David Wilson/DieHards
Jesiah Pierre visited Miami last Thursday for the first time since November.

Miami recruiting: Hurricanes try to fend of Florida for OLB Jesiah Pierre

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.


OLB Jesiah Pierre gets updated view of campus on latest visit

Before last Thursday, it had been quite a while since the last time Jesiah Pierre was in Coral Gables, Fla. The 3-star outside linebacker, who is now the longest-tenured member of Miami’s Class of 2019, last made his way to campus last July for the Hurricanes’ annual Paradise Camp. Between then and Thursday, when Pierre made his way back to Greentree Practice Fields, a November trip to Miami Gardens, Fla., for Miami’s game against Notre Dame was Pierre’s only visit with the Hurricanes.

Quite a bit was different this time for Pierre. Miami promoted Jonathan Patke to be its outside linebackers coach in February. In March, the Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as their new defensive line coach. Miami is nearing completion of its new indoor football facility, as well.

All of it is pretty appealing to Pierre.

“The campus has changed a little bit,” Pierre told DieHards after his latest unofficial visit Thursday. “Just getting back out there and feeling the vibe of what it is to be a Hurricane at Miami. It was a great feeling to come back there and just see the coaches, and how everything is going.”

The visit ended a nearly five-month separation from South Florida for the rising senior at Mount Dora (Fla.) Christian Academy, formerly known as Christian Home & Bible School. In the meantime, Florida emerged as a somewhat serious contender to flip the linebacker away from the Hurricanes.

For Miami, however, Pierre is something of a priority. While the Hurricanes now have a solid group of outside linebackers committed with 4-star prospect Anthony Solomon and 3-star edge rusher Samuel Brooks, Miami still doesn’t have a true inside linebacker in the class.

RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board

This is where Pierre fits in. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound athlete is primarily a middle linebacker — and running back — for Mount Dora Christian. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who also serves as the Hurricanes’ linebacker coaches, now views Pierre as most likely a middle linebacker for Miami. With linebacker Shaquille Quarterman heading into his junior season, there’s a chance the starting job could be open when Pierre arrives on campus, which could be as early as January if he can enroll early.

He knows as well as anyone he could have an incredible group surrounding him. Pierre initially committed to the Hurricanes way back in 2016. Since his pledge, Miami has jumped all the way up to No. 2 in the 247Sports composite team rankings for 2019.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Pierre told DieHards in Orlando at an Under Armour All-America Camp in March. “I’ve seen other guys come in. It’s really cool. I’ve seen the process of it, and seen how the class is building up and building up.”

Florida makes pitch for Miami OLB commit Jesiah Pierre

Pierre sticking with the Hurricanes at this point is far from guaranteed. The athlete visited Gainesville, Fla., on Feb. 24 for the Gators’ junior day. He also plans to visit North Carolina again sometime soon. Pierre only lists seven offers, but most of them are impressive — Wake Forest, Georgia, Kentucky and Central Florida among the group.

Beyond Miami, though, the Tar Heels and Gators are the most appealing to Pierre right now.

North Carolina has been a factor almost since the start. The Hurricanes were first to offer Pierre, but the Tar Heels were next, pulling the trigger in May after Pierre already committed to Miami. He attended a camp in Chapel Hill, N.C., in June and has stayed in touch with the coaching staff ever since.

Florida is a newer suitor for the No. 51 outside linebacker in the 247Sports composite 2019 rankings. The Gators finally offered Jan. 22 and quickly got the linebacker on campus. He left impressed by coach Dan Mullen’s new staff and the program’s tradition.

“I really like what they’re about,” Pierre said. “Florida Gators is a really big place, a really known place. I never really viewed the football stuff or viewed the campus like that.

“It’s a really exciting place.”

For now, he’s still firm in his commitment to the Hurricanes and Miami’s coaching staff is fine with Pierre exploring all his options. Obviously, the Hurricanes would benefit from Pierre enrolling early as he hopes, as there would be less time for a late flip.

Diaz, who is serving as Pierre’s primary recruiter, doesn’t want to put any extra pressure on Pierre, though. His message to the in-state prospect is the same as it has always been:

“Stay true to yourself and just trust the process,” Pierre said. “It’s going to be hard here and there, but you’ve got to go with what your heart follows.”

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