David Wilson/DieHards
Max Johnson is the nephew of coach Mark Richt and Miami's top quarterback target in the Class of 2020.

Miami recruiting: Major QB target Max Johnson has timeline in mind

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.


Elite 2020 QB Max Johnson visits Miami for third time

Max Johnson’s trip to Coral Gables, Fla., this weekend could have felt like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s usually those two times each year when the 4-star pro-style quarterback from Oconee County High School in Watkinsville, Ga., knows he’ll be spending time with coach Mark Richt and quarterbacks coach Jon Richt.

Johnson’s football bloodlines run deeper than just being former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson’s son. Mark Richt is his uncle. Jon Richt is his cousin. When the family gets together, football — and, more specifically, quarterbacking — is an inevitable topic of discussion.

Saturday was sort of like one of those family gatherings. Johnson competed at a Mark Richt Football Camp for juniors and seniors. He spent the day working closely with Jon Richt and a loaded group of quarterback prospects at Miami.

Johnson tried not to think about the assistant coach as a close relative. Instead, the 6-foot-5, 213-pound quarterback treated it as an opportunity to learn from one of the most promising young quarterbacks coaches in the country.

“It was fun,” Johnson told DieHards on Saturday after the Mark Richt Camp in Coral Gables. “He’s not my cousin when it comes to camp. It’s fun learning from him.

“On the field is different than off the field. Off the field, we hang out together all the time. On the field is more serious. We’re all learning from each other and getting advice for each other.”

Johnson’s experience living in a football household certainly helped jumpstart his development, but the junior has made a name for himself the last few years. Johnson checks in as the No. 70 overall prospect in the latest 247Sports.com rankings for the Class of 2020. He sits at No. 3 on the list among pro-style quarterbacks. Johnson claims more than a dozen offers already, and the list has grown since he threw for 1,918 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore.

While Johnson won’t publicly narrow down his options, the elite prospect does have a timeline in mind. Quarterbacks typically like to commit early and Johnson is no exception. The young athlete would like to have his mind made up before his senior season.

“I’m still looking forward to the whole recruiting process,” he said.

At this point, there’s probably no program Johnson is more familiar with than the Hurricanes. The pro-style prospect first visited Miami in November to watch the Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium. He then returned to the Miami metropolitan area Feb. 17 before competing at The Opening Miami regional. This weekend marked his third visit with the Hurricanes.

The weekend started at the Richt Camp, where Johnson put together one of the standout performances. He wrapped up the day by attending the new Miami Nights event in the evening with several committed members of the Class of 2019 and a loaded list of top Hurricanes targets.

The event at night was his chance to get to know some potential future Miami players. The camp, however, provided an opportunity to see the current players. Improving was Johnson’s priority, but he also got to know some of the current players who worked the camp.

“I saw the team and how they bond together,” Johnson said. “Everyone being down here is kind of cool. I just love being down here and competing with everyone, so I’m just enjoying the whole process.”

Johnson might not have left his weekend with the Hurricanes any closer to a decision. Still, Miami probably helped itself. Every time he visits, Johnson feels more comfortable with the Hurricanes, he said.

“It’s great seeing everything,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of coming together, so it’s been an awesome process.”

South Florida DE Braylen Ingraham places Miami in top 6

With Miami’s secondary situation for the Class of 2019 coming together during the past few weeks, the Hurricanes will be able to dive into recruiting the defensive line for the rest of the summer. On Friday, they got a bit of good — if unsurprising — news from one of their top targets. Braylen Ingraham, a 4-star strongside defensive end in the 247Sports composite rankings, put out a top 6 and Miami made the cut, as expected.

Ingraham’s top 6 suggests the Hurricanes are still mostly battling the same group of suitors they have been for a while. Oklahoma seems to still be the biggest threat after the defensive end from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., officially visited Norman in April. Florida, Alabama and Kentucky are all still in the mix, too, and the 6-4, 270-pound defensive lineman took an official visit with the Wildcats earlier this month.

The only somewhat surprising addition is Oregon. The Ducks haven’t been linked much to Ingraham, although the senior has mentioned them in passing. Still, the Hurricanes appear to be the clear team to beat after hosting Ingraham at their Miami Nights event Saturday.

The Hurricanes got an additional bit of good news in the trenches Monday as 3-star guard Jakai Moore included Miami in his top 7 despite never visiting the Hurricanes.

Miami has a handful of offensive line prospects much higher on its list of priorities than the senior from Patriot High School in Nokesville, Va. A visit with the Hurricanes could be in play at some point, though, even if Moore seems likely to stay a bit farther north.

The 6-6, 275-pound offensive lineman also included Clemson, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio State and Penn State on his list. Virginia, the other major in-state program, was the only surprising omission from Moore’s list.

The Hokies, Gamecocks and Nittany Lions seem to all be positioned best at this point. Moore visited all three at various points this spring and even officially visited South Carolina in April.

Young DB commits add major offers ahead of dead period

No two players committed to the Hurricanes’ Classes of 2020 or 2021 have done more to put themselves on the map this spring than a pair of local defensive backs. Henry Gray, a 4-star cornerback in the Class of 2020, and James Williams, an unranked athlete in the Class of 2021, both piled up offers throughout the spring as coaches caught wind of their fall film or stopped by practices.

With camp season winding down and the dead period right around the corner, offers have slowed down a bit. Gray and Williams are both heading into the summer with some new high-profile suitors, though. On Friday, Penn State reached out to offer Gray, while Auburn extended an offer to Williams.

Both Gray and Williams committed to Miami on March 31 and have remained steadfast in their pledges, although both are young enough to acknowledge they’re still not totally shutting down yet.

Gray, in particular, has seen his profile expand this spring. The 6-foot, 172-pound defensive back from Miami Central High School claims more than 20 offers from schools that include Florida State, Clemson, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina and Ohio State. The elite junior expects to play both cornerback and free safety this season.

Williams is also climbing close to 20 offers after Auburn jumped into the mix last week. Williams visited the school for the first time Friday and left Alabama with an offer. The 6-4, 202-pound sophomore from Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami Gardens holds additional offers that include Florida State, Syracuse, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan. The young defensive back primarily will play strong safety and wide receiver this year.

Miss a previous edition? Find every post of DieHards’ daily Miami recruiting notebook right here.