Barry Jackson

Where UM stands — and remaining targets — at each position two weeks from signing day

UM introduces their 25th football coach, Manny Diaz

The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.
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The University of Miami had its news conference to announce new head football coach Manny Diaz on Wednesday.

With just 14 more shopping days before National Signing Day, here’s where the Hurricanes stand with recruiting:

Quarterback: They already have added one transfer in Ohio State’s Tate Martell — who’s appealing to be eligible in 2019 — and are pursuing two Class of 2019 players: New Orleans-based four-star Lance Legendre and Houston-based two star Peyton Matocha, who said on Twitter that he visited with UM offensive coordinator Dan Enos on Tuesday.

The Canes are being considered by both and hope to get one of the two, which would give them five quarterbacks on scholarship. Matocha is expected to visit this weekend or next. Legendre has said he will visit FSU this weekend and then Miami on Feb. 1.

Matocha’s two-star rating might be selling him short. He put up big numbers in high school.

Running back: They have already added one transfer in Auburn’s Asa Martin, who — like Martell — is appealing to become eligible for the 2019 season. He essentially replaces NFL-bound Travis Homer on the roster.

The Canes continue to pursue Wellington’s Mark-Antony Richards, who told dawgnation.com that he plans to visit UM next weekend.

Richards has now added Georgia to the schools he is strongly considering, joining UM, UF, Auburn and Penn State. (Richards said he’s down to four but declined to tell that web site which of those schools has been eliminated.)

Rivals has downplayed UM’s chances to land Richards, who is the brother of former UM receiver Ahmmon Richards.

Richards — ranked the No. 99 overall player and No. 4 athlete in the 2019 class by 247sports — finished his senior year with 1,276 rushing yards, 998 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns — 11 rushing, four on receptions and three on kick returns. On defense, he had 28 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions. But he wants to be a running back in college.

UM reportedly hasn’t offered three-star Rockledge based running back Jalen Mitchell but did show interest, at least before the coaching change. And the Canes have pursued four-star Georgia-based Jamious Griffin but is viewed as a long shot to land him. Griffin is an NC State commit but also has been linked to Georgia.

Receiver: Already on campus are one four-star enrollee (Neptune Beach’s Jeremiah Payton) and one grad transfer (former Buffalo receiver K.J. Osborn). Plus, Jeff Thomas has re-enrolled at UM after being bounced from the team on Thanksgiving week. So UM can be selective here, with nine on scholarship.

UM’s former staff made an offer to three-star Lake City receiver T.J. Jones, but the new staff isn’t pursuing him. The Canes continue to pursue five-star Alabama-based George Pickens, an Auburn commit. UM faces an uphill climb with Pickens, who would be the highest-ranked player in Miami’s class if he surprisingly flips.

Tight end: Miami has one committed in three-star Larry Hodges. UM had been pursuing Clearwater’s Brett Seither before the coaching change, but the Canes have backed off, and UM isn’t one of the schools he’s visiting.

Offensive line: UM already has landed a top grad transfer in Butler’s Tommy Kennedy — the Canes’ likely starting left tackle next season — and three freshmen have signed with Miami: three-star center Jakai Clark, two-star tackle Zion Nelson and three-star tackle Adam Elgammal.

Among UM’s remaining targets: three-star West Florida Tech tackle Darius Washington, who visited UM last weekend (his second visit here) but remains a Mississippi State commitment.

UM hoped to land three-star Palm Beach Central tackle Renato Brown — a former UM commit — but he committed to Louisville earlier this month.

UM would like to add at least one more lineman, and new names could enter the picture.

Defensive line: UM already has signed tackles Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley and Jason Munoz and four-star ends Jahfari Harvey, who’s an early enrollee, and Cameron Williams.

And Miami continues to push hard for four-star Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons defensive end Khris Bogle, an Alabama commitment who appears open-minded to considering UM again.

Another priority is Jared Hunte, a three-star New York-based tackle who visited in December. If UM lands Hunte, it would have two tackles from New York City in one class, along with Blissett — which would be highly unusual. UM visited Hunte in New York last week.

UM also has been linked to UCLA five-star defensive end/linebacker Jaelan Phillips (who retired from football in December after a second concussion) and grad transfers Trevon Hill (a Virginia Tech defensive end) and Chigozle Nnoruka (a UCLA defensive tackle).

Hill, who retweeted coach Manny Diaz late last week, was tweeting about UCF on Tuesday, so his plans remain unclear. Nnoruka visited last weekend. Martell indicated Phillips will visit UM this weekend.

[UPDATE: Nnoruku announced Tuesday night he will be joining the Hurricanes.]

Linebacker: The Canes have two signed in Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ Avery Huff and Miami Northwestern’s Sam Brooks and have offers out to at least three: three-star Georgia-based Ja’Darien Boykin, two-star Virginia-based Eugene Asante and two-year Rockledge-based Octavus Brothers.

Boykin appears to be the priority. He enjoyed his UM visit last weekend, according to multiple websites, and the Canes have a good chance. But Colorado State and Louisville remain in play.

Asante is considering UM, Virginia Tech, TCU, North Carolina and Nebraska.

Brothers, who has called UM his dream school, also has been considering Syracuse, North Carolina, Auburn and Mississippi. But his planned visit to UM last weekend never materialized.

Defensive backs: UM has two signed in Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna cornerback Te’Cory Couch and his teammate, safety Keontra Smith, and added a key transfer in Southern California safety Bubba Bolden, who’s reportedly eligible for 2019.

The Canes have tried to land four-star Palm Beach Benjamin cornerback Kaiir Elam, but the Gators are considered the front-runner and UM a long shot. They’re also trying to flip three-star Pensacola cornerback Martin Emerson, a Mississippi State commitment who is set to visit this coming weekend.

UM also got a visit last weekend from Alabama-based cornerback Christian Williams, a nonbinding Alabama commitment who is rated the No. 14 safety and No. 141 overall Class of 2019 player by Rivals. There’s some thought that Williams is now considering UM, though Alabama will be tough to beat.

On Dec. 20, UM said it had about 12 more scholarships to offer, in addition to punter Louis Hedley, who will sign in February.

Since then, the Canes have added two more prep signings (Elgammal and Williams) and three transfers (Martell, Bolden, Osborn), plus brought back Thomas. But UM also lost three players to the NFL draft (Joe Jackson, Travis Homer and Venzell Boulware), and punter Zach Feagles and offensive linemen Hayden Mahoney left the program.

So that would leave around 10 openings for prep players or grad transfers, with defensive line, linebacker, quarterback and offensive line the priorities. It’s possible three or four of those spots could go to defensive linemen.

Here’s my UM basketball recruiting piece from Tuesday on the Canes’ interest in Dwyane Wade’s son, Zaire.

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