Belen athlete Don Chaney, Jr. at Media Day
As National Signing Day approaches, it should be a comfort to University of Miami football fans that coach Manny Diaz, as well as a bunch of possible future Hurricanes stars, are also focused on what lies beyond 2019.
Those swirling-skied, Diaz-generated GIFs on Twitter are not just pertaining to players who will sign on Wednesday for the #Surge19 class.
The Hurricanes came out of Sunday’s Junior Day thriving, as five high school players committed to play football UM — three in the class of 2020 and two for 2021.
The newest young man to pledge his allegiance to the Hurricanes: 2020 safety/cornerback Jaiden Francois, who mostly played safety this past season for Homestead South Dade High, and was among the finest 2018 defensive football players in Miami-Dade County.
Francois, who made his commitment announcement on social media after the Super Bowl, had 12 interceptions and returned two for touchdowns last season. He also had 79 tackles, two sacks and eight pass breakups.
In one game, South Dade’s 21-13 victory over Miami Southridge in the Region 4-8A semifinal on Nov. 16, Francois had three picks.
“It put the offense back on the field and the boys did what they were supposed to do after that,’’ Francois told the Miami Herald after that game.
Francois is rated a four-star player by Rivals.com (17th nationally at his position) and a three-star player by 247Sports, but expect the latter’s rankings to rise by the time the new ones are calculated.
The Canes’ 2020 class also got commitments Sunday from Belen Jesuit running back Don Chaney and Palm Bay Rockledge athlete Ladarius Tennison.
Picking up Chaney was huge for the Hurricanes, who want to keep South Florida’s top players in their program. Chaney, a 5-11, 195 pound running back, is ranked as the 50th overall player in the class, second among all Miami-Dade County players and the top South Florida running back, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Over the last three years at Belen Jesuit, Chaney has racked up 3,253 yards from scrimmage and 43 total touchdowns.
Tennison does not have a composite ranking, but 247Sports ranks the 5-9, 193 pound athlete as a four-star prospect and the No. 35 player in the state, and Rivals has him as a three-star athlete who is ranked the 82nd player, regardless of position, in the state.
The three pledges, who will be high school seniors next season, give Miami nine total commitments so far in the 2020 class, which is ranked third in the nation and No. 1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Hurricanes also received commitments Sunday from two South Florida Class of 2021 prospects in South Dade defensive end Tyler Johnson and North Miami linebacker Chamon Metayer.
Johnson, 6-2 and 215 pounds, is the younger brother of former UM star safety Jaquan Johnson, who will soon be headed to the NFL. The younger brother does not yet have a ranking by Rivals or 247Sports, but if he’s anything like big bro, the Canes will be thrilled. Tyler recorded 60 tackles and nine sacks while forcing four fumbles during his sophomore year at South Dade.
Metayer is a 6-3, 220-pound outside linebacker and rated as the No. 14 player in Florida for the 2021 cycle by 247Sports.
Verbal commitments are non-binding until players sign a national letter of intent.
While Sunday’s news is a big boost for Miami’s class next year, the Hurricanes are still making final pushes to improve on their 2019 class ahead of National Signing Day on Wednesday. The headline of that group would be Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle, who verbally committed to Alabama at the All-American Bowl but could potentially flip to Florida or UM.