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Recruiting foundations: Pipeline schools for Miami’s last 10 recruiting classes

Where have the Hurricanes gotten their talent from the past 10 years?

NCAA FOOTBALL: SEP 27 Duke at Miami
Sebastian the Ibis leads the Miami Hurricanes onto the field against Duke in September 2014.
Photo by Richard Lewis/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Miami Hurricane football program has made recruiting South Florida a top priority.

But just how much of a priority?

In Miami’s last 10 recruiting classes (2011-2020), just under 41 percent (92-of-226) of the prospects who signed with the Hurricanes went to high school in Dade, Broward or Palm Beach Counties. Just over 62 percent (141-of-226) of all signees are from a school in the state of Florida.

But where specifically has Miami been successful in South Florida, in the rest of the state of Florida and in the rest of the country?

This article takes a look at 10 high schools that Miami has made a pipeline for talent over the past 10 years.

This is will be the first part of SOTU’s recruiting foundations series that will continue throughout the summer that takes a deeper look at Miami’s efforts on the recruiting trail and how they have shaped the football program.

In-State Pipeline Schools

Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 8

Top Hurricane: WR Phillip Dorsett (2011-2014). Dorsett played in 43 games for Miami and finished his career with 2,132 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.

The rest: DL Jelani Hamilton (2012-2015), DL Anthony Moten (2014-2017), OL Nick Linder (2014-2016), TE Michael Irvin II (2016-2019), WR Sam Bruce (2016), WR Mike Harley (2017-present), CB Al Blades Jr. (2018-present)

Analysis: Miami certainly isn’t the only program to call Aquinas a pipeline school but the Fort Lauderdale powerhouse has been good to the Hurricanes. A former Raider will likely start on each side of the ball for the Hurricanes this season with Blades and Harley. Since 2012, there has been at least two Aquinas alums on the Hurricane roster in every season.

Bradenton IMG Academy

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 5

Top Hurricane: OL Tyree St. Louis (2015-2018). St. Louis started 21 games at right tackle and 13 games at left tackle in his Hurricane career. He was named honorable mention All-ACC in 2018.

The rest: DL Scott Patchan (2015-2019), DL Ryan Fines (2015-2017), Brian Hightower (2018-2019), Michael Redding III (2020-Present)

Analysis: It never hurts to have one of the top prep football factories in the country less than four hours from campus. While Miami has not had the best luck in IMG players panning out into stars, the Hurricanes will continue to recruit IMG heavily like the rest of the country does.

Miami Northwestern

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 5

Top Hurricane: CB Artie Burns (2013-2015). Burns’ six interception season as a junior in 2015 vaulted him to being the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2016 first round draft pick. He played in 34 games as a Hurricane.

The rest: LB Mike Smith (2014-2018), CB Ryan Mayes (2014-2016), CB Nigel Bethel Jr. (2018-2019), LB Sam Brooks (2019-Present)

Analysis: Smith served as a key reserve during the final three years of his career for Mark Richt. Brooks will have every opportunity to earn major playing time this season as Miami looks to replace graduated players at linebacker. The Hurricanes could very well double this number of players from Northwestern when the Class of 2021 signs.

Miami Central

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 5

Top Hurricane: RB Joseph Yearby (2014-2016). Yearby compiled 2,575 total yards and 17 touchdowns in three seasons for Miami before declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft. He was one of four players who started every game for the Hurricanes in 2015.

The rest: CB Thomas Finnie (2011-2012), OL Trevor Darling (2014-2017), OL Navaughn Donaldson (2017-Present), LB Waynmon Steed (2017-Present)

Analysis: Darling and Donaldson stand out here as having key roles in anchoring offensive lines during their time at Miami. Steed has been plagued with injuries as a Hurricane and Finnie’s career at Miami was cut short because of legal issues. Miami has done much better at Central over the past 10 years after Randy Shannon failed to sign any Rockets from 2007-2010.

