University of Miami

Canes #Storm18 class ‘clearly’ is Top 10, regardless of signing day —and here is why

UM coach Richt breaks down signing class

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

The Miami Hurricanes, like most major football programs, are hoping that National Signing Day on Wednesday reaps some still-uncommitted surprise gems.

But even if Wednesday isn’t as fruitful as Canes fans would like, the class will be considered among the best in the nation, reflected ESPN national recruiting director Tom Luginbill on Monday.

“Absolutely,” Luginbill told the Miami Herald during a national teleconference. “I think they will end up with at least another defensive lineman, like an [Andrew] Chatfield, maybe, that wasn’t verbally committed. Clearly, Miami will still be a Top-10 class.’’

The Hurricanes’ 2018 recruiting/signing class, which includes 19 players who signed during the NCAA’s inaugural early signing period, is now ranked fifth nationally by Rivals and 247Sports and seventh by ESPN.

Another three prospects — four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera of American Heritage, three-star cornerback Nigel Bethel of Miami Northwestern and three-star defensive tackle Jordan Miller of Jacksonville Sandalwood — have committed and are expected to sign Wednesday.

Luginbill mentioned Silvera as “a very important piece of the puzzle here, especially with the unexpected departure of Kendrick Norton.’’

“That was a surprise that I don’t think the Miami coaches anticipated, nor were probably in support of that move,” Luginbill said of Hurricanes starting tackle Norton, a junior who announced he was entering the NFL Draft, as did fellow starter RJ McIntosh. “It was a bit premature.”

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

Chatfield, a four-star defensive end who had 92 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior, is rated the No. 13 weak-side defensive end by 247Sports and has helped American Heritage win back-to-back state titles. But the Florida Gators are now considered neck-and-neck with UM to get his signature.

Luginbill called Miller, who was under the radar because he played at low-profile Palatka High before transferring to Sandalwood and then was detoured during the spring because of gall bladder surgery, “a little bit more of an unknown, maybe not as dynamic of a player along the defensive front.”

Luginbill said he “really” likes cornerbacks Al Blades Jr. of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas and South Dade’s DJ Ivey, who already signed; as well as yet-to-sign Bethel.

“So, they’re going to have plenty of good options that already committed to the class,” Luginbill said, adding that he thinks American Heritage five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell “is probably more of a viable option than [Patrick] Surtain [Jr.],” the nation’s top corner.

Campbell is considered by most another longshot, but National Signing Day will tell for sure.

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