Miami’s recruiting efforts are going well, but not perfectly.
The hometown pull of Maryland was too strong for running back Anthony McFarland, one of the Hurricanes’ top remaining targets, to resist.
He was reportedly set to pledge to Miami on Wednesday, but Maryland coaches convinced him to think about it longer. Going into his announcement on Friday, McFarland was torn between the two schools, according to Rivals and 247Sports.
“I’ve got two paths I can take: stay home, or new home,” McFarland said Friday in a series of videos posted on Bleacher Report’s Snapchat account. “I feel there’s no place like home.”
In those videos, McFarland took a ride to the train station, then to the airport, where he held out two “plane tickets” — one to Miami, one to Alabama. He was shown sitting in a seat on a plane, which took off … and then in a car, where he wound up at Maryland and rubbed the head of the Terps’ mascot-statue.
The University of Maryland is less than two miles away from his school, which makes the whole airport thing strange. He did eat some pizza at the airport, so it wasn’t a wasted trip. No idea where the flight was actually heading.
McFarland, from Hyattsville, Md. powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, is rated 100th regardless of position, and the third-best all-purpose back in the country by 247Sports’ composite ratings.
With McFarland staying home, Miami could be a late player for another running back in 2017. UM signed three-star Robert Burns (Miami-Gulliver Prep), who enrolled last week, and wants to add another. Coach Mark Richt is likely to have room after signing day, too.
Miami wants to sign two backs this cycle, especially since backups Gus Edwards (transfer) and Joe Yearby (NFL draft) are leaving early.
Including Burns, Miami will have four running backs on scholarship when spring drills begin in March: Mark Walton, a junior-to-be, sophomore Travis Homer and the returning Trayone Gray, a redshirt senior who missed last season with a torn ACL.
Walton (5-11, 200) rushed for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns last year. Homer, an ace on UM’s special teams — he was named “special teams newcomer of the year” at the team’s year-end awards banquet — carried seven times for 44 yards. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound West Palm Beach native is likely to have a much greater role, after handling his first-year duties with aplomb. Gray (6-2, 215) saw spot duty in his first two seasons before his injury last summer.
The Hurricanes are an early favorite for five-star Lorenzo Lingard, from Orange City-University High. Lingard (6-0, 180) is rated 16th overall and second at his position for 2018.