On the eve of National Signing Day and a day shy of being committed for a year to the University of Miami, Tyler Byrd — one of the nation’s top cornerbacks — flipped his pledge from the Hurricanes to the Tennessee Volunteers.
And in each case it was the same assistant, former UM interim coach and new Tennessee tight ends coach Larry Scott, who helped lure Byrd, rated the 35th player in the nation (regardless of position) and top all-purpose athlete by ESPN.com.
But the Canes also got one of the top safeties Tuesday night when four-star recruit Romeo Finley of Niceville chose Miami over Clemson and Georgia Tech via Twitter.
Finley thanked God and his “family, friends and coaches for their influence and support,’’ and wrote, “After sitting down and talking to my family I have decided I will be furthering my education and football career at the University of Miami. #TheU #HereArtThou.”
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Finley, 6-1 and 200 pounds, is the nation’s 12th-best safety according to ESPN.com, and the 15th-best according to 247Sports.com.
The Canes already have Miami Gulliver Prep safety Cedrick Wright waiting to sign Wednesday. The two will help compensate for the loss of Deon Bush and Dallas Crawford.
Byrd, a four-star U.S. Army All-American from Naples, made his announcement Tuesday night on the social media platform Periscope. He is rated the ninth best corner by 247Sports. Rivals.com has him as the seventh best corner.
Cornerback is a position the Canes clearly need to fill, as Artie Burns left early for the NFL Draft and outgoing senior Tracy Howard will also enter the draft.
Scott led the Hurricanes to a 4-2 record after former coach Al Golden was fired in late October. He turned down an offer to be a Canes assistant under new coach Mark Richt to take the tight ends job with Tennessee.
“I want to make it clear that I would have taken the visit without Coach Scott at Tennessee,’’ Byrd told Rivals.com before his Jan. 29 visit to Knoxville. “But with him there, it’s a bonus factor. Not only are these guys saying it’s a great school, but Coach Scott is someone I trust.’’
It didn’t help UM’s cause that Byrd’s best friend and Naples teammate Carlin Fils-aime, a three-star running back, is committed to Tennessee. They live together and took their Tennessee visit together.
Also Tuesday, ESPN West Palm/WPTV News Channel 5 anchor Ian Hest reported that Wellington High four-star receiver Ahmmon Richards — another U.S. Army All-American — is expected to sign with the Hurricanes on Wednesday.
Richards, rated the 28th-best receiver in 247Sports’ composite rankings, decommitted from UM after Golden was fired. Receiver is a position the Canes also badly need to replenish.