Miami Hurricanes football recruiting: Mark Richt building the ACC’s new recruiting champ; offensive boost coming

CHARLOTTE, NC – DECEMBER 02: Head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers greets head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes on the field after the ACC Football Championship at Bank of America Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

[UM gets commitment from 2019 RB, recruiting notes]

[2018 QB Williams commits to Miami]

[Rosier knows starting QB job isn’t promised]

[UM recruiting 2018 December overview: Offense | Defense]

[Orange Bowl: Miami, Wisconsin have plenty in common]

[McDermott to Shrine Game; Berrios honored]

 

The Hurricanes had some decent recruiting classes under Al Golden, particularly the 2014 class. Golden’s Canes maxed out at nine wins in 2013, and he recruited what was considered the 12th-best class the following February.

That was the height of an otherwise middling program. Mark Richt, in his second year at UM, looks primed to blow away that benchmark.

No. 10 Miami (10-2), which will face No. 6 Wisconsin in the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl (8 p.m., ESPN), is trying to hold onto the nation’s third-best class for 2018, according to 247Sports. It would be the best UM recruiting class since 2008, when the Hurricanes were ranked No. 1 overall by that website, and more in line with the early-2000s, when recruiting magazines regularly ranked the Canes’ classes among the elite.

It appears that for this year at least, Miami will unseat Clemson and Florida State as the ACC’s new recruiting champ. In a five-year period beginning in 2014 — when it signed five-star quarterback Deshaun Watson — to its current 2018 group of commits, Clemson’s classes were rated 16th, ninth, 11th, 16th and 16th. Florida State’s five-year rankings (keep in mind 2018 can change): fourth, third, third, sixth and 32nd.

“We’re getting there,” Richt said Wednesday on WQAM. “I think we had recruits excited about us before the season even started, because of last year, I think they thought we were doing good stuff. Then I knew hey, this season, if we go 4-8, they’re not going to be too fired up about us. I was hoping we would at least play good enough and win enough for kids to say hey, ‘Miami is on the way back and I want to be a part of it.’ That’s where we’re at right now.”

Miami’s incoming class, members of which are free to sign beginning Dec. 20 (for a 72-hour period instituted this year; others will wait until February), should boost an offense that struggled throughout 2017.

Among the Hurricanes’ pledges are running backs rated No. 2 (Lorenzo Lingard) and No. 8 (Cam’Ron Davis) nationally, who will help a backfield that loses star Mark Walton to the NFL draft. The top-rated fullback (Realus George) adds a powerful element UM lacked this year. Miami’s offensive line adds the Nos. 8 and 11 guard prospects (Delone Scaife and Cleveland Reed) to challenge a group that loses left tackle Kc McDermott and left guard Trevor Darling.

Quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry have a new challenger (No. 7 dual-threat quarterback Jarren Williams), and plenty of weapons, like the best pair of tight end recruits any school will sign this cycle (No. 3-ranked Brevin Jordan and No. 9 Will Mallory) and No. 11 wide receiver Mark Pope.

Richt said he expects “nine, 10, 11 midyear kids” to sign now and enroll in January. Among those who have publicly stated early-enroll intentions: Williams, Pope, Lingard and Scaife. Richt also dropped a hint about “silent commitment-type stuff,” he said. “There’s more to come.”

What he wants to see now: Recruits to “show that they’re serious” and sign with UM during the early period. “Let’s sign ’em, baby. Let’s go,” he said. “If they know they want to be at Miami and they want to secure their spot, sign the dadgum thing and let’s get it rolling.”

As he recruits and prepares for the Orange Bowl, the sting of the ACC Championship Game loss lessens. It was an “awful feeling,” Richt said. “Everyone was sick.” But he said it might be good for his program to lose a game to Clemson, the three-time defending ACC champ. “They are where we’re going,” he said. “Now we know. You can talk about it all you want, but they’re experiencing it. … If we want to get there and win it, we’ve got to pay a bit of a steeper price.

“We’ve gotten much closer to becoming what we once were, and what we want to be in the future.”

 

 

FIVE-YEAR RECRUITING 

All ratings via 247Sports composite. Players in italics have either graduated or left the program. Those in italics with an asterisk are either graduating seniors or have declared for the NFL draft. 

CLASS RATINGS

2014: 12th nationally, 2nd ACC

2015: 27th nationally, 3rd ACC

2016: 22nd nationally, 3rd ACC

2017: 12th nationally, 2nd ACC

2018 commits (as of Dec. 8): 3rd nationally, 1st ACC

QUARTERBACK

2014: Brad Kaaya (No. 7 Pro-Style QB), Malik Rosier (No. 27 Dual-Threat QB)

2015: Evan Shirreffs (No. 77 Pro)

2016: Jack Allison (No. 8 Pro)

2017: N’Kosi Perry (No. 7 Dual), Cade Weldon (No. 27 Pro)

2018 commit: Jarren Williams (No. 7 Dual)

RUNNING BACK

2014: Joe Yearby (No. 8 RB), Trayone Gray (No. 53 ATH)

