Hello again, recruitniks. Recruiting never sleeps, so even while I’ve been away at the Secret Day Job, things have progressed. Last weekend’s Elite Prospect Day was a departure from the 2022 class to look into, and build the foundation for, the future of 2023, 2024 and beyond.
But this weekend, we’re back in full focus on the 2022 recruiting class with the final visit weekend of the year. Why the final weekend? Because there’s a dead period that starts on Sunday night, and National Signing Day is Wednesday, February 2nd. So, if you want to get a prospect on campus for some much-needed face time before decision day, this weekend is the only time left to do it.
Final weekend visits are notoriously precious, because they’re the last time any school will get face to face contact with various prospects. And, we’ve seen final weekend visits pay off for Miami (Tracy Howard in 2012) and also go poorly (Brian Edwards in 2018)...and plenty other examples in between.
But, with this being the final weekend, AND with Mario Cristobal at the helm of the program, there’s plenty of reason to believe these visits could be very beneficial for Miami. Which visits?
Opa Locka (FL) Monsignor Pace 5-star DE Shemar Stewart. THE crown jewel of this group, and potentially this class, is 6’6” 272lb All-American DE Stewart. A top 10 player nationally, top 3 at his position, and the top ranked recruit in the State of Florida, Stewart is the kind of player Miami has seldom been able to keep home. While Texas A&M has long been the leader here, Miami has made a huge push since Cristobal was hired. Stewart was the first call to a recruit Cristobal made. The staff rolled up to Stewart’s house 4 deep at 12:01 AM after the dead period ended recently. Stewart eschewed another unofficial visit to College Station in favor of returning to Miami for a visit 2 weekends ago. And, with only an Official Visit to Georgia last weekend on the books, Stewart will return to Miami again for an OV this weekend.
There are plenty other recruits to watch both here and elsewhere this weekend, but my focus starts and ends with Stewart. He’s a gamechanger the likes of which Miami sorely needs to add in this class. Dudes like him don’t come along often. Gotta leverage this visit to get him in the class.
Seattle (WA) Rainier Beach 5-star OL Joshua Conerly Jr. The #2 OT in this class, Conerly is well built at 6’5” 283lbs. He was named the Anthony Muñoz Lineman of the Year as the best lineman in the country this year, which seems like a good thing, in my humble opinion. The connection from Conerly Jr. to Miami is simple: Mario Cristobal and Alex Mirabal work here now. There are many other suitors for the 5-star OT, so Conerly Jr. might not make a decision until March. But getting him on campus this weekend is unquestionably a good thing, so the hope is that Miami can use this visit to position themselves well as this recruitment really starts to heat up.
Ellenwood (GA) 4-star DL Christen Miller. Another All-American, Miller is a powerful and dynamic defender at the point of attack. Miami is a new suitor for this player as well with Cristobal’s return to The U, but that doesn’t mean there’s no chance he comes here. Miami clearly has needs along the DL, and pairing Miller with the players already in the class — DEs Cyrus Moss and Nyjalik Kelly — would be great. Adding Miller and Stewart (and more?) from this visit weekend would be truly incredible.
Lake Charles (LA) College Prepr 4-star RB TreVonte’ Citizen. Oh look, another All-American coming down for a visit this weekend. Citizen is a former LSU commit, but opened things up after Ed Orgeron was fired and Brian Kelly was hired in Baton Rouge. Citizen has had a great many suitors since opening things up, and Miami just took a transfer in RB Henry Parrish from Ole Miss. But, there’s no RB in this actual class from HS, and Citizen is a darn good option. Just not sure Miami can overcome the more favorable depth chart situations elsewhere that could potentially see Citizen play earlier than he likely would here.
Pleasant Grove (AL) 3-star OL Anez Cooper. If you’re looking to add size along the OL in this class, the 6’6” 352lb Cooper would be a good choice for that. He’s big, he’s strong, and he’s got potential to play inside or outside at the college level. Miami’s staff visited him this past week, and he’s on the list to visit, and while he’s not the OL of the Year such as Conerly Jr., he’d be a quality addition for depth and development at a minimum. And with Cristobal and Mirabal here working with the OL, there is plenty of reason to believe that they could develop Cooper into something very nice down the line. Cooper has taken no other OVs, so Miami is in a good place to make a move to close on the big man this weekend.
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons 3-star DE R. Mason Thomas. A 6’2” 215lb Edge Rusher, Thomas is an Iowa State commit, and has been pledged to the Cyclones since July. That commitment came before most of Thomas’s big time offers, and there’s a good chance he ends up elsewhere come Signing Day. With visits to Kentucky and Oklahoma in the recent past, and a visit to Miami this weekend, Thomas is looking for a spot with a big time P5 program. Miami is obviously looking for the right players in this class, and there’s reason to believe they are in position to push hard to get Thomas to flip from ISU and stay home.
Ft. Lauderdale (FL) Cardinal Gibbons 3-star DT Ahmad Moten. Teammate of the previous play on this list — EDGE R. Mason Thomas — Moten has won a pair of State Championships teaming up with the talented edge rusher for Gibbons. If the name seems familiar, it should; Ahmad is the younger brother of former St. Thomas Aquinas and Miami DL Anthony Moten. At 6’3” 290lb, the younger Moten has good size to play inside at the college level. He’s previously taken a visit to Oklahoma (with Thomas), but also to Iowa State, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Not sure he’s gonna make a decision on Wednesday, but he’s a quality option who could fill a “plan b” role in someone’s class depending on how things shake with other targets.
This is where we take a quick look at which target or targets may be visiting schools other than Miami this weekend. And, even if they’re not in the Gables, OVs are things we always keep an eye on.
3-star OT Matthew McCoy - Florida. Another target for Miami along the OL taking a visit to Gainesville. UF has beaten Miami for several OL recruits recently, so this bears watching due to that trend.
4-star OL Dave Iuli - Oregon? Look, I know this visit isn’t on the books as of now, but when a team changes coaches, players can visit again with the new staff. Oregon were near-mortal locks to sign Iuli before Cristobal and Mirabal left. They had him committed and everything. Now, Miami is in a prime spot, but what happens if Iuli returns to Eugene last minute? Can/will the Ducks and new coach Dan Lanning try to revive that connection and get Iuli on campus for a last weekend visit? We’ll see.
If you’re wondering where San Diego (CA) Lincoln 4-star CB Jahlil Florence or Cypress (TX) Cy Park 5-star LB Harold Perkins are, they’ve canceled all January visits and changed visit plans this weekend, respectively. As such, neither will be visiting Miami, and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter where they visit because they won’t be coming here in the end either way.
Beware the Secret Visit
Last thing I’ll say here: secret visits happen. Usually they get out when someone sees the player. Like when Jerry Jeudy took a visit to Miami the last recruiting weekend a few years ago. It was a secret.....until people saw Jeudy on Miami’s campus.
That could happen again either here or elsewhere. We’ll recap things after the weekend, but if someone scheduled to visit doesn’t, or someone who isn’t scheduled to visit does, don’t be shocked. That’s par for the course in the world of recruiting.
Usually I end with a poll about how many commitments you think Miami will get this weekend. But, with Signing Day mere days away, I don’t expect any commitment to be made public until Wednesday anyway. So, that’s why no poll this time.
But, there you have it. The prospects scheduled to visit here, and a couple of players to watch who are (or could) visit elsewhere this upcoming weekend.
Hop in the comments section below and discuss this....or anything your heart desires, really.