After snagging New York-based defensive tackle Jared Hunte on Friday, the Hurricanes enter the final stretch before National Signing Day on Wednesday hoping for a few additional commitments but with no guarantees.
UM – which has commitments from 16 high school or junior college players (13 of whom have signed) - has been pursuing a handful of players in recent days:
▪ Cardinal Gibbons four-star defensive end Khris Bogle. He’s believed to be the only Class of 2019 recruit at UM this weekend. And even though he remains orally committed to Alabama, this is viewed by some as a UM-UF battle.
Bogle’s top recruiters at Alabama have all left the school, one impetus for him to look elsewhere.
UM coach Manny Diaz – along with defensive line coach Jess Simpson – have taken the lead in recruiting Bogle and are making another pitch during his recruiting visit this weekend.
If he commits, he would join Jeremiah Payton and Jahfari Harvey among the top three prep players in this class. (Ohio State transfer quarterback Tate Martell would be the highest pedrigeed player overall.)
But the Gators loom as a serious challenger.
▪ Alabama-based four star cornerback Christian Williams. He’s also an Alabama commit, but UM and LSU and have pushing hard. He’s reportedly visiting LSU this weekend, and the Tigers are widely considered the favorite by Rivals and other recruiting sites.
But Williams was said to have enjoyed his UM visit last weekend, and it raised eyebrows when he retweeted a Friday tweet about Hunte’s commitment to UM.
Several UM players lobbied Williams on Twitter on Saturday.
Among them: DeeJay Dallas, who told Williams on Twitter: “You know what it is [little] homie; #TNM.” As in The New Miami.
He’s set to announce at 8 a.m. Wednesday.
UM is now viewed as an unlikely destination for the other prep cornerback it was pursuing, Mississippi State commitment Martin Emerson.
▪ Darius Washington. The three-star offensive tackle from Pensacola has visited UM twice but remains a Mississippi State commit. Because he doesn’t do interviews, it’s unclear what he’s thinking.
But Miami would like to add at least one more offensive lineman – via the prep ranks or transfer – and covet Washington, who visited FSU last weekend.
If Washington doesn’t commit – or even if he does – another option is two-time All-ACC guard Parker Braun, who’s intending to leave Georgia Tech as a grad transfer.
Braun reportedly has interest in Miami and been in contact with UM coaches.
But he’s visiting UF this weekend, and The Atlanta Constitution listed UF, Texas and Ohio State as schools of particular appeal to him.
▪ Five-star receiver George Pickens. He has been committed to Auburn since July, but UM coaches tried to sway him with an in-home visit in recent days. But he’s visiting Tennessee this weekend, and Georgia also is in the mix.
▪ Four-star Wellington running back Mark Antony Richards. Though UM made his final five, few expect him to pick the Canes. Auburn and UF are viewed as the favorites.
Besides Braun, UM remains in contact with other transfers – including former UCLA defensive end/linebacker Jaelan Phillips and former Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill.
UM privately remains optimistic about adding Hill – though nothing is certain –and there’s mutual interest in Phillips, who said 10 days ago that he was working with UM coaches on a visit date.
UM has told people that it’s not aggressively pursuing any more high school linebackers. The Canes signed linebackers Avery Huff and Samuel Brooks in December.
Thirteen high school players signed with UM in December and transfers Tate Martell, Asa Martin, Tommy Kennedy and KJ Osborn have enrolled.
At least five players are expected to sign with UM on Wednesday: Hunte, quarterback Payton Matocha, junior college punter Louis Hedley, UCLA grad transfer defensive tackle David Nnoruka and former Southern Cal safety transfer Bubba Bolden (who hasn’t yet graduated but hopes to by May).
Dozens of Class of 2020 and 2021 recruits will be on UM’s campus for a junior day on Sunday.