The Hurricanes’ recruiting class was the biggest group of commits at The Opening, considered the premier national recruiting event of the summer.
The 10-player delegation from Miami, which regained its No. 1 spot in 247Sports’ composite national rankings on Monday with offensive lineman John Campbell‘s commitment, reportedly lived up to the hype.
“I really liked what I saw,” wrote Steve Wiltfong, a national analyst for 247Sports. “A terrific class is coming Miami’s way.”
The first name he mentioned was tight end Brevin Jordan, who is rated No. 1 at his position by 247Sports’ composite ratings and No. 60 overall. ESPN is even higher on him, tabbing him 30th overall, while Rivals has him No. 2 among tight ends, 106th nationally. Wiltfong called him “as reliable a pass-catcher as there was in the [Opening] tournament.”
The 2018 class is “extremely talented” at wide receiver, Wiltfong wrote, “and Mark Pope is right there in the middle of it as one of the best.” Pope (No. 3 wide receiver per 247, No. 20 overall) has drawn comparisons to Stacy Coley for his size (6-1, 175) and the smooth, seemingly effortless manner in which he makes difficult catches.
Other thoughts from Wiltfong: defensive back Josh Jobe “has the traits to be a special player,” and Al Blades Jr. “flashed” his talent. Running backs don’t get a lot of shine in a pad-less, pass-heavy setting, but Wiltfong said Camron Davis “was as good catching the football as any of his peers,” and Lorenzo Lingard “had [his] moments.” Wiltfong put receiver Brian Hightower in the latter category along with tight end Will Mallory, who according to 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins showed concussion-like symptoms after colliding with another player on Sunday, the third day of action. He was held out of the remainder of the event. Hightower reportedly dropped a touchdown pass on Monday.
Wiltfong called offensive guard Delone Scaife “consistent in 1-on-1s,” while SB Nation named him as one of the best offensive linemen at the event.
Another trench bully: defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, the only Miami commit on “The Opening Dream Team” compiled by 247Sports’ Barton Simmons. “This kid was just mean. He played nasty and he played strong throughout the weekend and may have had the best bullrush in the house,” Simmons wrote. “There wasn’t a more powerful defensive tackle on hand than Silvera,” Ivins concurred. Wiltfong called him “an absolute pocket pusher.” ESPN and Rivals consider Silvera a four-star player; Wiltfong wrote that 247 has “a fourth star coming [Silvera’s] way.”
Mark Richt must hold onto Silvera (and the rest of UM’s recruiting class) against a tide of top programs.
Ohio State is reportedly targeting Silvera, who committed to Miami in February and since then picked up offers from Alabama, Auburn, the Buckeyes, Florida, Pittsburgh and Penn State. He committed to UM the day after the Hurricanes offered (Feb. 13), which came after Florida State, Georgia and North Carolina State offered.
ESPN rates Silvera as the eighth-best defensive tackle in the country, which should make any Hurricanes fan feel a little better about the potential loss of Kendrick Norton and R.J. McIntosh, should they turn pro early. (Miami’s 2017 signee at defensive tackle, Jon Ford, will not participate in summer workouts. UM expects him to enroll for the Aug. 1 start of fall practices.)
Another name to know: Justin Fields, a five-star quarterback from Georgia who recently decommitted from Penn State. Fields was named MVP of the event after completing 72 percent of his passes and going interception-free (according to 247Sports). SB Nation wondered if Fields is the best player in the 2018 recruiting class, perhaps ahead of another Georgia-based quarterback, Clemson commit Trevor Lawrence. Fields is reportedly considering Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia.