Barry Jackson

Here’s who the Miami Hurricanes are targeting in final days of recruiting

American Heritage Patriots head coach Patrick Surtain speaks with Tyson Campbell (8) during the Class 5A high school football championship game Dec. 8 in Orlando. Campbell, a four-star cornerback, is expected to visit UM this weekend - days before Feb. 7 National Signing Day.
American Heritage Patriots head coach Patrick Surtain speaks with Tyson Campbell (8) during the Class 5A high school football championship game Dec. 8 in Orlando. Campbell, a four-star cornerback, is expected to visit UM this weekend - days before Feb. 7 National Signing Day. adiaz@miamiherald.com

Regardless of what happens in the next few days, this will end up being a very good UM recruiting class — a group currently rated fifth by Rivals and seventh by ESPN.

But whether this ends up as an exceptional class will depend on what happens during several key visits this weekend — and 10 a.m. Wednesday announcements by three key targets.

UM enters this weekend with 19 players signed and three others orally committed — defensive tackles Nesta Silvera (Plantation American Heritage) and Jordan Miller (Jacksonville Sandalwood) and three-star Miami Northwestern cornerback Nigel Bethel.

Silvera, rated by Rivals as the nation’s No. 9 defensive tackle recruit and 121st-best prospect overall, should play immediately as a freshman.

He will visit UM this weekend with five-star teammates Pat Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell and various recruiting services have said he remains a solid UM commitment, despite rumors earlier in January that he could flip.

Miller was a three-star player committed to Georgia Southern before he sent a videotape of his senior season to several schools; UM liked what it saw, offered him a scholarship and snagged an oral commitment on Monday. But because of questionable quality of competition in high school and the fact he didn’t have any significant offers until a few weeks ago, it cannot be assumed that he will be a factor as a freshman.

So that leaves UM with about five or so remaining available scholarships and hoping to lure at least a couple among these seven remaining targets:

▪ Surtain. The good news for UM is the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect will reportedly visit this weekend. The bad news is UM is seen as a heavy underdog, with Canesport quoting a source as saying LSU is in the lead, Alabama a close second, Clemson third and UM fourth.

▪ Campbell. UM seems to have a better shot at Campbell than Surtain but is an underdog here, too. Multiple recruiting sites have said Campbell — who’s rated by Rivals as the No. 4 corner and No. 25 overall prospect — likely will pick Georgia or Alabama. UM hopes to persuade him during his visit this weekend.

American Heritage cornerback Tyson Campbell was formally invited to the 2018 US Army All-American Game on Friday. Campbell spoke about the likelihood of playing with teammate Pat Surtain, Jr. in college.

If UM cannot surprisingly land Surtain or Campbell, then Miami will be looking at a cornerback room of Trajan Bandy, Michael Jackson, Jhavonte Dean and four freshmen — Al Blades Jr., Gilbert Frierson, D.J. Ivey and Nigel Bethel. It wouldn’t be surprising if Miami pursues a grad transfer in that scenario.

▪ Defensive end Andrew Chatfield. The fourth key target from Plantation American Heritage (along with Surtain, Campbell and Silvera) visited UM on Jan. 12, but multiple recruiting sites subsequently have identified UF as the front-runner for Rivals’ 233rd-best prospect.

Surtain, Campbell and Chatfield will announce their decisions at 10 a.m. Wednesday on ESPNU. UM would be elated if even one picked Miami.

▪ Defensive end/tackle Jamarcus Chatman. The three-star prospect from Rome, Georgia — who’s rated the nation’s No. 30 defensive end prospect by Rivals — will visit UM this weekend, and Miami has at least a decent chance to land him.

Chatman tends to change his mind; he previously committed, and then decommitted, from LSU and Tennessee. He’s also considering Virginia Tech, North Carolina and FSU.

If Chatman commits, he likely would compete with incoming Gregory Rousseau and perhaps Scott Patchan (if he moves back from tight end to defensive end) for the No. 4 defensive end job, barring the addition of a quality grad transfer. Chatfield would join that competition if he picks UM.

▪ Defensive tackle Moro Ojomo. The 6-3, 265-pound three-star prospect from Katy, Texas, visited UM’s campus this week but UM faces stiff competition for the nation’s No. 41 defensive tackle. He’s also considering Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon and Alabama but hasn’t tipped his hand about how he’s leaning.

▪ Defensive tackle Keondre Coburn. The four-star Coburn — rated the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle and 167th-best 2018 prospect overall — has remained a Texas oral commitment since August but spent considerable time with UM coaches in the past week, first with a short visit to UM’s campus and then in his Houston home with Mark Richt earlier this week.

Coburn told Canesport that he has “a lot to think about” because he was clearly impressed by UM. But Texas has a location advantage that might be difficult for UM to overcome.

▪ Receiver Marquez Ezzard. Rated the nation’s No. 44 overall receiver prospect, Ezzard is down to UM and Mississippi.

His father, Mardy, told Canesport’s Matt Shodell earlier this week that “he kind of likes Miami a little better than Mississippi.”

Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt speaks to the media after the University of Miami Hurricanes were defeated by the Clemson Tigers 38-3 in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017.

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