Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
In the coming months, Northwestern will officially begin a state title defense for the second straight season. The Bulls are winners of back-to-back Class 6A championships largely because of their defense, which boasted a pair of first-team all-county defensive linemen in 2018.
This coming fall, however, Northwestern’s most loaded unit could be its group of receivers. There’s Marcus Fleming, a four-star wide receiver in the Class of 2020, who was Southridge’s top wideout in 2018.
There’s Kahlil Brantley, an unranked tight end in the Class of 2021, who provides a matchup nightmare with his receiver skills. And there’s Romello Brinson, an unranked wide receiver in the 2021, who led the Bulls in catches in their 22-0 state-title win against Seffner Armwood last year.
All three are orally committed to the Miami Hurricanes.
“All three of us, me Kahlil and Romello,” Fleming said at The Opening Miami regional Feb. 17 at the Miami Dolphins Training Facility. “I was the one who made them hop on. They had no other choice.”
Fleming committed to the Hurricanes in the summer before he was over at Northwestern. After playing the 2018 season with the Spartans, he transferred to his new school, where both Brinson and Brantley were uncommitted. In less than two months, Miami locked down the Bulls’ three likely starting receivers.
All three spent Feb. 3 in Coral Gables for a junior day event. Brantley, who was the only one of the three without a scholarship offer from the Hurricanes, finally landed an offer while on campus and the wheels were set in motion to bring Northwestern’s entire receiving corps into the fold.
“It was amazing,” Fleming said of junior day.
Fleming, however, is the most pressing target for Miami. Florida’s No. 43 player overall in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, Fleming is the sort of speedy South Florida wide receiver whom colleges from all across the country covet — the 5-11, 175-pound junior ran a 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds at The Opening event in Davie.
Although Fleming said he doesn’t have any other visits imminently planned, he told 247Sports he plans to visit both the Florida State Seminoles and Florida Gators next week. It’s clear the Hurricanes will have to fend off other suitors to keep Fleming in the class, especially since former wide receivers coach Ron Dugans now has the same job at Florida State.
The good news for the Hurricanes: All the changes on offense at Miami haven’t been enough to scare off Fleming.
“It was crazy,” Fleming said of former coach Mark Richt’s abrupt retirement last year, “but I just stayed loyal to them to see what was going on through the process.”