Miami recruiting: Hurricanes recapture momentum by landing blue-chip tackle
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.
Blue-chip T Michael Tarquin joins Miami’s Class of 2019
Michael Tarquin’s mind was all over the place throughout his recruitment. South Carolina was the first school to offer in March 2017 and the 4-star tackle was certain he’d join the Gamecocks. About a month later, Miami offered and Tarquin was sure he’d eventually join the Hurricanes.
The offensive lineman’s thought process jumped around about three or more times before he finally committed to Miami on Saturday. Clemson offered last May, and Tarquin fell in love with the Tigers. He visited the Hurricanes a couple of times in the summer and put Miami back at the top of his list. Then he attended a pair of games in Columbus during the 2017 season and Ohio State leaped to the front. On Jan. 21, he attended junior day at Oklahoma and started feeling the Sooners.
“It was hard after the Oklahoma visit,” Tarquin told DieHards after committing, “but after the junior day I kind of knew.”
His final decision began to form March 24, when Tarquin visited Coral Gables, Fla., for Miami’s junior day. He had already locked in another trip to Greentree Practice Fields for Saturday, and unless someone could convince him otherwise, this was when he would pledge to the Hurricanes. The offensive lineman did take an official visit to Norman, Okla., the weekend of April 13, and the Sooners made the decision just a little tougher. Still, he committed to Miami while on an unofficial visit Saturday.
— Michael Tarquin (@Mike_Tarquin70) April 21, 2018
Tarquin’s commitment is one of the Hurricanes’ most important so far in the Class of 2019. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior from Belleview (Fla.) High School is the No. 1 tackle in Florida, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. After Miami failed to land a single blue-chip tackle in the Class of 2018, Tarquin will have a chance to be the Hurricanes left tackle of the future. Miami likely will have to replace one starting tackle heading into the 2019 season, which means a spot on the two-deep depth chart will be within reach for Tarquin as a freshman.
Tarquin’s commitment is also a good sign the Hurricanes are back on the right track after a shaky April, recruiting-wise. Miami watched 5-star wide receiver Frank Ladson, 4-star guard Dontae Lucas, 4-star running back Chez Mellusi and 3-star cornerback Renardo Green all commit to ACC rivals over the Hurricanes earlier this month as both the Tigers and Florida State passed Miami in the class rankings.
Tarquin’s commitment keeps the Hurricanes at No. 7 nationally in the team recruiting rankings and at No. 3 in the ACC. The lineman is the third 4-star commitment in the class, checking in behind wide receiver Jeremiah Payton and outside linebacker Anthony Solomon. He also joins 3-star tackle Renato Brown as the second tackle in the class, although Brown hopes to play defensive line in Coral Gables. Kingsley Eguakun, a 3-star guard, is the only other true offensive lineman in the class.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
There’s a good chance Tarquin winds up as the top-ranked true tackle for Miami this cycle, although the Hurricanes are targeting a pair of 4-star guards capable of kicking outside. Evan Neal is the top target along the offensive line after starting at left tackle for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as a junior. William Putnam falls in the same category as a true guard, who started at right tackle for Plant High School in Tampa, Fla. Neal, who was once committed to Alabama, is one of the most sought-after linemen in the country with Oklahoma, Georgia, the Crimson Tide and Florida State all involved. Putnam is also high on the Seminoles, plus Ohio State.
Miami will probably still try to add Darnell Wright to the class, too. The Hurricanes visited the 5-star tackle from Huntington (W.Va.) High School in January and will have another chance to see him in May with an evaluation period in progress. Wright visited Alabama this weekend, and also likes Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Ohio State.
Miami makes first impression on elite DE Kevin Harris
Kevin Harris’ interest in Miami came together quickly. The Hurricanes offered the 4-star weakside defensive end from Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga., on March 8, and less than a month later, he placed Miami in his top 3.
Alabama and LSU, Harris’ two other finalists, beat the Hurricanes to the punch in hosting unofficial visits this year, but Miami got to make the first official impression. The 6-4, 218-pound edge rusher spent the weekend with the Hurricanes for the first official visit of his recruitment. Harris, who is defensive line coach Jess Simpson’s first major target, will announce his pledge May 1, and he seems to be enjoying his first taste of Miami.
— Coach K Watson (@therealkwat) April 22, 2018
— Coach K Watson (@therealkwat) April 21, 2018
Congrats man❗️ https://t.co/g63IxhtVAb
— Kevin G. Harris II (@kevin_harris2) April 21, 2018
Harris’ visit came after a pair of earlier planned visits had to be called off at the last minute. He’ll take an official visit to Baton Rouge, La., this coming weekend before he makes his decision.
Tarquin and Harris weren’t the only two to spend Saturday with the Hurricanes. Miami hosted two more 4-star prospects in outside linebacker Avery Huff and running Nay’quan Wright. Huff is one of the most highly regarded linebackers the Hurricanes are still courting and plays alongside recent 4-star outside linebacker commit Anthony Solomon at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Wright is a bit lower down on the list of running back targets for Miami, but was a teammate of 4-star running back signee Cam’Ron Davis’ at Miami Carol City Senior High School in Miami Gardens, Fla. Jarvis Brownlee, a 3-star cornerback in the 247Sports.com rankings, also visited the Hurricanes from Miami Carol City Senior on Saturday. All three have relatively open recruitments, although Toledo might have the early edge for Brownlee as he remains under the radar.
