Barry Jackson

Miami Hurricanes in the mix for potential package deals in recruiting

Manny Diaz introduces Miami Hurricanes football coaches

Miami Hurricanes head football coach Manny Diaz introduces some of his hyped-up coaches at The New Miami Spring Tour event at The Wharf on April 10, 2019.
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Miami Hurricanes head football coach Manny Diaz introduces some of his hyped-up coaches at The New Miami Spring Tour event at The Wharf on April 10, 2019.

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday:

The Canes find themselves in the mix for a couple of high-end package deals in the 2020 recruiting class.

Largo High teammates Jayion McCluster and AJ Mathis are both considering UM after visits here recently.

If that happens, that would be a huge get for UM because they would fill holes at need positions. McCluster is a four-star linebacker, rated by Rivals as the seventh best inside linebacker in the 2020 class and the 207th-best player overall. Mathis is a three-star prospect, rated the 26th-best outside linebacker in the country.

McCluster said they want to attend college together.

For Mathis, it’s down to UM and Auburn. For McCluster, FSU is also a consideration, along with UM and Auburn, according to multiple recruiting sites.

The Canes are also in the mix for Oakleaf Orange Park teammates Chantz Williams and Jalen Rivers, who both reportedly enjoyed their recent visit to Miami.

Their finalists are Miami, Alabama, Florida, FSU, Georgia and Auburn.

Williams is a four-star prospect, rated 13th among all defensive ends by Rivals. Rivers is a four-star offensive tackle, rated 21st among all tackles by Rivals and 205th nationally in the 2020 class.

Both plan to announce their college intentions before their senior season this fall. They say they’re a package deal. UM faces formidable competition, but the Canes at least have a chance.

Landing both package deals would be reason for a parade. Even landing one set would be very good news.

Jake Garcia, a Class of 2021 quarterback from Harbor City, California, visited UM and told multiple recruiting web sites that his trip left him highly interested in Miami.

He was planning to visit UF and FSU this past week and previously visited Arizona State, UCLA, Southern Cal, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas and Georgia.

UM, without a quarterback commit yet for either 2020 or 2021, also is pursuing Georgia-based 2021 prospect Carlos Del Rio, who has UM among his top half dozen.

It’s clear Tate Martell is more comfortable playing out of the shotgun, and UM appears willing to allow him to do that a lot if he wins the quarterback job. But UM also has pushed him to improve under center.

“He does well in shotgun and under center,” offensive coordinator Dan Enos said. “He’s getting better under center, but his comfort level is obviously in the shotgun. So you have to work at things you’re not good at. …

“Tate has operated in shotgun his entire career, so we’ve asked him to do some things to get out of his comfort zone, learn to be under center. At the end of the day that’ll benefit him. Certainly we know he can function in the shotgun. All of them have played well, but him in particular the last three practices, three to four have been his best ones.”

UM has given tight ends Will Mallory, Brevin Jordan, Michael Irvin Jr., and Brian Polendey lots of tape of Enos’ offenses at Arkansas and Central Michigan, so they could study how he uses tight ends.

“There’s a ton of film they’ve provided us on Arkansas and Central Michigan and Alabama,” Mallory said. “We’ve had a lot of time to watch that film and seen ourselves in that place.”

Mallory should easily exceed his five catches for 37 yards as a freshman. But he must improve his blocking.

UM athletic director Blake James said tickets for the UF game on Aug. 24 in Orlando “are real tight. The deadline for buying those have passed. We sold out our allotment and were able to convince [Orlando organizers] to give us more. It will take a pretty big donation to the Miami fund to get one of those.”

Incidentally, Mark Richt — in his new role as an ESPN analyst — said Saturday that a loss in the opener, for either team, shouldn’t be overstated and it’s far from a death knell.

Quick stuff: Patrick Joyner Jr., who moved from linebacker to defensive end as a freshman last year and back to linebacker late this spring, announced on Twitter that he’s officially a linebacker. Joyner was impressive in the spring game... Defensive coordinator Blake Baker said redshirt freshman Jordan Miller, who had two sacks in the spring game, “has really put together a good day [Saturday] and a couple other days this spring. I need him to be more consistent and continue to get in really good shape.”

We hear fullback Mike Parrott has been impressing, especially with his blocking and on special teams, and it wouldn’t be a shock if UM puts him on scholarship... In his three-round mock draft with ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr., Todd McShay has Gerald Willis as the first UM player coming off the board, in the third round, 75th overall to Green Bay. They have no other UM players going in the first three rounds (102 picks), though Joe Jackson certainly could slide in there.

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