Diaz: ‘We need a good old competition to find out who our best guys are.’
Romello Height already had a top five publicly revealed when the Miami Hurricanes finally stepped in with their scholarship offer in March. Just a few weeks earlier, the three-star outside linebacker from Dublin, Georgia, had started to narrow his list of options.
Now he’s ready to amend his list. Height wrapped up an official visit with Miami on Sunday. He’s not quite sure what the full hierarchy is, but Height knows the Hurricanes are now in his top three after he spent three days in the Miami metropolitan area.
“It went great,” Height said Tuesday.
One trip to Coral Gables was enough to solidify the Hurricanes’ place near the top of his list. The 6-foot-5, 216-pound linebacker knows the Kentucky Wildcats are part of his top group, too, and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and Florida Gators are both in the running for the last spot in his unofficial top three. The South Carolina Gamecocks, like Miami, are a new entrant into Height’s recruitment after making him an offer Thursday.
While the Hurricanes are in excellent position for now, Height doesn’t plan to make any decision until September for his father’s birthday. He has, however, now visited all four of the schools vying for spots in his top three, including official visits with Miami and Kentucky.
The Hurricanes were able to win Height over by simply preaching to him his potential in coach Manny Diaz’s defense. Miami is recruiting Height as a defensive end, where he primarily plays with the Fighting Irish, and there could be significant playing time available after the 2019 season.
Jonathan Garvin, a virtual lock to start at one defensive end spot, could opt to enter the 2020 NFL Draft. Fellow defensive linemen Scott Patchan and Trevon Hill, slated to transfer from the Virginia Tech Hokies in the summer, are both coming up on their senior seasons and either could start opposite Garvin. If all three are gone, the Hurricanes will be left with a thus-far unproven group of defensive linemen including freshmen Gregory Rousseau, Jahfari Harvey and Cameron Williams, and Jaelan Phillips, an injury-plagued incoming transfer from the UCLA Bruins.
While Rousseau and Harvey have impressed Miami in limited action, the latter two aren’t even on campus yet. Early playing time could be available for Height, who barely cracks the 247Sports..com composite rankings’ top 500, but is a four-star prospect in both ESPN’s and 247Sports’ rankings.
“They’ll only have two defensive ends, so I might be right behind one of them and be able to fight for a spot,” Height said. “So looking at the roster and everything, with those D-ends I might have a chance.”
Playing in Diaz’s system for defensive line coach Todd Stroud could be an ideal fit, too. Although linebackers coach Jonathan Patke was the coach to initially offer Height, Stroud has taken over as the senior’s primary recruiter, and they got a chance to really sit down and talk extensively while Height was in Coral Gables.
Even though Stroud wasn’t around to develop recent Hurricanes defensive ends such as Joe Jackson and Chad Thomas, Height still sees a perfect scheme fit because of Diaz’s enduring presence at Miami.
“The position I play,” Height said. “I’ll be playing D-end, but drop sometimes, stand up.”