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Leonard Manuel, part of Miami's Class of 2020, accepted the invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Miami recruiting: WR Leonard Manuel commits to 2020 All-American game

David Wilson

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.


WR commit Leonard Manuel locks in with U.S. Army All-American Bowl

A single glimpse at Leonard Manuel is all it takes to understand why he’s an All-America-level prospect. The 5-star wide receiver, ranked No. 13 overall in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports.com, checks in at about 6-foot-5, 195 pounds. He’s big enough to occasionally play defensive end and fluid enough to already be the go-t0 receiver for a perennial contender at Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla. As a sophomore, Manuel led Vanguard with 678 yards and 9 touchdowns on 40 catches. He also logged 21 tackles.

His talent and potential got perhaps the greatest bit of affirmation in February, when he landed an invitation to the 2020 U.S. Army All-American Bowl. On Monday, the Miami commit accepted the offer.

Manuel had been striving for an invitation ever since his freshman season, when he competed in a Football University All-American Game in San Antonio. The showcase coincided with the Army All-American Bowl and Manuel got to spend the week around the main event. He knew then he wanted to play in the All-American Bowl one day, he just didn’t expect the opportunity to come so soon.

“It’s not an honor underclassmen usually get,” Manuel told DieHards on Monday, “but when I got the invitation I was really excited.”

Manuel, who pledged to the Hurricanes in November, is the third Miami commit in the past two weeks to say he’ll play in a 2020 All-American showcase, joining 4-star athlete Avantae Williams and 3-star strongside defensive end Tre’von Riggins, who are both headed to the Under Armour All-America Game.

It’s a testament to the strength of the 2020 class the Hurricanes already have built. Miami sits atop the 247Sports team rankings for the 2020 cycle with four top-100 players and four more 4-star prospects. Riggins is the lowest-ranked commit at this point but has the seal of approval from the Under Armour All-America Game.

RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board

Right now, Manuel is the crown jewel and continues to say everything right about Miami. The in-state athlete took an under-the-radar visit to Coral Gables, Fla., last month planned to attend Miami’s spring game Saturday before an Amateur Athletic Union basketball tournament conflicted. Even as he visits other schools, Manuel insists he’s dead set on winding up with the Hurricanes.

“The same thing they’re doing now,” Manuel told DieHards in March when asked what the Hurricanes need to do to hang on. “Everything’s good. I never second-guessed myself about changing or nothing. I just get out and go to other schools to make sure I’m making the right decision. That’s all.”

Manuel’s most recent visit came Friday when he stopped in at Southern California for the first time. USC is one of more than 30 schools to offer the wideout, and while Manuel was competing with Central Florida’s Rat Pak 7-on-7 team at the adidas National Championship on Saturday and Sunday in Torrance, Calif., he went to see the Trojans.

Manuel, who was once committed to Tennessee, has a wide-ranging offer list at this point and hasn’t done much narrowing down beyond the Hurricanes. Florida State, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Penn State, Michigan, Nebraska and Central Florida are among the schools that have offered. The Seminoles, Gators, Bulldogs, Cornhuskers and Clemson are some of the other teams Manuel is high on at this juncture, and he visited both Florida programs in March.

A trip back to South Florida soon would go a long way toward re-establishing some momentum for the Hurricanes in this recruitment. Miami’s coaches are doing a good job from afar. They can make an even better impression in person.

“All the time. Every day,” Manuel said of the coaching staff’s communication level. “Miami. Paradise.”

News, nuggets from adidas National Championship

  • Frank Ladson helped South Florida Express go undefeated in Southern California. The 5-star wide receiver from South Dade High School in Homestead, Fla., scored a pair of touchdowns in the championship game. The rising senior continues to be high on the Hurricanes and Clemson after two visits in the Miami metropolitan area in the past month.

