High School Recruiting

Miami Hurricanes’ pursuit of Georgia recruit could bolster UM’s deep receiving depth

American Heritage cornerback Tyson Campbell (8), the nation’s No. 3 cornerback, will visit Georgia this weekend and Alabama on Jan. 19. Miami is still considered the favorite to land Campbell.
American Heritage cornerback Tyson Campbell (8), the nation’s No. 3 cornerback, will visit Georgia this weekend and Alabama on Jan. 19. Miami is still considered the favorite to land Campbell. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Wide receiver Marquez Ezzard and defensive end Reggie James — both uncommitted players from Georgia — are scheduled to visit the University of Miami next weekend.

Ezzard, a 6-2, 215-pound, four-star recruit, is ranked the No. 37 player in Georgia and has been compared to former NFL receiver Anquan Boldin because of his powerful physique.

James, a 6-3, 235-pounder, is not nearly as sought-after as Ezzard. But one of James’ strengths is his versatility as he has also played linebacker, tight end and fullback. He had 10 tackles for losses, including six sacks, this past season.

As for Ezzard, he committed to Florida State but then backed off in November after the coaching change in Tallahassee. Now it looks like Miami has an excellent shot at signing Ezzard, with competition from Ole Miss, Oregon and FSU.

Ezzard scored 16 touchdowns in 13 games as a senior, catching 46 passes for 1,023 yards.

“It’s my time now” is the mantra Ezzard repeats often on his Twitter account, and he has also thrown up “The U” on there, so perhaps he will soon be a Hurricane.

Ezzard isn’t necessarily a “need” recruit for the Hurricanes, who are deep in receiver recruits but thin on the defensive line.

Miami has already signed three wide receivers, including Mark Pope and Daquris Wiggins from Southridge and Brian Hightower from IMG.

Opinions vary, of course, but Pope and Hightower are both considered elite. Both competed in the U.S. Army All-America Bowl, and Hightower was dominant. He appears to be college-ready with a 6-3, 200-pound frame.

Pope, listed at 6-1, 175, could be more of a long-ball threat, while Wiggins (6-3, 175 pounds) is considered a down-the-line prospect once he fills out and gets stronger. If Ezzard signs with Miami, it could be the Canes’ best receiving class of the past decade.

It’s too early to tell about UM’s 2017 receiver class, but here are some others from past decade that are noteworthy:

▪ 2014: Braxton Berrios had a very good career; Tyre Brady became a star but at another school (Marshall); and Darrell Langham has had big moments but not any big years.

▪ 2011: Phil Dorsett and Rashawn Scott formed a nice 1-2 punch and both made the NFL. Scott’s college career was uneven, but Dorsett was a big-play threat.

▪ 2008: This deep receiver group didn’t quite live up to the hype: Aldarius Johnson, Tommy Streeter, Davon Johnson, Travis Benjamin, LaRon Byrd, Kendall Thompkins and Thearon Collier.

THIS AND THAT

▪ American Heritage cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., the nation’s No. 1 cornerback and top uncommitted player, will visit LSU this weekend and Alabama the following week.

▪ Heritage cornerback Tyson Campbell, the nation’s No. 3 cornerback, will visit Georgia this weekend and Alabama on Jan. 19. Miami is still considered the favorite to land Campbell.

▪ Heritage defensive tackle Nesta Silvera will visit Florida on Jan. 19 also plans to get to Ohio State. He has committed to Miami but is not yet signed.

▪ All three of the aforementioned Heritage recruits as well as teammate Andrew Chatfield, a sought-after defensive end, are set to visit UM’s campus on Jan. 26.

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