Signing day 2018: Nesta Silvera to Miami, American Heritage teammates go elsewhere

(Getty Images photo; illustration, Matt Porter/The Palm Beach Post)

[CB Bethel in, DT Coburn out]

[WR Ezzard picks Miami]

The biggest decisions of the Hurricanes’ 2018 signing day are in.

They went 1-for-4, but the one was a big one.

Four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera announced he was sticking with his pledge to Miami during a ceremony at Plantation-American Heritage High.

A capture of Silvera making his announcement, courtesy of the American Heritage webstream.

“Miami is home,” Silvera said on ESPNU, wearing a turnover chain edition ‘U’ hat. “It’s the crib, you know? What I can do here, I could go to Tuscaloosa, I could go to Athens, I could go to Gainesville and make those schools great, but why not stay home and make the crib great?”

His teammates, five-star cornerbacks Patrick Surtain Jr. (Alabama) and Tyson Campbell (Georgia) and four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield (Florida), opted to go elsewhere.

Miami was hopeful, although not expecting, to land all four. It was indeed expecting Silvera to stick with the UM commitment he made 12 months ago.

[RELATED: Get the latest updates on the Hurricanes’ recruiting class]

Silvera raised eyebrows when he entered the room with a doll from the movie Chucky, which caused some to wonder if he was either trolling or paying tribute to Florida. Former Gators star defensive end Dominique Easley was known for bringing a Chucky doll around Gainesville.

But he stuck with the Canes, and the doll played a part in a teammate’s announcement.

Chatfield briefly picked up the ‘U’ hat on the table in front of him, but put it down and grabbed Silvera’s doll, which by then had a UF hat on.

Silvera and Chatfield could play against each other in 2019, when Miami and Florida open the season in Orlando.

Campbell — who had Georgia, Alabama and Miami hats in front of him — praised the Bulldogs coaching staff because, he feels, “they can help me get to the next level … Kirby Smart, he just showed me a bunch of love.”

Also showing him plenty of love: his former coach, Mike Rumph, who left Heritage in 2016 to join Mark Richt’s staff as a cornerbacks coach. He had for several seasons recruited the Heritage stars hard.

Surtain had no hats in front of him. He pulled out an Alabama cap from his lap, spurning LSU, which had long expected him to be a part of its 2018 class.

247Sports reported both Campbell and Surtain informed UM of their decisions Tuesday evening.

Silvera, listed at 6-foot-2 and 308 pounds, was a four-star recruit rated second-best among prep defensive tackles by 247Sports. That website pegged him as the No. 54 prospect regardless of position. ESPN had him No. 3 among defensive tackles and No. 50 overall. Rivals considered him ninth and No. 121.

He racked up 107 tackles, 31 for loss, and 12 sacks as a senior for the Class 5A state champion Patriots. He also recovered a fumble and returned it 60 yards for a touchdown. In three high school seasons, he produced 187 tackles, 51 for loss, and 17.5 sacks.

He could see immediate playing time at Miami, which loses starting tackles RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton, both juniors, to the NFL draft, and graduates key reserve Anthony Moten.

At the Army All-American Bowl last month, Rivals reported Silvera was “one of the most disruptive interior defensive linemen” at the elite-level practices, stuffing running backs and collapsing passing pockets. “His quickness off the snap has caught so many offensive linemen off-guard,” Rivals analyst Adam Friedman wrote. “He uses his hands so well to get off blocks that linemen have a hard time slowing him down.”

As you might imagine, he’s plenty confident. Asked Wednesday to describe his strengths, he said this, according to Canesport:

“I think my strength is I’m just better than everybody.”