Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
UPDATE: 1:05 P.M. MANNY DIAZ BREAKS SOME NEWS
Transfer news wasn’t done for the Miami Hurricanes when Manny Diaz stepped to the podium for his National Signing Day press conference. The coach opened his session in Coral Gables with one more bit of news: Trevon Hill is transferring to Miami.
Hill was a standout defensive end for the Virginia Tech Hokies before being dismissed from the team early in the 2018 season. Before his dismissal, the defensive lineman had amassed 94 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 1/2 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble and interception. Hill was leading the team with 4 1/2 tackles for loss and 3 1/2 sacks in 2018.
The Hurricanes expect Hill will be eligible to play for the 2019 season, although he has not yet graduated.
UPDATE: 12:34 P.M. CANES GET BIG-TIME TRANSFERS
The Canes just officially got two major talents: 6-3, 200-pound safety Bubba Bolden and 6-2, 287-pound defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka
First, on Bolden: He’s a consensus four-star safety, and he had dozens of offers. Bolden was rated the nation’s seventh best safety by Rivals for the recruiting class of 2017, and 61st best overall athlete – and 247Sports had him on their initial transfer rankings list as the No. 4 national transfer this recruiting cycle. Bolden spent the 2017 season at Southern Cal and did not compete in 2018. It is believed that he will be able to play three years for UM, and can start playing immediately, though coach Manny Diaz will let us know for sure at his Wednesday news conference.
The Hurricanes badly need some excellent safeties, as senior great Jaquan Johnson and standout Sheldrick Redwine are off to the NFL Draft.
Bolden withdrew from USC after saying on an Instagram post in early October that he faced a 28-month suspension for an incident “pertaining to underage drinking at an off-campus party back in Februay 2018 wherein I participated in mutual trash-talking with party-goers. As the vibe at the party turned unfriendly, I left with several friends. Approximately nine days afterward, the party hosts reported feeling threatened by me that night, which sparked a USC [Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards] investigation…’’
Bolden went on to say he was not charged with any criminal activity but nonetheless the “SJACS sanctioned me with a 28-month suspension…My behavior at the party was not reflective of my character which my family, friends, teammates and many more admire, and for this I’m truly sorry. At this point, I’m 100-percent committed to ensuring that the lessons I’ve leaned on and learned on and off the field will carry me to the next level.’’
Bolden had eight tackles in five games his true freshman season. He was slated to be a starter as a sophomore this past season, but never played after the suspension.
He was a 2016 Parade All-American and on the Prep Star All-American Dream Team. Max Preps lists him as having 110 tackles in three seasons of high school football, with 11 interceptions – seven his 2016 senior season for powerhouse Bishop Gorman, which won its eighth consecutive state title that year and third consecutive USA Today national title. Bolden is a former first-team Parade All-American who was a high school teammate of UM star freshman tight end Brevin Jordan and new UM transfer quarterback Tate Martell at Bishop Gorman.
Now, on Nnoruka: This former UCLA defensive lineman will help replace two contributors from the Canes’ two-deep depth chart as both Gerald Willis and Tito Odenigbo have exhausted their eligibility. Nnoruka is originally from Nigeria and came to the United States for his senior year of high school in Sacramento, California. After recording 10 sacks as a senior at Kennedy High, Nnoruka attended American River College, a junior college in Sacramento, for one season, then transferred to UCLA with a two-star rating from Rivals.com. Nnoruka didn’t play his first season with the Bruins, then started 10 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2017, recording 49 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and two sacks. Nnoruka went back into a reserve role as a junior last season, logging just seven tackles in 11 games, per the Bruins’ website, as UCLA transitioned from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 alignment under first-year coach Chip Kelly.
UPDATE: About 12:20: The younger brother of former UM star Ahmmon Richards – that would be 6-1, 195-pound Mark-Antony Richards – will not be following his big brother to Coral Gables.
The four-star athlete, rated the 90th best player in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, picked Auburn from a loaded group of suitors, which included the Florida Gators, Georgia Bulldogs and Penn State Nittany Lions.
UPDATE: 12:18 p.m: DB CHOOSES MISSISSIPPI STATE
Three-star defensive back Martin Emerson, a 6-2, 185-pounder out of Pensacola Pine Forest, has chosen Mississippi State over the Hurricanes. Emerson is a consensus three-star DB who was also wanted by schools that included Virginia, Oregon, Utah, Cincinnati, Louisville, Nebraska, UCF, Indiana and Pitt, among others. Miami liked him as a safety or striker.
UPDATE: 11:30 A.M.: THE NEW YORK PIPELINE GROWS
The Canes just got a much-needed defensive tackle.
Miami just announced that Jared Harrison-Hunte, a 6-4, 286-pound defensive tackle from Christ the King in Queens, New York, had signed his Letter of Intent with the Hurricanes.
He chose UM over his other finalist Penn State, among offers that included Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, LSU and Michigan.
Harrison-Hunte is a consensus three-star lineman who committed Feb. 1 to Miami over other finalist Penn State. He becomes Miami’s third signee from New York, joining three-star tackle and teammate Adam ElGammal and four-star defensive tackle Jason Blissett. Both ElGammal and Blissett signed during the early signing period in December.
Like ElGammal, Harrison-Hunte is a relative newcomer to football. He was primarily a basketball player until his final two years at Christ the King, when he became a standout defensive tackle. In eight games as a senior, he logged 45 tackles and three sacks. He also has played some tight end in high school, catching 23 passes for 227 yards as a junior.
