Barry Jackson

Canes down to just two non-binding commits on offense after more bad news late Monday

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Monday:

There are just 23 more shopping days before high school players can sign letters of intent with colleges during the second annual December early signing period. And guess which Atlantic Coast Conference team has the fewest oral commitments from offensive players?

That would be UM, which is down to two after both of its offensive line commitments de-committed in the past 24 hours: guard Kingsley Eguakun and tackle Michael Tarquin. Both players flipped their commitments to UF.

“The swamp is where I belong,” Tarquin posted on social media, while telling UM he is “grateful for all the hospitality and generosity they have showed my family and I.... I planned on the U being my home, but I continued to fall back on the dream I have had ever since I was young, which was to be a Florida Gator.”

For perspective, no other ACC school (except FSU) has fewer than six offensive oral commitments.

The remaining offensive commitments: four-star receiver Jeremiah Payton (a solid commitment) and three-star tight end Larry Hodges (a solid commitment).

Is it time to panic? Not necessarily because 1) the Canes are in the mix for a bunch of offensive players and 2) UM added two high-end freshmen tight ends, four skilled freshmen receivers and two highly regarded freshmen running backs in last year’s class, as well as quarterback Jarren Williams and three offensive linemen who they really like.

Nevertheless, recruiting analyst Larry Blustein said it should worry UM having so few commitments on offense in early December.

“They need to step up and find offensive linemen,” said Blustein. “There are a lot in the Northeast – Pennsylvania, New York. They need to stick their head in there. You are not going to make a living off linemen here.”

Blustein doesn’t agree with UM not signing a quarterback in this class.

“You could have hurt feelings and be down to two quarterbacks if one transfers,” Blustein said. “You can’t go from five to two. You need a quarterback in every class.“

According to Canesport, UM has had exploratory conversations with at least one 2019 quarterback: Maverick McIvoy, a three-star Texas-based prospect and former Texas Tech commitment.

UM remains in the mix for a bunch of receivers, running backs and offensive linemen, as we wrote here last week.

The recruit who would be a huge help, Blustein said, would be five-star offensive tackle Evan Neal. As an enticement (as Canesport reported), UM also is offering his brother Edrick, a 375-pound lineman who hasn’t played any football since 2016, when he was at Okechobee High.

UM also offered another offensive lineman who Blustein really likes, as colleague David Wilson chronicles here.

Beyond that, UM’s class - which has plunged to 37th in the Rivals Class of 2019 rankings after the Tarquin decommitment– would get a huge boost if it can snag five-star Georgia based receiver Jadon Haselwood.

In general, “receiver is not a big need, but they still have kids not doing what they need to do, like Lawrence Cager,” Blustein said. “Another tight end wouldn’t hurt. Linemen you need; linebackers they need desperately.”

Running back is less of a concern, though UM wants at least one. “Cam Davis is given a chance and all of a sudden people are looking at the next Willis McGahee,” Blustein said.

UM has 11 commitments on defense.

Of FSU’s three oral commitments on offense, UM has tried to snag two: quarterback Sam Howell (a solid commitment) and four-star IMG Academy guard Dontae Lucas. (UM isn’t pursuing four-star receiver Maurice Goolsby, FSU’s third oral commitment on offense.)

Lucas told Canesport that he loved his UM visit this past weekend, and FSU and UM now have an equal shot to get him, with a decision coming Dec. 17.

Four-star Brooklyn-based defensive end Adisa Isaac is hosting an in-home visit with UM coaches on Monday and told Canesport there’s a “20 to 30 percent” chance he picks the Canes. His other finalists: Syracuse, Penn State and Texas.

Plant City three-star linebacker James Gordon, a Minnesota commitment, told Canesport that he expects to visit UM this weekend. With the possibility of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ Anthony Solomon flipping to Michigan, the Hurricanes are in the market for another linebacker.

As UM speaks to players who might turn pro, one point Mark Richt is going to make: “People who have their degrees stay in the league longer and keep money they make a lot longer.”

One associate said it appears Cager will stay in school after considering his options but was uncertain about running back Travis Homer. UM remains optimistic about keeping its junior linebackers, but nobody will be surprised if junior end Joe Jackson turns pro.

The Pinstripe Bowl is a matchup of the teams that might have been the nation’s biggest disappointments, based on where they were ranked in the AP preseason poll. Wisconsin was ranked fourth and UM eighth. Both finished 7-5.

Wisconsin lost at home to BYU, lost Big Ten road games at Michigan, Northwestern and Penn State and is coming off an embarrassing 37-15 home loss to Minnesota.

Wisconsin is allowing 394 yards per game, which is 64th in the country…. Miami averages 375 yards per game, which is 92nd….

“I’m sure they’re chomping at the bit, wanting to get back at us,” Badgers running back Jonathan Taylor said Sunday in a school video release, referring to his team’s 34-24 victory over UM in last year’s Orange Bowl.

Though UM has a sizable contingent of alumni in New York, Wisconsin isn’t expecting a crowd advantage for the Canes. “We have a very large contingent of dedicated fans and alumni in the New York area [4,000 alumni] and look forward to being able to connect with them,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said.

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