Coach Mario Cristobal once said that a recruiting cycle takes two years, and that Miami needs to keep its talent home. With the class of 2024, this is imperative. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, there are four 5-stars that hail from South Florida. This is one of the best classes in recent memory for South Florida recruits. The ‘22 and ‘23 classes both had two five-star players, and the ‘20 and ‘19 classes both had zero five-star recruits. With the exception of the loaded ‘21 class that contained five five-stars, this ‘24 class could go down as one of the best South Florida classes in the last six years. It won’t be easy to beat the top programs for these guys, but Miami needs to keep their talent home. These four players could start the chain of recruiting dominance in South Florida that Cristobal and Miami need to secure.
Before I get into this, I want to mention that I know that this is really early, but recruiting starts when guys are young and the impressions that are made will stick with them when they choose their next destination. I also understand that these rankings will almost undoubtedly change, but these are still elite talents from South Florida and Miami needs to leave an impact on these players.
No. 3: WR Jeremiah Smith, Chaminade-Madonna
The No. 1 WR in the class of 2024, Jeremiah Smith is an incredible prospect that possess speed and size. The 6’3, 185-pound WR averaged 21.5 yards per catch in 2021 (31-667-7). He excels when isolated, and has the speed to run past corners at will. His blend of speed and size paired with the ability to track the ball through the air makes him dominant. Since he’s only a sophomore, he will only continue to grow as a player. A player with incredible potential, Smith is someone that the ‘Canes need to recruit hard.
No. 4: ATH Joshisa Trader, Miami Central
An elite two-way player, Joshisa Trader would most likely play offense at the next level. The 6’1, 170-pound receiver averaged an incredible 22.7 yards per catch in 2021, reeling 26 catches for 592 yards and 6 touchdowns. Trader possesses an ability to seemingly make the first defender miss every single time paired with an expertise of going up to get the ball. His after-the-catch skill is what makes him one of the best prospects in the country, as he can turn a ten-yard curl into a 50-yard touchdown with ease. A duo of Smith and Trader at Miami would be dominant. Hopefully Miami can leave an impression with the No. 4 overall recruit.
Joshisa Trader with the nice catch in the end zone to put Miami Central up 34-21 with 4:59 left in the fourth quarter. American Heritage in a very deep hole now. @SSHighSchools @FlaHSFootball pic.twitter.com/RKXNXoS5Md— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) November 20, 2021
No. 17: LB TJ Capers, Columbus
An elite edge, OLB TJ Capers would come in and set an impact immediately. At 6’2, 230-pounds, his impact was felt in 2021, forcing two fumbles and accounting for 53 tackles. In addition to being an elite edge, Capers has the capability to drop back in coverage. He has true run-stopper instincts when he lines up at middle linebacker, as well. Capers’ speed is electric, and he has unreal potential. He is a must-get for the ‘Canes, and one that can transform a defense entirely.
TJ Capers with a sack. Miami has already offered the 2024 linebacker. pic.twitter.com/1WfsmxsGie— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) November 27, 2021
No. 21: S Zaquan Patterson, Chaminade-Madonna
Probably the most realistic of the bunch, Zaquan Patterson is a safety that would come to Miami to learn from the best: Ed Reed. Patterson is an elite safety that brings a lot of versatility, as he lined up at linebacker for numerous snaps. I see Patterson as a perfect fit at the Striker position in the future. In 2021, he had four sacks, an interception and a total of 69 tackles. Patterson would be an amazing addition to the safety tradition at the University of Miami. The ‘Canes need to be all over him.
Zaquan Patterson is having himself a game. Big sack here. pic.twitter.com/nUhPytiZ1r— Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) August 28, 2021
How Realistic Could This Be?
To me, there are a few points that could make or break the impact of their recruitments.
Does Miami secure pledges from Brandon Inniss, Jalen Brown and/or Hykeem Williams?
- I wouldn’t expect Smith and Trader to come if Miami cleans up at WR with the ‘23 class. The days of sitting behind for two years are done, but if Miami misses in ‘23, the chances look greater. The two WRs were teammates at Monsignor Pace in 2020, and could possibly team up at the next level. Ohio State seems like the leader for the two, but there is always the possibility of them staying home and playing for the crib.
Does Miami get a commitment from Dante Moore or Jaden Rashada?
- With Tyler Van Dyke most likely leaving after this season, I think the selling point for Smith and Trader will be securing a top QB in the 2023 cycle. By the time they get on campus, TVD and Jake Garcia will most likely be gone, and there is no telling how Jacurri Brown’s development will go. Dante Moore and Jaden Rashada are two of the most elite throwers in their class and Miami has been recruiting them heavily. It’s simple. WRs want to play for good QBs and we’re seeing that more and more with the ‘23 class. Secure an elite QB prospect, and WRs will come to play for him.
How does it go for James Williams, Avantae Williams and Kamren Kinchens?
- For Patterson, I think the development and draft stock of these three players will be key in his recruitment. For example, it’s not a hard recruiting pitch for Ohio State to say to a WR, “Hey, you see that? Three of our wide receivers were first-round picks in 2022.” Miami needs to prove that their players can make it to the next level while in Coral Gables. If the three highly touted safeties get drafted early and make names for themselves, I think Patterson will be a Hurricane to follow in their footsteps.
Could These Players Start the South Florida Dominance?
It would be very hard to pull in all four, but that is what needs to happen. Miami needs to have South Florida talent perform for The Crib, not other schools. Keeping South Florida talent home is the way to return the ‘Canes to the promised land. If anyone can do it, it’s Coach Mario Cristobal.
Mario Cristobal on football in South Florida: "Guys play football down here not only because they want to, but because they have to. It's a way of life down here. It's in the DNA."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 7, 2021
And on recruiting: "It's time to make sure the talent stays home."