University of Miami

Early signing period live updates: Miami Hurricanes on way to a recruiting gold mine

Mark Pope, a five-star receiver out of Miami Southridge, chooses Miami

Southridge wide receiver Mark Pope chooses the Miami Hurricanes during the early signing period on Wed., Dec. 20, 2017.
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Southridge wide receiver Mark Pope chooses the Miami Hurricanes during the early signing period on Wed., Dec. 20, 2017.

At the start of Wednesday, the University of Miami football program had garnered 20 verbal commitments and were eagerly awaiting the commencement of the NCAA’s inaugural signing period, which began at 7 a.m. and runs through Friday.

By 8:30 a.m., the Canes already were on the way to a recruiting bonanza.

By 9:30, they were well into the gold.

By 10:30 a.m., they were likely in Hurricane heaven.

By 12:30 p.m., the U had its quarterback.

This 2018 class, known as #Storm18, is ridiculously good — better than the Canes could have hoped it would be.

▪ Jarren Williams, future UM quarterback, was announced as the newest member of #Storm18 when many Canes fans were enjoying their lunches. Williams, 6-3 and 205 pounds, is a four-star prospect from Central Gwinnett High in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and has a weapon for an arm. He’s accurate, and he can run, too.

University of Miami football coach Mark Richt talks about the 18 players who signed on Dec. 20, 2017 to play at UM.

Williams completed 214 of 348 passes for 3,015 yards, 28 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 10 games this past season, per MaxPreps.com. He rushed for 554 yards and 10 touchdowns on 115 carries for a 4.8-yards-per-carry average.

“A big-time gunslinger!’’ UM posted on Twitter after Williams signed. “Welcome to the U, Jarren Williams! #Storm18.”

Williams, who committed to UM on Dec. 6, is a U.S. Army All-American who chose the Canes over Ohio State, Auburn and Alabama. But he had offers from more than 25 programs, most of them major. He is rated the nation’s sixth-best dual-threat quarterback by 247Sports.com and the 12th-best dual-threat signal caller by Rivals, and 106th best player in the 2018 class.

Better yet: Williams will be on campus in January and take part in spring ball, which is just fine with current quarterback Malik Rosier, who told us earlier today after practice that he welcomes competition for the job.

▪ Gurvan Hall, a 6-1, 185-pound, four-star safety out of West Palm Beach Palm Beach Lakes High, was announced just after 1 p.m., becoming the last expected signee of the day. Hall is one of several Canes expected to participate in spring ball.

▪ Patrick Joyner, a homegrown 6-2, 205-pound, four-star defensive end/outside linebacker out of Homestead South Dade High became the newest 2018 signee just before 11 a.m. Joyner decommitted from Florida State after Jimbo Fisher bolted for Texas A&M, and chose UM over other offers from Alabama, Florida and Auburn.

▪ Brevin Jordan, a 6-3, 230-pound, four-star tight end out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman was announced as a Cane at about 10:35 a.m. This young man, together with Will Mallory (see below), if as excellent as advertised, should more than compensate for the graduation of Christopher Herndon.

▪ Gilbert Frierson, a 6-2, 185-pound, four-star safety out of Coral Gables High — that’s the University of Miami’s Coral Gables — was announced as a signee at 10:20 a.m. “A lockdown DB is staying home,’’ UM tweeted, with a emoji of a lock and a downward arrow replacing the word “lockdown.’’ UM also duly noted that Frierson is a cousin of “Miami Hurricanes legend and Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore.’’

▪ Will Mallory, a 6-5, 210-pound, four-star tight-end out of Jacksonville Providence School was announced as the newest player to join what is now referred to as “Tight End U.’’ And he’s just the first of two slam-dunk tight ends the UM signed Wednesday — the other being Jordan of Las Vegas. Mallory is rated by ESPN as the nation’s third-best tight end prospect.

▪ Brian Hightower, a 6-3, 196-pound, four-star player out of Bradenton IMG Academy, became the third top receiver to sign with UM.

▪ Camron Davis, a 5-9, 187-pound, four-star running back out of Miami Carol City High makes it two badly-needed tailbacks, not including the nation’s top fullback, for the Canes. UM tweeted out his signing at about 9:30 a.m.

▪ Mark Pope, a 6-1, 162-pound, five-star receiver out of Miami Southridge. You can’t get better than this.

▪  Lorenzo Lingard, a 6-0, 195-pound, five-star running back out of Orange City University High. He is unstoppable, and considered the No. 1 tailback in the nation.

▪  Realus George, a 6-1, 245-pound brute of a three-star fullback out of Pace Academy in Atlanta.

▪ DJ Ivey, a 6-1, 180-pound, three-star cornerback out of our very own Homestead South Dade High, the first South Florida Cane to sign.

▪ Delone Scaife, a 6-4, 283-pound, four-star offensive lineman, UM’s first “big man’’ to sign, the Canes tweeted, out of Miami Killian.

▪ Daquris Wiggins, otherwise known as “Dee,’’ a 6-2, 170-pound, three-star wide receiver out of Miami Southridge.

Daquris Wiggins, otherwise known as “Dee,’’ a 6-2, 170-pound, three-star wide receiver out of Miami Southridge choses the Miami Hurricanes on Wed., Dec. 20, 217.

▪ Al Blades, Jr., a 6-0, 170-pound, four-star, St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback who is the son of the late Al Blades, Sr., a UM safety who lettered from 1998 to 2000.

▪ Gregory Rousseau, who UM lists as a 6-7, 225-pound, four-star defensive end out of Hialeah Champagnat Catholic.

▪ Bubba Baxa, a 6-0, 195-pound three-star kicker out of Pasadena, Texas, Memorial High School, and rated the nation’s fourth-best kicker by ESPN and 247Sports.com.

▪ John Campbell, a 6-5, 290-pound, four-star offensive lineman out of Dr. Phillips in Orlando.

This is an enormous start for the Hurricanes, and many more are coming.

Personally, I’m especially psyched about the addition of Blades, who is a legacy not only through his dad, a great young man who I covered before his tragic death when Al Jr. was just a baby, but is a legacy through his uncle Bennie (Thorpe Award as best defensive back in nation in 1987) and his uncle Brian Blades, a star receiver. He’s a great kid and an emerging talent and I’m thinking of how proud Al, Sr. would be right now.

Blades is rated the nation’s No. 7 cornerback by ESPN.com and Rivals.com.

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt speaks to the media after the University of Miami Hurricanes were defeated by the Clemson Tigers 38-3 in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

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