Miami recruiting mailbag: Where are the defensive tackles?
The dead period is nearly upon us, but we’re cramming in plenty of Miami recruiting news during the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, 3-star weakside defensive end Jahfari Harvey plans to announce his decision and the Hurricanes are out in front. Last weekend, Miami played host to more than a dozen major recruits, including an official visitor and a 5-star prospect. This weekend, the Hurricanes will have a last chance to get any prospects on campus before contact ends for about a month.
As Miami’s class comes together, though, questions persist. This week’s mailbag jumps all over the place, starting with the defensive line and wrapping up with a pipe-dream 5-star target. As always, you can email your questions to email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter at @DBWilson2. I also host a weekly Facebook Live chat every Tuesday at 7 p.m., when I’ll answer questions in real time.
Let’s get to your Hurricanes recruiting questions:
What is Miami doing for defensive tackle in 2019? All I read about is defensive ends and defensive backs in recruiting coverage. (@Zander417 via Twitter)
While it’s true Tyler Davis is really the only serious target for Miami as far as true defensive tackles go, it’s important to remember the Hurricanes value versatility highly along the defensive line. With a 4-3 defense, Miami doesn’t need to find many traditional nose tackles or nose guards. The Hurricanes can load up on defensive ends capable of playing both. To make evaluating most simple, it makes sense to treat all strongside defensive ends as potential defensive tackles for the Hurricanes.
Look no further than Jason Munoz. The 3-star strongside defensive end from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., committed to Miami on June 2 and the Hurricanes envision the 6-foot-4, 276-pound defensive lineman as a defensive tackle at the next level. The same goes for 4-star strongside defensive end Braylen Ingraham, a teammate of Munoz’s at St. Thomas Aquinas and one of the Hurricanes’ top defensive line targets. At 6-4 and 270 pounds, Ingraham is a no-brainer defensive tackle in a 4-3, even if he might play defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
Of course, this doesn’t always hold true. Two of Miami’s other top defensive line targets are 4-star strongside defensive ends Quashon Fuller and Mike Morris. The two Florida State commits look more like hybrid prospects in the mold of former defensive lineman Chad Thomas. They may play a lot of defensive end, but with the Hurricanes they’d likely kick inside on passing downs.
Does Miami want to stay with these three at linebacker or are they looking for one more? (@theU_zach via Twitter)
Miami is happy with the current three-man haul, but would take a fourth if the prospect was the right fit. This means either a potential middle linebacker the Hurricanes feel good about or a can’t-miss prospect.
Jesiah Pierre is the obvious fit for the former. Miami had the 3-star outside linebacker in its class for nearly two years and was upset when he de-committed May 18. The Hurricanes envisioned the linebacker from Mount Dora (Fla.) Christian Academy, formerly known as Christian Home & Bible School, as a high-upside middle linebacker to fill a clear hole in the class. The 6-3, 215-pound senior recently put Miami back in his top 5. Re-commitments are rare, but Pierre seems like a player the Hurricanes would welcome back with open arms.
The one clear prospect to fill the latter distinction is Rian Davis. Miami offered the 4-star outside linebacker from Wekiva High School in Apopka, Fla., a bit before he blew up into a major national recruit and played host to him for junior day March 24. Davis could play just about anywhere in the front seven. The Hurricanes would certainly find room for him, even though he seems like a major long shot right now.
Can we get the stud OT from Southern Lab in Louisiana
— Win (@Don10bigd) June 19, 2018
Kardell Thomas is one of the top offensive line prospects in the country and made a somewhat surprising appearance in Coral Gables, Fla., on Friday. The 5-star guard from Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, La., popped by one of the Mark Richt Football Camps while he was in the state for an event in Bradenton. Obviously, this is a positive sign.
Miami offered the 6-3, 356-pound offensive lineman Jan. 14 and immediately Thomas expressed serious interest in the Hurricanes. Thomas got to know offensive lineman Delone Scaife at the Under Armour All-America Game a few weeks earlier, which led Miami to think it had at least a slim shot to sway out-of-state prospect.
A few weeks later, though, Thomas announced he was “110-percent committed” to LSU and shut down his recruitment. Clearly, this isn’t exactly the case. The senior has said he would like to still take some official visits. The Hurricanes are on track to host him for one. Does Miami have a real shot to sway Thomas? Probably not. If someone’s going to do it, though, the Hurricanes are as good a bet as anyone.