  • Chris Steele told 247Sports’ EJ Holland that his top 7 will be dropping this week. The 5-star cornerback from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., said Texas will be one school in the mix. It looks as if South Carolina will make the cut, too, and it would be a surprise if USC and Oregon don’t. The Hurricanes should still be able to sneak into one of the last four spots for the rising senior, who was one of the most dominant defensive backs this weekend for Fast Houston at El Camino College.
  • Josh Sanguinetti was another key component of the Express’ undefeated run through the weekend. The 4-star athlete from NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., primarily lines up as a safety for South Florida. The rising senior visited the Trojans with his teammates Friday while in California.
  • Jeremiah Payton pulled in an offer from USC while in Los Angeles with Rat Pak. The 4-star wide receiver from Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Fla., told 247Sports’ Chris Trevino he would like to return for an official visit. The visit to see the Trojans on Friday was the rising senior’s first since committing to Miami on Feb. 20.

 

  • Tyrique Stevenson, who recently transferred to Miami Southridge High School for his senior season, was another piece of the Express’ loaded secondary. The 4-star cornerback made plays out on the edge for South Florida.
  • Kenny McIntosh made one of the most impressive catches of the weekend for the Express. The 4-star NSU University running back used to be considered an athlete prospect and he showed why Sunday. The rising senior, who occasionally splits out to wide receiver for University, can make huge plays out there. McIntosh is the younger brother of former Hurricanes defensive lineman RJ McIntosh.

  • Brendan Gant continues to prove he’s comfortable anywhere in the secondary. The 4-star safety, who committed to the Crimson Tide in December, frequently played cornerback for Rat Pak and held his own. The rising senior from Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Fla., visited Miami on March 9. He also told Chris Swanson of Rivals.com he would like an offer from the Trojans after visiting USC on Friday.
  • Jaden Davis keeps locking in spring official visit dates. The 4-star cornerback from Fort Lauderdale’s St. Thomas Aquinas High School will check out Oklahoma this weekend, then Penn State the weekend of April 21. Now the rising senior has a third date set: Davis told Holland he’ll see Texas the weekend of May 4. Davis had a good weekend with South Florida, too. He was one of the team’s best slot cornerbacks in the tournament.
  • Jordan Battle‘s good offseason continued this weekend. The 4-star St. Thomas Aquinas safety locked down the back end for the Express. The rising senior will visit Ohio State this weekend and the Buckeyes are still the favorite. He also plans to visit Texas this summer as the Longhorns could join Miami, Georgia and Michigan as challengers to Ohio State.

 

  • Marcus Crowley suited up for Rat Pak, and Rivals’ Adam Gorney spotlighted the 3-star Miami running back commit as someone who made splashy plays. A 2019 prospect at Jacksonville’s Trinity Christian Academy, Crowley visited the Trojans with his teammates Friday.
  • Miami has looked like the clear leader for Fred Davis for a little while, although just about every national power could become a factor for the 4-star cornerback. The Class of 2020 recruit from Trinity Christian visited USC on Friday while in town with Rat Pak. He told Rivals’ Chris Swanson he could see himself with the Trojans, even though he still doesn’t hold an offer. He plans to visit Gainesville, Fla., on Saturday for the Gators’ spring game.
  • Henry Gray was yet another piece of South Florida’s loaded secondary. Fresh off a commitment to Miami on March 31, the 4-star Miami Central High School Class of 2020 cornerback also visited USC on Friday. He doesn’t plan to shut down his recruitment this far in advance, however.
  • Avantae Williams plays some safety for Rat Pak, which means the 4-star athlete stopped in to see the Trojans on Friday, too. The rising junior Miami commit, who recently transferred back to DeLand (Fla.) High School, already holds an offer from USC.
  • Jermaine Burton made the trip out to the West Coast with Georgia’s Hustle Inc. The 4-star wide receiver recently transferred to Marietta (Ga.) High School to play with 4-star pro-style quarterback Harrison Bailey, and the two linked up for some big plays throughout the weekend. Burton, a Class of 2020 prospect, remains firm in his pledge to the Hurricanes, but visited the Trojans with Hustle on Monday.

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