Signing day is 11 months away, but Miami is off to an outstanding start with its 2018 recruiting.
The Wednesday evening commitment of four-star wide receiver Brian Hightower boosted UM’s class ranking to No. 1 in the country, per 247Sports’ constantly-updated composite ratings. Old-school rival Penn State previously held the top spot.
UM hasn’t finished with a top-10 class since 2012, when it was 10th. Its highest-rated recruiting class in the last decade was 2008, when it signed the nation’s second-best class.
Rivals.com, whose recruiting class rankings are visible back to 2003, rated Miami fifth in 2008. Before that, it had the Hurricanes fifth in 2003-04 and seventh in 2005.
In Hightower, listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, Miami adds the 40th-best player in the 247Sports composite, and sixth-best wide receiver. Rivals rates him eighth among receivers and No. 92 nationally.
ESPN, which has him fourth at his position and 34th overall, says he has “prototypical size with galloping speed” and is “an imposing player.”
Other strengths, according to ESPN, are that he is “strong and explosive to close and attack leverage,” “climbs to top speed and has the jets to erase angles and go the distance,” and “flashes good concentration in traffic.”
On the other hand, ESPN wrote that he “lacks great ball skills” and isn’t a smooth runner. The analysis concluded that Hightower has “elite size and athleticism. He is a threat in all three phases. Although he needs to refine a few things, but there are a lot of tools to mold here.”
He transferred from Calabasas (Calif.) High to Bradenton-IMG Academy last January. This fall, he will catch passes from four-star quarterback Artur Sitkowski, who committed to the Hurricanes last week.
Hightower visited UM with Sitkowski last weekend, according to multiple reports. He told 247Sports after his visit he was also interested in over Mississippi, Clemson, Texas A&M, Oregon and Ohio State.
An Army All-American, he is the fourth top-100 player (per 247 composite) in Miami’s class of 13 commits. The others are running back Lorenzo Lingard (No. 15), cornerback Josh Jobe (No. 54) and Sitowski (No. 73).
He is the fourth recruit rated four stars or above to commit to UM in the last month. The others are five-star Lingard, Sitkowski and four-star running back Cam’Ron Davis. UM also landed three-star safety Randy Russell and defensive tackle Nesta Silvera.
He is also featured in this video from a recent Nike combine: