After a month full of critical visits, the top Miami recruiting targets for the Class of 2019 are becoming clear. The Hurricanes have built a solid class, although it’s certain to change during the coming months. This week’s mailbag will hit on a wide variety of some of your most pressing concerns.
As always, you can hit me up on Twitter at @DBWilson2 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your voice heard. I also host a weekly Facebook Live chat every Tuesday, when I’ll take your questions in real-time.
Let’s get into a busy mailbag:
I am having concerns with 2019 D tackle recruitment. How many and who can we expect
— andy vaxmonsky (@dolfinfanatic) April 11, 2018
Miami already holds one defensive tackle commitment in the Class of 2019, plus one other player who seems likely to wind up moving to the spot. Denzel Daxon, a 3-star defensive tackle in the 247Sports composite rankings, is a high-upside prospect, who could wind up as a 4-star player by the end of the cycle. His inexperience with the sport makes him a high-ceiling defensive lineman, even if his floor is a bit lower than some others. Renato Brown, a 3-star tackle, is somewhat similar. He has a high ceiling as a defensive tackle, but he’s raw after finishing his first season at the position in 2017.
While the Hurricanes have more realistic options at defensive end in this class, they still seem likely to land two more players in the interior defensive line. The most likely addition is Braylen Ingraham, a 4-star strongside defensive end from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 6-foot-4, 255-pound defensive end is taking an official visit to Oklahoma and if Miami can survive the weekend it might land a commitment soon. The rising senior recently called the Hurricanes the favorite and in Miami he could be a potential early contributor as a defensive lineman capable of playing multiple roles.
There’s no clear No. 2 at this point, although there are plenty of options. The Hurricanes are working to flip 4-star strongside defensive ends Mike Morris and Quashon Fuller from Florida State. They’re also working to reacquire 4-star strongside defensive end Derick Hunter‘s commitment after he backed away from a pledge in November. The Hurricanes also hosted 4-star defensive tackles Jaquaze Sorrells and Tyler Davis for junior day March 24. Davis is probably my favorite prospect of the bunch — he’s heading to the Under Armour All-America Game in January — and he recently told Land of 10’s Ryan Donnelly that Miami is near the top of his list.
Is it me or does it feel like UM has lost some momentum? I know it’s early but this cycle seems a lot different than last cycle.
— John Doe (@Shou_Dre) April 10, 2018
A quick look at the list of commitments the Hurricanes hold in 2019 might suggest a lack of momentum when compared to the Class of 2018. Only two of Miami’s 11 pledges are blue-chip prospects in the composite rankings. Still, I expect a significant portion to jump, including 3-star weakside defensive end Cameron Williams, 3-star running back Marcus Crowley and 3-star outside linebacker Samuel Brooks. The recent de-commitments, as strange as it may seem, are actually a positive sign for the class, too. The Hurricanes had stopped seriously recruiting 4-star wide receiver Brieon Fuller and 3-star outside linebacker Diamante Howard because they think they can upgrade those two slots.
Miami already upgraded one of those positions last Wednesday when 4-star outside linebacker Anthony Solomon publicly revealed his commitment to the Hurricanes. There’s a good chance Miami adds another blue-chip prospect by the end of April when 4-star tackle Michael Tarquin announces his commitment. Other likely summer announcements include 4-star running back Kenny McIntosh and 4-star cornerback Jaden Davis. By the end of the summer, this class shouldn’t be far off from the 2018 group.
And then, of course, there’s the Class of 2020. Miami holds the top spot in the 247Sports.com team rankings and the Hurricanes aren’t slowing down. Eight of Miami’s nine commits are blue-chip prospects and four sit in the top 100 of the 247Sports rankings. The Hurricanes are also the early favorite for 5-star running back Don Chaney Jr., 4-star cornerback Fred Davis and 4-star pro-style quarterback Max Johnson. As good as the 2018 and 2019 classes have been, Miami has been building toward 2020 more than a year.
Do you think Miami will go after Johnny Dixon? (@Lilshad83Shad83 via Twitter)
John Dixon is on the Hurricanes’ short list of targets in the secondary. The 4-star cornerback probably sits somewhere behind the South Florida group of 4-star athlete Josh Sanguinetti, 4-star safety Jordan Battle and 4-star cornerbacks Tyrique Stevenson and Jaden Davis. He’s also behind slightly longer-shot targets such as 5-star cornerback Chris Steele and 4-star safety Brendan Gant, who is committed to Alabama.
After coming up somewhat short in the secondary in 2018, though, Miami can afford to take a big group. Dixon is a relatively new target, but I expect him to become a significant one after visiting last month.
If things don’t materialize any further with Michael Johnson Jr could you see Nik Scalzo potentially being a local guy the Richts take a late look at?
— Grimm (@DGrimm1216) April 10, 2018
The Hurricanes have a few more names ahead of Nik Scalzo, and after flipping 4-star pro-style quarterback Jarren Williams so late in the 2018 cycle Miami has confidence it can make a late move for a quarterback again if 4-star dual-threat quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. doesn’t work out. The Hurricanes have offers out to 4-star pro-style quarterbacks Sam Howell and Graham Mertz, so they’d first try to flip Howell from Florida State or Mertz from Wisconsin before moving on to lower-level options.
With that said, Miami obviously knows about Scalzo. The 3-star dual-threat quarterback plays for the South Florida Express, a 7-on-7 program the Hurricanes recruit well. Coaches have also seen him play for Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale. Kentucky is the team to beat for Scalzo right now. We know how that’s worked out in the past.
Scalzo, to my knowledge, has yet to take any sort of formal visit to Miami, so I’m not ready to say he’d be near the top of a list of backup plans for the Hurricanes. If Miami doesn’t land Johnson this summer, though, then a few visits could happen.