In March, I wrote an article talking about seven 5-star players that Miami stood a chance at landing pledges from. Now, one of those seven, is committed (QB Jaden Rashada), three are closely considering Miami (Jayden Wayne, Jalen Brown and Malik Bryant), two are within reach (Cormani McClain & David Hicks), and just one has ruled out Miami (LB Anthony Hill). It has been 12 years since the Miami Hurricanes have landed a Top 10 prospect, and in 2023, Miami stands a chance with two of the Top 10. Now, let’s take a look at an update to a few of those players and the chances that Miami can land some of the newer 5-star prospects that have been added to their board since March.
No. 3 overall: CB Cormani McClain
In March, I wrote about Miami’s involvement with McClain, and things seem to have only gotten better since then. McClain officially visited Miami on June 24, and the No. 1 corner is also considering Alabama and Florida in addition to Miami, but many believe that it could be becoming a two-horse race between Alabama and Miami. With how Mario is dominating G5 Billy in recruiting, it wouldn’t surprise me if the ‘Canes were able to secure a pledge from the No. 3 overall player in the class of 2023. If he were to become a Hurricane, McClain would be just the second 5-star corner in ‘Canes history, and their first 5-star corner since Tracy Howard in 2012. The 6’1, 165 pound corner has yet to announce anything about his commitment, but I hold a lot of optimism with him due to the momentum the ‘Canes currently hold.
No. 5 overall: DL David Hicks
Hicks was also in the article I wrote in March, but talk has heated up recently after he named Miami as a finalist in his recruitment. The elite defensive lineman officially visited Miami on June 10, and he has said that he loves the scheme and the way that the staff plans to use him, resulting in his interest with the ‘Canes. The 6’4, 270 pound lineman would be the 5th highest recruit in Miami’s history, and much like current ‘Cane, and former 5-star, Leonard Taylor, Hicks is a force to be reckoned with in the interior. Hopefully he sees how the staff utilizes Taylor and how he can be the next man up. Miami is competing with Texas A&M and Oregon for Hicks’ pledge, but recent reports say that you shouldn’t count the ‘Canes out for the Texas native.
No. 1 player in Texas for 2023 is a non-QB. Allen DL David Hicks is position-versatile capable of all things up front. Having a dominant season for the Eagles as a junior pic.twitter.com/0IVXqeIIIT— Sam Spiegelman (@samspiegs) November 29, 2021
No. 20 overall: OT Samson Okunlola
It has been 12 years since Miami recieved a commitment from a 5-star offensive lineman (Seantrel Henderson) and Okunlola has a chance to be the first one to end the drought. The 6’5, 305 pound offensive tackle is one of the most dominant players in the entire ‘23 class, and would be a dream commit for Cristobal and Mirabal in their first recruiting class. Okunlola took his official visit to Miami on June 24, as well, and reportedly made a great impact on the offensive tackle. He hasn’t announced much about his recruitment, but recent developments indicate that a decision date may come out soon. As things stand now, Miami is in a good position to land the No. 3 tackle in the nation after a great official visit.
With #Rivals100 QB Jaden Rashada committing to Miami, could Five-star Samson Okunlola be the next target for the Hurricanes?@RivalsFriedman talks to Okunlola about Miami and other official visits: https://t.co/r0km03ONXk pic.twitter.com/oRzvBIbewO— Rivals (@Rivals) June 28, 2022
No. 29 overall: WR Jalen Brown
Brown has dynamic talent, and would be Miami’s first 5-star WR since 2004 (Lance Leggett). The Miami native will always be rumored to become a Hurricane until he makes a decision, and perhaps has the most realistic chance to join the exciting ’23 class. In the 7v7 circuit, he was a teammate of Rashada with the Miami Immortals 7v7 team and has chemistry with the elite QB (as seen in the video below). In fact, Rashada personally called Brown to come with him on his final official visit at the University of Miami. The two stars have a great relationship, and Brown has mentioned that he knows he can achieve great things as a ‘Cane with Rashada as his signal-caller. His game-breaking speed combined with Rashada’s deep ball is something that teams in ‘23, ‘24 and ‘25 will fear. This is what Coach Cristobal was brought to Coral Gables to do; keep the talent home.
