CORAL GABLES — With two five-star recruits and seven four-star recruits among 11 early signees, Miami’s offense added significant skill on early signing day.
While they could add another wide receiver, that side of the ball will be mostly done for this recruiting cycle after four-star offensive lineman Cleveland Reed signs Thursday. Miami’s defensive coaches, meanwhile, are looking to land a knockout blow after emerging from their corner.
“Right now it’s about that ninth, 10h round in the boxing match,” cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said. “We’re actually about to get into the 11th round. We want to finish strong and go after the best of the best.”
The Hurricanes are still taking big swings at five-star cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain and four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield, none of whom have committed to a school. They plan to visit UM in January with Plantation-American Heritage teammate Nesta Silvera, a four-star defensive tackle who has pledged to UM. Silvera will sign in February.
His commitment is critical, given UM could lose starting defensive tackles RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton, both juniors, to the NFL Draft, and will lose senior Anthony Moten. “I think you will see us continue to fill some spots at that position,” defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.
“We have been very thorough of our evaluations. We say who’s the best guy in Dade, Broward, Palm Beach at that position? We feel like we did at secondary, linebacker, defensive end and we need to do that for sure at defensive tackle. We suspect we will.” Including another defensive end, Diaz said it’s “possible we can add three guys up front.”
And if they add the aforementioned Heritage trio in the back seven, they’ll feel like they won a title fight.
Miami coaches on the defensive recruits they signed Wednesday:
DE Greg Rousseau
“Greg has a unique skill set in terms of his ability to come off the edge and rush the passer first and foremost. The comparison I’ve always had in my mind in Manny Lawson, who we had at N.C. State. Kind of came in the same way. Greg was so valuable in so many different ways at Champagnat. Did a great job. State champions there. You can never have enough guys who can rush the passer and get after the quarterback. Greg does have the ability to drop in coverage and play in space, which gives us a lot of flexibility.” — Diaz
LB Patrick Joyner
“Long, can run, high motor guy. Has a unique skill set with his ability to rush the passer. One of the top guys in Dade County, maybe the top guy in sacks on the season. A guy that on first and second down can chase a running back and on third down maybe a guy we can use where we showed this year playing with four defensive ends – a guy like Pat and a guy like Greg (Rousseau) can give us more weapons to go affect the quarterback.” — Diaz
CB D.J. Ivey
“What D.J. brings is length, speed, but really in recruiting at times, guys will sort of take the foot off the gas their senior year. D.J. really came on strong this year. You talk to the coaches at South Dade they couldn’t get him off the field. Played on special teams, did it all. Tackling a lot better – a lot more physical at the point of attack. What you want a guy to be in the secondary, D.J. has all the skills and also very intelligent. Outstanding student and will be in our campus in January.” — Diaz
Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph on why Ivey, a three-star recruit, stood out:
“He did everything right. Whenever I watched him, he kind of reminds me of myself. He has a chip on his shoulder and wants to be better than everybody else. I don’t think a lot of people see him but his stats show it. Had six interceptions, led his team to be 9-2. He comes from a strong mom, a good family, single-parent home just like myself. He wears No. 8 like me. I kind of saw myself in him. He’ll get the recognition when he steps on campus.”
CB/S Gilbert Frierson
Frierson, listed as a safety, will start out at corner.
“Gilbert has corner skills,” Diaz said. “All of these [defensive signees] have positional flexibility which we look at as a plus. Pass rushers and cover guys there is no such thing as having too many of them. Gilbert plays at high level of urgency, very competitive. Knows what it takes to succeed. Has locked down some great players.”
“Gilbert’s a freak,” safeties coach Ephraim Banda said. “We’re super happy to have Gilbert. Cane blood. He was born a Cane. We had to battle some teams for him. But his length, his size, his ability to cover people up, his competitive nature is something maybe you don’t see unless you watch him in practices or games. I loved going his practices because he just competed. He had fun. I’m starting to really see it, what makes South Florida different, it’s the competitive spirit the kids play with and he has it. It’s that Mark Walton, that Jaquan Johnson, that Trajan Bandy, something about those kids, Chad Thomas, they just love football and he loves it. … They play the game with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, a lot of fire.”
“Frierson comes from a great family here right here in Coconut Grove,” Rumph said. “There’s so many great players who come out of that little area. His demeanor, how he can change up, I know he’s been coached well at Coral Gables High School. His mentality and how he approaches the game is amazing. We’re excited about him because of his demeanor on the field. He fits our locker room being that dominant, physical player.”
S Gurvan Hall
“Gurvan is a safety. We have always thought so highly of Gurvan for maybe two years now. Outstanding young man. We have this great group of guys from Palm Beach County. They are the greatest group of guys off the field. On the field, they’re trying to knock the taste out of your mouth. Gurvan is the next one in line, like Amari Carter, Zach McCloud, travis Homer, and Ahmmond Richards. Palm Beach has been very good to us, and Gurvan is really the next one.” – Diaz
“His ability to play both field and boundary safety for us is really intriguing. His physicality is one of the best in my opinion. He is the best safety in South Florida. I can’t get to wait to get to work with him.” — Banda
CB Al Blades
EARLY SIGNING DAY 2018
Miami signees: Click names for bios, fun facts and more
QB Jarren Williams, RB Lorenzo Lingard, RB Camron Davis, FB Realus George, WR Mark Pope, WR Brian Hightower, WR Dee Wiggins, TE Brevin Jordan, TE Will Mallory, OL John Campbell, OL Delone ‘DJ’ Scaife, OL Cleveland Reed, DE Greg Rousseau, LB Patrick Joyner, CB Al Blades Jr., CB DJ Ivey, S Gurvan Hall, S Gilbert Frierson, K Bubba Baxa