Even in the hours before signing day, coaches thinking about recruits who are two, three, even four years away from college. So no, it’s not too early to look ahead to 2018, though 2017 recruits signed two weeks ago.
This weekend the Hurricanes will host their first on-campus event for the next group of recruits. Recruits in the 2018 classes and younger will unofficially (read: they, not Miami, pay their way) tour the school, meet coaches and players and are given free tickets to the UM-Clemson basketball game.
Here are the positions Miami needs to recruit in the next cycle, in order of general importance (all star rankings via 247Sports composite):
Defensive back: The main reason the Hurricanes weren’t too concerned about missing on several talented cornerback recruits in 2017: the local talent in 2018 is outstanding. Four-star commits Josh Jobe and Gilbert Frierson, who reportedly plan to attend Junior Day, may be joined by uncommitted five-star Patrick Surtain Jr. and four-star Tyson Campbell, both of Plantation-American Heritage; four-stars Al Blades Jr. and Asante Samuel Jr. (Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas) and safety Gurvan Hall (Palm Beach Lakes). All are nationally desired recruits Miami wants to keep home.
Wide receiver: UM could sign four to five wide receivers, and South Florida has plenty of options as usual. Four-star wide receiver Mark Pope (Miami Southridge), who will attend Junior Day according to 247Sports, is rated No. 23 among all prospects and No. 4 among wideouts by 247Sports. He is considering UM and Alabama. Brian Hightower (Bradenton-IMG Academy) is another four-star Miami wants to sign.
Defensive line: The Hurricanes are in need of good ones here, as previously noted. Tackle commit Nesta Silvera, who reportedly plans to attend Junior Day, is a significant addition. UM would love to add more tackles and ends to offset the graduation of seniors Chad Thomas, Anthony Moten and Trent Harris and potential losses to the NFL. Five-star tackle Taron Vincent (IMG Academy), is a major target. He is rated 10th overall in 2018 and tops at his position.
Tight end: Losing Chris Herndon to graduation means Miami could enter 2018 with three tight ends on scholarship, none of whom had caught a college pass as of this writing. Two high-caliber signees are needed. One of them could be four-star Brevin Jordan, from Las Vegas-Bishop Gorman, is a teammate of a four-star quarterback of Miami interest, Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Miami has also offered another top-10 recruit at the position, four-star Will Mallory (Jacksonville-Providence).
Running back: Landing five-star Lorenzo Lingard’s commitment recently checked a major box for Miami, which could lose Mark Walton to the NFL draft if he has a good season. Depth is an issue for UM at this position, so expect them to chase at least one (perhaps two) backs in addition to Lingard. It would be a pleasant surprise if five-star James Cook (Miami Central), the brother of former Florida State star Dalvin Cook, opted to stay local.
Linebacker: After signing three in 2017, Miami likes its depth behind rising sophomores Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud. The Hurricanes are likely to sign at least two to three linebackers to challenge for future starting roles. Also interesting: 247Sports reported five-star prospect Owen Pappoe (Loganville, Ga.) will visit. He is rated the No. 2 overall player in 2019.
Quarterback: UM will have three strong underclassmen prospects on campus this fall in true freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon and redshirt freshman Jack Allison. However, top programs try to land at least one solid prospect per cycle. That could be Thompson-Robinson, IMG Academy’s Artur Sitowski or Casey Thompson (Moore, Okla.), other four-star recruits Miami has offered.
Offensive line: After focusing heavily on its front five in 2017, UM is likely to try to add a few more this cycle. UM recently offered five-star Jackson Carman (Fairfield, Ohio), the No. 1 player at the position, and is after Florida-based four-stars Richard Gouraige (Tampa-Cambridge Christian), Nicholas Petit-Frere (Tampa-Berkeley Prep) and William Barnes (Apopka).
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