Diaz: ‘We need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are.’
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 continued Friday with an individual camp in Coral Gables, then went through the weekend with a pair of seven-on-seven and lineman camps the next two days. Here’s what you need to know:
As loaded as the seven-on-seven tournaments have been throughout June at the Manny Diaz Camps, the lineman camps have mostly turned into showcases for up-and-coming underclassmen trying to catch Miami coaches’ eyes.
Not so Sunday. Issiah Walker Jr., the top-ranked offensive lineman in Miami-Dade County and one of the best tackles in the entire Class of 2020, spent the morning inside the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility for a massive dose of personal attention from Butch Barry. The offensive line coach pulled Walker, American Heritage guard Khristopher Love and Killian tackle Lloyd Willis alone to work in a smaller session. All though the latter two don’t hold scholarship offers from the Hurricanes, all three were a step above the rest of the competition and Walker was on a whole other level. The four-star tackle from Norland didn’t lose a single rep in the one-on-one session to wrap up the camp as Diaz and offensive coordinator Dan Enos watched.
After fellow four-star tackle Jalen Rivers orally committed last Sunday, Walker ascends to the top of Miami’s most-wanted list at tackle even as he remains committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks. Once the camp wrapped up, Walker stuck around to chat with just about every member of the Hurricanes’ coaching staff and some of the players who were helping work the camp, particularly offensive lineman John Campbell.
Like usual, the actual camp was a who’s who of South Florida stars. Miami, however, made a show out of one of its out-of-state visitors Saturday.
It’s clear Jake Garcia is one of the Hurricanes’ most coveted prospects in the Class of 2021. The four-star quarterback from Narbonne in Harbor City, California, is a top-25 national prospect and visited Coral Gables for the second time in 2019 this weekend. He wrapped up his visit Saturday by spending the day inside the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, chatting with just about every member of teh Miami coaching staff and even going through an extremely public training session with offensive coordinator Dan Enos. While most campers had headed off the field for lunch, Enos, wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield and offensive quality control coach Jesse Stone went through an extensive workout with Garcia as nearly every other member of the Miami coaching staff, plus five-star 2020 running back commit Don Chaney Jr., watched intently.
One of the few coaches absent from watching Garcia was linebackers coach Jonathan Patke, who was busy tending to the Hurricanes’ two official visitors. Corey Flagg, a three-star inside linebacker from North Shore in Houston, and three-star outside linebacker Romello Height from Dublin, Georgia, both spent the weekend in South Florida to check out Miami for the first time.
The actual seven-on-seven tournament Saturday brought a number of familiar faces to campus. South Dade competed for the second straight weekend, which meant 2020 defensive back commits Jaiden Francois and Keshawn Washington were back on campus. Francois, in particular, spent a lot of time talking with safeties coach Ephraim Banda. Western and Miami Christian also competed Saturday, which brought a pair of former commits back to campus. Four-star 2020 wide receiver Marc Britt, who decommitted in the fall, visited for the third time in 2019 to play with the latter, while five-star 2021 safety James Williams was back on campus for the first time since decommitting in May to play with the former. Williams, who helped the Wildcats win the seven-on-seven tournament, was a major focus of the coaching staff’s attention, and spent a lot of time talking with Garcia and Chaney. The Hurricanes also got to watch Patrick Payton after they offered the unranked 2021 wide receiver from Miami last month.
The Hurricanes’ seven-on-seven tournament Sunday didn’t feature quite as many Miami targets, but McArthur had a handful including safeties Jerrold Pough, a three-star prospect in 2020, and Alfonzo Allen, a Class of 2022 target. Four-star wide receiver Thaiu Jones-Bell, who is committed to the Alabama Crimson Tide, also played with Carol City and spoke briefly with wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield at the end of the tournament.
Just before the end of the day Sunday, four-star Southwest defensive tackle Savion Collins, who is committed to the Hurricanes’ 2021 class, dropped by the Indoor Practice Facility and quickly was glued to defensive line coach Todd Stroud’s hip until he left. Three-star Gulliver Prep defensive tackle Westley Neal, a 2020 prospect, also spent some time in the IPF on Sunday after picking up an offer June 3.
Neither, however, participated in the lineman camp. The clear standout among defensive linemen was Shemar Stewart, a Monsignor Pace defensive end in the 2022 class. Stewart already holds a Miami offer and worked out Saturday.
No players publicly committed this weekend, although Diaz and defensive coordinator Blake Baker both hinted at a linebacker commitment on Twitter. A public announcement should come in the next couple days after the Hurricanes hosted a pair of linebackers on official visits.
Miami is also certainly trending in the right direction for Garcia and Walker, although a decision isn’t necessarily imminent for either.
The Hurricanes handed out another rash of underclassman offers throughout the weekend, beginning with three at the individual camp Friday. Southridge defensive ends Dante Anderson and Daniel Lyons, a pair of 2022 prospects, each pulled in offers from Miami on Friday, as did Lamar Seymore, a Central wide receiver in the Class of 2023 and the younger brother of Laurence Seymore, a four-star guard committed to the Hurricanes’ 2021 class.
Miami handed out another 2022 offer Saturday, then one more Sunday. On Saturday, the Hurricanes offered Coral Gables running back Maurice Jones, who is a cousin of striker Gilbert Frierson. On Sunday, they handed an offer out to Fred Eaford, a wide receiver who helped Hialeah surprisingly win the last seven-on-seven tournament of the year. Eaford is the younger brother of Oregon Ducks linebacker Ge’mon Eaford, a Deerfield Beach alumnus.