With less than five months remaining before college football’s first national signing day in this recruiting cycle, here’s how the Miami Hurricanes’ 2019 defensive plan looks like ahead of the Dec. 19 decision day.
Canes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has gone back to the UM formula of old, prioritizing speed, skill and toughness over pure size and brute strength.
But the Canes are battling not just Florida and FSU but also schools such as Ohio State, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and Penn State for the players they covet.
Here’s a look at how Miami’s class is developing:
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▪ Defensive end: Miami has good numbers with commitments from Cameron Williams (Chaminade), Jason Munoz (St. Thomas Aquinas) and Jahfari Harvey (Vero Beach), all three-star recruits. The cherry on top would be four-star Khris Bogle of Cardinal Gibbons.
The Canes are the heavy favorites for Bogle, according to 247 Sports. But Bogle enjoys the recruiting process so much that an early commitment isn’t expected.
“Man, he’s good,” said Cam Underwood, a recruiting expert for State of the U website. “He’s exactly what Miami needs. But everyone in America wants him, and he’s playing the game.
“He wants to visit Alabama, Georgia, FSU — pretty much any big team has been connected to him. It’ll be a dog-fight.”
▪ Defensive tackle: Miami has a commitment from three-star Denzel Daxon (Doral) and is a heavy favorite to add four-star Braylen Ingraham, a 6-4, 260-pounder from Aquinas who is listed at end but will likely fill out and become an interior player.
“He’s the best defensive tackle prospect in South Florida,” Underwood said. “He played with [current Canes defensive tackle] Jon Ford at Dillard before transferring to Aquinas.”
Miami is also recruiting Apopka four-star Tyler Davis, who has said Ohio State is his leader, and three-star Jalar Holley of Buford, Georgia. Miami’s new defensive line coach Jess Simpson is the former head coach at Buford — where he won seven state titles — and Miami is favored to sign Holley.
▪ Linebackers: The Canes may be done shopping because they have commitments from four-star recruits Anthony Solomon and Avery Huff, both of Aquinas, and three-star Samuel Brooks of Miami Northwestern. All three are fast, and all three are listed at 200 pounds or less.
The Canes could add a fourth linebacker in Ge’Mon Eaford, a four-star player from Deerfield Beach who is listed at 6-1, 220, but ...
“I think Miami has cooled on him,” Underwood said.
▪ Cornerback: Miami has commitments from four-star Te’Cory Couch (Chaminade) and three-star Jarvis Brownlee (Carol City).
The Canes would love to sign five-star Akeem Dent (Palm Beach Central) and four-star Tyrique Stevenson (Southridge). But Dent has already backed out of commitments to Miami and Alabama and could soon do the same to Florida State.
Alabama is still after Dent, and Crimson Tide recruiters don’t often fail.
Miami, though, is favored by 247 Sports to sign Stevenson, who could play corner or safety.
“He’s an elite kid,” Underwood said. “I think he profiles better at safety (at 6-1, 190 pounds), but he wants to play corner since it’s a premier position.
“Miami, Alabama and Georgia are looking like the three schools in the race. Stevenson has been to Georgia a couple times, which is concerning. But he’s been to Miami a bunch, too. And there’s always the specter of Alabama for players at that level.”
▪ Safety: Keontra Smith (Chaminade) and Damarius Good (Lake Brantley) have committed. Good, who is a 6-foot, 185-pounder, is listed as an athlete, but safety is likely his college position.
Two four-star players to watch are Josh Sanguinetti (University School) and Mark-Antony Richards, the brother of Canes receiver Ahmmon Richards.
Sanguinetti had been down to Stanford and Miami but has since re-opened his recruitment. Miami is still in the running, but Michigan and Nebraska have entered the picture.
The Canes want Richards (6-1, 190) badly and have told him he can play safety as well as running back/wide receiver.
“That appeals to him,” said Underwood, who added that Richards could do for Miami what Jabrill Peppers did for Michigan as a unanimous All-American couple of years ago.
“I think Richards profiles as a safety who can get to 210 pounds and maintain his speed.”
Underwood said he believes Richards will sign with Miami. His brother may leave for the NFL after this his junior season, but that shouldn’t affect Mark-Antony’s decision, Underwood said.