UM’s recruiting class — comprised so far of 14 non-binding commitments — has dropped to 40th overall in Rivals’ national rankings, which would be the worst recruiting class for a Miami program since the web site started rating them in 2002.
But Miami’s rankings — and the mood around the program — could be lifted considerably if the Canes can land at least a couple among a handful of prominent players who are set to sign on Wednesday, as well as a grad transfer who would immediately help at a need position.
Players can sign Wednesday through Friday this week or Feb. 6 or anytime after.
Where things stand with players expected to make their decisions by Wednesday:
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▪ Georgia-based receiver Jadon Haselwood would be the gem of this UM class if the Canes can snag him. He’s down to Miami and Georgia.
According to Canesport, he plans to sign Wednesday but won’t announce where he’s signing until the Jan. 5 U.S. Army All-America game in San Antonio. Rivals rates him the fourth-best player in the entire 2019 recruiting class.
▪ IMG Academy left tackle Evan Neal, the other five-star player who’s considering Miami, is said to be deciding among UM, Alabama and Georgia.
Rivals rates him the 11st best player overall and second best offensive tackle. He will announce his plans at 9 a.m. Wednesday.
▪ Lakeland-based four star tight end Keon Zipperer and his teammate, four-star defensive end Lloyd Summerall.
Coincidentally, both are rated by Rivals as the 16th best Class of 2019 players at their positions – Zipperer at tight end and Summerall at defensive end.
They will announce their choices on ESPN at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday or shortly thereafter.
According to Rivals, Zipperer will have UM, UF, Alabama and LSU hats on a desk when he announces his choice.
Summerall will have UM, UF and Nebraska hats in front of him.
▪ Four-star Hollywood Madonna receiver John Dunmore has been a Penn State non-binding commitment for a while, but his mother told Canesport that he enjoyed his UM visit this past weekend and that her son has acknowledged that he has a tough decision.
According to Canesport, he plans to sign Wednesday but not announce until the Under Armour All America game Jan. 3 in Orlando.
His cousin, Todd Johnson, told Canesport that “as of right now, the understanding I get is he’s probably stick with Penn State.”
▪ Butler left tackle Tommy Kennedy, a grad transfer, will announce Wednesday whether he will play his remaining season of college eligibility at UM, Auburn or Oklahoma. He would fill a need at left tackle for Miami, with Tyree St. Louis set to graduate.
Meanwhile, four-star Miami Southridge cornerback Tyrique Stevenson announced Sunday that UM and Georgia are his finalists. But he’s not expected to announce his plans until the Under Armour All American game. It’s unclear if he will actually make his decision on Wednesday.
Rivals rates him the 37th best player in this class and the No. 6 cornerback.
Among UM targets that plan to wait until February to sign: four-star Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle (UM, Alabama, UF and Tennessee in the mix), three-star Pensacola-based cornerback Martin Emerson (a Mississippi State commit who’s also considering Miami, Virginia and Louisville) and three-star New York based defensive tackle Jared Hunte.
THIS AND THAT
One of nine oral commitments on defense that UM reportedly might be at risk of losing is three-star Georgia based defensive tackle Jalar Holley. He plans to announce his choice on Wednesday.
▪ Among the winners at the Hurricanes’ annual banquet on Saturday: Gerald Willis (Jack Harding team MVP award); DeeJay Dallas (special teams MVP), Travis Homer (offensive MVP); Jaquan Johnson (defensive MVP); newcomer of the year on special teams (Al Blades Jr.); newcomer of the year on defense (Tito Odenigbo); newcomers of the year on offense (Brevin Jordan and D.J. Scaife); most improved players (N’Kosi Perry on offense, Romeo Finley on defense and Jhavonte Dean on special teams).
▪ UM began Pinstripe Bowl practices on Sunday night, and departing defensive coordinator Manny Diaz re-joined the Hurricanes on Monday after spending a few days focusing on his new job as Temple’s coach.
Diaz plans to coach the Pinstripe Bowl for Miami before assistant coaches Ephraim Banda and Jonathan Patke take over as co-defensive coordinators. UM intends to keep the same defensive scheme.
▪ Richt, who will speak with print journalists Tuesday for the first time in two weeks, told WQAM that UM will have eight practices before the Pinstripe Bowl - four in Coral Gables and four in New York. “We don’t try to take extra practices to [prepare] for a spring ball type thing that some people talk about doing,” he said.
▪ It’s not all that unusual to have co-coordinators. Clemson has them on offense and Duke has them on defense, among other examples.
▪ Banda intends to remain the Hurricanes’ safeties coach, along with his new co-coordinator responsibilities. Banda has an interesting background, including working as a bartender, and discussed it with WQAM’s UM sideline reporter, Josh Darrow, in this podcast.