After its run to the ACC Championship Game, Miami turned its attention to one of the nation’s best recruiting classes.
UM expects a host of visitors on campus next weekend — 16 of its 20 commits for 2018, per Diehards — and at least 10 plan to sign during the newly instituted early signing period Dec. 20-22. Miami (10-2, 7-1 ACC) has the third-best class in the country according to the 247Sports composite ratings.
A look at how the group is shaping up on defense (click here for the offensive breakdown):
Committed: 1. Four-star Nesta Silvera is 17th nationally at his position, per 247Sports.
Needs: 1-3. Craig Kuligowski has a rep as one of the best position coaches in the nation, and has attracted a lot of young talent. UM plays 10 defensive linemen, which helps keep everyone fresh. Still, it’s hard to blame recruits for waiting to see what UM’s pair of starters will do. Junior college tackle Jared Goldwire is an option, should either depart. Three-star Dennis Briggs and four-stars Tyler Friday and Michael Thompson are on UM’s list.
On the roster: Juniors Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh may or may not declare for the NFL draft. Senior Anthony Moten will graduate. UM is getting senior-to-be Gerald Willis back from a season-long sabbatical (personal reasons); Willis has been very effective when not suspended/injured/otherwise absent. He and junior Pat Bethel would appear likely to start, with sophomore Jon Ford seeing plenty of action, along with whomever else signs. Sophomore Tyreic Martin and junior Ryan Fines have yet to make an impact.
Committed: 1. Three-star Gregory Rousseau (6-6, 225) has big upside as a hybrid outside linebacker/end. He plans to sign this month and enroll in January.
Needs: 1. Plantation-American Heritage three-star Andrew Chatfield is on UM’s radar.
On the roster: Chad Thomas and Trent Harris will graduate. UM’s rotation will include junior-to-be Joe Jackson, redshirt senior Demetrius Jackson (likely to miss spring ball after knee surgery) and sophomores Jonathan Garvin and DJ Johnson. Redshirt junior Scott Patchan, who flipped between tight end and D-end this season, could stay on defense; UM plans to sign a pair of excellent tight end recruits.
Committed: 1. Jimbo Fisher’s departure from Florida State caused Patrick Joyner, a three-star prospect from Homestead, to switch his commitment to Miami. Joyner will sign in February.
Needs: 0-1. FSU commit Amari Gainer, a four-star prospect, will visit Dec. 15.
On the roster: Starters Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud will be juniors. Bradley Jennings and De’Andre Wilder will be sophomores. Waynmon Steed will a redshirt freshman. Darrion Owens, Charles Perry, Mike Smith and Terry McCray will be seniors. Jamie Gordinier, returning from a knee injury, will be a junior.
Committed: 4. Four-stars Al Blades Jr. and Gilbert Frierson and three-star D.J. Ivey immediately provide much-needed depth. Ivey and Frierson plan to sign this month and enroll in January.
Needs: 1. UM in the last two days visited two five-star targets who played for cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph at Plantation-American Heritage: Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. Campbell, whom coaches saw Sunday, seems more likely than Surtain (LSU rumored to be the favorite). Either would be a major addition.
On the roster: Dee Delaney graduates. Senior Michael Jackson, junior Malek Young, sophomore Trajan Bandy and senior Jhavonte Dean return, with Bandy likely to play nickel again. The 2018 class will push for playing time.
Committed: 2. Four-stars Josh Jobe and Gurvan Hall are impact players. Hall plans to sign this month and enroll in January, per Diehards. UM is trying to hang onto Jobe, who is reportedly being heavily pursued by Alabama.
On the roster: Playmaking starter Jaquan Johnson seems likely to return for his senior year. Fellow senior Sheldrick Redwine, who improved in his first year as a starting safety, will be back. Derrick Smith and Amari Carter saw extended playing time as freshmen. Romeo Finley and Robert Knowles will be juniors.
Committed: 1. Miami will replace senior Michael Badgley with Texas prospect Bubba Baxa, rated No. 2 nationally by Kohl’s Kicking. Baxa plans to sign early but won’t enroll early. UM is also adding snapper Clay James, who will walk-on in his first year and take over after redshirt junior Jordan Butler graduates.
On the roster: Punter Zach Feagles will be a sophomore.