David Wilson/DieHards
Anthony Solomon is the second 4-star prospect to commit to Miami's Class of 2019.

Miami recruiting: Reloading Hurricanes add All-American LB

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.

All-American OLB Anthony Solomon commits to Miami

Since the start of the 2019 recruiting cycle, linebacker was clearly a priority for Miami. All three of Hurricanes’ projected starters for the 2018 season will be juniors and at least two seem likely to enter the 2019 NFL Draft.

Until last month, the two longest-tenured members of Miami’s Class of 2019 were a pair of 3-star outside linebackers. Now the Hurricanes have a blue-chip linebacker to rebuild the group around. Anthony Solomon, a 4-star outside linebacker from the Miami metropolitan area, announced his commitment to the Hurricanes on Wednesday after informing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and coach Mark Richt on Tuesday.

Michigan long appeared to be the front-runner for Solomon, who openly called the Wolverines the favorite at times throughout his recruitment. The rising senior from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale has already visited Coral Gables, Fla., three times in 2018, most recently for Miami’s junior day March 24. His two visits to see the Hurricanes on Jan. 15 and Feb. 17 vaulted Miami into a two-team race with Michigan. His most recent visit to see Miami practice at Greentree Practice Fields elevated the Hurricanes to the point Solomon felt comfortable committing.

“It kind of came over time. I don’t really know how to explain it, but over time it kind of accumulated up to me making the decision,” Solomon told DieHards after announcing his commitment Wednesday. “It was more of a combination of a couple different things like their linebackers. They have really good linebackers. They’re always known to have good linebackers. It seems like their linebackers are on their way out to the NFL or have another year, and if they have another year I’ll be able to work under them and see how they work.”

Solomon, whose mother attended Miami, is a foundational piece for the Hurricanes’ 2019 class. He becomes the class’ second blue-chip pledge, joining 4-star wide receiver Jeremiah Payton after fellow 4-star wide receiver Brieon Fuller de-committed Tuesday. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker is now the highest-ranked defensive prospect in Miami’s class, edging out 3-star weakside defensive end Cameron Williams.

RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board

Solomon is truly one of the best linebackers in the 2019 cycle. Considered the No. 12 player at his position by the 247Sports composite rankings, Solomon accepted an invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game on March 9. He may be a bit undersized, but the Hurricanes are content to play undersized players at outside linebacker. If star outside linebacker Michael Pinckney heads to the NFL after this season, Solomon could become a logical choice to start as a freshman at weakside linebacker. Darrion Owens, who served as Pinckney’s backup in 2017, transferred to Houston in the offseason, leaving Miami without a clear successor. There’s a good chance Solomon winds up as the highest-ranked linebacker in the Hurricanes’ class.

Currently, the linebackers class consists of Solomon and 3-star outside linebackers Jesiah Pierre and Samuel Brooks. The Hurricanes appear to be the front-runner for 3-star outside linebacker Jahmar Brown, Solomon’s teammate. They’re also pushing for 4-star outside linebacker Avery Huff, yet another Raider, and cracked the top 3 for 4-star outside linebacker Kevin Harris of Grayson High School in Loganville, Ga.

Solomon makes everything flexible, though. The top-200 prospect played all three linebacker positions for St. Thomas Aquinas in 2017, and racked up 77 total tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery — which he returned for a touchdown. While Solomon probably is too small to play middle linebacker in college, Miami can potentially entrust him to be a centerpiece of its linebackers corps for the three or four years he’s on campus.

“[Diaz] was really excited for me. He seemed really happy. He said that he’s happy that I’m on board and they’re looking for a leader. Hopefully I can be that leader. I know I can, so that’s my goal.”

Solomon isn’t exactly ready to shut everything down yet, although it may change in the coming days. Solomon previously scheduled an official visit to Ann Arbor, Mich., for April 13 and as of now he’s not sure whether he’ll follow through. If he doesn’t visit the Wolverines this month, it seems likely he’ll stick with the Hurricanes until he signs.

Having him as a leader would be key for many reasons. Miami would like to continue its consistent pipeline from the Raiders in this cycle and the Hurricanes are a major suitor for about half a dozen 2019 prospects at St. Thomas Aquinas. Miami is in the top group for 4-star running back Daniel Carter, 4-star strongside defensive end Braylen Ingraham, 4-star cornerback Jaden Davis and 4-star safety Jordan Battle. The Hurricanes have also kept in contact with 3-star cornerback Marcus Lafrance, although they have not yet offered.

In-state G Dontae Lucas names Miami to top 8

Dontae Lucas is one of Miami’s longest-standing targets along the offensive line in the 2019 cycle. The 4-star guard spent most of his high school career at Miami High School before transferring to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., in the winter. He’s called the Hurricanes the favorite in the past, although he’s done the same with Florida State and Florida, too.

The battle for Lucas has long appeared destined to come down to the three in-state programs and now all three are on the short list of suitors the rising senior is seriously considering. Lucas named a top 8 on Wednesday and all three Power 5 Conference programs from Florida are in the mix.

The Hurricanes, Seminoles and Gators are joined by Louisville, Alabama, South Carolina, Missouri and Oregon. Of the other five programs, the Crimson Tide are the team most frequently listed as a contender by the 6-4, 330-pound prospect.

Lucas has been a frequent visitor with the Hurricanes for much of the last year. That hasn’t changed with his move to IMG; he attended a men’s basketball game against Duke at the Watsco Center on Jan. 15 then returned to South Florida on March 24 for Miami’s junior day. Lucas also attended Florida State’s junior day Feb. 17.

“A lot of guys from St. Thomas go over to UM, that’s true,” Solomon said. “I’ve been in contact with some of the guys and they love that school, so that kind of just pushed me a little bit more to make my decision.”

Miami commit Brandon Cunningham visits Mississippi State

Spring break is underway for Brandon Cunningham at St. Martin High School in Ocean Springs, Miss., and the 3-star tackle is using the week to check out some colleges.

One of Cunningham’s newer suitors is the de facto hometown team. Mississippi State finally offered the 6-5, 305-pound lineman in November, a few months after he committed to Miami. On Tuesday, the Bulldogs hosted Cunningham for an unofficial visit in Starkville.

Cunningham, who also plays tight end and defensive end, hasn’t visited the Hurricanes since he committed in July. The lineman hopes to change that this week, though.

Even if he does not, he insists he’s firm in his pledge despite steadily increasing interest. The rising senior, considered a 4-star prospect by 247Sports.com, now claims additional offers from Florida State, Mississippi and Memphis.

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