Miami recruiting: Best-case, worst-case scenarios at each position this cycle
Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. David Wilson and the DieHards.com team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read his daily notebooks here at 6:30 p.m. ET from Sunday through Thursday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
Who are the top remaining priorities at each position?
Miami is well on its way to another excellent class to follow up its breakthrough Class of 2018. The Hurricanes’ Class of 2019 already includes 15 commitments, six blue-chip prospects and potentially multiple complete position groups. Miami slots in at No. 9 in the 247Sports composite rankings and No. 2 in the ACC. These are the sort of classes the Hurricanes need to seriously challenge Clemson’s conference supremacy.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
With a little less than six months until the early signing period, Miami has some clear pathways to another top-5 class. A lot can still change, but the Hurricanes have options at almost every position. DieHards tried to sort through all the different scenarios still in play for Miami, the best of one will likely land the Hurricanes in the top 5 and the worst of which will have them fighting for a spot in the top 10.
Current commits: None
Miami is all in on Michael Johnson Jr. The Hurricanes pinpointed the 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Ore., early and have recruited him harder than anyone. Even as Johnson has taken official visits to Penn State and North Carolina State, the Hurricanes still look like the team to beat. The 6-foot-4, 192-pound quarterback spent part of his spring break visiting Miami for a few days in March.
And the Hurricanes are very seriously all in with Under Armour All-American. Miami has offered five quarterbacks this cycle, and Johnson is the only one who hasn’t committed. The Hurricanes have to beat out Florida State, NC State, LSU and Penn State or they’ll likely be left without a quarterback this cycle.
Best-case scenario: Johnson
Fallback plan: None
Long shot: None
Current commits: RB Marcus Crowley
Miami thinks it already has one gem committed with Crowley, a 3-star running back from Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville. The Hurricanes would like to add one more, though, and 4-star running back Kenny McIntosh seems to be the most likely option. The halfback from NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., is the younger brother of former Miami defensive lineman RJ McIntosh and seems to be a somewhat significant Hurricanes lean. The 6-1, 216-pound senior plans to make a decision by the end of the summer and has said he intends to be at Paradise Camp in July.
If something strange happens, Miami could turn the pressure back up on Daniel Carter. The 4-star running back from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale once said the Hurricanes were recruiting him hardest, although Pitt seems to have seized control after hosting the 5-10, 204-pound halfback for an official visit earlier this month. Ohio State and Michigan are among some of the other notable schools to offer.
Miami will keep a spot open for Trey Sanders if he wants in. The 5-star running back from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., has visited the Hurricanes multiple times this year, although Florida, Alabama and Georgia seem to be better positioned.
Best-case scenario: McIntosh
Fallback plan: Carter
Long shot: Sanders
Wide receiver and tight end
Miami is at least halfway done with its receivers corps in the Class of 2019. Payton could wind up as the Hurricanes’ only true wide receiver in the class. The Hurricanes would like to pair one more tight end with Hodges.
The top priority is finding another tight end, and Keon Zipperer is the top choice. The 4-star tight end from Lakeland (Fla.) High School has visited Miami multiple times this season and is attracted by the Hurricanes’ history with tight ends. It could push Miami past Florida to land the 6-3, 242-pound receiver. If Zipperer doesn’t pan out, the Hurricanes probably will hone in on Jalen Wydermyer. The 3-star tight end from Dickinson (Texas) High School is also high on Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M.
Miami will be a bit pickier at wide receiver. The Hurricanes are content to stick with just Payton unless another appealing option comes along. John Dunmore seems like the top option now. The Hurricanes offered the 4-star wide receiver from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, Fla., on May 2 and invited him to Miami Nights on June 16, which should help them make up ground on the Seminoles. There are a handful of other options in the mix, too, including Kendrell Scurry. The 3-star wide receiver from Maplewood High School in Nashville visited the Hurricanes in November and recently named Miami to his top-3 list with Mississippi State and Oregon.
Best-case scenario: Dunmore, Zipperer
Fallback plan: Scurry, Wydermyer
Long shot: WR Frank Ladson
The offensive line is still somewhat in flux for the Hurricanes. Miami is off to a good start with Tarquin and Eguakun. The Hurricanes need to add at least one more tackle, and it almost has to be Evan Neal. The 4-star tackle from IMG originally hails from Okeechobee, Fla., and is a cousin of former Miami running back Cleveland Gary. The elite prospect is a potential three-year starter at left tackle. He could almost single-handedly transform the Hurricanes’ offensive line, so Miami needs to fend off the Seminoles and Crimson Tide.
Miami is desperate enough for offensive linemen that the Hurricanes won’t stop with just Neal. Miami still wants to bring William Putnam back to campus after the 4-star guard from Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, Fla., visited in November. Until the Hurricanes host him again, though, it’s tough to consider Miami on the same level as other suitors such as Florida State.
As with Sanders, the Hurricanes will also leave a spot open for Darnell Wright. Miami has kept in contact with the 5-star tackle from Huntington (W.Va.) High School and would like for him to visit. Still, it’s tough to see the Hurricanes beating Virginia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State.