2015: *Mark Walton (No. 10 RB)

2016: Travis Homer (No. 10 RB)

2017: DeeJay Dallas (No. 12 ATH), Robert Burns (No. 28 RB)

2018 commits: Lorenzo Lingard (No. 2 RB), Cam’Ron Davis (No. 8), Realus George (No. 1 FB)

WIDE RECEIVER

2014: *Braxton Berrios (No. 50 WR), Darrell Langham (No. 64 WR), Tyre Brady (No. 61 WR)

2015: Lawrence Cager (No. 45 WR)

2016: Sam Bruce (No. 11 WR), Ahmmon Richards (No. 27 WR), Dionte Mullins (No. 48 WR), Dayall Harris (No. 14 JUCO WR)

2017: Jeff Thomas (No. 5 WR), Mike Harley (No. 41 WR), Evidence Njoku (No. 76 WR)

2018 commits: Mark Pope (No. 11 WR), Brian Hightower (No. 36 WR), Daquris Wiggins (No. 76 WR)

TIGHT END

2014: *Chris Herndon (No. 32 TE), David Njoku (No. 66 ATH)

2015: Jerome Washington (No. 1 JUCO TE)

2016: Jovani Haskins (No. 18 TE), Michael Irvin II (No. 33 TE)

2017: Brian Polendey (No. 21 TE)

2018 commits: Brevin Jordan (No. 3 TE), Will Mallory (No. 9 TE)

OFFENSIVE LINE

2014: *Kc McDermott (No. 3 OT), *Trevor Darling (No. 9 OT), Nick Linder (No. 54 OG), Joe Brown (No. 165 DT)

2015: Bar Milo (No. 19 OT), Tyree St. Louis (No. 28 OT), Jahair Jones (No. 13 JUCO OT), Brendan Loftus (No. 88 OT), Hayden Mahoney (No. 94 OT), Tyler Gauthier (No. 113 OT)

2016: George Brown (LSU transfer; No. 52 OT in 2015), Tre Johnson (No. 95 OT)

2017: Navaughn Donaldson (No. 11 OT), Kai-Leon Herbert (No. 25 OT), Zalon’tae Hillery (No. 53 OT), Zach Dykstra (No. 69 OT), Corey Gaynor (No. 17 OC)

2018 commits: Delone Scaife (No. 8 OG), Cleveland Reed (No. 11 OG), John Campbell (No. 36 OT)

DEFENSIVE LINE

2014: *Chad Thomas (No. 3 WDE), *Anthony Moten (No. 14 DT), *Trent Harris (No. 14 WDE), Demetrius Jackson (No. 24 WDE), Calvin Heurtelou (No. 9 JUCO DT), Michael Wyche (No. 12 JUCO DT), Courtel Jenkins (No. 63 DT)

2015: Gerald Willis (Florida transfer; No. 2 DT in 2014), Kendrick Norton (No. 25 OG), Scott Patchan (No. 22 WDE), RJ McIntosh (No. 43 SDE), Ryan Fines (No. 61 DT)

2016: Joe Jackson (No. 16 WDE), Pat Bethel (No. 14 SDE), Tyreic Martin (No. 58 SDE)

2017: DJ Johnson (No. 6 WDE), Jonathan Garvin (No. 10 SDE), Jon Ford (No. 27 DT)

2018 commits: Nesta Silvera (No. 15 DT), Greg Rousseau (No. 25 WDE)

LINEBACKER

2014: Darrion Owens (No. 30 OLB), Mike Smith (No. 33 OLB), Juwon Young (No. 61 OLB), Terry McCray (No. 51 ILB)

2015: Charles Perry (No. 28 ATH), Jamie Gordinier (No. 42 SDE)

2016: Shaq Quarterman (No. 5 ILB), Zach McCloud (No. 21 OLB), Michael Pinckney (No. 19 ILB)

2017: De’Andre Wilder (No. 27 OLB), Waynmon Steed (No. 25 ILB), Bradley Jennings Jr. (No. 48 OLB)

2018 commits: Patrick Joyner (No. 52 WDE)

DEFENSIVE BACK

2014: Kiy Hester (No. 18 S), Ryan Mayes (No. 48 CB), Marques Gayot (No. 65 S)

2015: Jaquan Johnson (No. 13 S), Michael Jackson (No. 56 CB), Sheldrick Redwine (No. 71 CB), Robert Knowles (No. 106 S), James King (No. 141 OLB), Terrance Henley (No. 201 CB)

2016: Romeo Finley (No. 21 S), Malek Young (No. 48 CB), Cedrick Wright (No. S 38), Jeff James (No. 114 S)

2017: Trajan Bandy (No. 30 CB), Jhavonte Dean (No. 2 JUCO CB), Amari Carter (No. 32 S), Derrick Smith (No. 133 WR), Dee Delaney (The Citadel transfer; unranked in 2013)

2018 commits: Al Blades Jr. (No. 10 CB), Josh Jobe (No. 13 CB), Gurvan Hall (No. 12 S), Gilbert Frierson (No. 22 CB), DJ Ivey (No. 33 CB)

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