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 2021 recruiting class. Ranking 12th nationally with plenty of blue-chip talent, this class filled some needs, and set Miami up very well for the future. And, it followed the 10th ranked class Miami signed in 2020, so there’s a very good amount of talent on the roster. And that’s before you add in the elite transfers Miami has added recently via the Transfer Portal.
Unlike recent years, Miami has only 1 commitment for the upcoming class at this point in the cycle. That is obviously a result of COVID-19, and the last cycle being conducted entirely in a dead period (no in-person visits of any kind by players or coaches). But, after 2 very strong classes, and the potential for a strong season in 2021 with nearly the entire roster of contributing players returning, Miami should be strongly positioned for yet another elite class in 2022 as well.
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.
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 4 scholarship QBs on the roster: RS senior D’Eriq King, RS freshman Peyton Matocha, true freshman plus (IDK what to call him) Tyler Van Dyke, and true freshman Jake Garcia. 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
This is one that’s changed from the time I started outlining this piece and when I’m publishing it. Miami added a big, bruising blue chip RB in local standout Thad Franklin in 2021. And he was the only RB in the class......until Tennessee fired Jeremy Pruitt. After that, blue chip RB Cody Brown was granted a release from his NLI with the Vols, and ended up picking Miami as a late addition to the class!
Brown will count against the 2022 scholarship numbers for clarity. So, he could be the RB slot for the 2022 class, although he’ll be on campus this summer and on the team and potentially on the field this fall. Makes sense, right? Right.
If it were me, I’d be looking for the best RB available, but preferably one with more than average speed, especially since the only one of the 5 RBs on the roster who has that kind of speed is Jaylan Knighton. But that’s me.
Wide Receiver: 2
For a while, Miami needed to add BIG numbers at receiver. But, after adding 7 HS players (Brinson, George, Redding III, Restrepo, B. Smith, K. Smith, and Worsham) and a college transfer (Rambo) over the past 2 years, Miami is in a great spot in terms of numbers at receiver (some might even say too many). But, the search continues for top level performers at the position despite the high numbers on scholarship.
In the past couple of years, Miami has been hard-pressed to find big numbers and blue-chip talent at WR. With 12 receivers on scholarship at present, the process this cycle should be more focused. Elite prospects are the goal, and a dynamic trait (height, speed, or skill) should be a requirement for any player Miami takes at this position this year.
Tight End: 1+
Brevin Jordan is off to the NFL after a stellar Miami career. Super Junior Will Mallory now steps into the starting role, with Dominic Mammarelli, Larry Hodges, Elijah Arroyo, and Kahlil Brantley rounding out the position. Of that group, Arroyo looks to have the highest ceiling.
The thought for 1+ at TE this cycle is the fact that Mallory will likely leave for the NFL, and without a clear successor at TE1 when he leaves (though there are options), adding another blue-chip talent to continue the legacy of #TEU would be great.
Offensive Line: 4
Miami had 15 OL for 2020. Teams ideally want to have 17 OL, with 15 being the floor.
Heading into 2021, Miami has 17 OL (15 on the roster now plus 2 signees enrolling this summer/fall). With five 4th-year or older players on the depth chart, the work now begins to build this group for the future.
Miami did well to grab 3 very nice prospects along the OL last cycle — OT Michael McLaughlin, OC Ryan Rodriguez, and OG Laurence Seymore — but another strong class with similar (or greater, actually) numbers is needed. There will be top of the roster guys who leave or graduate, and middle/bottom of the depth chart attrition is well within the realm of possibilities as well.
We know OL coach Garin Justice is a good recruiter. But it’s time for him to really step up as the number AND caliber of talent being added to the roster in this class matters greatly.
Defensive Line: 4+
Miami has 16 DL in 2021 — 13 presently on the roster and 2021 signees 5-star DT Leonard Taylor, fellow DT Allan Haye, and blue-chip DE Jabari Ishmael joining the roster this summer/fall. Of those 16 DL, DT Jon Ford, DE De’Andre Johnson, and newly-moved DE Zach McCloud (formerly a Linebacker) are in their last(?) year of eligibility. And DT Nesta Silvera COULD be an NFL draft prospect if he has a big year. So, Miami could lose 4 players from the top of this group after this season.
With Miami having a pair of 1st round NFL Draft picks at DE this year (Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips) and another top 3 round pick (Quincy Roche), there should be no shortage of positive selling points for the Canes and former-now-returned DL coach Jess Simpson to use on the recruiting trail.
With an equal number of players at both DE and DT, targeting 2 players at each position group would be the wise move for Miami this cycle.
Miami continues the search for answers at LB, a group that has mightily struggled since Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney graduated and left the program. Even with Miami having signed 3 LBs last year, another 2 should be the goal. Because at this point, it’s about throwing numbers at the problem until a solution is found.
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 kind of 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 still singling out the CB recruiting because the S recruiting has been, and is, elite.
Special Teams: 0
Punter Louis Hedley is back and will return again in 2022. Miami continues to entrust the kicking duties to a Borregales, with Andres taking over for his Groza Award-winning brother Jose this season.
So Miami’s set on special teams in terms of scholarships.
After all that narrative, here’s the chart on how I see Miami’s scholarship needs for the 2022 recruiting class:
Miami Hurricanes 2022 Recruiting Class Numbers
I’m a bit later than normal with this piece, so there are some names out there. Check out he recruiting news section of the site, where Marshall Thomas has been profiling several potential targets for a little while now. And, of course, Roman Marciante has a couple key QB profiles up as well. (hint hint)
For those keeping count at home, I only have 19 scholarships accounted for in the chart. That is fully intentional. Adding extra players at any of the roster positions would be a bonus, in my opinion, so I’m leaving space for Miami to fill in as needed, where needed.
In the past, those “Best Available”/remaining scholarship slots were normally ticketed for players in the current-year recruiting cycle. However, the more likely scenario is Miami holding those scholarships open for additions thru the Transfer Portal, a mechanic which has been INCREDIBLY valuable and successful for the Canes to add top-end talent to the roster over the past 3 seasons.
The yearly cap on incoming players is 25. We can take 1 off the top already with the late addition to the 2021 class of blue-chip RB Cody Brown, who was released from his NLI with Tennessee after the Vols fired Jeremy Pruitt. With the 2021 class full, Brown will not enroll until summer, and his scholarship will count forward to 2022. So, like I said: 24 open scholarship slots this class for Miami.
Okay. Numbers and Needs are done. Unlike last year, when Miami had 21 players committed when I published this piece, Miami only has 1 commitment at present....and that player may or may not be processed out of this class.
So, for all intents and purposes, Miami is starting this cycle with a clean slate, no players committed, and 24 open scholarship slots. A very different paradigm from years past. Let’s see how that works 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.