Miami recruiting: Hurricanes land All-American ATH on busy weekend
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.
ATH Te’Cory Couch adds further clarity to Miami secondary
Miami’s secondary for the Class of 2019 continues to take shape, and the latest addition is one of the Hurricanes’ most high-profile commitments.
Te’Cory Couch, a 4-star athlete from South Florida, has detractors because of some of his physical limitations, but no one doubts his talent and polish as a defensive back. The senior from Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School in Hollywood, Fla., checks in as the nation’s No. 204 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings and has already accepted an invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game in January. On Saturday, he publicly announced on Twitter his commitment to stay home and play for Miami.
— T©️(MD)⚠️ (@TecoryC_16) June 16, 2018
The commitment, critics will note, is already Couch’s third. He initially pledged to Tennessee before surprisingly flipping to Michigan on May 15. After de-committing from the Wolverines on June 9, Couch’s commitment to the Hurricanes seemed inevitable. Now the 5-foot-10, 148-pound prospect insists it will be his final one.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
While most recruiting services classify Couch as an athlete, he’s almost exclusively played in the secondary at the high school level. Miami pictures the All-American as a cornerback, who can either cover players in the slot or even play outside. Couch also has experience at free safety.
As a cornerback, Couch is the sort of high-ceiling prospect the Hurricanes need, while also maintaining a high floor. He joins 3-star cornerback Jarvis Brownlee and 3-star athlete Damarius Good as the projected corners committed, and he fills a necessary gap. Brownlee is a lanky prospect with a high floor, even if his raw talent is quite at Couch’s level. Good has almost exclusively played quarterback and running back in high school, so the Hurricanes are betting on his physical gifts translating to defense. Couch could potentially be both a Day 1 contributor and an eventual star in the secondary.
Couch also becomes the third player from Chaminade-Madonna College Prep to commit to Miami this cycle, joining 4-star safety Keontra Smith and 3-star weakside defensive end Cameron Williams. Smith is the only safety in the class at this point, although the Hurricanes can now swing their focus to recruiting safeties in the secondary.
Couch’s commitment could potentially complete Miami’s cornerbacks haul, although there are a few options available. Jaden Davis, a 4-star cornerback from the Miami metropolitan area, just visited the Hurricanes on June 7. Miami is also in the top 5 for John Dixon, although an injury has left question marks around the 3-star cornerback.
Finding versatile defensive backs capable of playing safety seems to be the more likely direction at this point. Tyrique Stevenson, technically a 4-star cornerback, leads the list and will primarily play safety at Miami Southridge High School this season. Mark-Antony Richards, a 4-star athlete from Wellington (Fla.) High School, is the other priority target, even though he’ll mostly play cornerback on defense this season. The Hurricanes have also turned up the pressure on 4-star safety Jordan Battle and have long been recruiting fellow 4-star safety Josh Sanguinetti. Cornelius Nunn is also considering Miami as a July decision approaches. The 3-star athlete almost exclusively plays safety for Miami Palmetto High School in Pinecrest, Fla.
And then there’s Akeem Dent. The 5-star cornerback from Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington is a former Hurricanes commit, who is now pledged to Florida State. It seems a long shot for Miami to flip him back, but he would be the ultimate prize for the Hurricanes in the secondary at this point.
Miami hosts loaded slate of visitors before dead period
The Hurricanes spent most of the spring trying to avoid hosting official visitors. Sure, there were some exceptions — they hosted 4-star weakside defensive end Kevin Harris for an official visit before he committed to Alabama — but Miami wanted to wait until the season to give visitors an authentic football experience.
The Hurricanes made another exception this weekend to try to beat out another national powerhouse. Miami welcomed Battle to spend the weekend on campus for his first official visit. It would have been easy for the 4-star safety from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to make the quick trip, but the Hurricanes got to spend more face time with the defensive back to make up ground on Ohio State.
UM Official Visit ☑️🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/BsMHWA8TgN
— VII ™️ (@jordantofly100) June 17, 2018
Battle has publicly declared the Buckeyes his leader in the past. Miami, however, has steadily made up ground since offering Feb. 16. The 6-1, 187-pound senior visited the Hurricanes the next day, then twice in March. He camped in Coral Gables on June 9, then made his way back to campus this weekend for his official visit. Miami, it seems, has seized the clear No. 2 position for Battle as he prepares to officially visit Columbus this coming weekend.
