The UM football team continues to strengthen its bond with in-state recruits.
The Hurricanes hosted a recruiting event on Sunday called U Day and ended up landing an oral commitment on top of reinforcing relationships with a number prospects, most of them who are already committed.
Recruits watched team workouts and Sunday afternoon’s practice, met with coaches and players, had lunch provided for them, and wrapped up the day with a house party in the atrium of the Schwartz Athletic Center where recruits and their families played card games and dominoes with the team.
The commitment UM received came from class of 2017 cornerback Nick Roberts of Orange Park Oakleaf. Roberts is a three-star prospect who had been leaning toward Miami for months now.
“Everybody on the staff was showing me love,” Roberts said. “I love everything at Miami. I love the atmosphere. It’s a great place.”
Roberts (5-11, 170 pounds) is the ninth commitment in the Hurricanes’ 2017 recruiting class and the first defensive back.
Roberts made the five-hour drive from Orange Park to Coral Gables with committed 2016 four-star linebacker and high school teammate Shaquille Quarterman. The two continue a pipeline from Oakleaf High to Miami that was started by current sophomore UM linebacker Darrion Owens.
“There could be some of that, but a lot of the recruits [are coming because] they like it for themselves,” Owens said after practice on Sunday. “I helped out, but I think they just felt the same way I felt when I came in. I know a lot of people want to stay close to home, just the history that’s been behind here, how hard we work and how close of a team we’ve become.”
The event helped solidify commitments of a pair of highly-touted recruits in Lantana Santaluces linebacker Zach McCloud and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas wide receiver Sam Bruce.
McCloud has been planning on taking trips to FSU and Auburn but isn’t 100-percent set on them, and U Day helped separate UM from other schools in his mind.
“Best time I’ve had in Miami yet besides camp and 7-on7,” McCloud said, ant the only reason the other two were better was because he actually got to play football, he added. “There’s some great universities out there, but there’s only one U.”
Bruce has always remained firm in stating that his commitment to UM was solid, but him considering visits to other schools has had many questioning whether he’ll stick.
After seeing him Sunday, committed four-star quarterback Jack Allison told the Miami Herald that he believes the slot receiver he hopes to be throwing the ball to in the future won’t decommit.
U Day fit perfectly into the grand recruiting scheme for UM in its focus of recruiting Florida. As of now, 20 of the 21 commits in the Canes’ 2016 class are from Florida and all 14 younger committed prospects are in-state.
UM’s staff devoted the entire month of May to recruiting players from Jacksonville on down, according to director of player personnel Eric Josephs, and the culmination of all the summer recruiting turned out to be a major positive for the program as it heads into the season.