Miami recruiting: Hurricanes bolster defense with pair of commitments
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 daily notebooks here at 6:30 p.m. ET from Sunday through Thursday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
Miami lands pair of local defensive commitments
Miami rarely has to stray too far for its commitments, but its last two — both of which have come since Wednesday — came from prospects particularly close to home.
The Hurricanes bolstered their Classes of 2019 and 2020 at the end of last week by staying in Miami-Dade County. On Thursday, Miami landed a commitment from Jarvis Brownlee, a 3-star cornerback for Miami Carol City Senior High School in Miami Gardens. Two days later, 3-star weakside defensive end Elijah Roberts committed to the Hurricanes from Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School.
Brownlee’s pledge lifted the Hurricanes up to No. 5 in the 247Sports composite rankings for the Class of 2019. Roberts strengthens Miami’s grip on the top spot in the Class of 2020.
— Jarvis Brownlee1️⃣⚒ (@Touchmoney_11) June 7, 2018
— Elijah Roberts😈🔥 (@E1ijahRoberts) June 9, 2018
Both commitments are evidence of the advantage the Hurricanes have in location. Brownlee was a virtual unknown until this winter, when he started to turn heads on the 7-on-7 circuit. Still, most of the traditional powers shied away from offering the 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back. Miami was able to evaluate Brownlee up close and trust some of its South Florida connections. The Hurricanes offered May 29 and immediately vaulted to the top of the senior’s list. Brownlee visited for the first time Thursday and committed before leaving Coral Gables, Fla.
Brownlee’s commitment to Miami should prompt other top 25 programs to take a look at the cornerback. The Hurricanes’ early faith should pay off, though. Brownlee returned to campus for another visit Saturday and told DieHards he’s “100 percent committed” to the hometown team.
“I kind of knew that I was going to commit,” Brownlee said on Saturday. “It was a great experience. I felt like it was the right move. They showed me a lot of love.”
Roberts is a year younger than Brownlee, so it makes a bit more sense why he’d stay mostly unknown until this spring. Once again, Miami used its location to its advantage. Roberts claims fewer than five offers, but the Hurricanes easily could evaluate the 6-foot-4, 245-pound defensive end in person this spring. After Miami offered March 31, the Hurricanes watched Christopher Columbus’ spring game and brought Roberts to campus for two more on-campus visits.
On Saturday, the defensive lineman competed at a Mark Richt Football Camp and worked closely with Jess Simpson, the Hurricanes defensive line coach. Simpson was impressed and so was the junior, so Roberts committed before leaving campus.
“I learned like a lot of new things from Coach Simpson. I really can tell he really knows what he’s talking about and I can’t wait to play for him,” Roberts told DieHards while on a visit Sunday. “After spending the day with him and talking to all the coaches and stuff — it’s a real family atmosphere here.”
Brownlee’s commitment gives Miami additional clarity in the secondary this cycle. He joins 3-star athlete Damarius Good as the projected cornerbacks in the class and 4-star safety Keontra Smith as a defensive back. The Hurricanes are likely to add at least one more cornerback before National Signing Day. Options include 4-star cornerbacks such as Miami Southridge High School’s Tyrique Stevenson and Jaden Davis of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Stevenson is also high on Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Auburn, while the Hurricanes are battling the Gators and many others for Davis.
Miami is also in the top 5 for 3-star cornerback John Dixon of Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla., and will continue to push for Akeem Dent. The 5-star cornerback from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, Fla., is a former Hurricanes commit, but he pledged to Florida State in July. Mark-Antony Richards, a 4-star athlete from Wellington High School, could be an option at cornerback, too. Miami is primarily dueling Florida and Auburn to land star wide receiver Ahmmon Richards’ younger brother.
The Hurricanes will take at least one more safety to round out the secondary Class of 2019, too. This spot could go to Stevenson or Richards, but Miami continues to recruit 4-star safety Josh Sanguinetti of NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale and 4-star safety Jordan Battle of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Hurricanes are also on the short list of favorites for 3-star athlete Cornelius Nunn, who primarily plays safety for Miami Palmetto High School in Pinecrest, Fla.
Roberts, meanwhile, joins 4-star strongside defensive end Samuel Anaele and 3-star strongside defensive end Tre’von Riggins as the third defensive end in the class. With 4-star defensive tackle Willie Moise also committed, Roberts gives the Hurricanes four defensive linemen in the 2020 cycle, all of whom 247Sports pegs as top-50 players in Florida. The most likely next addition for Miami on the defensive line is Chantz Williams. The 4-star weakside defensive end from Oakleaf High School in Orange Park, Fla., visited the Hurricanes on Feb. 19, although both Florida and Florida State have hosted him since.
