Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
Dominic Mammarelli didn’t only commit to the Miami Hurricanes because of Mark Richt and his old staff, but it’s impossible to deny it was a major reason. Like so many of the tight ends around the program, Mammarelli grew fond of Todd Hartley and the former tight ends coach’s budding reputation for developing players at the position.
Couple this with the role Richt had in Mammarelli’s commitment and the four-star tight end couldn’t help but be a little worried when the former coach abruptly retired the day before New Year’s Eve.
“I didn’t really know what was going to happen. It could’ve been bad for me because — I don’t know — it’s different. It’s not just about the coach and stuff. Obviously, you’ve got to go for the school and stuff, and all it has to offer and it’s not just about the jersey,” Mammarelli said Tuesday. “I loved Coach Richt and them and the recruiters are going to recruit you, so he sold me pretty good and I loved when they were there. They were good people, which is always good. You want to be around the right people, but I wasn’t worried.
“Once Manny [Diaz] got hired, I was like, Oh, this is great.”
Even when Diaz cleaned out the offensive coaching staff — including Hartley — on New Year’s Eve, Mammarelli felt good about his commitment and the direction of the program.
On Feb. 3, the junior got to see it all firsthand, spending the day in Coral Gables for a junior day event. Mammarelli, who committed to the Hurricanes in the spring, is one of the centerpieces of Miami’s Class of 2020, which ranks No. 3 in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and saw it grow by two more during the day he spent in South Florida.
“There was a great vibe going on,” said Mammarelli. “It was just a really good time being there and it was just exciting to see the future and what it’s going to be, and just hearing about everything, talking with the new coaches and just getting to meet everyone.”
The No. 4 tight end in the country, Mammarelli gives new tight ends coach Stephen Field an excellent starting point. He went to Naples to visit Mammarelli at his high school a few days before the athlete came to visit and made a strong first impression.
“He’s really cool, he’s really loose, he’s easy to talk to,” Mammarelli said. “He’s just a fun guy that wants to win, so I’m excited. I’m ready to get there, and just really have fun and reach the best potential I can.”
Mammarelli, who lived in Broward County for most of his life before moving to Collier County in eighth grade, said he currently isn’t talking to any other schools, although he holds additional offers from the South Carolina Gamecocks, Arkansas Razorbacks, Michigan Wolverines, Purdue Boilermakers and Cincinnati Bearcats, for whom his father played after an all-county career at South Broward
Although he caught only five passes for 95 yards and one touchdown for the run-heavy Golden Eagles, Mammarelli has a prototypical frame at 6-4 and 235 pounds. He’s also a proven run blocker, considering Naples only even attempted 95 passes in 2018.
Mammarelli doesn’t have much of a relationship with Diaz yet. Still, the tight end has faith in the new coach and his staff to carry on the legacy of “tight end U,” and get the Hurricanes back on track in 2019.
“All the guys at Miami are really close, they seem. Even the offensive guys are close with the defensive guys, and I think he’s a great players coach, and I think he’s going to turn that program compared to what happened last year,” Mammarelli said. “Everyone has their rough years. I’m not knocking anyone, I’m just saying I think this year they’re going to do really good.”