Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and David Wilson and the DieHards.com team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read daily notebooks here at 10 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
Recruiting is a team effort, with everyone from the coaches down to the current commits doing their part when everything is working. With the Miami coaching staff mostly preoccupied by preparing for then-No. 3 Notre Dame on Saturday, the Hurricanes’ expansive group of Class of 2018 commits had to put on the full-court press for the most important target at Hard Rock Stadium last weekend: 4-star dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams.
After the show the No. 3 Hurricanes put on — a 41-8 win that now has them the No. 3 team in the College Football Playoff rankings — Williams raved about the school that received his first official visit. The atmosphere was electric. Miami was impressive on the field. And the pre-existing relationship he has with some of the already-committed prospects seems to be important.
Among them is Delone Scaife. The 4-star offensive guard from Miami Southridge High was teammates with Williams at The Opening Final this summer in Beaverton, Ore., along with a host of other future Hurricanes. Scaife received his honorary Under Armour All-American Game jersey Wednesday at Southridge and afterward he expressed confidence in Williams’ status with Miami. The offensive lineman thinks the quarterback from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Ga., is on the verge of a commitment.
“I think so,” Scaife told DieHards on Wednesday in Miami. “He didn’t de-commit [from Kentucky] for nothing after the visit. I think he should take all the visits first.”
Williams quarterbacked Savage Pro at The Opening, a team which included Hurricane commits Lorenzo Lingard, Cam’Ron Davis, Mark Pope, Brian Hightower, Brevin Jordan, Will Mallory, Nesta Silvera, Al Blades Jr., Josh Jobe and Scaife. All but Hightower were in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday, which meant Williams got to see plenty of familiar faces on his first official visit.
As Scaife noted, at some point during the weekend Williams decided to de-commit from Kentucky. He has a new top 3 of Auburn, Ohio State and the Hurricanes. While Williams will still visit the Tigers and Buckeyes, Miami seems to be positioned as the favorite.
“We was putting on a good show, but we didn’t want to overdo it, make it something that it’s really not. Jarren knows what it is,” Scaife said. “We’ve got a little bit of chemistry.”
Scaife wasn’t the only prospect to express confidence in where Williams will wind up. Jordan checked in with Blair Angulo of 247Sports to break down his first game visit and expressed confidence in the Hurricanes landing a handful of commitments during the coming weeks.
Miami has already secured two since Saturday with 3-star fullback Realus George joining the Hurricanes’ Class of 2018 and 4-star wide receiver Leonard Manuel joining their Class of 2020. If everything goes according to plan, Miami could land its most important pledge soon.
“I know a few dudes who are committing in the upcoming weeks, but I can’t say any names, though. Jarren Williams was our main priority,” Jordan said. “I was just telling him if he came out here, he’d have some top dudes to get the ball to. He liked it a lot and I think we can get him.”
St. Martin High School of Ocean Springs, Miss., just wrapped up its first postseason in more than a decade and got it done despite Brandon Cunningham’s self-professed worst season yet.
The 3-star offensive tackle missed much of his summer due to leg surgery and felt he wasn’t at full strength for most of his junior season. Still, the tackle racked up 25 pancake blocks and helped pave the way for the Yellow Jackets to run for more than 3,000 yards.
“This year was my worst high school season ever, I would definitely say,” Cunningham told DieHards on Wednesday. “My sophomore year was definitely better than my junior year.”
Cunningham, who occasionally gets snaps at tight end and defensive end, also finished the year with 12 total tackles, 4 tackles for a loss and a sack. His down season meant interest didn’t quite pick up the way he expected, although LSU and Mississippi could both get more seriously involved next summer with Cunningham at full strength.
Despite being one of the Hurricanes’ few out-of-state commits, Cunningham appears to be one of Miami’s most solid commits in the Class of 2019. The junior committed to the Hurricanes in July immediately after picking up an offer at Paradise Camp in Coral Gables, Fla. He’s rooting hard for Miami from afar and said most of his friends are rooting for the Hurricanes now, too.
Cunningham is fully healthy now and working his way toward a bigger senior year. St. Martin has most of its key contributors returning and should be poised for a longer postseason run in 2018.
“We all played as a unit this year, but I can definitely say that we noticed a lot of talent that we had room to build,” Cunningham said. “Next year is all our senior years, most of the players.”
Leonard Manuel isn’t just one of the most promising sophomore wide receivers in Florida. He’s also one of the state’s best young wings on the hardwood. If possible, the 4-star athlete said, he hopes he can keep doing both once he gets down to Coral Gables.
While Manuel hasn’t spoken with coach Jim Larranaga or any of his staff yet, the sophomore plans to keep being a two-sport athlete in college.
“I will be playing Miami basketball, too,” Manuel told DieHards on Tuesday.
Manuel had an extremely promising freshman season for the Vanguard High School basketball team in Ocala, Fla. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound star filled up the stat sheet with 9.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game on a team which reached the semifinals in Class 7A of the Florida High School Athletic Association. Future150.com, a national basketball recruiting site, considers Manuel the No. 47 player in the Class of 2020.
It’s too far out to project how likely Manuel is to also earn a spot on the Hurricanes’ basketball team, but it is proof of what a tremendous athlete the Miami football team landed. I wrote a bit more extensively about Manuel’s early success in high school Wednesday. In the story, Manuel also discussed the early success the Hurricanes are having in the Class of 2020. He thinks more commitments could be on the way soon to join him and 4-star athlete Avantae Williams.
“I think we’ll be one of the best in the country,” Manuel said. “Just wait a couple weeks.”
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