No additions, but ’Canes kept ’20 class intact
The first day of the Early Signing Period in Coral Gables was a mixture of optimism surrounding 18 recruits that signed their National Letters of Intent to accept a scholarship to play football for the Miami Hurricanes and the disappointment of UM not adding any one of several targets whose decisions came down to the end.
All in all, for a team that is 6-6 as it heads to the Independence Bowl, ending the regular season with losses to FIU and Duke, UM got through Wednesday with a top-20 recruiting class across all the recruiting services. Rivals ranks Miami’s 2020 class No. 16, 247 Sports has the Hurricanes at 17 and ESPN tabs them 19th.
With the Early Signing Period still running through Friday and the recruiting cycle for the 2020 class still yet to reach February’s traditional National Signing Day, the rankings were a small dip from where UM started the day. Diaz said he expects 13 of the 18 signees to also enroll early at Miami, beginning college schoolwork in the upcoming spring semester and becoming eligible to participate in spring drills.
“All across the country, there’s a podium with a coach behind it, and he’s talking about the virtues of his class and how pleased he is with all the guys he signed,” Miami coach Manny Diaz said to start a press conference at the school wrapping up the day. “Certainly, I’m no different in that regard, but the way I want to start this is to not talk about their talents and their achievements on the field. I want to talk about the mentality that I think makes these 18 guys very special.
“The reception we got back from them was, ‘Coach, not only are we with Miami, not only are we with the ’Canes — we’re coming to solve the problem. We’re coming to be the fix. We’re coming to get this thing right.”
While Miami didn’t sign any players that weren’t already committed heading into Wednesday, as other schools had late additions to boost their class ranking, the Hurricanes also lost the commitment of Georgiabased three-star pass rusher Romello Height, who flipped to Auburn on Wednesday afternoon after he reportedly took a weekend visit there.
“If you’re committed to us and take other visits, you can consider yourself committed to us, but we’re going to look for somebody else,” Diaz said. “That’s why, in our mind, we did not lose a commitment today.”
Technically losing Height, UM also struck out on targets who announced early signing decisions on Wednesday.
Most notably, the Hurricanes were unable to get Homestead South Dade four-star safety Jaiden Francois, who had committed and decommitted from Miami twice in his recruitment.
The indecision continued at the team’s ceremony at his school. He left his seat at the table where he was set to make an announcement two different times after taking a phone call before finally returning to proclaim he was choosing Nebraska over the Hurricanes.
In the afternoon, the nation’s top linebacker, according to both 247 Sports and Rivals, Justin Flowe, had a Miami hat on the table for his announcement from Upland, California, on ESPNU. The five-star prospect chose Oregon and coach Mario Cristobal, a former UM offensive lineman, over the Hurricanes, Clemson and Southern Cal.
The Hurricanes have a potential quarterback of the future in Connecticutbased four-star signal caller Tyler Van Dyke.
Miami added two bluechip talents at running back in South Florida four-star prospects Don Chaney Jr. of Miami Belen and Deerfield Beach’s Jaylan Knighton.
The Hurricanes picked up three wide receivers in slot target Xavier Restrepo, Knighton’s teammate at Deerfield, IMG Academy’s Michael Redding III and Dazalin Worsham out of Alabama. Four-star tight end from Naples, Dominic Mammarelli, joins Miami, which is still also in the hunt for Darnell Washington, a five-star recruit at the position who announced on Tuesday he was not signing Wednesday.
Diaz called Miami’s two offensive line signees, Orange Park Oakleaf’s Jalen Rivers and Nashville-based Chris Washington “tackle bodies … which has been a struggle for us to get tackle bodies through the years, guys that we can develop in our program.”
UM signed three defensive linemen. Chantz Williams, an Under Armour All-America selection out of Oakleaf like Rivers, and Quentin Williams out of Charlotte are defensive ends while Miami Columbus’ Elijah Roberts will start at end but could grow into a defensive tackle.
Missing on Flowe, a pair of three-star linebackers are coming to Coral Gables. Diaz said Corey Flagg out of Houston is an “instinctual” player while New Jersey’s Tirek Austin-Cave brings “elite speed.”
Three safeties join Miami and all from South Florida: Four-star talents in South Dade’s Keshawn Washington and Champagnat’s Jalen Harrell, who could also end up playing cornerback or striker, and Miramar’s Brian Balom. The Hurricanes got cornerback Marcus Clarke out of Winter Park.