Sports

Canes’ Diaz pursuing new QB and a couple of grad transfers who could provide immediate help

Some Canes personnel notes on a Tuesday morning:

As Manny Diaz works to complete his coaching staff, the Canes have reached out to a handful of prospects who could provide immediate help.

They’re targeting at least two grad transfers: Buffalo receiver K.J. Osborn and UCLA defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka.

And in recent days, they have offered scholarships to two Class of 2019 players: Mississippi-based quarterback John Rys Plumlee and Georgia-based linebacker Ja’Darien Boykin.

UM hoped to land both Osborn and his teammate, quarterback Tyree Jackson as grad transfers, but Jackson instead opted to turn pro.

But the Canes still like Osborn, who has 96 catches for 1,940 yards in 38 career games. Last season, he had 53 catches for 892 yards (a 16.8 average) and seven touchdowns.

UM appears interested in adding a veteran receiver to replace graduating Darrell Langham as well as Lawrence Cager, who told the school he’s transferring.

Osborn, 6-0, did not have a Power 5 offer coming out of IMG Academy in Bradenton in 2016.

UM running back DeeJay Dallas tweeted a picture of Osborn with the words “next stop: Dade County.”

If he chooses UM, Nnoruka could be this year’s version of Tito Odenigbo, a veteran defensive tackle who can clog the interior and handle some snaps on a line that loses Gerald Willis to the NFL.

Nnoruka had 49 tackles, including 8.5 for loss, and two sacks in 13 games and 10 starts in 2017 but played much less last season (seven tackles in 11 games, all as a backup) because the new UCLA coaching staff wanted to incorporate younger players.

UM and UF have both offered Nnoruka, who was a two-star prospect coming out of a Sacramento high school. He spent his first year at a junior college.

Plumlee is a nonbinding Georgia commitment but appears open to Miami’s overtures.

“I am considering Miami,” he told Canesport this week. “I’m just waiting to see the coordinator/QB coach, will go from there.”

He’s rated by Rivals as the No. 15 dual-threat QB in the 2019 class. He’s also a standout MLB prospect.

Boykin, a three-star prospect rated by Rivals as the No. 62 linebacker in this class, plans to visit UM on Jan. 18 and Louisville on Jan. 25, according to Rivals. Miami has a real shot with him.

Miami also recently offered a scholarship to Virginia-based two-star linebacker Eugene Asante, who told Canesport he will take a visit to Miami later in January. Virginia Tech and TCU are among others in the mix.

UM is positioned to add about five more players on offense and about seven more on defense.

Jackson’s decision to turn pro leaves SMU’s Ben Hicks as the best available grad transfer quarterback who hasn’t committed elsewhere. But Alabama’s Jalen Hurts would go to the front of that line if he leaves. And Texas’ Shane Buechele would also be of interest if he leaves.

Former four-star running back Asa Martin, who is enrolling at UM this week after one season at Auburn, told Canesport’s Matt Shodell that he is applying for an NCAA waiver that would allow last year to count as a redshirt and make him eligible to play immediately, asserting that “the coaching staff there mishandled his situation and he should not be punished as a result.”

Martin played in five games – one more than permitted to redshirt – but had just 13 carries for 57 yards.

Even though some of Jarren Williams’ family members were upset he didn’t play in the bowl game, he apparently remains intent on staying with the Canes, based on recent comments from his father.

Teammates have encouraged Williams to stay.

Asked recently if his son has placed his name in the NCAA transfer portal, his father said: “I can only point you to Jarren’s [December] tweet – When it comes down to it, I will always choose my brothers.’”

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