Just eight of the state’s top 20 Class of 2019 prospects have announced their college commitments so far, and just one has chosen the Miami Hurricanes — Jacksonville wide receiver Jeremiah Payton.
The Canes have taken some hits on that top-20 list, losing wide receiver Jon Dunmore of Hollywood Chaminade to Penn State earlier this month and losing receiver Frank Ladson of South Dade to Clemson in April.
In addition, St. Thomas Aquinas safety Jordan Battle chose Ohio State in June and Palm Beach Central cornerback Akeem Dent has been committed to Florida State since last year.
Miami does have commitments from players ranked 21, 23, 37, 38 and 44, among the state’s top 50.
But what can the Canes do to get more elite, top-20-type talent down to Coral Gables?
Here are three things that should be on the UM wish list:
▪ Continue to build on its relationship with the coaches and players at IMG Academy. No other school in the state has as many elite athletes as IMG, which can boast five of the top 15, according to 247 Sports.
Among top-20 IMG players, defensive end Nolan Smith — ranked No. 1 in the state regardless of position — has committed to Georgia, and wide receiver Josh Delgado chose Oregon.
But running back Trey Sanders and guards Evan Neal and Deyavie Hammond are uncommitted IMG players ranked among the top 20 in the state.
▪ Own Broward county. It’s a great year for talent in the Fort Lauderdale area, including Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle, University School safety Josh Sanguinetti, Deerfield Beach linebacker Ge’mon Eaford and University School running back Kenny McIntosh. All four of those players are undeclared and ranked among the state’s top 25 prospects overall.
▪ Develop the talent they sign. Recruiting is only half the equation. Development is vital, and many of the players the Canes have on their commitment list are substantially underweight for their positions.
Most players their age will get bigger and stronger naturally as they mature into college athletes, but it’s not always a given.
For now, committed Canes who really need to hit the weight room and the training table include 6-0, 190-pound linebacker Anthony Solomon, 5-9, 148-pound cornerback Te’Cory Couch, 6-3, 200-pound linebacker Avery Huff and 6-1, 195-pound linebacker Samuel Brooks.
THIS AND THAT
▪ The preseason Conference USA first team is just out, and two FIU players made the list: defensive end Fermin Silva and guard Jordan Budwig. Coming out of high school, Silva was a three-star recruit from Miami Central, and Budwig was a two-star recruit out of University School in Davie.
▪ From 2015 to 2016, the Canes signed 14 four-star recruits and hit on at least eight of them: Mark Walton, Jaquan Johnson, Shaquille Quarterman, Ahmmon Richards, Joe Jackson, Travis Homer, Zach McCloud and Tyree St. Louis.
Four of those four-star recruits have since left the school: Sam Bruce, Jack Allison, Dionte Mullins and Jerome Washington.
The jury is still out on two players: defensive tackle Pat Bethel, who could be on the verge of becoming a starter; and offensive tackle Bar Milo, a career backup so far.