University of Miami

‘Slots were being filled fast’: How an aggressive recruiting approach is helping Miami

Quentin Williams didn’t think he was going to be ready to make a commitment decision in June — or he at least didn’t think he was going to be in any rush to make one even if he had a favorite in mind.

Because he did have a favorite in mind. The defensive end from Mallard Creek in Charlotte had the Miami Hurricanes at the top of his list basically from the moment Miami offered him a scholarship in January, he just wanted to take some of his official visits before he made an oral commitment. His outlook all changed last week when conversations with Todd Stroud and Jonathan Patke led him to commit to the Hurricanes on Wednesday.

“I was waiting on official visits,” Williams said, “but slots were being filled fast and I wanted to solidify my commitment.”

Instead of waiting until the fall when he could have some official visits out of the way, Williams made a somewhat surprising announcement Wednesday. The senior took to Twitter to announce his pledge to Miami despite only taking one unofficial visit down to Coral Gables in April.

His commitment — which is one of five for the Hurricanes in the Class of 2020 in the last two weeks — came earlier than anticipated because of a wider-reaching strategy for Miami in the 2020 recruiting cycle. The Hurricanes already have 20 players committed in the 2020 class and is no longer content with just being patient after their disappointing finish in the Class of 2019, when Miami didn’t land a single new commitment on the first day of the early signing period in December. If the Hurricanes think a player is good enough, they’ll take the commitment at any moment, which in turn puts some pressure on targets who think they might want to commit at some point.

Williams fell firmly into this camp. A three-star defensive end in the composite rankings for the 2020 cycle, Williams tantalized Miami with some of the physical traits the Hurricanes most value. The 6-foot-3, 234-pound edge rusher ran a 40-yard dash in 4.80 seconds and the shuttle in 4.41 seconds at The Opening Charlotte regional in April.

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He also grew up rooting for Miami from North Carolina because of his father’s affinity for the Hurricanes of the 1980s. He had Miami out front in a group of suitors which also included the North Carolina Tar Heels and West Virginia Mountaineers. Taking an official visit with the Hurricanes before making a decision would have been a nice luxury for Williams, but he had a feeling Miami would win out in the end unless something surprising happened.

“I just wanted to make sure,” he said.

In the days leading up to Williams’ commitment, Stroud and Patke took an aggressive approach. The two assistant coaches let Williams know the situation with the class. Elijah Roberts, another three-star defensive end, had committed just five days earlier. Decisions from a couple others could be coming soon and three-star outside linebacker Romello Height, who is being recruited primarily as a defensive end, wound up committing Monday. If Williams wanted to assure a spot in the class, he’d have to let the Hurricanes know.

The defensive lineman could think back to April for assurance. Williams had never visited Miami before he made the trip to South Florida for one of the Hurricanes’ spring practices and he was happy with what he saw. Like so many out-of-state prospects often are, Williams was surprised to find out the campus is distinctly separate from the city. With the comfort from one visit to lean on, Williams was ready to make his call when Miami applied some pressure.

“It was way quieter than what I expected,” Williams said. “I liked the school part of it and the football, and I liked their workout plans and all that.”

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