No. 30 overall: EDGE Jayden Wayne
The relationship between Wayne and Cristobal has been in the works since Cristobal was at Oregon and was one of Wayne’s first offers, if not the first. The Tacoma, WA native announced he will be spending his senior season at IMG Academy in Florida, hopefully allowing him an easier transition to life in Florida. With the success that Miami has had with edge rushers Gregory Rousseau, Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche, Wayne could easily the be next in line for the tradition of making it to the NFL. In addition, why not come learn from NFL Hall of Famer Jason Taylor? Wayne is announcing his commitment on July 9, and multiple crystal balls on 247sports and On3 have the talented edge rusher selecting Miami. Miami has a great chance of securing the 6’5, 245 pound EDGE for the next 3-4 years.
5-star Jayden Wayne is a physical and athletic specimen with almost limitless potential pic.twitter.com/1VKDvw1LST— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) February 14, 2022
No. 34 overall: S Joenel Aguero
Miami is known for producing safeties with the best of them, so it makes sense that Aguero is interested in coming to Coral Gables. Aguero visited Miami on July 24, along with McClain and Okunlola and took a picture with McClain that has ‘Canes fans dreaming. Aguero, the second-best safety in the nation, has close ties with DB coach Jahmile Addae, and credits him as the reason for considering the ‘Canes. He mentioned that Addae has been on him for while, dating back to his time at UGA and that the relationship has stuck. The Hurricanes are a finalist in the recruitment of the elite safety along with Georgia, Ohio State and Florida. Aguero will be announcing his college decision on July 23. Multiple predictions from 247sports have the 6’0, 195 pound safety committing to Georgia, but those predictions were in November of 2021, long before any of his official visits. In addition, Addae was still at UGA when that crystal ball was cast. I may be more optimistic than others, but I’m confident in Aguero picking the ‘Canes.
Can Miami Secure All Six Players?
I firmly believe all of these recruits could pick Miami because of one word: momentum. Players like playing for good teams and with good players, so if one elite player starts the movement, it could start a flood of other 5-star players joining along. If Miami secures the commitment of Wayne on July 9, and shortly after, the commitment of Aguero on July 23, this could create even more driving power for the rest of the class to commit.
If Wayne chooses the ‘Canes, it would make perfect sense for Hicks to make the move to Miami. How can you double team Wayne or Hicks when they are both on the field? It’s a win-win for the both of them that should result in plenty of sacks and tackles for loss. DBs will also have an easier time, so McClain and Aguero can take advantage of quarterbacks while they are under pressure from Wayne and Hicks. Both Aguero and McClain are considering Florida, and that makes me more confident considering the issues with their 44th ranked recruiting class. Also, why not learn from one of the best DBs of all-time in Ed Reed?
Okunlola could pick Miami just based off the fact that the ‘Canes are one of the only schools that the coveted tackle can start at as a freshman. In addition, why wouldn’t he want to be coached by one of the best offensive line development groups in Cristobal and Alex Mirabal. Brown’s Miami ties and relationship with Rashada could prove to be the reason why the speedster stays home. I expect Brown to be a Miami Hurricane when it comes down to it.
How Good Can Cristobal’s First Class Be?
This class has the potential to be the best in Miami’s history in terms of rankings. In addition to the highly touted Jaden Rashada, Riley Williams, Nathaniel Joseph and others, Miami’s class with the six players listed above could easily be up there with the best in the nation. With just 17 commits, this would put the ‘Canes at No. 1 in the class of 2023 rankings, just ahead of Notre Dame and Ohio State. Only time will tell how many of these six that Cristobal and co., secure, but recent indications and momentum have many involved with the ‘Canes feeling excited.