Battle’s official visit happened to coincide with one of the Hurricanes’ biggest recruiting weekends of the spring. With two Mark Richt Football Camps and a new Miami Nights event, the Hurricanes brought more than a dozen blue-chip prospects to campus Friday and Saturday
While Miami Nights brought the most loaded visitor list, the camp on Friday attracted the lone 5-star prospect. Kardell Thomas, a guard committed to LSU, made a surprise appearance on campus Friday to talk with coaches. The offensive lineman from Southern University Laboratory School in Baton Rouge, La., previously expressed interest in visiting the Hurricanes, although he shut down his recruitment soon after.
— Kardell thomas (@kardellt62) June 15, 2018
Thomas wasn’t the only blue-chip guard committed to another school to spend the day on campus. Dontae Lucas, a Florida State commit, also made his way to campus Friday. The offensive lineman from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., also visited June 9.
Otherwise, the camp on Friday mainly hosted still-unknown players. The camp was meant for prospects in the Classes of 2021 and 2022. Patrick Bryant, an unranked 2021 wide receiver from Jacksonville’s Atlantic Coast High School, was arguably the most notable participant after Miami offered June 6. Latarie Kinsler, a 4-star weakside defensive end in the 2020 class, also visited Friday, although he didn’t compete. The Pahokee (Fla.) High School defensive end remains committed to Louisville, although he visited the Hurricanes multiple times this spring.
The visitor list at the camp Saturday was all about the quarterbacks as Miami hosted 4-star pro-style quarterback Max Johnson, who is the Hurricanes’ top 2020 target at the position. Johnson was accompanied by Jake Johnson, his brother and an unranked athlete with a Miami offer in the Class of 2022. Devon Lingle was the other most notable 2020 quarterback in attendance. The 3-star dual-threat quarterback from Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Fla., has visited the Hurricanes a handful of times, although he doesn’t hold an offer. Jeremy James was probably the top non-quarterback at the event. The 3-star tackle from North Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga., visited for the first time after picking up an offer May 25.
Some high-profile spectators also made their way to the Mark Richt Camp from the other side of the state. Quashon Fuller, a 4-star 2019 strongside defensive end from Lehigh Senior High School in Lehigh Acres, visited for the first time since March 20. Fuller remains committed to Florida State, although he has Miami in his top 10 anyway. Dominic Mammarelli, a 4-star 2020 tight end commit, also made his way across the state from Naples High School for the day. So did 4-star safety Josh Sanguinetti and 3-star wide receiver Zay Flowers, both of whom play at NSU University School in Fort Lauderdale.
This all led into Miami Nights on Saturday. The Hurricanes closed out camp season by bringing more than a dozen of their top targets and commits to Coral Gables for a dinner on campus.
— K H R I S B O G L E 🥀 (@khris_a1) June 17, 2018
Nearly every committed member of the 2019 class made it, including Couch, Smith, Williams, Good, 4-star outside linebacker Anthony Solomon, 4-star tackle Michael Tarquin, 3-star running back Marcus Crowley, 3-star outside linebacker Samuel Brooks, 3-star guard Kingsley Eguakun and 3-star strongside defensive end Jason Munoz.
The more important list, however, is probably the uncommitted targets. Battle and James attended the dinner, as did 4-star weakside defensive end Khris Bogle, 4-star running back Kenny McIntosh, 4-star wide receiver John Dunmore, 3-star weakside defensive end Jahfari Harvey, and 4-star strongside defensive ends Braylen Ingraham and Mike Morris, the latter of whom is committed to the Seminoles.
In the 2020 class, commits such as Mammarelli and 3-star strongside defensive end Tre’von Riggins attended the dinner. Both Johnsons also stuck around in order to be at the event.
Key South Florida prospects take out-of-state official visits
Battle wasn’t the only St. Thomas Aquinas player to make his way out on an official visit this weekend. Two other Raiders with Hurricanes offers headed out-of-state for the weekend.
Davis was the most notable. The corner traveled to Michigan State for the first time after leaving the Spartans outside his top 10.
The official visit in East Lansing is likely the last for Davis before he makes a decision July 18. The 5-9, 166-pound senior has already taken official visits to Kentucky, Oklahoma and Penn State. The Hurricanes also remain firmly in the mix. Davis unofficially visited Miami on June 7, when he received assurance the Hurricanes would have room for him in the class on his commitment date.
