It’s All-America week and I’ve spent the last few days at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to keep a close eye on Miami recruiting. Five commits are slated to compete in the Under Armour All-America Game on Thursday and a handful of other targets will also be on the field at Camping World Stadium.
This week’s mailbag, of course, touches on how things are going in Orlando, but also hits on recent transfer news which has shaken up the Hurricanes’ roster. As always, you can email me your questions to email@example.com or hit me up on Twitter at @DBWilson2. I also do a weekly Facebook Live every Tuesday when I’ll take your questions in real time.
On to the mailbag:
Which recruits have been the most impressive during the All-American practices? (@ThatSmoothKidT2 via Twitter)
It’s impossible to overstate how good Brevin Jordan has been. The quarterback play has been subpar leading up to the Under Armour Game, and still the 4-star tight end is pulling in touchdowns left and right. He makes plays in space — like the one-handed grab he made on a go route Monday — and has showed off his ability in the red zone — like the touchdown he hauled in Tuesday. There’s no doubt he’ll be a major contributor from Day 1 in Miami and should see a rankings bump before National Signing Day.
Most of the Hurricanes signees have thrived this week. Gurvan Hall, a 4-star safety, has been better in coverage than anticipated and 4-star cornerback Al Blades Jr. has regrouped nicely after a somewhat disappointing senior year. On the offensive line, Cleveland Reed has held his own, but fellow 4-star offensive guard Delone Scaife has been the revelation. The Miami Southridge High School senior only rose to 4-star status during the summer and earned a late invitation to the game. He’s making the most of it and is playing tackle in Orlando. Scaife is making a case to get a shot at playing tackle when he joins the Hurricanes.
But even Scaife’s play has paled in comparison to 5-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere‘s. The 5-star offensive tackle has looked the part of the nation’s top tackle. It’s easy to see why everyone in the country wants him. He’s 6-foot-6 and 272 pounds, he’s quick enough to keep elite edge rushers at bay and he boasts a polished personality. There’s a reason he has schools like Stanford, Michigan, Notre Dame and Miami in the mix.
I hear DJ Johnson is transferring, this means that the depth in D-line is very thin. We’ll here from you about what coaching staff plan to do. (Martin Dube via email)
I don’t think the situation is quite as dire as some are making it out to be, either in terms of those who could be contributors next year or those who could be potential Hurricane targets in the current recruiting cycle.
My most recent recruiting class prediction pegged 4-star weakside defensive end Andrew Chatfield and 3-star strongside defensive end Daniel Carson to Miami. Since then, the Hurricanes have secured an official visit from 4-star defensive tackle Dennis Briggs. They’re also holding out hope for a visit from 4-star defensive tackle Michael Thompson. Let’s say Miami lands two — I feel good about predicting Chatfield and comfortable in assuming the Hurricanes land either Carson or Briggs — and Miami already has eight solid defensive linemen, as long as defensive linemen RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton both don’t leave. If one departs, the Hurricanes can group the returner with defensive lineman Pat Bethel, incoming 4-star defensive tackle and Florida transfer Gerald Willis, who appears set on joining Miami next fall. At defensive end, Miami can roll with defensive linemen Joe Jackson, Demetrius Jackson, Jonathan Garvin and Chatfield.
Obviously, things would be thin behind that group, unless Briggs joins the group. Gregory Rousseau, an incoming 3-star weakside defensive end, is a project who will likely redshirt. Patrick Joyner, another incoming 3-star weakside defensive end, is moving to linebacker. Carson is a tweener, who could use time to figure out a position for the Hurricanes. Getting a graduate transfer would be a logical solution as a stopgap before the incoming freshmen are ready to contribute. Miami also extended an offer to 4-star strongside defensive end Dorian Gerald on Wednesday. As a junior college prospect, Gerald could contribute immediately with the Hurricanes.
American Heritage- what are the odds we get 3 of the 4? I’m figuring PS2 is a long shot.
— Patrick (@CornDogsJackie) January 3, 2018
This has become a weekly question from some corner of Miami Twitter and there’s good reason for it. The difference between a good class and an elite one for the Hurricanes runs through Plantation, Fla., where American Heritage School boasts four of Miami’s top unsigned targets. Patrick has the right thinking: Patrick Surtain Jr. is a long shot. It would be a win for the Hurricanes simply to get the 5-star cornerback to Coral Gables, Fla., for an official visit, although he did drop by Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for one of Miami’s practices ahead of the Orange Bowl.
The Hurricanes’ odds at landing at least 2 of the other 3 remain excellent despite recent developments. Nesta Silvera didn’t sign with Miami during the early signing period, but that was always the plan. The 4-star defensive tackle will take at an official visit to Florida, although the Gators don’t seem like a threat to sway him. As for Chatfield, I consider the Hurricanes a favorite despite a recent offer from Florida State. The 4-star weakside defensive end attended almost every home game at Hard Rock Stadium this season, even before Miami offered in November.
Blessed to receive an offer from Florida State University pic.twitter.com/UxLI4y49qi
— Andrew Chatfield™ ⛽️ (@Drew_Chatfield) January 3, 2018
The X-factor in everything is Tyson Campbell, who some at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl feel could be leaning toward Georgia. Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports has pegged the 5-star cornerback to the Hurricanes since September, but wrote he’s considering flipping to the Bulldogs after speaking with Campbell in San Antonio.
My take on Campbell and Miami has always been the Hurricanes can make a different pitch than the rest of his suitors. Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State are all pitching him on program success. The Hurricanes can pair on-field success with their status as the hometown team and Campbell’s relationship with cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph, who coached Campbell at American Heritage. Even if Miami doesn’t necessarily have a better than 50 percent shot at pulling in Campbell, I think the Hurricanes are at least a slight favorite.
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