Miami recruiting: Midyear review for the Hurricanes on the trail
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.
Key Miami recruiting takeaways from first 6 months of 2018
It’s hard to believe, but 2018 is already half done. The early signing period is fewer than six months away, and Miami’s Class of 2019 is quickly taking shape.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
For the Hurricanes, the spring has been arguably the most important part of the recruiting calendar in recent years, and Miami had another good one in 2018. Let’s take a look at what the Hurricanes have accomplished so far this year and how it sets them up for another good recruiting class.
Miami still owns Broward County
The start to the 2019 cycle hasn’t been quite as strong for Miami as it was in 2018. Still, the Hurricanes boast a top-10 class in the 247Sports composite rankings and the No. 2 class in the ACC, mostly by locking up Broward County. Six of Miami’s 16 commitments so far are blue-chip prospects, and four of those 4-star players hail from Broward.
The year actually began for Miami with a pledge from a Broward County prospect: 3-star weakside defensive end Cameron Williams committed to the Hurricanes on Jan. 20. In the ensuing months, two more of Williams’ teammates at Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, Fla., followed suit. Keontra Smith, a 4-star safety, committed May 13, and 4-star athlete Te’Cory Couch joined on June 16. Chaminade-Madonna College Prep won a state championship in 2017, and Miami has already locked up three of its top four prospects.
— T©️(MD)⚠️ (@TecoryC_16) June 16, 2018
Chaminade-Madonna isn’t the only South Florida powerhouse building a pipeline to the Hurricanes in the Class of 2019. Miami’s other two blue-chip commitments from Broward both come from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Four-star outside linebackers Anthony Solomon and Avery Huff committed in the spring. The Hurricanes also landed a commitment from 3-star St. Thomas Aquinas strongside defensive end Jason Munoz in June. The top 5 players from Broward to already make a college choice are already committed to Miami.
Miami will not worry about national consensus
Even though less than half the Hurricanes’ class is made up of blue-chip prospects, Miami feels good about where its class stands. Four of Miami’s five most recent commitments in the 2019 class are 3-star prospects, but the Hurricanes’ think they’ve uncovered some gems.
Damarius Good, a 3-star athlete from Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley, kicked off the string of commitments by pledging May 30, then Munoz hopped on June 2. Jarvis Brownlee, a 3-star cornerback from Miami Carroll City, followed suit June 7, and 3-star weakside defensive end Jahfari Harvey (Vero Beach, Fla.) completed the haul by committing last week. While all three have flaws, Miami has plenty to like about all of them.
— fari👹 (@jahfariharvey) June 20, 2018
Good primarily plays running back and quarterback in a triple-option offense, but the Hurricanes like his physical tools at cornerback. Munoz missed almost his entire junior year with an injury, but dominated a Mark Richt Football Camp in front of defensive line coach Jess Simpson. Brownlee is steadily rising after a strong winter with South Florida Express, a 7-on-7 team in the region. Harvey spent his junior year at a small private school and is finally catching eyes since transferring to Vero Beach (Fla.) High School. It’s not crazy to think half of these prospects could become 4-star players by the end of the cycle.
Class of 2020 may not be transcendent, but still great
Miami’s top-ranked Class of 2020 certainly took some hits this year. Leonard Manuel, a 5-star wide receiver, de-committed April 17. Avantae Williams, a 4-star athlete, backed away from his pledge May 8. Jermaine Burton, a 4-star wide receiver, stepped back from his commitment May 13. A potentially transcendent receivers haul led by Manuel and Burton briefly crumbled.
The Hurricanes still have a chance to put together Richt’s best recruiting class in 2020, though. Miami sits atop the national rankings thanks to March 30 commitments from 4-star cornerback Henry Gray, from Hollywood Miami Central, and 4-star tight end Dominic Mammarelli, from Naples, Fla.
