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Mark Richt (left) wants Michael Johnson Jr. as a potential successor to Malik Rosier.

Miami recruiting: Michael Johnson Jr. begins Hurricanes official visit

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.


QB Michael Johnson travels for surprise Miami official visit

Miami has made another exception to its original stance against spring and summer official visits — and this one is for good reason. Michael Johnson Jr., the only serious quarterback target on the board for the Hurricanes, made his way to Coral Gables, Fla., on Wednesday to begin a three-day official visit at Miami.

Johnson’s official visit with the Hurricanes comes on the heels of a three-day official visit at North Carolina State. The 4-star dual-threat quarterback arrived in Raleigh on Monday and departed for the Miami metropolitan area Wednesday.

The Hurricanes’ surprising push to squeeze in another visit from Johnson before the dead period begins next week is a savvy play for Miami. Typically, the Hurricanes want their committed prospects to officially visit in December ahead of the early signing period. Landing a quarterback from out of state is never easy, though, so Miami had to change its approach for Johnson.

At one time, the Hurricanes looked like a somewhat obvious destination for the 4-star dual-threat quarterback from Sheldon High School in Eugene, Ore. When Oregon, where Johnson’s father is wide receivers coach, found its quarterback in the Class of 2019, Miami lost probably its toughest competitor. When Nebraska found its quarterback for 2019, the Hurricanes lost another. Miami’s longstanding relationship with Johnson — and a late-March unofficial visit — gave the Hurricanes poll position heading into the final months of Johnson’s recruitment.

The 6-foot-3, 192-pound senior hopes to make his decision by the end of the month or early July at the latest. As such, Johnson wanted to make sure he saw as many of his top suitors as he could.

The quarterback took his first official visit to Penn State the weekend of June 10. He took his second to N.C. State and is now headed to Miami. This weekend, Johnson could take a fourth official visit to Florida State — the Under Armour All-American mentioned it as part of his visit plans earlier this year.

Because Johnson already visited the Hurricanes earlier in the spring, Miami would have still had a realistic chance to land the out-of-state prospect even if he didn’t take this late official. This should only help the Hurricanes’ chances, though. Johnson’s earlier visit came while spring practices were in full swing. Now, Johnson will be a priority for quarterbacks coach Jon Richt and the rest of his staff during a relatively quiet time of the calendar.

Miami’s pitch to Johnson, whom the 247Sports composite rankings peg as the No. 4 dual-threat quarterback, is simple: Other schools want the Elite 11 finalist. The Hurricanes need him. Miami has only offered seven quarterbacks this cycle and all but Johnson have already committed. If the Hurricanes don’t land Johnson, they may well opt not to take any quarterback this cycle.

Johnson is a good fit for Miami, too. While Mark Richt has traditionally favored pro-style prospects, the coach has grown more comfortable with true dual-threat weapons. Johnson is already a gifted runner and possesses all the tools to become a great passer.

“Usually, I’m just faster than everyone else. My straight-line speed is big because I run a 4.5 [40-yard dash],” Johnson told Land of 10’s Tyler Donohue before the official visit with the Nittany Lions. “I’ve developed as a passer. I’ve always been able to throw, but I’ve grown more being able to sit in the pocket, throw guys open and trust my receivers.”

Johnson has bounced around to different high schools because of his father’s job as a college football assistant coach. His junior season, however, was a monster. As a passer, Johnson completed 83 of 133 passes for 1,218 yards, 21 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. As a runner, Johnson racked up 745 yards and 12 touchdowns on 107 carries. He even recorded 3 catches for 80 yards and 2 touchdowns.

If he picks the Hurricanes, Johnson will likely join an open quarterbacks room with plenty of young — but untested — talent. Freshmen quarterbacks Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry will probably be the favorites heading into 2019, but Johnson will get his shot, too.

This visit isn’t the only trip to the Miami metro area planned for Johnson, either. The All-American plans to return July 28 for Paradise Camp. By then, he may be one of the centerpieces of the Hurricanes’ 2019 class.

Local ATH Cornelius Nunn visits Syracuse ahead of decision

Johnson’s decision isn’t the only one on the horizon relevant to Miami. Cornelius Nunn, a 3-star athlete from Miami-Dade County, is also looking at an early July decision and the Hurricanes are at least somewhat in the mix.

Syracuse, however, is getting its chance to make its final case this week. The senior from Miami Palmetto High School in Pinecrest will make his way to New York on Thursday for a four-day official visit with the Orange. The visit will be Nunn’s last before he announces July 2.

Nunn has some higher-profile suitors than Syracuse — Miami, Georgia and Nebraska are in the safety’s top 10 — but the Orange prioritized Nunn early. They could parlay it into a commitment. The Hurricanes, for example, only offered the 6-foot, 175-pound defensive back at junior day March 24 and haven’t consistently recruited him since. Nunn also seems intrigued by the idea of heading out of Florida for college.

There’s a good chance Nunn will consider Miami part of his final group when he announces next month. The Hurricanes have other priorities in the secondary, though, which means Nunn will probably head elsewhere.

All-American RB Daniel Carter names Miami to top 10

Even after an official visit to Pittsburgh over the weekend, Daniel Carter is remaining patient with his recruitment. The 4-star running back from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., didn’t get swept up in the excitement of Pitt’s nine-commitment weekend. Instead, he’s taking a holistic look at his recruitment. The Under Armour All-American isn’t even ready to seriously narrow things down.

Carter did make an initial cut to his list Tuesday, but even that only trimmed his suitors down to 10. The Panthers, unsurprisingly, made the cut. So did Miami and teams from every Power 5 Conference. Georgia, LSU, Kansas State, Ohio State, Illinois, Utah and Oregon all made the cut.

Carter once appeared to be a serious target for the Hurricanes, although Miami’s fixation on 4-star running back Kenny McIntosh means there probably will not be a spot in the class for Carter. Instead, out-of-state suitors — headed by Pitt — have a chance to pry the 5-10, 204-pound halfback out of South Florida. The Fighting Illini and Utes are two other teams to keep an eye on.

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