Saturday morning a couple hundred high school prospects descended on Coral Gables for the first edition of Mario Cristobal’s #LegendsCamp.
It would be lazy to call this a repackaged iteration of Paradise Camp, and Cristobal made it clear that lazy isn’t going to fly at Miami. Cristobal stated “This is Legends Camp, because it’s not the time for Paradise yet…” and that message rang loudly to those in attendance on Saturday. Cristobal said the approach he and his staff are taking with this program is a “very blue-collar mentality” and that was evident in the competition taking place on Green Tree.
I live streamed up close and personal portions of the event and walked around talking to coaches, alumni, current players, and recruits and the consensus of opinions was this is a much different place now than it was with the former staff. From the intensity level to the commitment to excellence, the vibe is professional and no nonsense.
LIVE STREAM - https://t.co/6eiGg62tqr
Cristobal and staff were very hands on and vocal during the camp, and they took time to instruct prospects on what they would like their technique and mannerisms to look like both on and off of the field.
Although many of the top 2023 prospects in attendance were on Official Visits and not participating, there was plenty of competition taking place with the underclassmen. NCAA rules prohibit official visitors from working out, but they were socializing with all of the Legends alum on the sidelines.
Spoke with @RobbyWashingt10 at #LegendsCamp today and he said him and his twin @BobWashington0 are solidly committed to Miami. Here he speaks with me and @GabyUrrutia247 about potentially playing with @jadenrashada on @CanesFootball pic.twitter.com/p6PVfxrdfl— KappaCane (@KappaCane) June 25, 2022
Some of the participants that stood out to me Saturday were:
Chauncey Bowens - 2024 RB from The Benjamin School in Palm Beach Gardens.
He ran through individual drills smoothly, and showed good hands out of the backfield in 1 on 1 drills versus the linebacker group. He was physical with the defenders near the line of scrimmage, and when the ball was in the air he tracked the ball well and finished with soft hands. I didn’t notice him drop a pass that was thrown his way all day. I spoke with him after the camp and he was very complimentary of the staff and the camp experience. He said that he and Coach (Kevin) Smith are in regular contact and that he wanted to come and get some work in with Coach Smith as he looks to better his game. The rising senior has 17 offers, and Miami is included in that list, and at this time his recruitment is 100% open. He’s a multi-sport athlete that plays football, lacrosse, and track and field (sprints, relays, throwing events). He was named the Palm Beach 5A-1A Offensive Player of The Year for 2021 after gaining 100+yds in 7 of 10 games.
Koby Howard - 2025 WR from Pensacola Catholic in Pensacola, FL
Howard was definitely dominant in the 1 on 1 drills before going down with a leg injury. He was cared for immediately by the staff and trainers including Coach Cristobal and Coach Gattis who stayed with the young man and his family until they were transported to the medical facility for evaluation.
Follow up reports were encouraging and he’s only expected to be out three months with a right leg fracture. Wishing Koby a speedy recovery as he will be a major contributor for Pensacola Catholic and highly sought after receiver in the 2025 class. Koby later tweeted that he received an offer from Coach Cristobal after his performance on Saturday.
first off i’d like to thank the Miami coaching staff for all the love and support.. and i am blessed to have received an offer from the University of Miami @coach_cristobal @CoachPop_Cooney @Coach_Gattis @365canesinfo @RWrightRivals @adamgorney @BHoward_11 @ccrusadersfball pic.twitter.com/YP0palyqwu— kobyy howard (@KobyHoward3) June 25, 2022
Gavin Nix – 2025 LB from IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL
FULL DISCLOSURE - Nix is the son of my fraternity brother Pat Nix, and I have known about him as a prospect for several years as he grew up and played here in the Orlando area. Nix is already tracking as a national linebacker prospect for the 2025 cycle, and he’s one that Miami fans should already be aware of since he earned his first official offer from the previous staff as a Freshman playing at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando. When I asked what intrigued him about Miami, he had this to say “They showed me love… Miami was the first team to believe in me, so I wanted to come back and meet the new staff, and the environment has always been legendary… like they say, Legends Camp, its always been legends here, so I wanted to come and be a part of it”. Nix has ties to Miami as his father is close friends with Miami RB legend Edgerrin James. He currently holds 12 offers from programs such as Miami, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, and Penn State. He has a solid frame that has promising growth potential and he can run and can cover well. He’s shown the ability to change directions with ease and quickly close gaps. With 3 years of high school left Nix said he doesn’t have a leader yet, and is focused on remaining humble and improving his game.
Winston Watkins Jr. (Texas A&M commit) 2025 WR from IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL. -
Watkins was somewhat of a surprise as he doesn’t have much film available from his time at Fort Myers (Fla.) Evangelical Christian where he played varsity as an 8th grader. He has since transferred to IMG and he came to impress in a camp setting and he did just that on Saturday. He was having his way with defensive backs in the 1 on 1’s and was very difficult for them to cover. If the name Watkins sounds familiar, it’s because he is the cousin of current NFL wide receivers Austin and Sammy Watkins. He ran routes well and was able to get in and out of his breaks with ease. When necessary, he fought for the ball well and made contested catches. Watkins tweeted after the camp that Miami offered him.
A great camp after a tremendous lead up is often hard to accomplish, but Mario and staff were able to pull it off. From it being fully open to the public, to the staff being engaged and actively teaching the prospects, and on to them staying around to talk to fans and family members alike afterwards, #LegendsCamp was truly legendary. Having been around this program and university for the last 35 years, this time feels different. We have lots to be skeptical of as we’ve been burned by previous staffs, but I am cautiously optimistic that this time we’ve done it right and will soon reap the benefits of that labor.
What are your thoughts on #LegendsCamp?
Did you attend?
Drop a note in the comments section and let’s discuss.