The Miami Hurricanes announced Wednesday that all 10 expected early enrollees from the 2017 recruiting class are already taking classes, working out and preparing to participate in spring football.
“As a group, they embody the qualities we’re looking for as Hurricanes,’’ UM coach Mark Richt said in a school release. “These young men will get a head start on all aspects of our off-season program, which will give them the opportunity to compete right away.”
The group includes Cade Weldon, a 6-3, 204-pound Tampa Jefferson High graduate who is a consensus three-star, pro-style quarterback and the son of 1991 Heisman Trophy runner-up Casey Weldon -- formerly coached at Florida State by then offensive coordinator Richt.
And protecting Weldon could be incoming 6-8, 375-pound, four-star offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson from Miami Central -- “a very talented and large human being,’’ O-line coach Stacy Searels said.
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Also on campus are four-star “athlete’’ DeeJay Dallas of Brunswick, Georgia; ESPN four-star defensive back Amari Carter of Palm Beach Gardens; ESPN four-star defensive end Jonathan Garvin of Lake Worth; and 5-11, 216-pound running back Robert Burns, an Under Armour All-American who is sorely needed by Miami in light of veteran running back Gus Edwards planning to transfer and underclassmen Joe Yearby leaving early to enter the NFL Draft.
Running backs coach Thomas Brown said Burns “has all the physical tools to be an every-down back.’’
Receivers coach Ron Dugans said Dallas is “electric with the ball in his hands.’’
The others already enrolled are 6-6, 305-pound offensive lineman Zach Dykstra of Spirit Lake, Iowa; linebacker Bradley Jennings, Jr., of Jacksonville; tight end Brian Polendey of Denton, Texas; and linebacker Waynmon Steed of Miami Central.
ANTHONY McFARLAND RECONSIDERING
Anthony McFarland Jr., a highly rated running-back recruit who was once strong on his home state’s Maryland before he appeared headed to switch his allegiance to Miami – a video decision announcement via Bleacher Report was expected Wednesday – has backed down again and is now reconsidering.
McFarland, from DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Maryland, is rated the No. 3 all-purpose back in the country by rivals.com and 247Sports. He tweeted late Tuesday night that he has pushed his commitment date back "to have more time to think about this life changing decision.''
ESPN has him rated No. 111 overall, regardless of position.
McFarland’s father, Anthony Sr., told Canesport.com that his son hopes to announce this week. “We are going to work through it and have his decision out sometime Friday.’’
Fortunately for the Hurricanes, early-enrollee Burns made it to campus.
Regarding Edwards, he is still enrolled at UM and first has to graduate before he can play somewhere else immediately, which is allowed by the NCAA because of its graduate transfer rule.
UM athletic director Blake James told the Herald on Wednesday that the UM athletic department’s policy is to allow a player to transfer to any school except one on its schedule the next season.
Despite coach Mark Richt saying last August that his policy has always been to allow players to transfer to the school of their choice, the UM policy would prevent Edwards, from Staten Island, N.Y., from transferring to schools such as Syracuse and Pittsburgh, as UM plays them next season.
Last week, UM announced that Edwards “plans to transfer,” with a statement from Richt saying the running back asked to “explore the possibility of other opportunities.’’
Said James: “He asked for permission to contact other schools and we granted him that permission. Gus has not requested a transfer to any institution.’’
The only Hurricane scholarship running backs are starter Mark Walton, rising sophomore Travis Homer, rising redshirt junior Trayone Gray, who missed last season recuperating from a torn ACL; and new enrollee Burns.
Click here for Miami’s official release on the early enrollees.