South Florida’s top 20. Most potent in the charge was Ron Dugan’s WR recruiting, grabbing the 4th, 7th and 13th best players from the three counties in Same Bruce, Ahmmon Richards and Dionte Mullins. Thomas Brown started quick as well scoring the number two back in the state and 11th player down south with Travis Homer. Manny Diaz secured at the time was hoped to be the new Bermuda Triangle in Shaquille Quarteman, Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney, though none hailed from the State of Miami.

Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz reportedly set to take over as Temple head coach Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

However just as 2015, the top of the SoFL Class went elsewhere as Ohio State grabbed its perennial stud from South Florida in Nick Bosa, adding Benjimin Victor behind him as a cherry on top. Aside from this poaching it was an odd year for outside colleges and a strangely strong transition year for UM. FSU, UF and ALA only accounted for 3 State of Miami commits, with Bama getting shutout. Meanwhile, Miami recruited a solid 5.

2017 Recruiting Class

2017 UM Commits in the FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
5th Donaldson OT 72nd 13th 11th 2nd
NA Perry DUAL 199th 30th 7th 2nd
10th Bandy CB 223rd 31st 30th 5th
12th Herbert OT 253th 35th 25th 4th
13th Garvin SDE 265th 36th 10th 2nd
15th Harley WR 307th 40th 41st 7th
17th Ford DT 390th 50th 27th 3rd

2017 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Jerry Juedy WR ALA
2 Stanford Samuels CB FSU
3 Trevon Grimes WR OSU
4 Tedarrell Slaton OG UF
5 Navaughn Donaldson OT UM
6 VanDarius Cowan OLB ALA
7 Daniel Wright S ALA
8 CJ Henderson CB UF
9 Marco Wilson CB UF
10 Trajan Bandy CB UM
11 Kadeem Telfort OT UF
12 Kai-Leon Herbert OT UM
13 Jonathan Garvin SDE UM
14 Kemore Gamble TE UF
15 Mike Harley WR UM
16 Shawn Davis CB UF
17 Jon Ford DT UM
18 Amari Carter S UM
19 Robert Burns RB UM
20 Guy Thomas WDE NEB

Reclaiming the State of Miami

NCAA Football: Russell Athletic Bowl-West Virginia vs Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

During Coach Richt’s tenure in Miami he was quoted often as saying the best way to win at Miami is to rope of the counties of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami. The proclaimed “State of Miami”, home to the countries greatest college football resources was now Richt’s backyard. It was this season of recruiting that felt as though a comeback was coming and an upward trend was forming. Though Miami is often mention in the top 5s, 10s and 20s of south Florida athletes, this was the year it felt true. Miami would finish again with the most recruits from both the FL top 50 and the SoFL top 20, seven and eight respectively, while holding on to the end with Jerry Juedy, Tedarrell Slaton, CJ Henderson and a few other SoFL athletes. However, the return of ALA, UF and FSU to the ranks would net Alabama Juedy, holding a trend of wideouts to Alabama, and Henderson with Slaton to UF.

At this point a slight trend on the staff was emerging, as Stacy Searels showed his worth on the trail while the majority of the defensive staff struggling to gain much traction with majors players surrounding Palm Beach, Broward and Dade.

2018 Recruiting Class

2018 UM Commits in the FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
NA Lingard RB 25th 6th 2nd 1st
4th Silvera DT 54th 11th 2nd 1st
6th Pope WR 67th 13th 11th 1st
8th Blades Jr CB 97th 21st 12th 7th
10th Scaife OG 149th 25th 5th 1st
NA Hightower WR 154th 26th 27th 6th
12th Harris RB 173rd 29th 7th 3rd
14th Hall S 184th 32nd 15th 3rd
15th Frierson CB 200th 33rd 21st 8th
NA Mallory TE 211th 37th 8th 1st
NA Reed OG 259th 48th 12th 3rd

