Miami recruiting: TE Jalen Wydermyer plans official visit with Hurricanes
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.
Jalen Wydermyer high on Miami, but visit will have to wait
Jalen Wydermyer grew up four states and more than 1,000 miles away from Miami, but when the Hurricanes finally started recruiting the 3-star tight end in December it was as good of a birthday present as Wydermyer could have asked for.
Wydermyer understands everything that gives Miami such a good reputation historically. The Dickinson (Texas) High School tight end grew up watching documentaries about the Hurricanes with his Michael Irvin-worshipping father. He knows all about Miami being tight end university, producing Pro Bowl players such as Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen. When the Hurricanes offered Wydermyer in December, Miami quickly jumped near the top of Wydermyer’s list.
“I grew up watching Miami, pretty much,” Wydermyer told DieHards. “My dad was a Miami fan. He was a fan of Michael Irvin and just the atmosphere down there, how they would beat everybody so bad. I used to watch the documentaries with my dad about the U and as soon as I saw that I was like, ‘That’s somewhere I’d like to go and like to play at, that kind of atmosphere.’
“I never thought I’d get recruited by them and when they did recruit me, they recruited me a day before my birthday. That was a blessing.”
Wydermyer still hasn’t been able to travel to Coral Gables, Fla., and he probably won’t take an unofficial visit. An official visit, however, seems inevitable. Wydermyer said that’s the plan.
“I’m definitely going to get out there for an official, but I’m not really sure about an unofficial just because of the way of getting there,” Wydermyer said. “That’s a long drive.”
Until he can make his way to South Florida, Wydermyer is keeping in touch with tight ends coach Todd Hartley on a weekly basis. The two chat every Wednesday and are building a strong relationship from afar.
A few of my favorite edits🔥💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/OLpMz3n05v
— Jalenwydermyer (@Wydermyer81) April 17, 2018
The conversations are never much about football. Hartley asks about Wydermyer and his family. Wydermyer asks about Hartley’s family and maybe a little bit about spring football.
The 6-foot-5, 215-pound tight end sits behind 4-star Lakeland (Fla.) High School tight end Keon Zipperer in terms of priority, but given Zipperer’s affinity for Florida, there’s an excellent chance Wydermyer winds up in the Miami class. With his size, Wydermyer might be the perfect complement to 3-star tight end commit Larry Hodges. Wydermyer racked up 412 yards and a team-high 8 touchdown catches on 25 receptions for Dickinson as a junior in 2017. His length makes him a bit more traditional of a prospect than Hodges, who only checks in at about 6-2, 200 pounds.
Miami’s competition has picked up since the Hurricanes offered, though. The senior is now up to nearly 20 offers with SEC stalwarts like Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Texas A&M all involved. Wydermyer, who the 247Sports composite rankings consider the No. 16 tight end in the Class of 2019, took his first unofficial visit to see the Bulldogs on April 7, then spent Saturday at the Aggies’ spring game.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
Both SEC visits, Wydermyer said, “came out of nowhere.” Wydermyer’s financial situation can make it tough to take too many visits, but a high school coach helped him get to Athens, Ga., and then College Station, Texas, in back-to-back weekends. As of now, the prospect doesn’t have any other visits lined up, although the interest is thrilling.
“It’s a blessing. Honestly, it’s been great. It’s been fun,” Wydermyer said. “The hardest thing is really just trying to stay humble and trying to keep the main thing the main thing.”
While playing in college is the ultimate goal, Wydermyer has a few milestones he wants to hit before he arrives at his college of choice. The athlete participated in an Under Armour All-America Camp on Sunday at Houston’s Westfield High School.
As his profile continues to rise, Wydermyer hopes his level of production will force the All-America selection committees to take notice. He said Sunday was a good starting point.
“All-American is essentially the main goal for me other than college,” Wydermyer said. “That would be a real honor to get there.”
OLB Kevin Harris sets commitment date ahead of Miami visit
Kevin Harris will visit the Hurricanes for the first time Saturday, and it is expected he will announce his college decision shortly after that. The 4-star outside linebacker from Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., plans to announce his commitment May 1, a little more than a week after he’ll spend a weekend in South Florida.
I will be announcing my commitment May 1st.⏳
— Kevin G. Harris II (@kevin_harris2) April 17, 2018
Landing a commitment from Harris would be a much-needed boost for Miami, which has had a less-than-ideal week on the trail. The 6-4, 218-pound edge rusher recently named the Hurricanes one of his three finalists, alongside the Crimson Tide and Tigers. Harris is the first major target for new defensive line coach Jess Simpson, who has strong ties in the Atlanta metropolitan area thanks to his time as the coach at Buford (Ga.) High School. Harris, who ranks No. 40 nationally, could become a centerpiece at defensive end for Simpson.
Harris’ visit with Miami won’t be the last before his decision, though. The linebacker plans to officially visit LSU the weekend of April 27. He already unofficially visited Alabama on April 5.
Harris would become the No. 2-ranked player in the Hurricanes’ class were he to commit. He would also give Miami two blue-chip linebackers, joining 4-star outside linebacker Anthony Solomon. The Hurricanes also hold commitments from 3-star outside linebackers Jesiah Pierre and Samuel Brooks. Miami has yet to land a true defensive end in the cycle.
Miami still in mix for 5-star 2020 WR after de-commitment
The junior from Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla., put out a new top 11 on Tuesday and the Hurricanes made the list. Re-commitments are rare and Miami has a long list of powers to beat out for the 6-5, 195-pound pass catcher, but the Hurricanes still have a chance at this point. Florida State, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee, Texas, Ohio State, Penn State and Nebraska are the other 10 teams on the list.
— DANGER🤫🚫 (@Begreatliltone2) April 17, 2018
Manuel’s de-commitment is already his second. The wideout also backed off from a brief pledge to Tennessee last year. The Hurricanes still should get plenty of chances to host Manuel between now and his signing date. Manuel, who also plays some defensive end, is good friends with Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry. Given Manuel’s stature — 247Sports.com considers him the No. 13 overall player in the Class of 2020 — the Hurricanes will continue pushing.
Miami 2020 CB commit adds another major offer
The offers continue to steadily pile up for Henry Gray, and the latest one for the 4-star cornerback is from one of Florida’s best. Fresh off an undefeated season, Central Florida offered a scholarship to the defensive back from Miami Central High School.
Blessed to receive my 14th offer to the University of Central Florida ⚔️ #ChargeOn #Knights @Th3LAB_ @larryblustein @1coachwhite @CoachDgip @Corey_Bender @ChadSimmons_ @JerryRecruiting @Andrew_Ivins @UCF_Football @RLS2294 @DBWilson2 @DavidFurones_ @DemetricDWarren pic.twitter.com/p5Tv8uZpEw
— Henry Gray (@D1bound_zay2121) April 18, 2018
Gray is one of the Hurricanes’ most recent commits as he was one of four prospects to pledge as part of Miami’s underclassman day March 31. Gray, who started at free safety for Miramar (Fla.) High School in 2017, now holds more than a dozen offers and sits at No. 71 in the 247Sports rankings.
The 6-1, 170-pound junior doesn’t plan to shut his recruitment down yet and now he has a number of good programs to consider. Some of Gray’s offers include Louisville, Boston College, Syracuse, Kentucky, Arkansas, Baylor, South Florida and Florida Atlantic.
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