“They said that pretty much they’re going to take me unless something like crazy happens,” Davis told DieHards on Tuesday. “Basically, they’re going to take me whenever I want to commit, especially with that July 18 date.”
Daniel Carter was the other St. Thomas Aquinas prospect to take an official visit this weekend. The 4-star running back once appeared to be a major target for Miami, although bigger targets have emerged. Carter decided to take his first official visit to Pittsburgh.
Pitt is a relatively new suitor for the 5-10, 204-pound senior. The Panthers offered May 23 and Carter immediately lined up an official visit.
While Pitt is the first school Carter has officially visited, the halfback doesn’t lack for suitors. Carter boasts nearly 30 offers, with Ohio State and Michigan also on the list.
Similar to Carter, Dixon sits a bit lower on the Hurricanes’ board at his position. Still, Miami likes the 5-11, 170-pound athlete from Chamberlain High School in Tampa, Fla., and could prioritize him if he rebounds from an injury.
At this point, though, it may be hard to make up ground on South Carolina. The Gamecocks were first to offer Dixon, and he took his first official visit to Columbia this weekend. South Carolina and the Hurricanes are both in Dixon’s top 5 along with Alabama, Ohio State and Penn State.
One Miami commit also made his way out of state for an unofficial visit over the weekend. Marc Britt, a local 4-star athlete in the 2020 class, traveled to Alabama for the second time this spring.
University of Alabama today 🐘#RollTide
— Marc Britt(P6) (@marcbritt_P6) June 16, 2018
The 6-2, 180-pound junior from Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah is currently the centerpiece of the Hurricanes’ wide receivers class, although he could also play free safety. He committed to Miami in December, when he didn’t possess a long offer list. He’s been open to other options, though, as offers have piled up. The Crimson Tide offered April 23 after Britt visited for the first time April 21. On Saturday, he headed to Tuscaloosa for the first time with an offer in hand.
It hasn’t been long since Britt last visited the Hurricanes, though. The receiver spent the day with wide receivers coach Ron Dugans on June 9.
Miami offers new 2021 prospect at underclassman camp
Miami spent Friday and Saturday hosting its final two Mark Richt Football Camps before the dead period. This meant a final chance for evaluations. The camp on Friday, which brought prospects from the Classes of 2021 and 2022 to campus, was revealing. The Hurricanes got their first good in-person look at some of Florida’s best underclassman.
Unsurprisingly, Miami found some prospects it liked enough to offer. On Friday, the Hurricanes became the latest school to offer Gage Wilcox, an unranked tight end from Jefferson High School in Tampa, Fla. On Saturday, Miami offered another 2021 prospect who performed at the upperclassman camp. The Hurricanes handed out a rare 2021 quarterback offer to unranked dual-threat quarterback Carlos Del Rio from McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Ga.
— Gage Wilcox (@GageWilcox12) June 15, 2018
— QBCarlosDelRio (@QBCarlosDelrio) June 16, 2018
Miami’s offer was the eighth for Wilcox. Syracuse, Florida, Georgia, Auburn, Penn State, Georgia Southern and Central Florida have already offered the 6-4, 215-pound receiver. The senior, who also plays some defensive end for Jefferson, returned to visit for the second straight day Saturday. Christopher Johnson, the only other 2021 tight end with a Hurricanes offer, also visited both Friday and Saturday. The unranked receiver from Jean Ribault High School in Jacksonville competed at both camps.
Miami, meanwhile, was only the third school to offer Del Rio, following Florida and Michigan. The 6-2, 186-pound quarterback split time as a freshman for McEachern, although he showed promise. Del Rio completed 52 of 104 passes for 725 yards, 4 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He also ran for 73 yards on 17 carries.
The Hurricanes didn’t only offer players who camped, though. Miami also expanded its tackle board for the current cycle with a new out-of-state offer Thursday. The Hurricanes formally got involved with Stacey Wilkins, extending an offer to the 4-star tackle from Camden (Ark.) Fairview High School.
— Stacey Wilkins 🕊 (@Wilk_65) June 14, 2018
Miami is a bit late to offer Wilkins, who now claims 30 offers. Oklahoma and Texas appear to be the early favorites for the 6-7, 280-pound offensive lineman. Arkansas and Southern California are in the mix, too. Wilkins plans to officially visit USC this coming weekend and has visited the Razorbacks a number of times.
Miss a previous edition? Find every post of DieHards’ daily Miami recruiting notebook right here.