Barry Jackson

UM trying to shore up defensive backfield as Signing Day nears

adiaz@miamiherald.com

With less than two weeks left before National Signing Day, a look at where UM stands in defensive recruiting:

• Defensive backs: Much in flux here, with safety and corner high priority areas.

Two incoming defensive backs are enrolled: Georgia-based four-star corner DeeJay Dallas (who also might get a chance at receiver) and three-star Palm Beach Gardens safety Amari Carter.

A third defensive back, four-star Columbus corner Trajan Bandy, is a solid oral commitment; Rivals rates him the No. 9 corner in this class and No. 109 overall prospect. Jacksonville three-star safety Derrick Smith is also committed.

But UM wants at least two more safeties (they have internally discussed adding a graduate transfer) and one or two more corners.

Miami remains firmly in the mix for four-star Columbus cornerback CJ Henderson; four-star junior college cornerback Jhavonte Dean, Miramar four-star safety Brian Edwards and Georgia-based two-star safety Tariq Carpenter.

Henderson, a former UM oral commitment, is also considering Alabama and UF; his father told Canesport: “Miami’s in the top now. He really does like UM.” But some consider UF the favorite.

Edwards, Rivals’ No. 21 safety, will visit UM this weekend and then UF; this appears to be a toss-up, with Louisville still an option.

Carpenter, a Central Florida commit, entered the mix for UM after Billy Gibson (likely Oregon-bound) de-committed from Miami. Carpenter will visit UM and Georgia Tech the next two weekends and told Canesport that he’s leaning toward Tech.

Dean, a former South Dade High player who attends Blinn CC in Texas and visited UM last weekend, told Rivals: “Miami did move up some. But I’m still solid to Alabama,” noting the Tide’s recent success gives them the edge.

He said UM, Utah and Arizona State are even behind Alabama.

Malek Young figures to be one starting corner, with Sheldrick Redwine perhaps a slight front-runner for the other, and Dallas, Michael Jackson and Ryan Mayes also in the mix.

Jaquan Johnson figures to start at one safety spot, with Romeo Finley the front-runner for the other job, with Robert Knowles, Cedrick Wright, Carter and Jeff James among others in contention.

• Defensive line: Lake Worth three-star end Jonathan Garvin is enrolled, and Sacramento-based four-star end DJ Johnson and Dillard three-star end Jon Ford appear firmly committed. UM made a push for Los Angeles-based four-star end Hunter Echols, but he remains committed to Southern California.

Among others UM had pursued at least to some extent: Central’s Owen Carney picked and enrolled early at Illinois; and Dillard’s three-star end Jordan Wright committed to Kentucky.

• Linebackers: Two are enrolling early: Miami Central’s Waynmon Steed (coming off major knee surgery) and Jacksonville’s Bradley Jennings Jr. Four-star Carol City linebacker De’Andre Wilder is a solid oral commitment.

FYI: Two-star punter Zach Feagles is also committed. He’s the son of former UM standout punter Jeff Feagles, a two-time NFL Pro Bowler.

For a look at where UM stands with offensive recruiting, here’s my piece from Wednesday if you missed it... And here’s some UM football and Marlins news that I posted this morning.

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