David Wilson/DieHards
Trey Sanders is a long shot to land at Miami, which hasn't put a full-court press on the prospect.

Miami recruiting mailbag: 5-star possibilities for Hurricanes

David Wilson

The spring evaluation period is over and it was a successful one for Miami recruiting. Still, the Hurricanes’ class right now is more defined by the 3-star prospects Miami swears by than the 5-star prospects everyone knows. This week’s mailbag will take a look at some of the big-name targets left on the board for the Hurricanes.

Let’s dive right into it:

Why is it that young guys in Florida that are 5-stars prefer to go to other programs other than Miami? The 2020 receiver Manuel, Dent in this cycle, and Campbell and Surtain this year. Is Miami not considered elite enough by them? (Martin Dube via email)

Obviously, everyone’s situation is different, which makes it tough to draw a clear thread. Leonard Manuel, a 5-star wide receiver in the Class of 2020, de-committed from Miami on April 17 because he rushed into a decision too quickly off a good visit. Akeem Dent, a 5-star cornerback in the Class of 2019, committed to Florida State in large part because his brother plays for the Seminoles.

Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr., a pair of 5-star cornerbacks in the Class of 2018, might be the best examples of the concerns articulated. Surtain, who isn’t originally from Florida, picked Alabama because he can be a Day 1 contributor for a national championship contender known for putting defensive backs in the NFL. Georgia ultimately beat Miami for Campbell in large part because of the Bulldogs’ breakthrough 2017 season.

That premise is flawed, though. Right now, the Hurricanes are in a better place than the Seminoles and Florida, yet the latter two are safer bets to sign 5-star prospects in 2019. Because of how large a percentage of Miami’s typical recruiting class hails from South Florida, the Hurricanes’ odds of signing a 5-star player largely hinges upon how many 5-star prospects are in the Miami metropolitan area in a given year. On the whole, the Hurricanes are more concerned with cultivating depth at this point than landing top-heavy classes. Coach Mark Richt still needs to flesh out a roster former coach Al Golden left in shambles.

Any chance we get back in the running for Trey Sanders or Frank Ladson? (@theU_zach via Twitter)

Miami remains a major long shot for both, although the Hurricanes will keep chipping away at Trey Sanders, in particular. The Hurricanes will spend plenty of time recruiting IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as they pitch 4-star tackle target Evan Neal and 4-star strongside defensive end Tre’von Riggins, a committed prospect in the 2020 class. While Sanders may not be a priority for much longer, Miami will always find room for a player like Sanders.

The only way the Hurricanes really become a serious factor Sanders is if something happens with Marcus Crowley or Kenny McIntosh. Crowley, a 3-star running back commit, has other high-profile programs that may try to sway him. McIntosh, meanwhile, hasn’t made a commitment, although Miami is the clear front-runner for the 4-star running back. Assuming McIntosh picks the Hurricanes, Miami will not make Sanders enough of a priority to beat Florida, Alabama and Georgia. The 5-star running back has a good enough relationship with running backs coach Thomas Brown for the Hurricanes to linger.

Frank Ladson is probably a lost cause for Miami. The 5-star wide receiver from South Dade High School in Homestead, Fla., committed to Clemson on April 14 and has not visited anywhere else since. The Tigers don’t like to accept commitments from players who aren’t 100-percent locked in. Ladson certainly seems to fit what Clemson likes. The whole family likes the Tigers, and Clemson seldom misses out on the wide receivers it wants these days anyway.

Why aren’t the ‘Canes so high on Kalani Norris? (@Benji_Jae via Twitter)

In certain years, Kalani Norris might be at least something of a target for Miami. The 3-star wide receiver from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami is certainly talented and caught Hurricanes coaches eyes with a strong performance at a Mark Richt Football Camp on June 10. He has more than 30 offers and in some cycles Miami would probably be on the list.

The Hurricanes have been particularly picky about offering wide receivers this cycle, though. Remember, Miami didn’t even offer 4-star wide receiver John Dunmore until May 2. The Hurricanes are deep enough — wide receivers coach Ron Dugans good enough at recruiting the position — to be picky. With 4-star wide receiver Jeremiah Payton in the fold early, Miami temporarily turned full attention to Ladson. Now the Hurricanes seem ready to turn up the pressure on Dunmore, who attended invitation-only Miami Nights on Jun 16.

If the Hurricanes can’t lock up Dunmore, it’s possible Miami could stick with just Payton. The Hurricanes’ four-man haul at the position in the Class of 2018 gave Miami flexibility this cycle. Norris, who projects best as a slot receiver, isn’t exactly the sort of game-changing outside wideout the Hurricanes are willing to take with a second spot.