Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
With the Class of 2019 in the books, Manny Diaz and the Miami Hurricanes have already started work on the Class of 2020.
After a disappointing 2019 recruiting cycle for Miami, the Hurricanes are off to a stronger start in 2020. Here are five important things to know with 363 days until National Signing Day in 2020.
1. Miami already has a good group committed. Two top 100 prospects from the 247Sports.com composite rankings lead the Hurricanes’ class and seven other commits already have Miami at No. 3 in the team rankings. The Hurricanes got a jolt this weekend, when four-star Miami Belen Jesuit running back Don Chaney Jr., three-star South Dade cornerback Jaiden Francois and three-star Rockledge athlete Ladarius Tennison all committed while on visits in Coral Gables.
Those three joined four-star Naples tight end Dominic Mammarelli, four-star HollywooChaminade-Madonna defensive tackle Willie Moise, four-star defensive ends Samuel Anaele from Carol City and Tre’von Riggins from Bradenton IMG Academy, and four-star wide receivers Marcus Fleming from Southridge and Bryan Robinson from Palm Beach Central as the early haul for Miami.
With just a little less than a year until NSD, it will be hard to hang on to everyone, but this is a strong starting point which focuses on recruiting South Florida first, then spreads outward across the state. A lot can change, but right now Chaney, Mammarelli, Moise, Fleming, Francois and Tennison seem like particularly strong commitments.
2. Dan Enos might get the quarterback he really wants. The offensive coordinator held the same position with the Alabama Crimson Tide when four-star Jacksonville Mandarin quarterback Carson Beck pledged to Alabama. The junior decommitted from the Crimson Tide on Monday and now plans to make a final choice by the end of the summer.
Beck hasn’t officially named a top group of schools, but it feels safe to call the Hurricanes and Florida Gators. The Gatorade Player of the Year award winner spent Saturday in Gainesville, then attended Miami’s junior day Sunday.
While Beck is currently only the No. 240 player in the country, he’s due for a massive ratings bump in the spring. The junior could join rising redshirt freshman quarterback Jarren Williams, who was a top-100 recruit coming out of high school, as one of the few truly elite prospects at the position to pick the Hurricanes in recent years.
3. Offensive line needs to be a priority — like usual. Miami didn’t land a single blue-chip offensive lineman in the Class of 2019. The Hurricanes landed two such prospects in the Class of 2018, although neither was a true tackle. Miami desperately needs to find offensive linemen in 2020 and could really use a potential game-changing tackle prospect.
The Hurricanes have already offered two blue-chip tackles from the Miami metropolitan area, although they need to make up ground on both of them. Miami has been recruiting four-star Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas tackle Marcus Dumervil for more than a year, but so have the Clemson Tigers, the Oklahoma Sooners, the LSU Tigers and Alabama.
Issiah Walker Jr. is the other prospect from the Miami metro area to keep an eye on. The Hurricanes offered the four-star tackle from Miami Norland last month, and he grew up a Miami fan. The offensive lineman is currently committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks and should see an increase in attention in the spring after winning the Big Man Challenge at an Under Armour All-America Camp Series event Sunday in Coconut Creek.
4. The Hurricanes need to win some skill-position battles. Too frequently in the past couple recruiting cycles, Miami has lost out on Miami-area cornerbacks and wide receivers to perennial out-of-state powerhouses.
Like always, the area is flush with talent at both spots, so the Hurricanes will have their chances to make a national splash once again. Miami will probably have to fend off Southeastern Conference powers like the Georgia Bulldogs to hang on to Robinson. The Hurricanes will have to beat out the Big 10 Conference powerhouse Ohio State Buckeyes if they want five-star Raiders wide receiver Marcus Rosemy. Four-star Central cornerback Henry Gray, a former Miami commit, has already shown plenty of interest in the Clemson Tigers, Penn State Nittany Lions and Ohio State. Even three-star Miami Columbus wide receiver Xzavier Henderson has early offers from Clemson and the Crimson Tide, although Florida is in great position for the younger brother of star Gators cornerback C.J. Henderson.
Because of the depth of talent, the Hurricanes can get by without reeling in some of those elite talents — not if they ever truly want to compete with Clemson, though.
5. Miami could find its next crop of linebackers. The Hurricanes hope they have one replacement for Zach McCloud, Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney in place with four-star outside linebacker Avery Huff, who signed with Miami out of St. Thomas Aquinas in the early signing period. They could find the other two successors in 2020.
The Raiders have two four-star linebackers once again with Derek Wingo and Devon Betty. While Wingo is already committed to Penn State and has family in Pennsylvania, the linebacker is excited about Diaz taking over as coach of the Hurricanes and wants to get back down to campus soon.
Keshawn Washington is an interesting linebacker from Miami-Dade County. The four-star outside linebacker is a teammate of Francois’ with the Buccaneers and was previously committed to the Hurricanes. He has hinted at following Francois and recommitting to Miami in the future. The junior is the sort of agile linebacker Diaz likes as Washington has also played safety in the past.