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Recruiting: The State Of Miami - Class of 2021

How Did Miami Do In Their Own Back Yard With The 2021 Class?

State of the U Illustration by Mike Meredith

The 2021 Miami Hurricanes class is in the books and it has separated itself from the most recent classes. Hyped from start to finish, the talent, from top to bottom, is evenly spread and displays a strong handle on the state of the Florida. More importantly, Miami finally got back to dominating the State of Miami, as coined by Former Coach Mark Richt. Manny Diaz and crew did an excellent job of using the advantages of a very odd recruiting cycle (thanks Covid) to capitalize on a game changing class.

In recent years, as documented in our article, Recruiting: How Have the Miami Hurricanes Done in South Florida?, Miami has struggled to keep a good handle on the talent in South Florida, let alone the entire state. A commonly stated necessity for the Hurricanes recruiting efforts is for Miami to win the region of South Florida, stretching from the top of West Palm Beach, to the bottom of Dade County.

Quick History

Miami Hurricane Football Game Day Images: Toledo vs. Miami

From the 2017 class to the 2020, Miami had signed 21 of the top 80 players (per in South Florida. that’s 26% percent of the talent from the nations most talented and hotly recruited region.

That’s not bad right?

Well, consider this. UF is right behind UM with 14 recruits over that timeframe for 17%, while Alabama comes in third with 8 at 10%. UGA and Nebraska are both getting over 5% of the talent as well. Even nosediving FSU has 5 recruits from the region in that period.

Further, the VAST majority of that 21 was in the 2017 and 2018 classes with 8 and 7, respectively, the latter after Miami’s only double digit win season since 2003. The last two cycles combined don’t amount to either of the 17’ or 18’ classes with only 6 total from 2019-2020.

Lastly, and most cringe worthy, since 2017, Miami has signed ZERO kids ranked in the top 3 of any class during that timeframe. That’s 0-12 folks. Even stretching to the top 5 in South Florida, Miami has only signed three top 5 players out of 20 opportunities.

Double, Triple and Quadruple, YIKES.

2021, THANKFULLY. is a much, MUCH different story.

BY THE NUMBERS: THE 2021 Miami Hurricanes Class



SoFL RK Recruit Position College State Rank
SoFL RK Recruit Position College State Rank
1 Leonard Taylor DT UM 1
2 Dallas Turner WDE ALA 3
3 James Williams ATH UM 4
4 Jason Marshall CB UF 5
5 Jacory Brooks WR ALA 7
6 Terrence Lewis ILB MD 10
7 Patrick Payton OLB FSU 18
8 Romello Brinson WR UM 22
9 Tyreak Sapp DT UF 23
10 Brashard Smith WR UM 24
11 Marcus Tate OG CLEM 27
12 Troy Stellato WR CLEM 28
13 Michael McLaughlin OT UM 33
14 Corey Collier S UF 39
15 Amari Daniels APB A&M 40
16 Yukleith Brown ATH A&M 43
17 Tyler Johnson OLB UM 44
18 Thad Franklin RB UM 46
19 Laurence Seymore OG UM 47
20 Jaden Alexis WR TX 49
21 Ryan Rodriguez C UM 50
22 Jacolby George WR UM 51
23 Jabari Ishmael WDE UM 54
24 Kam Kinchens S UM 57
25 Phillip O'Brien Jr S PITT 60

Welcome to a MASSIVE change in Miami’s fortunes. The 2021 class, is the type of class Hurricanes fans seek year in and year out, with a depth of talent from the very top, all the way through to the last player.

One Man Wrecking Crew

As it pertains to the topic at hand, South Florida players, Miami broke MULTIPLE droughts with this game changing class.

Most obvious?

Leonard Taylor.

Miami securing Leonard Taylor (Miami Palmetto) this cycle broke a few droughts on its own:

  • The first time Miami got the best defensive player in Florida since Chad Thomas in 2014.
  • The first time Miami has gotten THE premier player in South Florida, offense or defense, since Duke Johnson in 2012.
  • The first time Miami signed a top 10 national player since Seantrel Henderson in 2010.
  • The highest defensive recruit since Arthur Brown in 2008.

There is even MORE past that, however, just from the droughts broken above, one can identify how massive the signing of Leonard Taylor is to Miami football.

Two (Five Stars) is Twice as Nice

State of the U Illustration by Mike Meredith

If the signing of Leonard Taylor wasn’t enough, the Hurricanes pulled quite the upset by hauling in the nation’s top safety, James Williams of American Heritage. The 6’5 monster that dominated the middle of the field for the Patriots marks, yet again, another drought breaking occasion, as this is the first time since 2012, once again, that Miami has secured more than one 5 star talent in one class.

Also noteworthy, this is the first American Heritage defensive back to sign with Miami, ever.

(And only the fourth Patriot ever.)

The combination of the two talents is a significant win for the Hurricanes, and despite overtures that the pandemic was to credit for this, a major recruiting win for two players that could have gone anywhere in the country.

The Return of the State of Miami

Not one.

Not two.

Not three.

Not four.....

That exercise of counting Miami’s recruits from South of Martin County goes on for a WHILE before getting to the final number.

And what IS that number?


If we count two incoming transfers (former number one overall Florida recruit in 2018 Tyrique Stevenson, and former Tennessee standout, Deandre Johnson) that numbers creeps up to a whopping SEVENTEEN players that are willing and ready to put on for the CRIB.

Gotta Love It.

Of those 15, eight are from South Florida’s top 20, matching the number set by the 2017 class. That is 4 more than the next closest school (University of Florida) and matches the number of recruits from South Florida secured by Alabama, UF, FSU and Clemson COMBINED.

If we open that up to 25, as the chart above shows, Miami secured more nearly HALF (TWELVE!) of the top 25 players in South Florida. THATS MAJOR, especially remembering to adjust for the fact that this is the most competitive region for talent in America. As for the State of Florida’s top 60? Miami accounted for 20% of that vaunted group.

Wants some MAJOR perspective?

The only school to account for a bigger chunk of the top 25 from all of Florida is Alabama with 7, while Miami secured a very solid 4, a strong 16% of Florida’s cream of the crop.

What a wildly successful recruiting cycle it was, despite a weak 2019 regular season. As for the 2020 season’s succesful final record, it is the first domino to an even more ground breaking class in 2022. From the aforementioned article about Miami’s recent recruiting history:

  • 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.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 12 South Carolina at Georgia

Following, record-wise, a successful season, doubled with the retooled coaching staff, adding the recruiting power of Travaris Robinson, Travis Williams, Jess Simpson and DeMarcus Van Dyke, Miami should be in line to have their best finish spanning two decades.

Ultimately, regardless of how that class shapes out between now and the season, the 2021 in-season results will need to exceed 2020’s in order to secure it.

If this is any indication as to what we can expect in 2022, the Canes are in for a steep incline towards MUCH greener pastures.

Go Canes.