MIAMI — Dontae Lucas knows what it’s like to be part of a program returning to glory. As the starting left guard for Miami High School, Lucas has Miami on its way to the region championship for the first time since 2000 after a 27-21 win against Miami Southridge High School on Friday at Southridge Park.
Then on Saturdays he gets to watch – either from his home or from the stands at Hard Rock Stadium – as his favorite team puts together its best season in more than a decade. No. 3 Miami is impressing, and even surprising, Lucas with its unbeaten start to the season. It’s been enough to solidify the Hurricanes as the top team on the 4-star guard’s list.
“Miami—it’s the home team,” the junior told DieHards on Friday. “They’ve got to be at the top. They’re always at the top.”
Lucas ranks as one of the best offensive linemen in the Class of 2019 and more schools have involved themselves with the blue-chip prospect during the past few weeks. Alabama is still pushing, and Georgia, Tennessee and Oregon have all thrown themselves into the mix. Lucas has mentioned both Miami and Florida as his top school in the past, although the Gators’ coaching uncertainty has dropped Florida below the Hurricanes.
Lucas, who is considered the No. 8 offensive guard in his class by the 247Sports composite rankings, spent the past two weekends in Miami Gardens, Fla., first to watch the Hurricanes beat then-No. 18 Virginia Tech and then rout then-No. 3 Notre Dame, 41-8. After spending his whole life hearing about how Miami struggled to draw raucous crowds, Lucas’s perspective shifted.
“I loved it, man. It’s the atmosphere and the fans. They was turning up, we was turning up. I love it,” Lucas said. “It surprised me that Miami actually brung their fans out for this. I think the U is back. I must say, I think that the U is back.”
Lucas, who grew up rooting for the Hurricanes, is also just having fun watching his hometown team do well while his high school team is also thriving. On Friday, the Stingarees picked up a thrilling win which would’ve made even Miami blush.
Trailing by 6 points, Miami Southridge drove down to the goal line with less than two minutes left. Facing a 3rd and goal from the 2-yard line, Southridge tightened up its formation and tried to pound the ball across the plane in Miami. The Stingarees countered by putting Lucas in at defensive tackle. Twice in a row, the Spartans – who feature Miami commits Mark Pope, Delone Scaife, Daquris Wiggins and Diamante Howard – ran into a brick wall at the line of scrimmage.
“My heart was pounding,” Lucas said. “I knew I had to get back there.”
While he rarely plays defense, Lucas’ sheer size of course makes him fearsome. At 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds, Lucas possesses enough size to at least be considered an option at tackle, which he has often played for the Stingarees.
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) November 18, 2017
However, Miami’s guard play, in particular, stands out to Lucas. Watching freshman Navaughn Donaldson seize a starting role at right guard this season has made this season even more exciting. If and when Lucas ends up in Coral Gables, Fla., he wants the chance to make early contributions.
For the Hurricanes it wouldn’t be totally farfetched. The Under Armour All-American Game named Lucas one of its Future 50 offense linemen earlier Friday. While Miami has plenty of young guards already in the mix or committed to the Class of 2018, Lucas could end up being an undeniable prospect.
The Hurricanes lead for now even with more programs getting involved. The Gators will probably always be the biggest threat, though, and Florida will be able to stay right in the mix as long as it holds on to some of its top assistants.
Lucas said he’s spoken with running backs coach Ja’Juan Seider, offensive line coach Brad Davis and defensive backs coach Corey Bell all since Jim McElwain was ousted as coach. He doesn’t about the direction of the program.
“They talk to me about, they good, they’re going to be alright. You know what I’m saying?” Lucas said. “Right now they’re just going through a little fall, but they’ll be right soon. I think they’ll be good soon.”