At one time, Michael Tarquin was as frequent a visitor in Coral Gables, Fla., as anyone. The 4-star tackle from Belleview (Fla.) High School visited twice in April, then attended Paradise Camp in July. He even made it to Miami Gardens twice during the 2017 season to watch the Hurricanes at Hard Rock Stadium.
Before Saturday, though, it had been more than five months since Tarquin’s last time in the Miami metropolitan area. The Hurricanes had seemingly slipped behind out-of-state suitors such as Oklahoma, Ohio State and South Carolina.
Miami is right back in the thick of Tarquin’s recruitment now. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman visited the Hurricanes for the first time since October on Saturday, spending the day on campus for an elite junior day event.
“It was great. I got to meet some of the guys I was going to be playing with, who I really liked, and I just kind of learned more about just the University of Miami. Kind of take a step back from football,” Tarquin told DieHards on Monday. “Obviously, I got to see a lot of football, which is important, but also the academic side of things and just the campus. I looked at that a lot more. I loved it.”
Tarquin’s frequent visits throughout 2017 — including twice for spring practices — means the rising senior is plenty familiar with the Hurricanes’ football program. He knows well how offensive line coach Stacy Searels works and what a typical Miami practice is like. This trip became an opportunity focus on the school as a whole and get a better sense of just how he might fit with the Hurricanes.
— Michael Tarquin (@Mike_Tarquin70) March 26, 2018
The Sooners and Buckeyes, given some recent visits in the fall and winter, looked like favorites early this year. But both teams are deep along the offensive line. Miami, on the other hand, came up one tackle short in the Class of 2018. Tarquin, who checks in as the No. 26 offensive tackle for the Class of 2019 in the 247Sports composite rankings, said Searels wants to land four offensive linemen in the upcoming class.
“Coach Searels says sees me at left tackle,” Tarquin said. “He said there’s a good opportunity for me to play.”
The Hurricanes currently hold four Class of 2019 commitments along the offensive line. Only one, however, is likely to play tackle. Kingsley Eguakun, a 3-star guard, is a true interior offensive lineman. Renato Brown, a 3-star tackle, hopes to play defensive line in college. Only 3-star tackle Brandon Cunningham is close to guaranteed to begin his college career out on the edge. Tarquin fills a major need for Miami, which didn’t sign a single blue-chip tackle in 2018.
As such, the Hurricanes kept pushing for Tarquin, even when he went almost half a year without visiting. Searels and coach Mark Richt, Tarquin said, both reach out “constantly” and the prospect plans to visit again April 21.
The recent uptick bodes well for the Hurricanes. Tarquin plans to make a commitment sometime next month and he currently only has one spring official visit set in stone — an April 14 trip to Norman, Okla. — although a potential visit to Oregon is also in the works. No trip to Columbus is scheduled at this time. A previously planned April 20 official visit to Columbia, S.C., is no longer expected, either. Instead, Miami will host the final visit of the month during which Tarquin plans to announce.
If the Hurricanes real in a commitment, Tarquin would officially visit in the fall. He plans to enroll early wherever he chooses. Miami has as good a chance as anyone.
“You have all these people talking to you about football, football. You’re thinking about playing football there, which is great. It’s what you’re going to be doing, but I kind of just thought about if I weren’t playing football, which school I would be happiest at,” Tarquin said. “I just really love the school.”