Barry Jackson

Respected recruiting guru says UM’s Diaz a young version of Swinney, Saban, Urban Meyer

A six-pack of Canes notes on a Tuesday:

When longtime recruiting guru Tom Lemming was in South Florida recently to watch Manny Diaz run his first junior day as UM’s head coach, one thought kept coming to mind:

“He is a young version of Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer,” Lemming said of perhaps the three most successful college football coaches of the 21st century.

Lemming, who has interacted with hundreds of college coaches in four decades evaluating high school talent, sees something special in Diaz.

“Manny is one of the best recruiters in the country,” Lemming said. “Miami will be a top 10 team next year [with their recruiting class]. Manny is enthusiastic, hard working and aggressive. Some coaches have golf as a hobby. Manny will have recruiting as a hobby. He’s very personable, connects with the kids a lot better than most in his profession.”

As departing senior Sheldrick Redwine told NBC-6: “Players love [Diaz]; they all respect him.”

Lemming, incidentally, has high regard for Mark Richt but didn’t have the same regard for the entirety of the former UM staff — in terms of recruiting ability — as this one.

He believes this staff will be more effective landing top players.

Lemming believes UM landed a gem in Belen Class of 2020 four-star running back Don Chaney Jr., who’s a non-binding Canes commitment.

“Chaney has been part of my all American team for freshmen, sophomores and juniors,” he said. “He’s muscular, gained a lot of weight since I first saw him. He can make an immediate impact for them [in 2020]. One of better running backs in the South.”

UM’s 2020 class is rated third by Rivals.

In ESPN’s initial listing of its top 300 recruits for 2020, UM has commitments from the players who are 59th (Belen’s aforementioned Chaney Jr.), 91st (Doral Academy defensive end Samuel Anaele), 100th (Palm Beach Central receiver Bryan Robinson), 103rd (Hollywood Chaminade Madonna defensive tackle Willie Moise), 169th (Naples tight end Dominic Mammarelli), and 271st (Miami Southridge receiver Marcus Fleming).

So six of UM’s nine commitments are in ESPN’s top 300.

Close associates of UM players say they love new strength and conditioning coach David Feeley, that he’s motivating and knowledgeable and that players are making gains in the weight room.

A bunch of players were frustrated with former strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder, with one noting that players would sometimes show up to work with Felder and he wasn’t there, or that the doors would be locked at certain hours, preventing former Canes players from using the facility.

The Twitter account @PickSixPreviews had posted some fascinating stuff about what schools have produced the most draft picks at certain positions this century.

UM ranks first in tight ends drafted (12) and offensive linemen drafted (18, tied with Notre Dame and Wisconsin).

UM is sixth in defensive linemen drafted this century (19; LSU is first with 24) and seventh in linebackers (14; Ohio State is first with 19) and sixth in receivers with 13 (LSU is first with 18) and sixth in defensive backs with 21 (Ohio State was first with 28).

Quick stuff: According to Canesport, UM is no longer in the mix for two-time All-ACC offensive guard Parker Braun, a grad transfer who is considering Texas, UF and Ohio State.... UM’s basketball game at Duke at 4 p.m. Saturday will be a full national telecast on CBS, with Spero Dedes and Clark Kellogg on the call. Miami plays at Wake Forest on Tuesday night.

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