The Hurricanes welcomed a handful of underclassmen to campus, too. Henry Gray, a 4-star cornerback from Miami Central High School in the Class of 2020, visited for the second time since he committed to Miami on March 31. Elijah Roberts, an unranked weakside defensive end, was another 2020 prospect of note in attendance. The Hurricanes are still the only team to have offered the defensive end from Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School.
University of Miami Scrimmage Tomorrow🙌🏾#Serge19
— NW5️⃣ (@B0SSMAN_5) April 21, 2018
— Jarvis Brownlee1️⃣⚒ (@Touchmoney_11) April 21, 2018
— George Roberts 8️⃣🔥 (@_humbleviii_) April 21, 2018
Key defensive targets take in spring games across country
While the Hurricanes hosted their first official visitor of the 2019 cycle, a handful of other important targets on defense made the rounds across the SEC and Big Ten. Chris Steele and Jaden Davis both took their second official visits, while Khris Bogle took his first.
— steele 🎒 (@KinggChris7) April 17, 2018
What’s up Penn State😏📍
— IV (@Jayd4_) April 21, 2018
I Know Where My Heart Is At 📍
— K H R I S B O G L E 🥀 (@khris_a1) April 22, 2018
Bogle’s initial official visit was something of a surprise. The 4-star weakside defensive end from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale hadn’t seriously narrowed down his recruitment, yet the Volunteers seemed to just be on the fringes, fighting to keep pace with teams like the Hurricanes, Florida State and Clemson. Tennessee finally got Bogle on campus this weekend — something the defensive end had been aiming for — and made a strong first impression. The 6-5, 215-pound defensive lineman told 247Sports’ Grant Ramey he plans a return trip for a camp after enjoying his visit.
“Most definitely the atmosphere,” Bogle said about stood out most about his weekend in Knoxville. “I liked it a lot. Fans showed a lot of love.”
Steele followed up a trip to see the Sooners with an official visit to LSU for another spring game. Every official visit for the 5-star cornerback from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif., is critical now as he plans to announce his commitment July 7. Even though he’s taken a number of unofficial visits, Miami has yet to host the 6-1, 176-pound defensive back. With each weekend he spends elsewhere, the Hurricanes’ opportunities to do so dwindle. Miami is part of Steele’s top 14, which also includes Texas, Penn State, Southern Cal, Oregon, Cal, Florida, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Tennessee, among others. The former UCLA commit has a tentative official visit scheduled with the Gators for Sept. 8, although it’s unclear whether it’s still planned.
Davis also spent last weekend on an official visit with in Oklahoma. This time he took a trip up to State College, Pa. The 4-star cornerback from St. Thomas Aquinas took his second official visit with the Nittany Lions this weekend for the Penn State spring game. Like Steele, Davis plans a July commitment. The Hurricanes and Florida appear to have a slight edge for the 5-11, 170-pound defensive back. He also likes Clemson and Ohio State.
Two Miami commits also spent Saturday at Alabama’s spring game. A group of prospects from South Florida headed to Tuscaloosa for an unofficial visit, with Brown and 4-star athlete Marc Britt both making the trip.
@_gocrazy26 looks real comfortable flanking @NickSabanUofA with @Renato__59 …. @DoItAllDent103 @Bryanrobinson34 and @marcbritt_P6 make this a #FullBoat @coachmarroquin #WhosUpNext 🔥🔥🔥🔥🏟 pic.twitter.com/lhuZSKixjB
— PalmBeachFire (@PBFireFootball) April 21, 2018
Brown has a strong relationship with Crimson Tide assistant Craig Kuligowski from the coach’s time in the same role at Miami. The 6-5, 310-pound lineman from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington did not visit the Hurricanes during the spring.
Britt, meanwhile, is one of the centerpieces of Miami’s 2020 class. The 6-2, 180-pound junior from Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah pledged to the Hurricanes as a wide receiver in December. He has remained firm since. Britt most recently visited Miami for the Hurricanes’ underclassman day March 31.
Miami offers 2-way standout from Georgia
It’s not exactly clear where Zion Puckett is best suited to play in college. It is clear, however, that the 6-1, 190-pound senior from Spalding High School in Griffin, Ga., is one of the most dynamic athletes in the Peach State. Miami wants him.
Puckett, considered a 4-star wide receiver, added his 25th offer Wednesday. Miami offered a scholarship to the two-way standout last week, 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins reported.
Puckett plays both wideout and free safety for Spalding, and could be an option at either spot for the Hurricanes. Puckett’s recruitment appears to be pretty open, and just about every offer he claims is high-profile. Florida State, N.C. State, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kansas State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Stanford and Central Florida have all offered.
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