University of Miami

These connections to Miami are why Hurricanes have serious shot at top WR prospect

UM’s Mark Richt talks about his latest recruiting class

Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt speaks to reporters about how his team did on National Signing Day at the University of Miami's Schwartz Center in Coral Gables on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.
Up Next
Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt speaks to reporters about how his team did on National Signing Day at the University of Miami's Schwartz Center in Coral Gables on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

There’s little Jadon Haselwood likes to do more than get under a defensive back’s skin. Back in March, the 5-star wide receiver spent a weekend in Miami-Dade County for the Adidas East Coast Invitational 7-on-7 tournament in Homestead and under a relatively significant spotlight, Haselwood didn’t subdue himself.

The wideout doesn’t worry about going around defenders. He’d rather go through them. Eventually, one cornerback got tired of dealing with Haselwood. In one of the first games of the day, Haselwood found himself locked in a shoving match at Harris Field Park.

“He’s aggressive on every play,” said Jermaine Smith, Haselwood’s coach at Cedar Grove in Ellenwood, Georgia. “I know his personality fits anywhere, but Miami is one of those places it gets really embraced.”

The first time Smith saw Haselwood play as an eighth grader, the young athlete was just as dominant at linebacker as he was at wide receiver. By the end of Haselwood’s freshman year, Alabama offered the two-way standout as a safety. The 6-3, 195-pound prospect plays with an edge and it’s part of why the Hurricanes are now perhaps the favorite to land the elite prospect.

Haselwood, whom the composite rankings peg as the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver and No. 3 overall prospect, de-committed from Georgia after spending more than a year pledged to the Bulldogs. The timing seems to bode well for Miami — Haselwood is set to spend this weekend in Coral Gables for his official visit with the Hurricanes.

Haselwood’s visit, which coincides with Miami’s home game against rival Florida State, will be his third with the Hurricanes since the start of the year. Most recently, the athlete attended Miami’s Paradise Camp in July.

While Haselwood has declined all interviews since de-committing from Georgia, Smith provided some insight on the top-5 prospect’s thought process Thursday. The key to Haselwood’s interest in the Hurricanes, Smith said, is the receiver’s relationship with Thomas Brown. The offensive coordinator hails from DeKalb County, where Ellenwood is located, and spent one season as Mark Richt’s running backs coach at Georgia before he followed the coach to Miami.

“The history at Miami is a big deal to him,” Smith said, “and Coach Brown is from the same area, so they can really relate to each other.”

Smith has his own personal connection to South Florida, too. Smith’s wife is a Northwestern alumna. While Smith said he doesn’t want to funnel his players to the Hurricanes, he admits he’s a fan of the program and will always vouch for Miami’s coaches.

“I don’t try to push my players to Miami because I don’t want anyone to think I’m steering them,” Smith said, “but I’m a UM fan.”

Loaded list

Haselwood, of course, isn’t the only high-profile visitor expected at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. Just about every major Hurricanes target from the Miami metropolitan area will spend Saturday in Miami Gardens to watch the Hurricanes take on the Seminoles at 3:30 p.m. Below is a list of prospects expected to be in attendance. Asterisks indicate the player is committed to Miami.

2019 prospects:

Jadon Haselwood, 5-star WR, Cedar Grove

Akeem Dent, 5-star WR, Palm Beach Central (Florida State commit)

Tyrique Stevenson, 4-star CB, Southridge

Jeremiah Payton, 4-star WR, Neptune Beach Fletcher*

Mark-Antony Richards, 4-star ATH, Wellington

Keontra Smith, 4-star S, Chaminade-Madonna*

Jahfari Harvey, 4-star DE, Vero Beach*

Michael Tarquin, 4-star T, Citra North Marion*

Te’Cory Couch, 4-star CB, Chaminade Madonna*

JJ Weaver, 4-star DE, Moore (Louisville, Ky.)

TJ Jones, 4-star WR, Lake City Columbia

Cameron Williams, 3-star DE, Chaminade-Madonna

Cornelius Nunn, 3-star S, Palmetto (Syracuse commit)

Marcus Crowley, 3-star RB, Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy

Kalani Norris, 3-star WR, Columbus

Damarius Good, 3-star ATH, Altamonte Springs Lake Brantley*

Kingsley Eguakun, 3-star G, Jacksonville Sandalwood*

Jason Munoz, 3-star DE, St. Thomas Aquinas*

Jalar Holley, 3-star DT, Buford (Ga.)

2020 prospects:

Don Chaney Jr., 4-star RB, Belen Jesuit

Henry Gray, 4-star CB, Central*

Marc Britt, 4-star ATH, Carol City*

Bryan Robinson, 4-star WR, Palm Beach Central*

Samuel Anaele, 4-star DE, Carol City*

Dominic Mammarelli, 4-star TE, Naples*

Willie Moise, 4-star DT, Chaminade-Madonna*

Jayion McCluster, 4-star ILB, Largo

Keshawn Washington, 4-star OLB, South Dade*

Caziah Holmes, 4-star ATH, Cocoa

Marcus Fleming, 4-star WR, Southridge*

Jonathan Denis, 4-star G, South Dade*

Elijah Roberts, 3-star DE, Columbus*

Jaiden Francois, 3-star S, South Dade*

Gregory Spann, 3-star QB, St. Petersburg Lakewood

2021 prospects:

Donell Harris, 5-star DE, Booker T. Washington*

James Williams, 5-star S, Plantation American Heritage*

Laurence Seymore, 4-star G, Central*

Branden Jennings, 4-star OLB, Jacksonville Sandalwood

Marcus Tate, 4-star T, University

Chrisopher Johnson, unranked TE, Jacksonville Jean Ribault

Sports Pass for $30 per year

Get unlimited access to all Miami Herald sports stories and videos for $30