Miami recruiting: What’s next for Hurricanes’ top-ranked 2020 class?
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.
How else can Miami’s Class of 2020 regroup?
Since just about the day the 247Sports composite rankings dropped for the Class of 2020, Miami has claimed the top spot. The Hurricanes landed one early commitment from 4-star athlete Avantae Williams, then added three more from 4-star athlete Marc Britt, and 4-star wide receivers Leonard Manuel and Jermaine Burton before the end of 2017.
Now, only one of those four remains in the class. Williams, Manuel and Burton de-committed in the spring, leaving Britt as the longest-tenured member of the class. Even so, the Hurricanes sit atop the class rankings with eight committed players and six blue-chip prospects. Britt, who ranks No. 77 overall, isn’t even the top-ranked prospect, as 4-star cornerback Henry Gray sits six spots higher.
Regrouping, then, is relative for Miami. The Hurricanes are well on their way to one of the best 2020 classes in the country even after the rash of high-profile de-commitments. Holding on to the No. 1 class in the cycle is still possible, too. The Hurricanes will need to land a few more elite prospects, though, and are fortunate to be positioned well for quite a few. These are some of those players:
CB Fred Davis, 4 stars, Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Fred Davis will be one of the most sought-after prospects in Florida for the 2020 cycle. He plays in Jacksonville, though, which means Miami feels like it should be able to reel him in. The 6-foot-1, 162-pound defensive back is prep teammates with 3-star running back Marcus Crowley, who is committed to the Hurricanes’ Class of 2019.
Davis already claims more than a dozen offers, with a number of national powers in the mix. He’s visited Miami more than anyone else, though. The junior most recently visited Coral Gables, Fla., on Feb. 24 and has consistently raved about the Hurricanes. Davis, who also plays some quarterback, wants to get to Miami a few more times before his junior season starts.
“I’m getting there multiple times in the summer,” Davis told DieHards in March.
QB Max Johnson, 4 stars, Oconee County (Watkinsville, Ga.)
The bloodlines run strong for pro-style quarterback Max Johnson, who is the son of former NFL quarterback Brad Johnson, the nephew of coach Mark Richt and the cousin of quarterbacks coach Jon Richt. Those last two connections have made Miami a logical destination for Johnson.
The 6-5, 213-pound junior already has visited the Hurricanes three times, most recently June 16 for the final Mark Richt Football Camp. Johnson spent the day working closely with Jon Richt, then stuck around for the invite-only Miami Nights event at the end of the day. Ranked as the No. 52 overall prospect in the 2020 class, Johnson wants to make a decision by the end of his junior year. The Hurricanes look like the team to beat.
“I saw the team and how they bond together,” Johnson told DieHards after the Mark Richt Camp on June 16 in Coral Gables. “Everyone being down here is kind of cool. I just love being down here and competing with everyone, so I’m just enjoying the whole process.”
ATH Caziah Holmes, 3 stars, Cocoa (Fla.)
Caziah Holmes is one of the more intriguing in-state prospects in the 2020 cycle. He actually plays a lot of quarterback for Cocoa (Fla.) High School, but Miami loves his potential as a defensive back. Holmes admits the Hurricanes are atop his list, he’s just waiting to see if someone will give him a chance to play offense.
“They want me for defensive back, but I know I can play offense,” Holmes told DieHards after he attended Miami’s spring game in April. “I’m an athlete and I want to show it.”
The 6-1, 180-pound junior grew up a Hurricanes fan. If Holmes realizes his future is in the secondary, Miami should be able to land the under-the-radar prospect. Right now, Holmes claims fewer than 10 offers, and only Louisville views him as an offensive prospect.
S Jaiden Francois, unranked, South Dade (Homestead, Fla.)
Jaiden Francois should be due for a significant bump in the rankings this summer. The safety put together an impressive spring and pulled in nearly 10 offers. For now, Miami is the standout for the 5-10, 168-pound defensive back.
Francois has been on the Hurricanes’ radar for a little while, even though they waited until May 3 to offer. The junior attended a game at Hard Rock Stadium in October, visited campus Jan. 17 and then returned for an underclassman day March 31. He looks like one of the best safeties in Miami-Dade County for the 2020 cycle.
RB Don Chaney Jr., 4 stars, Belen Jesuit Prep (Miami)
The Hurricanes pinpointed Don Chaney Jr. as its top running back target for 2020 and have stuck with him even as he’s been patient with his decision-making. He has consistently called the Hurricanes his favorite and insists he’s getting closer to making a commitment. The junior has a stronger relationship with Thomas Brown than any other assistant coach recruiting him. Chaney even worked 1-on-1 with the running backs coach at a Richt Camp on June 10.
“He already knows what I can do,” Chaney told DieHards after the workout in Coral Gables. “He just wanted to see how hard I’d work.”
Landing a prospect such as Chaney is never easy, though. Chaney’s father played at South Carolina, so the Gamecocks will keep taking their shots at the 6-foot, 190-pound halfback, who also plays some defensive back. Nearly 20 other schools have offered the elite prospect, too.
DE Chantz Williams, 4 stars, Oakleaf (Orange Park, Fla.)
Chantz Williams already has become one of the most coveted 2020 defensive linemen in Florida. Miami is primarily battling Florida State and Florida to land him. While he has visited the Seminoles and Gators more recently than the Hurricanes, Williams did spend some time in the Miami metropolitan area Feb. 19 and raved about the visit.
“They’re very appealing right now. They’re recruiting me and [classmate and 4-star tackle Jalen Rivers] the hardest out of all our schools right now. We appreciate that,” Williams told DieHards in March. “From the beginning of our recruitment, Miami was definitely persistent on Day 1.”
The 6-4, 219-pound defensive end now holds more than a dozen offers, which means the Hurricanes need to get him back to campus soon. The junior’s last visit came before Miami hired Jess Simpson, so Williams has yet to meet the defensive line coach in person.
T Marcus Dumervil, 4 stars, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
It’s not clear yet whether Marcus Dumervil will play offense or defense in college. The junior could start at both tackle and defensive tackle this year for St. Thomas Aquinas. He already claims over 20 offers with a pretty even mix of schools recruiting him to play either side of the ball.
It is clear Miami can’t let the 6-5, 295-pound lineman slip away without a significant fight. Linemen of Dumervil’s size and skill are rare in South Florida, which could make him a priority for the Hurricanes. He’s already visited Miami a handful of times since the Hurricanes offered Jan. 31, most recently for the underclassman day March 31. Dumervil, who is former Louisville linebacker Elvis Dumervil’s cousin, already has quite a few schools he likes, though. The Cardinals are a major challenger, as are LSU, Ohio State and Michigan.
“I don’t really have a front-runner. It’s a great program,” Dumervil told DieHards after his most recent visit to Miami. “Mark Richt is putting together a program, but I don’t have any favorites or anything like that right now.”
Other recruits to know: Rivers, QB Harrison Bailey, RB Demarckus Bowman, RB Jayion McCluster, WR Deajaun McDougle, G Jonathan Denis, DE Jalen Carter, DT Timothy Smith, OLB Zykeivous Walker, ATH Xavier Restrepo
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