Major ATH target Te’Cory Couch de-commits from Michigan
Brownlee might not be the only addition Miami makes to its 2019 secondary this month. On Saturday, one of the Hurricanes’ top targets put himself back on the market, as Te’Cory Couch de-committed from Michigan.
The 4-star athlete from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, Fla., had been committed to the Wolverines since April 15, when he flipped from Tennessee. Couch made the announcement with an extremely brief Twitter post.
Officially de-committing from the university of Michigan
— T©️(MD)⚠️ (@TecoryC_16) June 9, 2018
With Couch back on the market, Miami becomes the favorite to land the 5-10, 161-pound defensive back. The senior plays both cornerback and free safety and could fill the slot spot in this class for the Hurricanes.
Miami already holds commitments from three of Couch’s teammates at Chaminade-Madonna, including two others in the 2019 cycle with Smith and 3-star weakside defensive end Cameron Williams. Moise, a 2020 prospect, is the third.
Kentucky, Penn State host Miami targets for official visits
While Miami hosted two more camps on Saturday and Sunday, other programs spent the weekend hosting official visitors. Two of the biggest slates were at Kentucky and Penn State, both of whom hosted multiple major Hurricanes targets.
The Nittany Lions brought in the single most high-profile visitor with Michael Johnson Jr. The 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Ore., is Miami’s only serious quarterback target this cycle, and he included both the Hurricanes and Penn State in a top 7 in May. He has said he hopes to make a decision by the end of the month or early July, and the Nittany Lions are probably the biggest threat to Miami, although Florida State, North Carolina State, LSU and Texas A&M also are involved
— Michael Johnson Jr. (@m_johnsonjr1) June 9, 2018
Just as at quarterback, the Hurricanes are being picky when it comes to finding a wide receiver to pair with 4-star prospect Jeremiah Payton. Penn State also hosted potentially Miami’s biggest remaining wideout target this weekend as 4-star wide receiver John Dunmore, a teammate of Smith and Williams, visited State College, Pa. Florida State is the favorite, but the Nittany Lions had a chance to make their move on the in-state schools this weekend.
Kentucky, meanwhile, hosted two blue-chip prospects from the same school as Davis and Braylen Ingraham both headed to Lexington. It’s possible this is the final official visit for Ingraham before a decision arrives. The 4-star strongside defensive end plans to commit sometime this summer and already took an official visit with Oklahoma in April. Entering the weekend, the Sooners were the biggest threat to Miami. Kentucky hopes it changed the pecking order this weekend.
Davis’ visit with the Wildcats was a bit more surprising. While the defensive back included Kentucky in his top 10, Davis rarely has mentioned the Wildcats as one of his top suitors. The trip wasn’t the only visit for Davis in the last few days, though. The senior spent Thursday in Coral Gables before he headed to Kentucky. Florida is one of the other top schools competing with Miami for the corner.
— IV (@Jayd4_) June 7, 2018
A lower-tier target for the Hurricanes also took his first official visit this weekend. Ben Smiley, a 3-star defensive tackle, stayed in-state for an official visit with Virginia on Saturday and Sunday. The defensive lineman from Indian River High School in Chesapeake tweeted then deleted a commitment to the Cavaliers earlier this spring, instead deciding to take all five official visits before making a final decision.
It’s not clear yet whether Miami will host Smiley for a visit, but the senior did place the Hurricanes in his top 10 alongside Virginia, N.C. State, Alabama, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Penn State and Nebraska.
Absolutely loving this Official at UVA !!! ⚔️⚔️
— Ben Smiley lll (@BenSmiley9) June 7, 2018
Camp season continues at Miami, FIU
Roberts’ commitment wasn’t all Miami achieved thanks to some of its camps this weekend. The Hurricanes also handed out three offers and hosted dozens of prospects Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, the most high-profile program in South Florida, St. Thomas Aquinas High School, made the trip south from Fort Lauderdale to compete in a 7-on-7 tournament. Miami got to see some of St. Thomas Aquinas’ top 2020 prospects in person and handed out offers to 4-star wide receiver Marcus Rosemy and 3-star outside linebacker Derek Wingo.
