University of Miami

Miami already has two 2020 commits from South Dade. Could this lineman make it three?

Manny Diaz introduces Miami Hurricanes football coaches

Miami Hurricanes head football coach Manny Diaz introduces some of his hyped-up coaches at The New Miami Spring Tour event at The Wharf on April 10, 2019.
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Miami Hurricanes head football coach Manny Diaz introduces some of his hyped-up coaches at The New Miami Spring Tour event at The Wharf on April 10, 2019.

It wasn’t long ago when the Miami Hurricanes’ Class of 2020 included the top three rising senior prospects at South Dade. Jaiden Francois, Keshawn Washington and Jonathan Denis all committed to the hometown school the same day in the summer, then all three decommitted from Miami in the fall.

Two of the three are back in the fold, though. Francois committed back to the Hurricanes in February, then Washington followed him in March.

Meanwhile, Denis still waits and assesses his options. The three-star guard is in no rush to rejoin his two teammates, even if they keep pestering him.

“Especially Jaiden,” Denis said. “Jaiden’s been telling me to get on board.”

Even though he’s most familiar with Miami right now, Denis wants to take his time to let some other suitors state their case. Denis said he has official visits planned with the LSU Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs for the end of the month, and the Florida State Seminoles, Penn State Nittany Lions and Oregon Ducks all keep in contact with the offensive lineman, too.

For the Hurricanes, keeping Miami-Dade County’s best offensive linemen from leaving South Florida is always important, which means Denis, whom the composite rankings peg as the No. 16 guard in the country, feels like a priority to the local team. Offensive line coach Butch Barry and safeties coach Ephraim Banda, the area recruiter in Homestead, have both made it clear to Denis, as has Manny Diaz through his actions.

“Coach Diaz has also been contacting me,” Denis said. “You can feel the love and energy from Miami. You can tell it’s ‘The New Miami.’ ... They feel like I’m important, but I don’t let that get to my head. I just keep working, stay humble and let it work itself out.”

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Denis last visited Coral Gables in February, although Hurricanes coaches made the quick trip south to watch Denis practice earlier this month. Denis, a 6-3, 279-pound guard, is already a strong run blocker, so he spent the spring focusing on technique, especially because he’s in line to be the Buccaneers’ starting left tackle in 2019. Once spring practices end, Denis can dive full bore back into recruiting, beginning with his official visits to LSU and Mississippi State. He also hopes to get out to Penn State and Oregon in the summer, although no official plans have been made. Return trips to Miami and Florida State, both of which he has visited this year, are also inevitable.

After he wraps up a summer of visits, Denis hopes he will be ready to make a decision. The lineman plans to enroll early at the school of his choice, so he wants to have his recruitment all settled by the time his senior season gets started.

“I want to commit in August,” Denis said, “but if I don’t feel like I’m ready by then I’ll just wait it out until signing day.”

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