When JJ Weaver tweeted out “Hometown hero” to his 3,000-plus Twitter followers Wednesday, the four-star defensive end left plenty of options on the table. The defensive lineman is originally from Fort Lauderdale and now attends Moore in Louisville, Kentucky.
It made Weaver’s recruitment an interesting one. The Miami Hurricanes were a major suitor, as were the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats. At 3:30 p.m. on Friday, Weaver will finally make his college choice and 247Sports.com reported Weaver has narrowed his choices to Louisville and Kentucky. The 247Sports Crystal Ball reads 90 percent in favor of the Wildcats.
“The draw of the hometown is attractive to him,” said Rob Reader, Weaver’s high school coach.
Miami has taken plenty of hits on the recruiting trail in the past few weeks — with more potentially coming in the next few weeks — but missing on Weaver is one the Hurricanes will be able to survive. Miami is still firmly in the mix for four-star defensive ends Khris Bogle, Lloyd Summerall and Adisa Isaac, and has another four-star defensive end committed in Vero Beach’s Jahfari Harvey.
Defensive line coach Jess Simpson already has five players committed at his position and has already proven himself capable of developing talent. A defensive end rotation of Jonathan Garvin, Scott Patchan, Gregory Rousseau, Harvey and potentially Bogle, Summerall or Isaac would be potentially excellent once again. For two consecutive seasons, Miami has had one of the best defensive lines in the nation, and the next few weeks could let the Hurricanes reload.
Bogle and Summerall, the two in-state options, have longed seemed like Miami’s best bets to add more blue-chip edge rushers to go with Harveey. Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons’ Bogle has always shown the most affinity for his hometown team and has visited Coral Gables countless times. Most recently, the defensive lineman watched the Hurricanes’ 24-3 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers from inside Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. Miami sent four coaches, including coach Mark Richt, to his home for a visit Tuesday, and Bogle will officially visit the Hurricanes sometime before the early signing period. Even though the senior won’t sign until February, Bogle will announce his commitment at the All-American Bowl, formerly known as the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
The Alabama Crimson Tide made a move by hosting the end for an official visit the weekend of Nov. 17, but Miami can make the last impression. The Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers could get hats on the table early next year, too.
“I’m taking an official before,” Bogle said earlier this month. “I don’t know if it’ll be Dec. 14 or the weekend before.”
The case is similar for Summerall. The Hurricanes are duking it out with the Nebraska Cornhuskers, LSU Tigers and Florida for the Lakeland senior, and Miami will once again get to make the final impression. Summerall is slated for his official visit with the Hurricanes the final weekend before the early signing period.
Miami has the perfect blueprint to point to with Summerall. The first time Summerall visited the Hurricanes in March, Miami made sure to introduce the defensive lineman to Rousseau. Although the defensive lineman missed his freshman season with an ankle injury, Rousseau was looking like one of the major early success story from the Hurricanes’ 2018 recruiting class. Rousseau ballooned in the weight room and cracked the two-deep depth chart in the preseason.
It’s too early to know for sure, but Rousseau seems like a safe bet to host Summerall on his official visit. It was also probably a talking point Thursday, when Richt and a huge contingent of assistant coaches went in home with Summerall, who also visited Miami Gardens on Nov. 3 for the Hurricanes’ loss to the Duke Blue Devils
Isaac is the true wild card. A top 100 prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings, Isaac’s courtship with Miami heated up this past weekend when the defensive lineman from Canarsie in Brooklyn finally visited South Florida for the first time for an official visit.
The Penn State Nittany Lions and Syracuse Orange might be the favorites on paper, but the Hurricanes always have a certain sort of appeal to New York prospects and Miami is clearly trying to build something of a pipeline. On Thursday, the Hurricanes offered Jared Harrison-Hunte, a three-star defensive tackle from Christ the King in New York.
Jason Blissett, a three-star defensive tackle commit from Poly Prep Country Day in Brooklyn and a good friend of Isaac’s, summed up the New York-to-Miami connection well.
“I said a bunch of times that it kind of reminded me of New York,” the defensive lineman said earlier this month, “not exactly, but just the city feel and the people around it.”