Belen athlete Don Chaney, Jr. at Media Day
In the first of a three-part series on where UM stands in 2020 recruiting, we look at the playmaking positions on offense — quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end:
Four-star Connecticut based Tyler Van Dyke is committed, and he is expected to be Miami’s only quarterback addition in this class.
And there’s a lot for Canes fans to be excited about: Van Dyke has good size (6-4), a cannon for an arm, and his throws were mostly accurate at Paradise Camp. Let’s put it this way: The ball gets to his receivers quickly; there’s a lot of zip on his passes.
And more good news: Van Dyke said after Paradise Camp that he’s fully committed to UM, isn’t taking other visits and expects to enroll in January.
Unless someone transfers (which is always a possibility if not a likelihood), UM will then have five scholarship QBs in 2020 with Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams, Peyton Matocha and Van Dyke.
Van Dyke chose UM over Syracuse because he holds offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Dan Enos in high regard, likes UM’s pro style offense also likes the school’s academics and warm weather.
“It was a no-brainer,” he told The Hartford Courant. “Pro style offense. [Enos] was at Alabama last year, and they had so much success with it. He’s really good with X’s and O’s. I could learn a lot from him, and it would be a great opportunity for me to get to the next level.”
Van Dyke’s goal is to “hopefully be the next Christian Wilkins” — the Clemson defensive tackle who also attended Suffield Academy in Connecticut and is now with the Dolphins.
“I feel like Miami gives me a great opportunity — that’s another reason why I picked it. It gives me the opportunity to hopefully get to the NFL. That’s my ultimate goal.”
Suffield Academy coach Drew Gamere told The Courant: “The way he throws the ball, there’s not many people even at the college level that throw like him. He’ll get better. I think as an athlete, he’s a terrific athlete. I feel like it [translates] well to the college level.”
Gamere joked to the newspaper that he will rent a house in South Florida to see both Suffield players on weekends (Wilkins with the Dolphins, Van Dyke with the Canes).
”It’s really exciting for me,” Gamere told Shawn McFarland. “They’re both different. Whereas Christian is kind of on the back end [beginning an NFL career] and then Tyler, this is just the reward for how much work he’s put in on the high school level. The crazy part is they’re winding up in the same city.”
Incidentally, California-based Jake Garcia has emerged as UM’s primary quarterback target for the 2021 recruiting cycle.
▪ Running back: Who’s committed: Belen’s Don Chaney Jr., an elite prospect rated 30th overall by Rivals among all 2020 players.
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.”
Recruiting guru Larry Blustein said Chaney “is a kid that can line up at any school in the country. Two-time defending state high jump champion; that shows his overall athleticism. Watched him against Cardinal Gibbons in the spring and he did very well against them.”
Remaining targets: UM would like to add a second running back in the class and Deerfield Beach four-star running back Jaylan Knighton, a former Oklahoma commit, is a top target. He has shown interest in UM, attending Miami’s spring game. But the Canes will need to beat out FSU and Ohio State. He is rated the nation’s 152nd best prospect by Rivals and the No. 4 all purpose back.
Rockland’s Ladarius Tennison, listed by Rivals as a four-star running back, decommitted from UM in April but is still considering the Canes. Auburn is a big factor with him. He can also play safety and linebacker and could end up on defense.
UM also has shown some level of interest in Columbus’ three-star Henry Parrish but reportedly hasn’t made an offer.
▪ Wide receiver: The Canes would like to add at least three, potentially more, because K.J. Osborn has only this upcoming season of eligibility as a grad transfer, and there’s a good chance Jeff Thomas will turn pro after this season. Plus, Brian Hightower, Mark Pope, Dee Wiggins and Evidence Njoku will be juniors in 2020 and Mike Harley Jr. a senior in 2020.
And three are already committed: IMG Academy’s four-star Michael Redding (considered one of the top receivers nationally in this class), Miami Northwestern’s four-star Marcus Fleming and Deerfield Beach’s three-star Xavier Restrepo.
“Restrepo is what any team that’s growing needs – a kid that will give a billion percent, like a Braxton Berrios,” Blustein said. “He’s very productive; could help in the slot. You’ve had guys like Lawrence Cager who failed to hang onto the ball; he can hang onto the ball.
“Fleming is a big-time kid; has the potential like a Mark Pope. Can stretch the field, runs tremendous routes.”
Remaining targets: UM has offers out to 40-plus receivers, including Norfolk-Va. based three-star Keandre Lambert, Las Vegas-based three-star Rome Odunze, Miami Columbus High’s four-star Xzavier Henderson, South Carolina-based three-star Jalen Coit, Tampa-based three star receiver Kaleb Long, Louisiana-based four star Ja’Khi Douglas and Winter Park-based Jaylen Carlies, among others.
Four-star St. Louis-based Mookie Cooper, rated by Rivals as the 55th best prospect in this class, listed UM among his top five (along with Ohio State, Texas, Southern California and Illinois) and would be a big get if Miami can land him.
Also, Alabama-based four-star Dazalin Worsham has told recruiting sites that Miami is very much in the mix for him. He recently decommitted from the Crimson Tide.
▪ Tight end: UM could use two in this class, with Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory entering their junior years in 2020 and Michael Irvin Jr. set to be a senior in 2020.
UM has one committed: Naples-based Dominic Mammarelli, who is rated by Rivals as the nation’s No. 8 tight end and 242nd best prospect overall.
“Big time kid, very physical,” Blustein said. “He’s for real. He has great hands, moves very well.”
Remaining targets: Five-star Las Vegas based Darnell Washington, who appears to be giving strong consideration to UM, along with Alabama and Georgia. UM’s recent history of luring Vegas players, including Jordan, should help. And Washington has twice visited UM, including for Paradise Camp. He said two weeks ago that UM will be in his top five.
UM also is pursuing four-star Theo Johnson (considered the best prospect in Canada) and Oklahoma nonbinding commit Michael Henderson.
UM also has been evaluating Gulliver Prep’s three-star Diego Lamonica.