Harrison-Hunte is ranked by ESPN as the No. 2 player in New York, regardless of position, by ESPN. Rivals has him as the No. 3 player in New York. He’s rated New York’s fourth-best recruit by 247Sports, which also has him as the No. 38-ranked defensive tackle in the nation.
UPDATE: 10:10 A.M: NOW SOME GREAT NEWS... University of Miami just got an Alabama pledge to flip to the Canes.
Christian Williams, a 6-1, 182-pound consensus four-star cornerback/safety out of Daphne, Alabama, just chose the Miami Hurricanes after being committed to the Crimson Tide. Williams is ranked the No. 141 prospect overall and No. 13 safety in the nation by Rivals and rated the No. 174 prospect on ESPN300. He is rated the 12th best safety in the nation by ESPN. An Under Armour All-American, he took part in The Opening during the summer of 2018.
Miami announced his signing at 12:07 p.m.
Williams had 52 tackles and eight interceptions as a senior, earning first-team all-state recognition for Class 6A. He also played wide receiver and played high school hoops. He chose Miami over offers from Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Michigan, Texas A&M and Oregon, among others.
Miami fills a major position of need with Williams. The All-American will get a chance to compete for a starting spot in a young secondary.
UPDATE: 9:50 A.M.: MORE BAD NEWS... 6-4, 285-pound offensive tackle Darius Washington, who officially visited the Hurricanes last month, just chose the Florida State Seminoles. Washington is out of Pensacola West Florida. He was a four-star tackle in ESPN and 247Sports rankings and was a longtime Mississippi State Bulldogs commit before stepping away from his oral pledge Sunday ahead of National Signing Day. Washington could have been a long-term solution at tackle for the Canes.
UPDATE: 8:30 A.M.: BAD NEWS... Khris Bogle, the consensus 4-star defensive end out of Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, picked the Florida Gators instead of UM at a school ceremony.
Bogle, 6-4 and 212 pounds, would have been a huge get for Miami. He had been committed to Alabama all along. He was the top-ranked prospect from Broward County in the #Surge19 recruiting class. Now he’ll be playing against the Hurricanes in the season opener.
DING! DING! DING! CANES GET THEIR FRESHMAN QUARTERBACK
8:25 A.M. WEDNESDAY: UM just announced that freshman quarterback Peyton Matocha, 6-4 and 204 pounds, has signed his Letter of Intent.
Matocha is from St. Thomas Catholic in Houston. Rivals has him rated a 2-star QB and ESPN and 247Sports has him at 3 stars.
Among his other suitors: Army, Wyoming, Tulane, Massachusetts, UTEP.
Matocha is the first high school quarterback that offensive coordinator Dan Enos will get to develop from Day One. The coordinator first scouted Matocha when he had the same role for the Arkansas Razorbacks, so when Enos arrived in Coral Gables he circled back to Matocha as one of two 2019 quarterbacks he targeted.
Matocha came down for an official visit last month and committed. While he didn’t have any other Power Five scholarship offers, Matocha is a rare athlete at the quarterback position. He’s been clocked at 4.76 seconds in the 40-yard dash and has a personal record of 6 feet, 8 inches in the high jump. His statistics were impressive, too.
As a senior, Matocha threw for 3,697 yards and 35 touchdowns on 253-of-440 passing with 13 interceptions, and ran for 767 yards and 14 touchdowns on 146 carries. He also recorded one tackle as a free safety.
UPDATE: It’s that time, Canes fans, so keep checking right here for your National Signing Day news.
FIRST ONE IS ALWAYS SPECIAL, BUT... DO NOT RUN INTO THIS PUNTER! Here’s what happened to the Canes from Australia when you might have been sleeping:
Good day, college football fans.
Or should we say, good night?
The University of Miami 2019 signing class — nicknamed #Surge19 — is on the board as National Signing Day commenced several hours early this year in Coral Gables. Or should we say, commenced several hours early on another continent?
Actually, it was right on time in Australia, where the newest Miami Hurricane lives and signed his Letter of Intent Tuesday night to play football for the Canes in 2019.
Welcome to the U, Louis Hedley, a 6-4, 215-pound junior college transfer who lives in Mandurah, Australia and played at the City College of San Francisco. This very large tattooed man is in his mid-twenties and a former Australian rules football player who spent eight years working as a scaffolder in the Australian desert before coming to the United States to try to make it as a specialist. Hedley will have three seasons of eligibility, because he redshirted this past fall to maintain as much eligibility as possible for the FBS level. His average of 38.6 yards on 45 punts as a novice was enough to draw the attention of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and ultimately land an offer from Miami.
“It’s official!! I’m a cane,’’ Hedley posted on Twitter at 8:36 p.m. “Thank you to everyone that has helped me get to this point. LETS GOO!! #TNM #BEATUF
Note the “BEATUF’’ hashtag, a reminder that the Canes begin the 2019 season at the Camping World Kickoff in Orlando against the Florida Gators.
UM coach Manny Diaz, of course, had one of his classic comeback GIFS on Twitter, a wallaby playing the guitar, seemingly lost in the moment. “#WelcomeToTheU #TNM’’ Diaz wrote on the post.
Hedley is rated a three-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN.
The Canes need him badly after a poor punting season in 2018. They’re hoping he’ll be booming them in 2019.
Stay tuned, Canes fans. National Signing Day in Coral Gables continues at 7 a.m. Wednesday. See you then!