Six of the Hurricanes’ eight commitments are blue-chip prospects, and Miami has already started to fill some of the depth in the class. The Hurricanes’ two most recent pledges are their only two 3-star prospects. Three-star weakside defensive end Elijah Roberts, from Miami Christopher Columbus, committed June 9, and 3-star wide receiver Marcus Fleming, from Miami Senior, pledged June 13. Roberts is raw and could fit anywhere on the defensive line, while Fleming is already a polished slot receiver. Both look like excellent complementary pieces at their position with some star potential.
I’m glad to say I’m committed to the university of Miami 🙌🏾🙌🏾 I wanna thank my mom & everyone else who supported me such as @CoachDD_Cooney @r81dugans @MarkRicht @Andrew_Ivins glad to stay home 🤞🏾📗📙📗📙 pic.twitter.com/4js0ryQ58T
— 3️⃣ (@_humble_3) June 13, 2018
What’s coming for Miami recruiting in next 6 months?
With those takeaways in mind, where does Miami go in the next few months?
The Hurricanes may not boast the flashiest class, but with 16 commitments Miami has a path to finish strongly. This is what to expect from the Hurricanes before the end of 2019:
Trenches are still the priority
For a window into Miami’s top remaining priorities in the 2019 cycle, just look at the pictures from Miami Nights on June 16. The Hurricanes hosted an invitation-only dinner on campus and managed to get most of their top remaining targets to attend. The number of uncommitted defensive linemen in attendance was staggering. Harvey was there and announced his pledged a few days later. So were 4-star weakside defensive end Khris Bogle, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and 4-star strongside defensive end Mike Morris, a Florida State commit from West Palm Beach, Fla.
— K H R I S B O G L E 🥀 (@khris_a1) June 17, 2018
Earlier in the day, 4-star strongside defensive end Quashon Fuller, another Seminoles commit, spent time on campus. The spring also provided an opportunity for Miami to host 4-star defensive tackle Tyler Davis, 4-star tackle Evan Neal, 5-star LSU guard commit Kardell Thomas and 4-star Florida State guard commit Dontae Lucas.
The list of key visitors in the trenches could expand July 28 with Paradise Camp. Visitors could include 4-star guard William Putnam, 4-star weakside defensive end Chester Graves, 3-star strongside defensive end Colby Wooden and 3-star defensive tackle Jalar Holley. The Hurricanes know what their priority needs to be between now and National Signing Day.
Miami ready for an answer at quarterback
Miami made a late adjustment and opted to bring Michael Johnson Jr. in for an official visit in June rather than wait to host him in December ahead of the early signing period. As the 4-star dual-threat quarterback lined up a run of official visits leading into the dead period, the Hurricanes needed to stay at the front of Johnson’s mind.
— Michael Johnson Jr. (@m_johnsonjr1) June 20, 2018
In the next month, Miami should find out whether its strategy paid off. Florida State and Penn State seem to be trending in the right direction for the quarterback, who also officially visited North Carolina State last week. The Hurricanes, however, are the only one of Johnson’s top suitors guaranteeing him a place as the top quarterback in their class.
Either way, Miami is ready for its answer and should get one soon. Johnson looks set for a July commitment. If he picks the Hurricanes, Miami is set at the position for 2019. If he doesn’t, Miami can move on to other options.
Major recruiting battles lie ahead
As good as Richt has been as a recruiter since he arrived at his alma mater, he’s still lost a few too many high-profile national recruiting battles. The coming months will provide a good chance for him to prove he can win them.
Miami is in the mix for four more truly elite targets: Neal, Bogle, 4-star cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and 4-star athlete Mark-Antony Richards. All four recruitments are national-level battles. For Neal, the Hurricanes will have to beat Alabama. For Bogle, they’ll have to hold off Tennesse. To land Stevenson, Miami will have to out-recruit Georgia, Auburn and the Crimson Tide. And to land Richards, the Hurricanes will have to fend off Auburn.
It’s easy to consider Miami the favorite for all four at this point, but winning any recruitment battle would be a major victory for Richt and his staff. It’s realistic to expect the Hurricanes to pull in at least three of those. Landing all four isn’t out of the question, either.
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