Recruiting: Mark Richt, Hurricanes ready to hit the road; will host 7th-graders at camp

After a brief break to coach a little football, Mark Richt and his staff are back to recruiting.

Mark Richt (Miami Herald)
Mark Richt (Miami Herald)

With spring practices over and the NCAA’s recruiting calendar permitting coaches to visit high schools, Richt’s staff will go all-out recruiting for the next month. Next week, they will blanket Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, then the state of Florida, then visit select out-of-state prospects.


Spring grades: Offense | Defense | WQAM review podcast

Spring game story | Five things | Stats | Pregame photos

Scrimmage 2 story, stats, power rankings | Scrimmage 1 story, stats

Position-by-position previews

UM’s recruiting staff has been spending a “massive amount of time getting film all around the tri-county area, all around the state, all around the country by position,” Richt said on WQAM. “You get your coaches to study film, trying to decide a pecking order, is this guy a take, is this a guy we’ve got to go see in person, is this a guy we’ve got to go see in camp. There’s different categories that we have. Then we go out there and decide, who are we going to see?

“We’re obviously going to see everybody in the state, we’re going to see everybody in the tri-county area. But when you get out of state you’ve got to kind of cherry-pick certain guys by position. We’ve got a lot of people in-house, in our recruiting department, setting up and teaming up with the coaches to study the film, make decisions and get on the run and go get ‘em.”

UM’s recruiting class, ranked No. 3 nationally and first in the ACC by 247Sports’ composite ratings, has 15 commits. The top-rated is offensive tackle Navaughn Donaldson of Miami Central. Other highly-ranked recruits include running back Robert Burns (Miami-Gulliver Prep), defensive end Jonathan Ford (Fort Lauderdale-Dillard), quarterback N’Kosi Perry (Ocala-Vanguard) and athlete Christopher Henderson (Miami-Columbus).

Notice a trend? All but one of those players are from South Florida. Richt and Al Golden don’t have a lot in common resume-wise, but all Miami coaches fight the same battle to convince the best local players to stay home.

“There may be 150-200 Division I football players in the tri-county area,” Richt said. “Well, we’ve got space for 20, 25 a year, maybe, at the most. If you can get 20 out of 150, you’ve got to make sure you get the right ones. You can’t keep them all. It’s impossible. There’s going to be some great players that leave the area because there’s so many of them. We’ve got to do a good job of identifying who we want and going after them and loving them up and showing them that every dream they have in life, they can have right here at this university.”

Richt said UM will host “an array of camps” in June — including one for players in the seventh grade.

A partial schedule (more details here) includes high school 7-on-7 events June 9-11 and 16-18; an all-ages camp June 13-15; kicking camps June 12 and 19 (run separately by instructors Brandon Kornblue and Chris Sailer); and, interestingly, a series of age-divided camps for rising seventh- and eighth-graders (June 20), ninth- and 10th-graders (June 21), 11th-graders (June 22) and 12th-graders (June 23).

(If you think seventh grade is too young for coaches to take a look at players, you haven’t been following the latest recruiting trends.)

Elsewhere, Richt praised Brad Kaayaas he has been doing, and reiterated the Hurricanes are thin at wide receiver and defensive back, and at running back, “it’ll definitely be by committee.” On the offensive line, he said, “I don’t know if we have a boatload” of reliable players, but “if we stay healthy, we’ll be OK.” He said UM’s interior defensive line and linebacking corps have the most depth on the team.

Asked about his depth chart post-spring, Richt said players who performed well in the spring might begin the fall as starters. “There’s a lot of surprises that happen this time of year,” Richt said. “We’re going to see who works, who wants to really learn it and prove he’s ready.”