Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships
A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Friday:
▪ The Canes added some offensive line help on Friday when Ousman Traore committed after a visit to campus. Traore confirmed his decision to 247sports and Rivals.
Traore, a guard from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College, will enroll June 30 and be eligible immediately. He will have three seasons of eligibility at Miami.
Traore, 6-3 and 315 pounds, could compete to start at guard, or at least for a backup role.
Navaughn Donaldson will play one guard spot, with DJ Scaife (who also can play tackle), Cleveland Reed and Zalon’tae Hillery competing at the other guard spot.
Though Traore played guard in junior college, he played tackle in high school and also can play there.
According to Rivals, Traore had only one offer coming out of Atlanta Charter in 2018, from Army.
He went the junior college route and now, according to Rivals, had offers from UM, LSU and East Carolina. But the LSU offer would have been for 2020.
▪ UM got some other positive recruiting news this week, with a nonbinding commitment from Andres Borregalas, considered the No. 1 kicker in the 2021 class. When he arrives, Bubba Baxa will be a senior. So the Canes could have kicker covered well into the next decade.
And UM hopes for more good news Sunday when coveted four-star Oakleaf offensive tackle Jalen Rivers is expected to announce his college intentions. UM, UF and Georgia are his finalists.
Rivers would be a huge get at a need position if he picks Miami; he’s rated by Rivals as the 21st-best offensive tackle and 207th best overall prospect for the class of 2020. He said he’s no longer a package deal with teammate Chantz Williams.
Canesport predicts that Rivers will pick UM.
If he does, that would give UM a seventh nonbinding commitment among Rivals’ top 250.
The six top 250 commitments for 2020: Miami Belen running back Don Chaney Jr. (30th), Palm Beach Central receiver Bryan Robinson (91), Carol City defensive end Samuel Anaele (96), Homestead South Dade safety Keshawn Washington (138), Connecticut-based quarterback Tyler Van Dyke (184) and Naples tight end Dominic Mammarella (242).
As for Borregalas, the Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna kicker was 7 for 9 on field goals last season, with a long of 47. His brother Jose kicks for FIU.
But there’s a bit of uneasiness with Robinson, who has said he’s visiting Pittsburgh, Florida, Alabama and FSU and hasn’t said definitively that he will attend UM (though he hasn’t said otherwise either).
▪ UM can make its case to another top receiver, Marc Britt, when he reportedly visits campus Sunday. Britt, a four-star receiver from Miami Christian, decommitted from UM in December but has subsequently said he’s considering UM and tweeted a top six of Miami, Penn State, Alabama, LSU, Florida and Pittsburgh.
The new twist: Per Canesport, he wants to attend school with teammate Jovens Janvier, a four-star offensive tackle who didn’t have a UM offer as of earlier this week.
Incidentally, Killian running back Frank Gore Jr. committed on Thursday to FAU; the son of the former UM and Dolphins standout did not have an offer from UM.
▪ Cade Weldon, who left the UM program before spring ball when it was clear he didn’t have a future here, has resurfaced at East Tennessee State.
And speaking of backup QBs who leave the program, I found it interesting that athletic director Blake James told WQAM’s Joe Rose Show this week that Evan Shirreffs initially asked UM to transfer to LSU months before the teams played. UM understandably said no.
“We didn’t think that was fair to have a guy to transfer to school we were going to open the season with,” James said.
He instead transferred to Charlotte.
▪ As James reminded listeners on Rose’s show, UM fans whose cable systems haven’t signed up for ACC Network should go to getaccn.com. Comcast and Xfinity Uverse remains among those without carriage agreements.
ACC Network, launching Aug. 22, will carry UM’s second game (8 p.m. Sept. 7 at North Carolina) and third game (4 p.m. Sept. 14 at home against Bethune Cookman).
Incidentally, UM’s fourth game — at home against Central Michigan on Sept. 21 — is expected to be televised locally, but the time and network haven’t been decided.
▪ Quick stuff: One player source said Manny Diaz’s approach with discipline — including having players look after small groups of teammates — is working better than Mark Richt’s… Good to see receiver Jeff Thomas committed to make the most of his return to UM (after a two-month departure). “Been working my [butt] off lately,” he tweeted… Diaz had a chance encounter with former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka while in Illinois for a Hurricane Club event earlier this month. Diaz happened to have the turnover chain with him and Ditka tried it on....
UM’s game in the annual ACC/Big 10 men’s basketball classic will be a Monday, Dec. 2 game at Illinois.