Miami Booker T. Washington

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 4

Top Hurricane: RB Mark Walton (2015-2017). Walton finished his Miami career with 2,630 yards from scrimmage and 28 touchdowns despite missing eight games of his final season at Miami with an injury. He scored 10 touchdowns as a freshman in 2015 and 15 as a sophomore in 2016.

The rest: DL Chad Thomas (2014-2017), DL Demetrius Jackson (2014-2018), LB James King (2015)

Analysis: Thomas and Jackson each were major contributors on Miami’s defensive line once the Hurricanes switched to Manny Diaz’s attacking defensive scheme. King transferred to Akron in 2016 after playing sparingly as a freshman in 2015. BTW is another example of a Dade County public school that Miami has traditionally prioritized.


Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 4

Top Hurricane: CB Tracy Howard (2012-2015). Howard was a victim of a poor defensive scheme at Miami. He still finished his UM career with 104 tackles and five interceptions.

The rest: WR Malcolm Lewis (2012-2016), LB Jermaine Grace (2013-2015), DB Brian Balom (2020-Present)

Analysis: Lewis was never truly the same player after suffering that gruesome injury at Georgia Tech. Grace was an outstanding linebacker for the Hurricanes before getting his career cut short because of an NCAA issue in August 2016. Miramar is the lone Broward County public school on this list, a group of schools that Miami has prioritized over the years.

Orange Park Oakleaf

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 4

Top Hurricane: LB Shaquille Quarterman (2016-2019). Quarterman led the Miami defense throughout his Hurricane career and was named All-ACC all four years as a Hurricane.

The rest: LB Darrion Owens (2014-2017), OL Jalen Rivers (2020-Present), DL Chantz Williams (2020-Present)

Analysis: Owens’ season-ending knee injury in 2015 changed his career forever but he was still able to play an important role as a reserve on Miami’s 2017 10-win team. Oakleaf is the first school outside of Dade or Broward counties on this list and represents a victory in Miami’s efforts to recruit the northern part of the state more aggressively.

Miami Gulliver Prep

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 4

Top Hurricane: DL Joe Jackson (2016-2018). Jackson had 22.5 sacks in three seasons for Miami and finished his career with 129 tackles.

The rest: WR Dionte Mullins (2016-2017), DB Cedrick Wright (2016), RB Robert Burns (2017-Present)

Analysis: Burns has never flashed as a game changer for Miami but has been solid in a reserve role when called upon. Mullins and Wright left the program before truly getting a chance to make an impact. As high school football changes in South Florida, it has become more important for Miami to have a foothold in schools like Gulliver Prep, Chaminade-Madonna, Belen Jesuit and Columbus. Private schools outside of St. Thomas Aquinas have begun to produce elite talent, albeit not at a rate close to what Aquinas has.

Out-of-State Pipeline Schools

Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 4

Top Hurricane: DT Olsen Pierre (2011-2014). Pierre started 36 games in his Hurricane career and finished his career with 96 tackles.

The rest: WR Robert Lockhart (2012), OL Taylor Gadbois (2012-2015), LB Alex Figueroa (2013)

Analysis: Miami took four players in three classes off the post-graduate team at Fork Union and only Pierre finished his career at Miami. Lockhart, Gadbois and Figueroa were all dismissed by Al Golden or left the program.

West Hills (Ca.) Chaminade

Signees in 2011-2020 classes: 3

Top Hurricane: QB Brad Kaaya (2014-2016). Kaaya is Miami’s all-time leading passer with 9,968 yards passing in three seasons as the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback. He also threw 69 touchdowns.

The rest: K Matt Goudis (2011-2014), OL Bar Milo (2015-2018)

Analysis: Kaaya is clearly the gem from Chaminade but Goudis was a contributor as well. He made 57 extra points and 13 field goals in 2013. Milo played in just five games as a reserve in his four-year career before not being retained for his redshirt senior season.


Which in-state pipeline high school is most important to Miami?

This poll is closed

  • 36%
    Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas
    (73 votes)
  • 56%
    Miami Northwestern
    (113 votes)
  • 2%
    Bradenton IMG Academy
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    Miami Central
    (5 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (leave answer in the comments)
    (4 votes)
199 votes total Vote Now