Barry Jackson

Where UM’s recruiting class stands for 2019 and top remaining targets

Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt, seen here strolling the sidelines during the UM-Clemson ACC championship game last December, has begun to put together a strong 2019 recruiting class.
Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt, seen here strolling the sidelines during the UM-Clemson ACC championship game last December, has begun to put together a strong 2019 recruiting class.

With 16 oral commitments and a class rated 14th nationally by Rivals, a look at where UM stands in recruiting as it prepares to host a bunch of top prospects at its annual marquee Paradise Camp beginning July 28:

Quarterback: All the focus remains on Oregon-based Michael Johnson, and the Canes’ chances might have improved slightly because Oregon – where Johnson’s father coaches – received a commitment from a different quarterback, and because Johnson enjoyed his UM official visit June 20-22.

“I loved my official to Miami and I love the staff more and more every time,” Johnson told last month.

The Canes still need to beat out LSU, FSU, Nebraska, Penn State, North Carolina State, Arizona State and Oregon. He has visited Penn State and FSU and said he might commit somewhere within the month.

If UM can’t land Johnson, it might ratchet up its pursuit of Kansas-based four-star Graham Mertz, who’s a Wisconsin commit; North Carolina-based four-star Sam Howell, who’s an FSU commit; and Arizona-based four-star Spencer Rattler, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB who’s an Oklahoma oral commitment.

Running back: UM has an oral commitment from three-star Marcus Crowley, who averaged 6.3 yards per carry (190 attempts, 1200 yards) with six touchdowns last season at Trinity Christian in Jacksonville. Florida, Georgia, UCLA and Virginia Tech all offered him.

“Like him a lot,” recruiting analyst Larry Blustein said. “Very athletic, strong and runs very well. Has a real head on his shoulders.”

UM will add at least one more. Among remaining running back targets: Four-star Mark Antony Richards from Wellington High (UM receiver Ahmmon’s brother); four-star Kenny McIntosh (Davie University School student and brother of departing UM defensive tackle Richard McIntosh Jr.); Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ Daniel Carter; and Carol City’s Nay’Quan Wright (rated the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose back by Rivals and the 131st-best overall prospect). UM also has made an offer to three-star Orange Park prospect Keshawn King.

“I think McIntosh is their favorite and the guy they want,” locally-based recruiting analyst Charles Fishbein said. “He can be very good.He’s more power than speed."

UM also covets Richards, who is strongly considering the Canes.

Receiver: Four-star Jeremiah Payton, from Fletcher High in Neptune, is the only one orally committed. ESPN rates him sixth among receivers and 53rd among all players in this recruiting class.

At 6-1, 190 pounds, ESPN says he’s a “wiry, long player with good feet. Good length to shield defenders from the ball. Will work the middle of the field. Consistently makes plays. Speed is competitive but not a burner.”

Fishbein calls him “one of the two or three best receivers in the state.”

Tight end: UM has one commitment - Larry Hodges, a three-star player from Tampa Jesuit, who can play multiple positions but projects as a tight end.

Hodges, who chose UM over North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Louisville, told that Canes coaches “said I can be like David Njoku because I can flex out or play on the line, go out wide, go to H-back.”

But Fisbein cautioned: “I’m not a huge fan. I think he’s more of an H-back than tight end.”

UM is pursuing four-star Lakeland-based Keon Zipperer, rated by Rivals as the No. 7 tight end in the 2019 class. He told Rivals that UM has “a good chance.” UM also is very much in the mix for three-star Texas-based tight end Jalen Wydermyer.

Offensive line: Two oral commitments so far: four-star Michael Tarquin from Citra, Fla. (rated by Rivals as the No. 29 tackle) and three-star guard Kingsley Eguakun from Jacksonville.

UM would love to add Baton Rouge-based Kardell Thomas, an LSU commit who reportedly will visit UM. Rivals rates his the No. 1 guard in the 2019 class and 14th best prospect overall.

