Barry Jackson

Here’s how the Miami Hurricanes plan to address their defense in the coming months

Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt watches his team play the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl in December. Richt and the coaching staff are determined to improve the defense in this next recruiting class.
Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt watches his team play the Wisconsin Badgers in the 2017 Capital One Orange Bowl in December. Richt and the coaching staff are determined to improve the defense in this next recruiting class.

Even in signing a strong overall class, UM lost out on five defensive targets on National Signing Day.

Canes coaches are doing all they can to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said next year’s UM recruiting class needs to be better than this year’s, which was rated between fifth and eighth nationally by three major services.

And UM already is making inroads in several areas, with Rivals rating their early haul of oral commitments second nationally, behind only Georgia.

UM’s 10 oral commitments (including six on offense) are the most of any school rated in Rivals’ early top 50 rankings for 2019.

Where UM stands in its early Class of 2019 efforts to shore up its defense:

▪ UM has a commitment from three-star Hollywood Chaminade Madonna’s Cameron Williams, a 6-5, 220-pounder who is rated by Rivals as the 21st-best linebacker prospect but can potentially grow into a defensive end.

He impressed everyone at a Rivals three-stripe camp last weekend and might rise to four-star status. The Canes need to hold onto him.

▪ UM also has oral commitments from two pure linebackers: three-star Diamante Howard from Miami Southridge and three-star Jesiah Pierre from Mount Dora.

So in Howard (18), Williams (21), Pierre (24), UM has commitments from three of the nation’s top 24 linebackers prospects, though Williams projects as an end once he puts on weight.

▪ UM also has an oral commitment from Miami Norland defensive tackle Denzel Daxon.

Georgia, Georgia Tech and Kentucky offered, and this is a high priority position for the Canes.

Among other defensive targets:

▪ UM covets Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons High defensive end Khris Bogle, who has 36 scholarship offers. He’s 6-5 and 215 pounds and is rated the No. 8 linebacker overall and No. 153 prospect overall.

“Miami would be in the top five whenever I release it — I’ll probably announce one right before my football season,” Bogle told Canesport.

And of UM’s momentum as a program, he told Rivals’ Rob Cassidy: “The last year felt like it was supposed to feel down here,” Bogle said. “The whole city came together as one for Miami.”

He’s as much of a UM priority as anyone for 2019.

▪ UM also covets three front-seven players from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas: four-star Anthony Solomon (the No. 3 linebacker, 132nd nationally), three-star outside linebacker Jahmar Brown and defensive end Braylen Ingraham (148th player nationally).

Solomon has strong interest in UM and Michigan, and UM is very much in the mix for Brown.

▪ UM also is in on Kentucky-based three-star outside linebacker/defensive end JJ Weaver.

He lived in Fort Lauderdale until he was 14 and told Canesport that Miami “has been a dream school since I’ve been a kid. Stacy Coley played there — we grew up together, call each other cousins.”

And Miami has offered three-star Deerfield Beach defensive end/linebacker Ge’mon Eaford. He’s considering UM but doesn’t have a list of finalists.

▪ Other linebackers that UM is pursuing include Georgia based four-star Trezman Marshall, rated by Rivals as the 12th-best linebacker and 122nd-best overall prospect (Georgia, Clemson, Alabama will be hard to beat for him); IMG Academy’s Mikel Jones, rated the No. 14 outside linebacker; and Georgia linebacker Tyron Hopper.

The Canes would love to add Georgia-based Owen Pappoe — the nation’s No. 1 outside linebacker recruit — but he doesn’t have UM in a top three that includes Auburn, Georgia and Clemson.

▪ Among defensive tackles, UM has prioritized Largo High’s four-star Jaquaze Sorrells, rated by Rivals as the No. 6 defensive tackle and 126th-best prospect.

Sorrells told Canesport he will visit UM March 25 to watch practice and spend time with coaches but isn’t ready to name a list of favorites or finalists.

He had 17.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two forced fumbles last season.

UM also is among many schools competing for five-star Louisiana-based Ismael Sopsher, the No. 3 overall prospect and No. 1 defensive tackle. Miami is an underdog here, with all of the elite programs in the mix for him.

▪ Even after adding four cornerbacks this year, UM figures to add at least a couple next year and is targeting Davie University School’s four-star Joshua Sanguinetti, South Dade’s four-star Tyrique Stevenson and four-star St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Jaden Davis.

UM, Alabama and Ohio State are strong contenders for Sanguinetti.

Stevenson told Canesport this week that Miami “is right up there” and will have his top five or 10 finalists.

Davis, who has 41 offers, told Canesport: “I feel like the family connection there and the proximity to home is amazing. Just being able to be by your home and your family, your friends are able to watch games, it’s just different than any other school can offer me.”

We’ll explore UM’s 2019 offensive class, and recruiting possibilities, in a future post.