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Miami Hurricanes Recruiting Radar: Numbers and Needs in 2021

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Yeah, I’m several months late on this, but here we go.

State of the U Illustration by Mike Meredith

Welcome back, recruiting junkies! While the casual recruiting fan checks in around signing day, you and I know that recruiting never stops. And that’s why we’re back here again today.

The Miami Hurricanes had a solid 2020 recruiting class. Ranking 10th nationally with plenty of blue-chip talent, this class filled some needs, and set Miami up very well for the future. If you missed any of the nearly 50 pieces surrounding National Singing Day (both of them), then click this link and get caught up. But now, we move on to 2021.

Miami took a big step forward after a mediocre 2019 class with a very nice 2020 class. The goal will be to push the envelope further in 2021 with an ELITE class, which is entirely possible at this moment. We’ll get to the names later — LOTS of names since Miami has 21 commits at the time I’m writing this in July — but we’re looking at the positional breakdown of needs for the roster in this current class right now.

This is an annual reminder but worth saying: things can and do change over the course of a recruiting cycle. While these numbers are a good guideline based on depth at the position both on the roster and in the available talent pool, they are not the exhaustive or definitive. As we saw last cycle (and every cycle, really), recruiting is dynamic and these numbers will change slightly based upon various factors and events.

Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get into it.

Quarterback: 1

I’ve said it a million times, and I’m saying it again: Recruiting Rule #1 is that you have to have a QB in every class. So yes, Miami needs to have a QB in this recruiting class. Shocking, I know.

Miami has 5 scholarship QBs on the roster: RS senior D’Eriq King, RS juniors N’Kosi Perry and Tate Martell, RS freshman Peyton Matocha, and true freshman Tyler Van Dyke. That’s a good group, headlined by the dynamic King, but additional talent is needed moving forward. And, like I said up top, you need a QB every year. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

Running Back: 1+

Miami got the best 2-man RB class in America last year with Donald Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton. Both will have the opportunity to play early, and have the elite talent Miami should always be getting at RB. Those 2 join Cam’ron Harris and Robert Burns as the scholarship running backs, so more depth is needed.

With the possibility of losing both Harris early to the NFL and Burns to grad transfer after this season, Miami needs another RB....and maybe two of them. Either Harris or Burns, or both, could also return, however, so I’ll play Solomon and split the baby and call it 1+ for now.

Wide Receiver: 3

After signing only 1 WR in 2019, Miami bounced back in a big way in 2020 by signing 4 receivers. Still, there’s a need for more talent, and talent that will fit with OC Rhett Lashlee’s new power spread offense, so numbers are needed here, as well.

Adding 3 players this cycle would give Miami 7 new WRs over the past 2 cycles, a needed boost of speed, athleticism, skill, and playmaking ability, and continue a reconstruction of this unit that’s been ongoing since Mark Richt’s first year as Head Coach in 2016.

Tight End: 2

Junior Brevin Jordan is the best TE in America, and a superstar. Fellow junior Will Mallory is developing well, and would start at many P5 schools. Those players are the top of the TE position for yet another year.

After seeing Michael Irvin II and Brian Polendey both transfer, Miami is left with Larry Hodges, and athletic but undersized player, and incoming freshman Dominic Mammarelli as the depth at this position. With Jordan a potential early NFL Draft departure, and both he and Mallory certainly gone following next season if he returns, Miami needs 2 players at TE to replenish this legacy position moving forward.

Offensive Line: 3+

Miami has 15 OL for 2019. Teams ideally want to have 17 OL, with 15 being the floor. So, the Canes have moved up to hit the floor, now it’s time to reach the ceiling. Of Miami’s 15 OL, transfer Jarrid Williams is a senior. So is Navaughn Donaldson, but he’s redshirting in 2020 and will return next year. There are potential transfers out as well, so maybe you recruit to prepare for those potential departures.

Miami finally got some pure Tackle prospects in the last class, and added blue-chip OT Issiah Walker Jr. on a transfer from Florida (after like a month of being in Gainesville LOL) so that’s another great addition to the roster. If Miami were to get 1 C, 1 G, and 1 T in this class, that would be money, and anything beyond that would be bonus.

Defensive Line: 5+

Miami has 14 DL in 2020. Of those 14, transfer Quincy Roche is in his last year of eligibility, Jonathan Ford is a senior on his last ride, and über-talented superstar Gregory Rousseau is being talked about as a potential 1st round NFL Draft pick as a redshirt sophomore, so he could leave early if things go his way.

To replace the talent that is leaving (or potentially leaving), Miami should look to grab 4+ DL this year. Ideally, that would be 3 ends and 2 tackles, but you could flip that and I’d be fine with it. The key, however, is getting at least 2 tackles, because Miami pulled 3 DEs and 0 DTs last year (after getting 3 DTs the year before), so numbers are needed inside in this class.

Linebacker: 2+

Miami got a good pair of LBs last year in Tirek Austin-Cave and Corey Flagg Jr., but more size and speed is needed. A solid pair of LBs in this class with length and athleticism should fill this need pretty easily, I think.

Defensive Back: 4+

Miami has one of the elite Safety groups in the country. Miami has a Cornerbacks group that, quite honestly, needs a bit of work. While the ideal breakdown of this group is 2 CB and 2 S, we need the CBs to be the blue-chip caliber players that are in the Safety room by the boatload. That means game ready players with requisite height (5’11”+), length, speed, and skill.

And yes, I’m singling out the CB recruiting because the S recruiting has been, and is, elite.

Special Teams: 1

Punter Louis Hedley is back and will return again in 2021. Miami hopes to have addressed the kicking woes with transfer Jose Borregales. But, he’s a grad transfer, so he’ll need to be replaced next year.

Good thing Miami has a commitment from his younger brother, Andres, the nation’s top rated kicker according to Kohl’s Kicking, Kornblue Kicking, and Chris Sailer Kicking, the industry leaders in this specialty area. That’ll work, I think.


TL;dr

After all that narrative, here’s the chart on how I see Miami’s scholarship needs for the 2021 recruiting class:

Miami Hurricanes 2021 Recruiting Class Numbers

QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S ST Best Available
QB RB WR TE OL DE DT LB CB S ST Best Available
1 1 3 2 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 (any remaining)

We’ll get to the names shortly — and there a PLENTY OF THEM because Miami’s been on a recruiting hot streak for months. Those “Best Available” slots could easily go to RB or OL, depending on how things break.

The yearly cap on incoming players is 25. Spoiler alert for future pieces, but Miami currently has 21 players committed in the 2021 class already. So, remaining spots are limited, and there could be work to be done if a larger number of players want to join the team this year, particularly if those players are some of the elite prospects still on the board that Miami is chasing.

Finding spots to get to 25 open scholarships next year would, as usual, likely mean there would need to be some attrition from the current roster via transfer after this season. It happens every year that players look to go elsewhere, and that will probably happen this year. You can debate amongst yourselves who could go, or who you want to go. That’s your business, not mine lol.

Whew. Okay. Numbers and Needs are done. It’ll probably be a few days before we get to the current commits....because there are 21 of them (at present) to talk about. And I’ll likely be taking a diffrent, targeted approach to the remaining targets, since there are precious few spots remaining in this class from here on out.

Agree with the numbers as I see them? Disagree and think we need more (insert position here)? Hop in the comments and let me know.

Go Canes