University of Miami

Canes’ #Storm18 recruiting class heading to the home stretch. There could be surprises.

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.

Wait. National Signing Day still hasn’t happened?

Hard to believe that what occurred Wednesday, Dec. 20, wasn’t actually National Signing Day.

Even hard-core recruiting types were surprised at the onslaught of scholarship signatures that schools such as Miami drew on the start of the NCAA’s inaugural three-day early signing period — 18 to be exact, followed by one more on Dec. 21.

Going into Wednesday, the Hurricanes’ #Storm18 recruiting/signing class was ranked fifth by Rivals and 247Sports and seventh by ESPN.

Now, as the traditional National Signing Day gets ready in Coral Gables for those fax machines to start humming and emails to start buzzing at 7 a.m. Wednesday, the day’s bounty won’t be nearly as plentiful, but will be critical just the same.

The three UM verbal commits who the Hurricanes hope will sign Wednesday — Plantation American Heritage four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, Miami Northwestern three-star cornerback Nigel Bethel and Jacksonville Sandalwood three-star defensive tackle Jordan Miller — are all on the side of the ball in which UM has lost several players through graduation and attrition.

The others for whom the Hurricanes are in the mix include the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell, both out of American Heritage and considered long shots — but not out of the question. On signing day, anything goes.

“I don’t see them landing Pat Surtain,” said longtime South Florida recruiting analyst Larry Blustein. “His family is from Louisiana and he’s been all LSU. But I do think they’ll come away with Nesta Silvera, the nose tackle they’ve been coveting. He’s strong. They’ve been geared into him for a year.”

Insiders believe the most crucial get for Miami would be Silvera, who has been committed to the Canes for nearly a year. Apparently, the Canes still aren’t a slam-dunk, however, and Silvera has told recruiting sites he will choose between UM and Florida. He is listed at 6-2 and 307 pounds and considered by ESPN to be the No. 3 defensive tackle in the nation, by 247Sports to be the No. 2 D-tackle and by Rivals to be No. 9. With the Canes losing starting underclassmen RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton to the draft, and backup Anthony Moten to graduation, tackle is a position at which the Canes must fortify.

“The need for Silvera is amazing,” Blustein said.

Agreed state recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein: “I think Silvera is more important than landing Patrick Surtain or Campbell because Miami has a major need at D-tackle. Landing Surtain to an already very good defensive back class just makes it better. UM would probably be the No. 1 DB class in the nation.”

Fishbein, of Elite Scouting Services, said he believes the Canes’ “best shot” at landing one of the five-star corners would be Surtain.

“They went into a home visit with him last week,” Fishbein said of Surtain. “I think that’s the one Heritage kid [other than Silvera] they have a legitimate shot at. It’s very difficult to try to recruit multiple kids from the same school. The message can basically get blurred for the two of them.”

That is especially the case when a high school is considered to have the two best players at one position.

“How do you tell a kid one is more important than the other?” Fishbein said.

Another American Heritage possibility for the Canes is 6-2, 221-pound defensive end Andrew Chatfield, who, despite being “very underrated,” according to Fishbein, is a consensus four-star talent. He’s choosing between Florida and Miami.

The Canes also would be thrilled to land 6-3, 330-pound, consensus four-star defensive tackle Keondre Coburn of Westfield High in Houston. Coburn, rated the No. 2 D-tackle by ESPN, No. 11 by 247Sports and No. 12 by Rivals, is committed to Texas, but got a home visit late last month from UM coach Mark Richt and defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski. If they could get him, that would be a significant flip.

And 6-3, 266-pound defensive end/tackle Jamarcus Chatman out of Rome (Georgia) High School is another targeted D-lineman who visited with his parents this past weekend, had a great time and will choose among UM, Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech.

On the offensive side of the ball, four-star wide receiver Marquez Ezzard of Stockbridge (Georgia) High will be in the Hurricanes mix Wednesday.

“Miami really needed to improve at two positions: defensive tackle and in the secondary,” Fishbein said. “They’ve already improved in the secondary and if they can get Silvera and one of the other guys, there’s not much to argue about.

“This is a very solid class from top to bottom.”

Miami Hurricanes quarterback Malik Rosier discusses UM's 34-24 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Saturday, December 30, 2017.​

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