Some Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday:
• When UM snagged a commitment Tuesday from Class of 2018 four-star Plantation American Heritage defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, two Hurricanes assistants had particular reason to be happy: defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski (who will need to replenish his defensive front in the next couple of years) and cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph.
He says he feels pressure to help lure players from American Heritage, where he coached from 2013 to 2015 before Mark Richt hired him after Richt arrived 17 months ago.
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“I put pressure on myself to do that,” Rumph told me on Signing Day earlier this month. “I want American Heritage kids all day. The school puts out really good athleticism, academically, conditioned kids all the time. It’s a place we should continue to stockpile because they’re so college ready.”
The Hurricanes have had mixed success with American Heritage prospects over the years, and Rumph’s involvement in recruiting at the school varies, depending in part on particular player’s position.
UM landed four-star offensive lineman Kai-Leon Herbert in this incoming recruiting class but lost out to UF in the battle for four-star offensive lineman Tedarrell Slaton.
Former Dolphins cornerback Pat Surtain, who succeeded Rumph as American Heritage coach, is a big fan of Richt.
“Good guy,” Surtain told me last August. “He knows what it takes to win. He will bring that mentality back. I wish him all the best and hopefully some of our guys can stay at home and make Miami what it used to be.
“He’s bringing that local flavor back. He’s getting the recruits that in past years were going to Florida State and Florida; he’s getting those kids to stay home. He’s bringing an SEC mentality, a little different type of football. He knows what it takes to win. The guy won at Georgia. Guys respect that. It’s a more physical brand, the way he recruits, the SEC recruits different, big up front on the o-line and d-line.”
Surtain said UM, before Richt, “missed out some kids we had in the past like Torrance Gibson, Tavarus McFadden, Sony Michel.” (Richt landed Michel and American Heritage four-star receiver Isaiah McKenzie when Richt was at Georgia.) “I’m sure he doesn’t want to let this crop get away.”
UM also is pursuing several other 2018 Heritage players, including Surtain’s son, Patrick Jr., and cornerback Tyson Campbell.
Rivals rates the five-star Surtain as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation and the ninth best overall prospect. The four-star Campbell is rated the 13th best cornerback in the nation and 101st best prospect.
• Rivals rates the 297-pound Silvera as the 22nd best defensive tackle in the 2018 class.
UM is in good shape at d-tackle next season but needs to start replenishing because Anthony Moten will be a senior and Richard McIntosh Jr. and Kendrick Norton will be draft eligible after next season.
Silvera had 78 tackles, 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles last season.
“I like the tradition there; I’ve liked them since I was a child,” he told Canesport’s Matt Shodell. “I always wanted to play at the U, put the U on me. Now I have that opportunity."
Kuligowski, who obviously isn’t allowed to discuss Silvera publicly per NCAA rules, tweeted: “It’s a great day to be a tenacious 300-pound Hurricane! U Family!!”
• Rumph, on new UM corner Trajan Bandy: “Huge heart. One of the most important things that people don’t notice is he’s not talking about himself. He’s talking about the University of Miami and getting the program back on, back to where it used to be. He reminds me of the former big-time players like the Andre Johnsons and Frank Gores and Devin Hesters. They want the university to be great. All he wants to do is win and compete. He’s fearless. He seems like a great throwback player coming through our doors. We’re blessed to have him.”
• And Rumph is thrilled to add Jhavonte Dean, who was rated the nation’s top junior college corner: “It was amazing. He’s similar in the fact he’s a selfless player. Has size and speed; there wasn’t a good amount of that going around at corner in the area. Jhavonte and I spoke a lot about football and technique. He really liked what we were telling him. It was the best 12 o clock midnight call I had in a long time [when he committed on Signing Day]. For him to say he wanted to shut it down and wants to be a Cane, that made me so proud of what we’ve done as a staff.”
• Is Dean as advanced as former UM cornerback Adrian Colbert in terms of stepping in to play right away?
In contrast to Colbert (who was a safety), Dean “has an advantage because he played corner two years and played it in high school,” Rumph said. “Adrian came to me raw, straight from high school. I’m looking forward to Dean being able to build on what he learned at cornerback at Glin [JC].”
• UM says it has raised $31 million for an indoor practice facility but needs to get to $34 million to begin construction.
• Big UM basketball game tonight against Georgia Tech. Privately, UM basketball people bemoan losing Manu Lecomte to Baylor because of the lack of a pure playmaking point guard on the roster.
Though UM likes Jaquan Newton and he can score (15 points per game), he has 87 assists and 84 turnovers.
Lecomte, for Baylor, has 106 assists and 59 turnovers, while averaging 12.8 points.
Lecomte left UM before last season because he was worried about how much playing time he would get behind Angel Rodriguez last season (and now Newton).
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