— Marcus Rosemy 🌐 (@rosemy_marcus) June 9, 2018
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) June 9, 2018
Rosemy ranks as the No. 2 overall player in the 2020 cycle and he looked the part Saturday. The 6-1, 185-pound receiver won jump ball after jump ball and provided a deep threat for his team, as well. The junior already visited the Hurricanes on March 31 for an underclassman day. He holds other early offers from Florida State, Boston College, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio State, Penn State and Illinois.
Wingo has visited Miami even more frequently, including a trip to campus for the underclassman day in March. The 6-2, 210-pound linebacker is transitioning to outside linebacker this season after primarily playing quarterback in 2017. The junior is high on Ohio State early with Clemson and Oklahoma also in the picture.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ trip to campus also meant about a dozen Division I prospects were on hand, including 4-star outside linebacker Anthony Solomon and 3-star strongside defensive end Jason Munoz. The two Miami commits were joined by fellow 2019 prospects such as Battle, 4-star running back Daniel Carter, 3-star cornerback Myles Bell and 3-star pro-style quarterbacks Curt Casteel and Mariano Valenti, who is committed to Northern Illinois. Raiders prospects in the 2020 class include Rosemy, Wingo, 4-star outside linebacker Devon Betty, 4-star wide receiver Jahvante Royal, 3-star athlete Jovan Ferguson and unranked athlete Xavier Restrepo.
The 7-on-7 tournament ultimately included a dozen schools Saturday and even more Sunday. On Saturday, St. Lucie Centennial West High School came from Port St. Lucie, Fla., and brought 3-star safeties Dwight Toombs and Tahron Sims.
On Sunday, Miami handed out one offer and hosted dozens more prospects. The offer went to a Class of 2021 prospect from Booker T. Washington High School in Miami. Unranked weakside defensive end Donell Harris dominated the lineman camp Sunday. Defensive line coach Jess Simpson didn’t hesitate to offer the 6-6, 200-pound end. The sophomore has other early offers from N.C. State, Syracuse and Baylor.
— Donell Harris (@5stardonell) June 10, 2018
Booker T. Washington also brought two 7-on-7 teams to the camp Sunday, which meant unranked 2021 wide receiver Jacorey Brooks was on campus. Miami Carol City Senior won the 7-on-7 tournament led by Brownlee. Nay’quan Wright, a 4-star running back, and 3-star dual-threat quarterback Daniel Richardson powered Miami Carol City’s offense.
Brownlee wasn’t the only notable prospect to visit multiple times throughout the weekend. Richards was back on campus for the second straight day Sunday to play with Wellington in the 7-on-7 tournament. Don Chaney Jr., a 4-star running back in the 2020 class, did the same with Miami’s Belen Jesuit Preparatory School after working 1-on-1 with running backs coach Thomas Brown on Saturday.
Multiple Miami Southridge prospects visited Saturday and Sunday, including 3-star 2020 wide receiver Marcus Fleming. Southridge competed in the 7-on-7 tournament Sunday, which brought Stevenson and 3-star outside linebacker Diamante Howard back to campus.
Columbus brought a big contingent to the Sunday camp, too. The Explorers played in the 7-on-7 tournament, so Roberts tagged along a day after committing to the Hurricanes. Columbus’ roster featured 3-star wide receiver Kalani Norris, 3-star tight end Gary Cooper and 3-star cornerback Demetries Ford. Norris also visited Saturday.
Dorien Josey was the most notable competitor in the lineman camp Sunday. The unranked weakside defensive end from Rockledge (Fla.) High School holds a Miami offer.
Dontae Lucas was the weekend’s most surprising visitor. The 4-star guard from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., committed to Florida State, but is in Miami this summer. Miami High School, where Lucas played as a junior, competed in the 7-on-7 tournament Saturday. Marc Britt, a Miami commit, also made it to campus Saturday. The 4-star athlete from Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah, Fla., spent the day with wide receivers coach Ron Dugans.
Miami wasn’t the only school to host camps in Dade County this weekend. Florida International held its first two Butch Davis Football Camps on Thursday and Saturday, and a Hurricanes commit stopped by each. Denzel Daxon, a 3-star defensive tackle from Doral (Fla.) Academy Preparatory School, attended the Thursday camp, which featured coaches from North Carolina State, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Nebraska and Rutgers. Henry Gray, a 4-star 2020 cornerback from Miami Central, spent Saturday evening in Miami for a camp attended by Alabama.
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