High School Recruiting

Explosive receiver among group of commitments, prospects that visited UM this past weekend

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Mike Harley, one of the country’s most explosive slot receivers, said a few weeks back that he would be shutting down his recruitment and sticking with the Mountaineers, but UM coaches have not given up hope and are still working to flip him to the Canes.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Mike Harley, one of the country’s most explosive slot receivers, said a few weeks back that he would be shutting down his recruitment and sticking with the Mountaineers, but UM coaches have not given up hope and are still working to flip him to the Canes. adiaz@miamiherald.com

University of Miami coaches welcomed a lot of top football talent to campus this past weekend.

We had reported that Miami commits Trajan Bandy, D.J. Johnson, and Evidence Njoku were taking their official visits to Coral Gables along with uncommitted prospects Jordan Pouncey and Jhavonte Dean. All of those names made it to campus, however West Virginia wide receiver commitment Mike Harley was also added to the group.

Harley, one of the country’s most explosive slot receivers, said a few weeks back that he would be shutting down his recruitment and sticking with the Mountaineers, but UM coaches have not given up hope and are still working to flip him to the Canes. The St. Thomas Aquinas product made the trip with his parents, who are reportedly in favor of him staying close to home. Harley has not said when he will make his final decision.

Columbus cornerback Bandy said of his visit, “Man it's a dream come true. Just being a part of something that's bigger than yourself and something that a lot of people care about is definitely a great feeling.”

Johnson, one of the top defensive linemen in the country, hails from Sacramento, California, and this past weekend was the first time his parents made the trip with him. The Canes were not in danger of losing him from the class, but Miami coaches were glad to finally get his parents on campus in order to ease their minds about letting their son play across the country.

Miami remains in good position to land wide receiver Pouncey and cornerback Dean. Pouncey, who was said to have been blown away by his visit, still has trips planned to Texas and Tennessee over the next two weeks, but the Canes hope to hold on to their lead for the Winter Park product.

Dean, a junior college prospect, is committed to Alabama but Miami defensive coaches are selling him on the opportunity to come in right away and be an impact player because of his experience, size, and speed (listed at 6-2, 180-pounds). Multiple sources close to Dean’s recruitment, including a family member, told the Herald that a flip to the Canes could happen prior to National Signing Day. Miami feels good about its chances.

▪ The in-state battle for Miramar defensive back Brian Edwards is heating up. Edwards visited Louisville over the weekend, but a source close to his recruitment said that he is focused solely on the Hurricanes and Gators.

Miami sent defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph, and safeties coach Ephraim Banda to his house last week for an in-home visit. Canes coach Mark Richt is expected to use his one available in-home visit with Edwards this week, in advance of his scheduled official visit to Coral Gables beginning Friday.

After seeing Miami this upcoming weekend, Edwards is slated to visit Gainesville the final weekend before announcing his choice on Signing Day, Feb. 1.

▪ Banda met with UF commit Shawn Davis at his school Friday. Banda also met with a Southridge administrator about Davis’ qualifying situation, as the Gators commit was supposed to enroll at Florida last week, but there is currently a hold-up.

Southridge tight end Kemore Gamble and cornerback Shawn Davis talk about their decisions to sign early with the University of Florida on Dec. 22, 2016

Davis tweeted Sunday that he will be in Gainesville next week, but Miami coaches will continue to recruit him until there is resolution and they hope to get him on campus for an official visit.

▪ There was some concern last week that Miami running back signee Robert Burns was having difficulty enrolling early as planned, but Gulliver assistant coach Eddie Alford told the Herald on Monday that Burns will begin class at UM this week.

Alford said Burns was finishing up a virtual course he has now completed and will be moving into his dorm this week.

Miami signees Amari Carter, Jonathan Garvin, Deejay Dallas, Navaughn Donaldson, Cade Weldon, Brian Polendey, and Zach Dykstra all begin class on Tuesday. The father of Canes linebacker signee Waynmon Steed said his son should be cleared to begin class early this week, as well as linebacker Bradley Jennings Jr.

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