WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Miami has struggled to recruit defensive linemen the past few cycles. Unlike wide receivers and defensive backs, defensive linemen and offensive linemen aren’t as plentiful in South Florida.
The Hurricanes’ margin for error is thin or they have to get creative.
One such off-the-wall option this cycle could be Dorien Josey. The unranked strongside defensive end from Rockledge (Fla.) High School hasn’t played much football. Josey was mostly a basketball player until last fall, when he suited up as a defensive lineman for Rockledge.
But the 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect has all the physical tools to be successful and colleges have taken notice. Georgia offered on Jan. 31. Miami followed on Feb. 6. Mississippi and Florida hopped on this spring.
Now, the under-the-radar defensive lineman is into the double-digit range with Syracuse, Baylor, Central Florida, South Florida and Florida International among those in the mix, too.
“It’s good. I like it,” Josey said of his transition. “Getting back to football. I haven’t played in five, six years. … I’m getting used to it now.”
On Saturday, Josey had one of his best opportunities yet to showcase his talent. Dozens of college coaches flocked to Palm Beach Lakes Community High School in West Palm Beach for a spring jamboree.
Josey and his Raiders played two quarters against South Dade High School of Homestead, Fla., to open the day, then two quarters against Palm Beach Lakes Community a bit later.
Josey, who remains unranked by the 247Sports composite rankings, recovered a fumble in the first game and helped Rockledge play four quarters without allowing a point.
Among those coaches in attendance Saturday: Manny Diaz. Miami’s defensive coordinator spent the day at Palm Beach Lakes looking at a number of the program’s major defensive targets and getting his first good look at Josey in action after safeties coach Ephraim Banda made his way up to Brevard County on May 9 to watch Josey practice.
While Josey once seemed like a potentially serious target for the Hurricanes, the in-state prospect told DieHards it’s changed a bit recently. Communication has mostly dried up.
“Not anymore,” Josey said when asked if he’s still hearing a lot from Miami.
If Josey did enough to impress Diaz on Saturday, the Hurricanes will still be in good position, though. Josey attended junior day on March 24 in Coral Gables, Fla., and walked away impressed with the campus.
He visited the Bulldogs a few weeks before Miami and felt both programs offered similar amenities academically, which is important to Josey.
— Dorien Josey (@BigDorienJosey) February 6, 2018
The trip to see the Hurricanes, at least for a time, put Miami at the front of his mind.
“Really, it was when I went up there. Those dorms, we’re going to be the first people if I go up there,” Josey said. “They have a lot of tutors. They really keep up with players in school and the coaches aren’t going to let them down.”
While he still likes the Hurricanes and Georgia, Josey is hearing from two schools more frequently than the Southeast powers.
Southern Mississippi and Baylor offered Josey on May 10, and the senior is intrigued by both. Baylor, in particular, could become a factor for the Class of 2019 prospect, although Josey admits he’s still learning about the program.
Said Josey: “I don’t know much about them.”