Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
June is a huge recruiting month for the Miami Hurricanes. It concludes with Paradise Camp on June 22 and Miami is hosting Manny Diaz Football Camps every weekend until then. Camp season began Friday with an individual camp in Coral Gables, then continued with a pair of seven-on-seven and lineman camps the next two days. Here’s what you need to know:
Pick any of the three Northwestern wide receivers committed to the Hurricanes. At various points Sunday, each of the three receivers was unguardable and the Bulls appeared unstoppable until they lost a defensive struggle to Glades Central in the semifinals.
On one side of the field, Marcus Fleming, a four-star wide receiver in the Class of 2020, shredded opposing defenses with his speed and crisp route running. On the other, Romello Brinson and Kahlil Brantley, a pair of three-star wide receivers in the Class of 2021, used their size and fluidity to frustrate defensive backs.
“We were unstoppable,” Fleming said. “It’s OK, though. We’re going to be back.”
Brinson was probably the most consistently excellent of the bunch as the 6-foot-2, 180-pound wideout possesses the best blend of size and speed. He was long enough to win jump balls and slippery enough to pick up yards after the catch when he had a sliver of space.
The field Saturday was loaded with Northwestern, South Dade, Gulliver Prep and Orlando Jones all competing with some Miami-level talent. The most notable visitor, however, wasn’t actually competing at the camp.
Michael Redding III, a four-star wide receiver from Bradenton IMG Academy, made the trip south with his mother for the day Saturday to check out the Hurricanes for the first time. Redding was the focus of the coaching staff’s attention throughout the morning and Taylor Stubblefield was glued to the wideout as pool play took place. Although the 2020 prospect didn’t compete in the seven-on-seven tournament, Redding got to go through a one-on-one workout with Stubblefield as offensive coordinator Dan Enos watched. Redding is physical specimen at 6-1 and 195 pounds, and he impressed Miami with his fluidity in the individual workout.
Saturday also brought Columbus running back Henry Parrish to campus and tight ends coach Stephen Field immediately went over to talk to the three-star 2020 prospect. Parrish showed up alongside Laurence Seymore, a four-star guard committed to the Hurricanes’ 2021 class, and the offensive lineman got some one-on-one work in with offensive line coach Butch Barry. Chamon Metayer, a four-star outside linebacker committed to Miami’s 2020 class, played seven-on-seven with North Miami on Saturday, too, although he projects as a defensive end for the Hurricanes.
Brinson also stopped by campus Saturday before playing with the Bulls on Sunday. Northwestern’s roster is loaded with Miami commits targets, particularly in the 2021 cycle. Brinson and Brantley are both committed to the Hurricanes, and Miami is in the mix for four-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis and three-star safety Kamren Kinchens, another two 2021 prospects.
The Buccaneers, led by four-star 2020 safety Jaiden Francois, were the only other team with multiple Hurricane commits. Francois lined up at cornerback for South Dade and, for the most part, shut down his side of the field. The defensive back gave up a few catches, but also grabbed an interception and defended at least half a dozen passes. Tyler Johnson, a three-star defensive end committed to Miami’s 2021 class and the brother of former defensive back Jaquan Johnson, lined up at linebacker and also pulled in an interception. Keshawn Washington, a three-star 2020 safety committed to the Hurricanes, was in attendance, but didn’t play as he continues to recover from multiple shoulder surgeries.
Gulliver also brought some noteworthy prospects to campus. Three-star tight end Diego LaMonica dominated for stretches Sunday with his combination of size and speed, and the Hurricanes continue to evaluate him as a potential partner for four-star tight end Dominic Mammarelli in the 2020 cycle. He’ll be back for Paradise Camp on June 22. Yulkeith Brown, a three-star athlete, was solid, as well, and is a 2021 target for Miami. Like Washington, Westley Neal didn’t participate for the Raiders, but the three-star defensive tackle, who picked up an offer from the Hurricanes on Monday, stopped by the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility to watch his school play.
Jones was the top team in attendance from outside South Florida. The Tigers’ highest profile 2020 prospect is Dominick Hill, a three-star athlete with an offer from Miami. Evan Anderson also intrigued the Hurricanes. The three-star guard is 6-3 and 325 pounds, and was one of the top offensive linemen competing at the Sunday camp. Francois Nolton, an unranked defensive end from Miami Christian in the Class of 2022, was the most notable defensive lineman to compete Sunday. He also visited the Hurricanes last month.
Miami’s only commitment of the weekend wasn’t exactly tied into one of their camps. Jalen Rivers, a four-star tackle from Orange Park Oakleaf, made an oral pledge to the Hurricanes early Sunday, before the camps even started. He picked Miami from a top five, which also included the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs.
A couple hours later, Rivers strolled into the Indoor Practice Facility with his family to watch Barry run the lineman portion of the camp. When the session finished up around noon, Rivers accompanied the offensive line coach into the football offices with his family.
The Hurricanes handed out their first offer Friday when Jacolby George, an unranked 2021 wide receiver from Plantation, impressed wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield at Miami’s individual camp.
The most intriguing offer, however, came Saturday when a Stoneman Douglas tight end caught Barry’s eye. Michael McLaughlin, an unknown 2021 prospect, had only moved to South Florida about a week earlier when he joined the Eagles in playing in the camp’s seven-on-seven tournament. Barry had other thoughts.
The position coach pulled McLaughlin aside for an individual workout near the end of the day with director player personnel Andy Vaughn filming. Although McLaughlin was only a tight end and defensive lineman at Danville in Indiana, McLaughlin’s size and athleticism impressed Barry. The Hurricanes became the first team to offer the 6-7, 255-pound offensive lineman.
“He loves my athleticism and my size,” McLaughlin said Saturday. “Back in Indiana, I wanted to stay close to home, but that’s a different story now.”
This and that
▪ Miramar won the seven-on-seven tournament Saturday. Gulliver won Sunday.
▪ The IPF came up huge Saturday. Thunderstorms rolled through campus toward the end of the camp and games went on without a hitch. Even when lightning briefly knocked out the power inside the IPF, generators let the Patriots and Pioneers finish out their game without any interruption.
▪ For the number aficionados, freshman tight end Larry Hodges is slated to wear No. 81, which was worn by wide receiver Darrell Langham last season.
▪ Lorenzo Lingard seems to be progressing nicely. The running back worked as a referee at the Saturday camp, so he was jogging back and forth along the sidelines. He still seems on track to be ready by the fall.