Best-case scenario: Neal, Putnam
Fallback plan: T Jeremy James
Long shots: Wright, G Kardell Thomas
Defensive line is one of the positions most up in the air for Miami, even with Williams, Munoz and Daxon all committed. It’s not crazy to envision the class doubling in size by the end of the cycle.
At defensive end, the Hurricanes’ top targets are 4-star weakside defensive end Khris Bogle and 4-star strongside defensive ends Quashon Fuller and Braylen Ingraham. Bogle and Harvey both attended Miami Nights, and the Hurricanes could lock up Ingraham by the end of the summer, although he is also considering Oklahoma. Fuller, a Florida State commit, visited the same day for a camp. Bogle wants to decide later, but Miami will keep a spot open for the elite defensive end from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. He recently named the Hurricanes a slight leader.
Tyler Davis would be the dream pickup at defensive tackle right now. The 4-star defensive tackle from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla., seems to be favoring Clemson and Ohio State, but he visited Miami on June 2. Defensive line coach Jess Simpson feels he’s a perfect fit for his scheme.
The Hurricanes don’t lack for backup plans if some of these options don’t pan out. Simpson spent the spring expanding the defensive line board and Miami is in at least decent position for 4-star weakside defensive end Chester Graves, 3-star strongside defensive end Colby Wooden and 3-star defensive tackles Jalar Holley. Graves is also high on Alabama and Mississippi. Wooden is considering Auburn and Clemson. Holley likes Auburn, too. Smiley recently named the Hurricanes to a top 10 with N.C. State, Virginia, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Penn State and Nebraska.
Best-case scenario: Bogle, Fuller, Ingraham, Davis
Fallback plan: Graves, Wooden, Smiley, Holley
Current commits: OLB Anthony Solomon, OLB Avery Huff, OLB Samuel Brooks
Like at wide receiver, the Hurricanes are probably done at linebacker unless the perfect option comes up. Solomon, Huff and Brooks give Miami an extremely strong three-man haul, all of whom provide different skill sets.
Jesiah Pierre, who de-committed from the Hurricanes on May 18, is one of the few players the Hurricanes would like to bring back into the fold. The 3-star outside linebacker from Mount Dora (Fla.) Christian Academy, formerly known as Christian Home & Bible School, was slotted to be the middle linebacker in this class for the Hurricanes. He named Miami to his new top 5 along with North Carolina, Florida, Ole Miss and East Carolina.
Best-case scenario: Pierre
Fallback plan: None
Long shot: OLB Rian Davis
At least at cornerback, the Hurricanes’ class came together this spring. Miami might be content to just stick with Brownlee, Couch and Good at cornerback. The safety situation is a bit more complicated as Miami needs at least one more player to complement Smith.
Even though he’s considered a 4-star cornerback by the 247Sports composite rankings, Tyrique Stevenson is the Hurricanes’ top safety target. The defensive back from Miami Southridge High School has visited the Hurricanes too many times to count, but he’s also high on Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn. Jordan Battle apparently has become a major priority, too. Miami made a rare exception to host the 4-star safety from St. Thomas Aquinas for an official visit the weekend of June 16 and is steadily making up ground on the Buckeyes. Mark-Antony Richards also projects as a safety even though the 4-star athlete primarily will play running back and cornerback for Wellington (Fla.) High School this season. The Hurricanes seem to be a slight favorite for the younger brother of star wide receiver Ahmmon Richards, although Florida and Auburn are both making compelling pitches, too.
Should Miami opt to take another cornerback this cycle, Jaden Davis is probably the top choice. A 4-star cornerback for the Raiders, Davis is high on the Hurricanes but might wind up with the Sooners or Nittany Lions instead. John Dixon also could become an option if he attends Paradise Camp and performs well. The 3-star cornerback from Tampa’s George D. Chamberlain High School named Miami to a top 5 with Alabama, South Carolina, Ohio State and Penn State, although he is nursing an injury.
The Hurricanes’ backup plans at safety are pretty good, too. Josh Sanguinetti is a 4-star safety from NSU University and is very high on Miami. He might wind up at Oklahoma or Stanford, though. Cornelius Nunn also likes the Hurricanes, although Miami hasn’t recruited the 3-star athlete from Miami Palmetto High School in Pinecrest, Fla., as hard as schools such as Syracuse, Georgia and Nebraska have. Those schools are all part of his top 8. Nunn, who projects as a safety, plans to make a decision next Monday.
The secondary is another place where the Hurricanes have a prospect they’ll save room for. Akeem Dent, who remains committed to the Seminoles, is arguably the top defensive back in Florida and visited Miami on Feb. 17. The 5-star cornerback from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington is a former Hurricanes commit, and his mother has a good relationship with cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph.
Best-case scenario: Stevenson, Battle, Richards
Fallback plan: Davis, Dixon, Sanguinetti, Nunn
Long shots: Dent, S Brendan Gant
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