Defensive end: Four are committed: Chaminade Madonna’s four-star Cameron Williams, rated by Rivals as the No. 13 defensive end and No. 245 player overall; St. Thomas Aquinas’ three-star Jason Munoz; Miami Northwestern’s three-star Samuel Brooks and three-star Vero Beach prospect Jahfari Harvey (who also has Georgia and Michigan offers, among others).

“I like Williams; he can play d-end, outside linebacker, rush end; they can move him around,” Fishbein said. “Can put pressure on the quarterback. Will be a very good defensive end. Sam Brooks hasn’t played in the last year because of injury; I think he will end up at linebacker.”

Blustein said of Munoz: “This kid is going to be pretty special. He’s tall, very aggressive. He has gained weight to 265. He started as an end but probably will move inside.”

Harvey, who’s 6-3 and 211 pounds, could end up at linebacker.

UM covets four-star Lakeland High end Lloyd Summerall (told Canesport that Miami will be one of his top schools); Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons High defensive end Khris Bogle (ESPN’s 144th best player); St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Braylen Ingraham (ESPN’s 253rd best), Kentucky-based end JJ Weaver and Deerfield Beach defensive end/linebacker Ge’mon Eaford. And Miami remains in the mix for four-star Ft. Myers end Derrick Hunter, an FSU oral commitment.

Defensive tackle: UM has a commitment from one – Doral High’s three-star Denzel Daxon.

ESPN’s assessment: “Can do better job of locating ball and getting off blocks at times. Limited range. Big, powerful interior player that flashes some explosiveness and upside with continued development.”

Daxon, who grew up in the Bahamas and only has played organized football a few years, transferred from Norland this past winter. His new teammates call him 'Suh' – as in Ndamukong Suh – because when he got to Norland, nobody could block him, according to

Among uncommitted defensive tackles, UM has prioritized Apopka's Tyler Davis (the four-star prospect has UM in his top four) and Largo High’s four-star Jaquaze Sorrells, rated by Rivals as the No. 6 defensive tackle and 126th-best prospect.

Linebacker: UM has two good ones committed, both four-star prospects from St. Thomas Aquinas: Anthony Solomon (Rivals’ No. 6 inside linebacker and No. 155 overall prospect) and Avery Huff (Rivals’ No. 12 inside linebacker).

“Solomon is a little undersized, relies on speed and quickness more than size,” Fishbein said, noting he doesn’t enter UM at the same level as Shaq Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud did as freshmen.

“He’s an outside guy. Avery Huff has good size. He’s a legit 6-2 ½, 6-3. Little longer, more rangy than Solomon. He can play inside or out. More upside than Solomon.”

UM wants to add a couple more, with targets including Georgia based four-star Trezman Marshall; IMG Academy’s Mikel Jones, rated the No. 14 outside linebacker; and Georgia linebacker Tyron Hopper.

Defensive backs: Three corners are committed: Carol City’s three-star Jarvis Brownley, Chaminade Madonna’s three-star Te’Cory Couch and Lake Brantley’s three-star Damarius Good.

Hollywood Chaminade’s three-star Keontra Smith, rated by Rivals as the No. 30 cornerback, is the only safety commitment.

“Smith can play corner or safety, even some nickel,” Fishbein said. “Good speed, but not a big kid [at 5-11].” Blustein said he has good cover skills.

Couch had six interceptions as a sophomore and two as a junior, and Blustein offered up a good story about him.

“Very good player,” Blustein said. “Everyone is consumed with his lack of size. Deion Sanders singled out two guys at Under Armour – Asante Samuel was one of them. Last year, it was Couch. He was man up on some really good receivers. Dion asked him, ‘What’s your name?’ Dion said, ‘You are not going to be laying on any couches. You are a dog. You weigh 140 but you are a dog like I’ve never seen.’”

As for Brownley, “he a steal, big, big, big time,” Blustein said. “Was at Hallandale and now Carol City. In seven on sevens, it’s impossible to get things going against him. Long arms.”

Among corners, UM is targeting Davie University School’s four-star Joshua Sanguinetti, South Dade’s four-star Tyrique Stevenson (told Canesport that UM will make his final three) and four-star St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Jaden Davis.

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