Barry Jackson

An update on where UM stands with National Signing Day closing in

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.

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Monday:

As National Signing Day approaches Wednesday, there is uncertainty inside UM about whether the Canes will add any new commitments.

Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons four-star defensive end Khris Bogle ended his UM visit this past weekend without giving Canes coaches an indication of his intentions, according to a source.

UM – which at one point thought he was likely going to be part of this class – now isn’t sure what he’s going to do.

Bogle remains an Alabama commitment and also has been considering UF and UM.

Rivals rates Bogle the 66th-best player in this class.

Meanwhile, four-star Pensacola-based offensive tackle Darius Washington decommitted from Mississippi State on Sunday night, but the Canes also aren’t sure if they’re going to land him. Washington has visited UM twice and FSU and has been considering both schools.

He will announce his plans at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Washington is rated the 301st-best prospect by 247sports.

So UM believes it has a legitimate shot with Bogle and Washington but also believe it could go either way.

Surprisingly, a UM official said the Canes were left with the impression they’re still very much in on five-star receiver George Pickens, who has been an Auburn commit since July. But I have no independent confirmation if Pickens remains interested in the Hurricanes, and it would be considered an upset if he picks Miami, even though he is believed to have been impressed with the UM staff. (He met with coach Manny Diaz last week.)

He visited Tennessee during the weekend, and Georgia also is in the mix. And nobody would be surprised if he sticks with Auburn.

UM also is hoping for good news from four-star Alabama-based cornerback Christian Williams, who visited LSU during the weekend. Some consider LSU the favorite, but the Canes don’t have any firm indication of his plans.

Same with Mark Antony-Richards, the four-star Wellington running back who visited the Canes earlier this month.

Though 247sports says UM is unlikely to land Antony-Richards, Rivals.com analysts say Miami still has a good shot with Richards.

“I think he ends up at Miami,” Rivals analyst Mike Farrell said. “Auburn is the dark horse to watch out for here. Georgia already has a lot of running back depth, but he’s the type of kid who can play all-purpose back, he can play slot receiver, he can do a lot of different things.”

Rivals’ Rob Cassidy said: “I still like Miami for Richards, but I don’t know if I’d stake much money on that take. He’s been incredible when it comes to playing things close to the vest. Auburn, Georgia and Miami are all players. Any other choice would shock me. I’m on record predicting Miami, but I’m far less certain of that than I was a month ago.”

And Miami still holds out hope on Mississippi State’s Martin Emerson, even though Rivals reported last week that Miami was out of the picture.

Of the five 2020/2021 players who committed to UM during the weekend, the most highly regarded are Belen 2020 four-star running back Don Chaney Jr. and 2020 three-star South Dade High safety Jaiden Francois, who had 13 interceptions last season.

Rivals rates Chaney the No. 10 running back in the 2020 class and the 96th-best player overall.

Belen associate athletic director Rich Stuart, who coached Chaney as an eighth-grader and ninth-grader, told me that the early comparisons to Rams running back Todd Gurley are valid.

“He’s going to be tall – he’s already six feet – and that’s what Gurley is,” said Stuart, who has the most wins of any high school coach in Miami-Dade County history. “He has that ability. I see similarities with Gurley. His first carry for us was 30 yards. He’s an all-around back, straight line fast, can run over you if need be. He’s a special kid, has always been elite, even playing with older kids.”

Chaney is a two-time state champion in the high jump and “he could be an Olympian in the high jump,” Stuart said.

We hear Georgia’s Kirby Smart, FSU’s Willie Taggert, Penn State’s James Franklin and UF coach Dan Mullen all visited Belen in pursuit of Chaney. But Chaney always liked Miami and was impressed with Diaz and new running backs coach Eric Hickson.

Because transfers aren’t factored into the Rivals ratings, UM’s class – entering Signing Day – is rated only 42nd, behind Indiana. That would be the lowest ranking since Rivals began rating recruiting classes in 2002.

But 247sports rates UM’s class 32nd overall. ESPN rates Miami 35th.

Four Hurricanes got Super Bowl rings: receiver Philliip Dorsett (no receptions in the Super Bowl; played 26 of 72 offensive snaps), defensive end Trent Harris (on the practice squad), receiver Braxton Berrios (spent his rookie season on injured reserve), defensive lineman Ufomba Kamalu (inactive for the game).

On the Rams, former Hurricanes standout Sam Shields played 21 special teams snaps in the Super Bowl but no defensive snaps.

Class of 2020 Jacksonville-based four star quarterback Carson Beck visited both UM and UF this weekend and both schools believe they have a decent chance. For now, he remains an Alabama commit.

Quick stuff: Receiver Marquez Ezzard, who had two receptions last season for the Hurricanes, transferred to Georgia Tech…. If you missed it, former Canes quarterback Ken Dorsey left his offensive coaching job at Appalachian State after two months to become quarterbacks coach of the Buffalo Bills.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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