Barry Jackson

UM’s recruiting class continues to raise eyebrows; Richt addresses issues

Miami Hurricane's coach Thomas Brown speaks to journalists about how his team did on National Signing Day at the University of Miami's Schwartz Center in Coral Gables on Feb. 1, 2017.
Miami Hurricane's coach Thomas Brown speaks to journalists about how his team did on National Signing Day at the University of Miami's Schwartz Center in Coral Gables on Feb. 1, 2017. For the Miami Herald

A six-pack of UM notes on a Tuesday:

• Not only does UM have Rivals’ No. 2 rated recruiting class for 2018 (behind only Ohio State), but Rivals also rates Miami as the biggest surprise in 2018 recruiting.

“The Hurricanes are, by far, the biggest recruiting story of this recruiting cycle,” Rivals recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy said. “The challenge now is keeping the class together through the fall.... Nobody outside of the most optimistic segment of the Miami fan base could have foreseen this when the program was in flux at the end of the Al Golden era.

“Mark Richt’s drastic change of recruiting strategy has paid off and UM has amassed one of the nation’s best classes despite not yet having experienced tremendous on-field success under Richt. Is Miami back? Who knows? But a class led by five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard and five-star wide receiver Mark Pope sure seems to suggest it’s on it’s way.”

Only four of the players in Rivals’ top 10 for 2018 have orally committed to schools: two to Clemson, one to Georgia and one (Lingard) to Miami.

• UM coaches are pushing players for more precision on offense.

Not only did Malik Rosier miss or fail to see Jeff Thomas on three plays that could have gone a long way against Bethune Cookman, but Richt told WQAM’s Joe Zagacki and Don Bailey Jr. on Hurricane Hotline on Tuesday that “one time we had a situation where we had Braxton Berrios wide open for a touchdown but the protection broke down.”

• How does Richt feel about his receivers? “I feel good,” he told WQAM. “If I knew Ahmmon Richards was 100 percent today - and if I saw him practice in a competitive nature - I would feel better about him. Right now, he’s run routes and done some drill work, but it’s all been controlled. We’re hoping this week coming up we’ll get to see some of that.”

• What is this team’s identity? “We’ve got good runners,” Richt said on Hurricane Hotline. “We want those guys to be able to do their thing and hopefully run the ball well enough where we don’t have a lot of third and longs.

“If we play like we’ve been practicing, it’s going to be pretty good. I’m talking about the offensive line and the tight end position. We’ve done a good job of getting our hats on the right people and doing it with the right technique” in practice.

• Richt said UM’s week of practice at Disney’s Wide World of Sports has “worked out extremely well for us. To be able to come to Orlando has been a godsend. We asked for two goalposts. They gave us three.”

UM put last Saturday’s Toledo-Tulsa game on a wall in its meal room so players could watch it, in advance of Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. UM-Toledo game at Hard Rock Stadium.

• Quick stuff: Fox Sports Florida picked up Saturday’s UM game... Not having a game in three weeks negated one UM advantage, Richt said. “Are we in better shape [than Toledo]? I’m not sure we are,” Richt said. “Not sure if that advantage is what it would have been if we were playing all the way through.”.... UM athletic director Blake James said the ACC has game insurance to help Miami with expenses for the canceled UM-Arkansas State game.

  Comments