Barry Jackson

UM making move for top players as Signing Day nears

With just three shopping days left before National Signing Day, UM remains firmly in the mix for four of’s top 226 Class of 2017 prospects --- plus the No. 8 junior college prospect, too.

In fact, it would be a disappointment if UM on Wednesday does not emerge with three or four from among receivers Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley, cornerbacks Jhavonte Dean and Chris Henderson and safety Brian Edwards.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ Harley, rated the nation’s No. 18 receiver and No. 123 overall prospect, de-committed from West Virginia recently, canceled tentative plans to visit UCLA this weekend and by all accounts, is expected to end up at UM.

Miami also reportedly has a good chance to land East St. Louis (Ill.) receiver Jeff Thomas, rated the nation’s No. 8 receiver and No. 57 overall prospect.

Dean, meanwhile, is deciding between UM and Arizona State, his Blinn, Tx. JC coach Ryan Mahon told Canesport’s Matt Shodell.

Mahon said Dean, considered the top junior college cornerback, “likes Miami a lot” and was wearing Canes gear recently but Mahon also said it’s a toss-up where Dean ends up.

Henderson, a previous UM oral commitment, is considering UM and UF. The 6-foot Columbus High prospect is rated the No. 19 corner and No. 226 overall prospect.

Meanwhile, Miramar’s Edwards – rated the No. 21 safety and No. 221 overall prospect – told Canesport tonight that he’s down to UM, UF and Louisville and declined to name a favorite.

As for running back, unless UM convinces Gus Edwards to stay, the Canes could turn to Clemson grad transfer Tyshon Dye, according to multiple reports. Dye told Canesport that UM told him he has a spot on the UM roster if he wants it.

Dye was the No. 16 running back in the 2013 class but missed the 2013 season with a back injury, ran 32 times for 151 yards in an injury-disrupted 2014 season, ran 23 times for 91 yards in 2015 and ran 21 times to 109 yards last season.

He has a 4.6 average on 76 college carries.

He would be eligible to play next season. Dye said 10 schools have told him he can join their roster.

As for Edwards, UM has given him permission to look around, but he isn’t permitted to transfer to a school on UM’s schedule next season (such as Syracuse, which appeals to him). As of last week, he hadn’t applied for a transfer.

• Two players expected to visit this weekend did not, according to Canesport and multiple recruiting sites: four-star receiver DeVonta Smith (that was Smith’s choice not to visit; he’s reportedly leaning toward Alabama or LSU) and three-star offensive lineman Toryque Bateman (UM’s choice for him not to visit).