University of Miami

UM recruiting target, Aquinas DE Braylen Ingraham breaks down top 3 ahead of decision

Braylen Ingraham of St. Thomas Aquinas poses during High School Football Media Day at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, August 4, 2018.
Braylen Ingraham of St. Thomas Aquinas poses during High School Football Media Day at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, August 4, 2018. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Braylen Ingraham’s final college visit before decision day took him just about as far from home as possible, but when he arrived it still felt familiar. Ingraham traveled more than 3,000 miles this weekend to take his fourth official visit with the Oregon Ducks just a little more than a week before his scheduled commitment.

“I’ve been to Miami lots of times. I’ve been to ‘Bama like four times,” Ingraham said. “I just had to visit Oregon.”

On Tuesday, Ingraham will make his college choice from one of those three schools. A four-star defensive end in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, Ingraham has long mentioned the Miami Hurricanes as one of his top choices and all 10 Crystal Ball predictions at 247Sports expect him to stay home with the Hurricanes. The Ducks and the Alabama Crimson Tide, however, are intriguing options, too.

The defensive lineman has a strong relationship with Alabama’s Craig Kuligowski from the defensive line coach’s time in the same role at Miami. Ingraham’s interest in Oregon centers around coach Mario Cristobal, a Columbus alumnus and former Hurricanes offensive lineman, who has built his staff in Eugene with coaches from South Florida — hence why his latest visit came with a tinge of familiarity.

The Florida Gators have also recruited Ingraham hard, but the senior is no longer considering Florida despite visiting Gainesville last month.

Miami, however, is the overwhelming favorite to land Ingraham because of how well he knows the program. The Hurricanes offered Ingraham in 2017 after the defensive end impressed coaches at a camp in Coral Gables. Miami knew it had to reload along the defensive line in the Class of 2019 and made Ingraham a priority even after a shoulder injury cut short his junior season at Dillard.

“Miami’s been on me since Day 1,” Ingraham said. “I have a good relationship with coach [Mark] Richt. I always grew up a fan of Miami, too.”

The Hurricanes’ track record at developing defensive linemen also helps. When three starting defensive linemen and the position coach left following last season, Miami’s defenisve line actually got better.

Led by first-year defensive line coach Jess Simpson, the Hurricanes lead all Power 5 Conference programs in tackles for a loss. Ingraham, who now primarily plays defensive end at St. Thomas Aquinas, would fit Miami’s scheme as an athletic, disruptive defensive tackle. In four games this season, Ingraham has nine tackles and four sacks for the No. 13 team in MaxPreps’ Xcellent 25 poll.

“It means that they’re still working. They’re still developing,” Ingraham said of the Hurricanes’ success along the defensive line this season. “The coaches are getting them developed. That’s the big key.”

All three schools are pitching Ingraham on a slightly different role. At Alabama, Ingraham would likely stick at defensive end and kick inside in certain packages. Oregon is also pitching Ingraham on playing defensive end.

Miami wants Ingraham, whom the Raiders list at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, to wreak havoc from the interior. With two of their top four defensive tackles gone after this season, the Hurricanes can also offer Ingraham a real chance at early playing time.

There’s a specific template for big, hybrid defensive ends like Ingraham. There are a few reasons Ingraham recently changed his name on Twitter to “MajorNine.” Most simply, Ingraham now wears No. 9 and likes the nickname, but he also sees a bit of himself in former Miami defensive lineman Chad Thomas, who produces music with the stage name “Major Nine.” The height and weight measurements are about the same, and Thomas also arrived in college labeled as a strong-side defensive end.

“I always watched him. I like how he plays,” Ingraham said. “I feel like I can play similar to the way he played.”

News and nuggets:

Miami added a high-upside depth piece to its 2019 class Wednesday when Cornelius Nunn, a three-star safety from Palmetto, announced his oral commitment. He’s the fourth true defensive back to join the class, which is important because the Hurricanes will lose three starters in the secondary after this season.

▪ Wednesday was an up-and-down day for Miami on the recruiting trail, though. Earlier in the day, four-star guard Jonathan Denis de-committed. Denis was one of three Class of 2020 prospects from South Dade to commit to the Hurricanes on the same day in July. Four-star outside linebacker Keshawn Washington and three-star safety Jaiden Francois remain locked in with Miami.

▪ JJ Weaver is the next Hurricanes target with a commitment scheduled. The four-star defensive end from Louisville, Ky., plans to announce Nov. 3 and is taking a slew of official visits in the lead up. The 2019 prospect will officially visit the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend, then check out the Louisville Cardinals the weekend of Oct. 27. He already took an official visit to Miami earlier this month. The Purdue Boilermakers are also incontention after the defensive lineman officially visited there in June. Although Weaver lives in Kentucky now, he is originally from Broward County and his Twitter bio does refer to himself as “A Broward County Kid.”

▪ The Hurricanes remain in the mix for another blue-chip defensive end from Florida, too. Lloyd Summerall, a four-star prospect from Lakeland, announced a top six of Miami, Florida State, Florida, LSU, Auburn and Nebraska last Friday. The senior last visited the Hurricanes for Paradise Camp in July.

▪ It doesn’t look like Samuel Anaele will play this year at Carol City. A four-star defensive end committed to Miami’s 2020 class, Anaele is dealing with a Florida High School Athletic Association eligibility issue after transferring from Doral Academy. He could wind up back at a private school next year. Bradenton IMG Academy is a possibility.

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