2018 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Patrick Surtain II CB ALA
2 Tyson Campbell CB UGA
3 James Cook APB UGA
4 Nesta Jade Silvera DT UM
5 Asante Samuel Jr CB FSU
6 Mark Pope WR UM
7 Kevin Austin WR ND
8 Al Balades Jr CB UM
9 Xavier Williams WR ALA
10 DJ Scaife OG UM
11 Anthony Schwartz WR AUB
12 Cam'ron Harris RB UM
13 Nadeb Jospeh CB UGA
14 Gurvan Hall S UM
15 Gilbert Frierson CB UM
16 Elijah Moore WR MISS
17 Andrew Chatfield WDE UF
18 Curtis Dunlap OG Minn
19 Nik Bonitto OLB OU
20 Robert Hick ILB LOU

Fame, Chains and College Gameday

The most successful recruiting year of Mark Richts tenure at Miami may also be the most talented Miami has had since Randy Shannon’s Miami Northwestern led class of 2009. After securing Miami’s first and only bowl win since 2006, a beat down of former Big East West Virginia Mountaineers, the Hurricanes found themselves winning on the trail early and often throughout the 2017 class. With the introduction of the Turnover Chain, a ten game win streak and College Gameday hosted in a November, Miami was in excellent position to nail the class of 2018. Securing 9 of the states top 50 and 7 of SoFL top 15, Miami looked to be back.

Though as most of the staff earned its money in Florida and South Florida, the expectations set by the hype were never met after Miami followed their wining streak with a 3 game losing streak to end the season. While Miami did well locally, they missed out yet again on the top three talents of the class, stinging not only because of the perfect storm for recruiting efforts, but because the former coach of the players, and possible future position coach in Mike Rumph, now was with Miami. Even as the 2018 class constitutes much of the starting 22 now, it will always be thought of more for the “what ifs” it presented.

2019 Recruiting Class

2019 UM Commits in FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
NA Payton WR 54th 9th 10th 2nd
12th Smith S 188th 25th 16th 3rd
14th Huff OLB 207th 30th 12th 3rd
NA Harvey WDE 210th 31st 12th 3rd
18th Couch CB 340th 42nd 35th 6th

2019 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Tyrique Stevenson CB UGA
2 Frank Ladson WR CLEM
3 Jordan Battle S ALA
4 Kair Elam CB UF
5 Akeem Dent CB FSU
6 Khris Bogle WDE UF
7 Mark-Anthony Richards ATH AUB
8 John Dunmore WR PSU
9 Braylan Ingraham SDE ALA
10 Dontae Lucas OG FSU
11 Kenny McIntosh RB UGA
12 Keontra Smith S UM
13 Ge'mon Eaford OLB ORE
14 Avery Huff OLB UM
15 Jaden Davis CB OU
16 Anthony Solomon OLB MICH
17 Nay'Quan Wright RB UF
18 Te'Cory Couch CB UM
19 Wardrick Wilson OG UF
20 Mike Morris SDE MICH

A Return to the Shallows

While expectations drowned out what was a promising 2018 recruiting class, they completely demolished 2019’s season and recruiting class. After a year that most pundit thought laid the momentum Miami needed to vault into the recruiting worlds top 5, a stalled offense and questionable coaching decision derailed all hopes of a return to greatness. A lucky offense in 2018 that was so fortunate, in 2019, showed its wears to prospective recruits. They completely ran off all QB recruits, and most south Florida offensive talent. The only year Miami missed out on a top 20 SoFL offensive talent was 2019, missing on all 7 players. The defensive struggles recruiting continued as well. As cornerback recruiting continued to hit new lows, inconsistency at DL, with its third coach in 3 years, began to takes its toll as only 3 SoFL talents ended up signing with Miami.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Pinstripe Bowl - Miami v Wisconsin Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The one consistency in Florida recruiting? Miami had taken, up to this point, a top flight safety prospect from the South Florida area, led by Ephraim Banda. Another year passes as the top player leaves for SEC territory while 8 more players bolts for one of Bama, UF and FSU.

2020 Recruiting Class

2020 UM Commits in FL Top 50

State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
State of Miami Rk Last Name Position Nat Rk State Rank Position Rk Nat Position Rank St
NA A Williams S 44th 7th 2nd 1st
NA C Williams WDE 84th 15th 7th 2nd
5th J Knighton RB 105th 16th 10th 2nd
7th Chaney Jr RB 73rd 12th 5th 3rd
NA Rivers OT 127th 20th 12th 2nd
NA Redding III WR 178th 27th 31st 7th
12th Harrell S 231st 36th 23rd 3rd

2020 South Florida Top 20

SoFL RK Recruit Position College
SoFL RK Recruit Position College
1 Donell Harris WDE TAMU
2 Marcus Rosemy WR OSU
3 Derek Wingo OLB UF
4 Xzavier Henderson WR UF
5 Jaylan Knighton RB UM
6 Marcus Dumervil OT LSU
7 Don Chaney Jr RB UM
8 Thaiu Jones-Bell WR ALA
9 Issiah Walker OT UF
10 Bryan Robinson WR FSU
11 Henry Parrish RB MISS
12 Jalen Harrell S UM
13 Ruben Hyppolite II OLB MD
14 Marcus Fleming WR NEB
15 Henry Gray S NEB
16 Marc Britt ATH MISS
17 Jaiden Francois S NEB
18 Samuel Anaele SDE UK
19 Bryce Gowdy WR GT
20 Jonathan Denis OG ORE

A League of Their Own

Some may view this class a master class in relationships and recruiting, others may deem it a miracle. What is it, when compared to the other classes?

A Mind-boggling Outlier.

No winning. New offensive staff. Embarrassing losses left and right. Enough excuses for most recruits to use and carry on elsewhere. But somehow the staff pulled off a top 15 class. However, digging deeper, consistencies can be found. Top running backs, a staple of most Miami classes. A top safety prospect. A bundle of cornerbacks. A bundle of athletes on the defensive line. A declining recruiting opponent in Florida State. After pulling 4 top recruits from The State of Miami in 2015, FSU hasn’t pulled more than 2 in any class since, only totaling 7 since 2015.

Though this class has met nearly none of the requisite environmental markers to support a good class, that’s just what it was, a strong class in the face of strong uncertainties.

Verdict

Overall Miami has gotten 26 of the top 120 players from South Florida since 2015. Thats 22% from the Cream of the Crop.

A deeper look shows that Miami is still getting 20% of the top 60, snagging 12 in the same time frame, and 5 (20%) of the top 30.

The tipping point issues Miami is facing in recruiting are:

  • Miami isn’t getting ANY of the program changing talent in the top 3 players each year from South Florida. Not one in ANY of the 6 classes discussed here. No Jerry Juedy’s, no Partrick Surtain II’s, no Tyrique Stevenson’s. And the list goes on and on.
  • Miami’s recruiting is LARGELY dependent on winning. Following an 8 win or less season, occurring 4 times, Miami has only secured 7 of the top EIGHTY South Florida Recruits, for a paultry .09% commit rate.
  • But when Miami Wins? Following 9 win or more seasons, Miami has cleaned UP, snagging FIFTEEN of 40 possible South Florida recruits, a staggering 38% clip.
  • A consistent Miami team that could stay above 9 wins would quickly eclipse 60%, possible 70% blue chip ratios in 2-3 years and start cracking those Top 3 player lists each year.

This University of Miami regime has only allowed itself to rely, mostly on its proximity and history. Those two items are the main consistencies in the better classes Miami has seen. Exclusive and consistent access to the best talent in America has allowed Miami abnormal ability to piece together good classes even with adverse environments. Based on its most recent history, recruiting on the team has been the most consistent at RB, S and WR and the most underwhelming, aside from a few outliers, at QB and LB. The biggest obstacle Miami has in recruiting isn’t primarily big schools coming in and taking big fish players. The biggest obstacle to Miami’s recruiting is its inability to promote a consistent ability to win. For two years Miami won at great levels for ACC competition. Had it stayed in that trajectory the 19’ class very well may have been special. Miami needs more than just the 2020 season to go well, but 2021 and 2022 as well in order to start eating at the big table.

As it stands Miami recruits with a large net and hopes for players to fall in. Which works due to location. If they want to order any player they want from the South Florida menu, they’ll have to show they can be great for more than one season at a time.