It was a busy weekend for Miami recruiting, though none of the players interested in UM will make an impact next season.
The Hurricanes added four prep underclassman football recruits and secured a visit from a basketball transfer who will sit a year before suiting up.
Two of the football players are from the class of 2020: Henry Gray (6-foot-1, 180 pounds), a cornerback from Miami Central High, and Naples tight end Dominic Mammarelli (6-4, 220). Both are rated four stars by 247Sports. They join UM’s nine-player 2020 class, which is headlined by five-star wideout Leonard Manuel (Ocala).
Miami also picked up its first pair of 2021 commits, both of them unranked: Miami-Monsignor Pace safety James Williams (6-3, 200) and Miami Central offensive guard Laurence Seymore (6-1, 270). Canesport and 247Sports were first on the commitment news.
On the court, Oklahoma transfer guard Kameron McGusty (6-5, 190) will visit Coral Gables this weekend, a program source confirmed.
McGusty, who according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein is also considering Virginia Tech and Houston, will have two years of eligibility after sitting out this season. He was ESPN’s 46th-ranked player in the 2016 signing class and the 10th-ranked shooting guard. Ceding playing time to lottery-bound freshman Trae Young last year, McGusty averaged 8.0 points, down from 14.4 as a freshman.
Wow! What an awesome day to become a Cane! The future is very very bright! U Family!
Hurricanes great Ed Reed was one of the former UM stars who returned to campus Saturday as guest coaches for Paradise Camp. He was the featured speaker at the event, and shared five-plus minutes of advice with recruits after the camp ended.
Ed Reed has heard the question — Is ‘The U’ back? — so many times, he has an answer ready.
“Miami has never left,” he said.
“Teams go through things. Teams struggle. Last time I checked, we’ve still got championships here. We’ve been through sanctions and stuff like that. We’ll come up out of it. We have before. We’re back? We’ll see. It’s another year. A new year. We’re gong to take it one practice at time, one game at a time.”
Reed, almost certainly a future Hall of Fame safety (college in 2018, pro in 2019), was one of the former UM stars who returned to campus Saturday as guest coaches for Paradise Camp. He gave a speech to a couple hundred recruits afterward. The main message: make good choices.
Check back later Sunday to see the full video.
After that, we caught up with Reed for a few good minutes:
* He couldn’t watch the Hurricanes last year, given his duties as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Buffalo Bills. His thoughts on Miami:
“I just know coach is doing the right things, saying the right things to these guys,” he said. “Players have to take control.”
* What’s next for Reed, personally?
“I’m thinking 500 million, maybe a billionaire at some point,” he joked. “I’m trying to get my future comfortable as far as my finances and my life.”
Reed said he’s building a park in his home neighborhood of Saint Rose in New Orleans, working on his foundation and spending time with his family, including his 9-year-old son, Edward (who, interestingly, is a Patriots fan).
“The biggest thing right now is kids, the communities, and building up these young men,” he said.
* In January, Reed wasn’t retained by new Bills coach Sean McDermott. He spent one year in Buffalo, his first coaching opportunity, under Rex Ryan, who was fired in December. Ryan, his former defensive coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens, predicted Reed would be a head coach one day.
After Al Golden’s dismissal in 2015, Reed was a popular choice among fans to return to Coral Gables as a coach. Does he have aspirations of coaching at Miami?
“Yeah, I definitely do,” he said. “You will see me here, you’ll hear about it, I guarantee it. If coach wants me, needs me to come here and help, I’m going to come here and watch film with the guys, talk to them. I’ve got a couple recruits here I would love to work with if they came here. That’s on them, that’s going to be on coach. I definitely will be back here helping out in some form or fashion.”
Growing up in Boca Raton, the future Hurricanes quarterback and head coach learned a fun party trick: how to execute a single backflip off the high-dive, falling backward and hitting the water feet-first. He perfected it during his college days, hanging out at the UM pool, and used to entertain his players and staff at Georgia by doing it during training camp.
Seeing their coach go head-first from 10 meters up — nearly 33 feet — at about 7 mph always got a big cheer.
Last year, he started a new Miami tradition, flying high off that familiar platform and splashing down to set off the program’s new Paradise Camp recruiting event. Friday he did it again, in front of dozens of players and recruits at a pool party on campus:
Friday was devoted to underclassmen, but Paradise Camp continues Saturday with some of the best 11th- and 12th-grade talents in the Southeast. They will compete in drills and be coached by a host of former Hurricanes stars. Click here for a list.
Miami 2018 commits expected to attend, according to 247Sports, include:
Five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard Four-star running back Cam’Ron Davis
Four-star receivers Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins Four-star tight end Will Mallory Four-star offensive linemen Cleveland Reed, John Campbell and Delone Scaife Four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera and end Gregory Rousseau Four-star defensive backs Josh Jobe, Al Blades Jr., Gurvan Hall and three-star D.J. Ivey
Uncommitted recruits of note expected to attend, per 247, include wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, defensive end Kayode Oladele, cornerback Nigel Bethel and 2019 quarterback Zamar Wise. The Post reported two cornerbacks from Palm Beach County, Florida State commit Akeem Dent, a former UM pledge, and Kaiir Elam, will attend.
Mark Richt, apparently, does not plan to mess with success.
The second edition of his Paradise Camp will look a lot like the first, with former Hurricanes stars serving as guest coaches to dozens of the nation’s top high school recruits. In the week leading up to the event, Richt tweeted his roster of guest coaches.
Monday, he named four: former UM linebackers Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason and D.J. Williams, and tight end Jeremy Shockey.
Tuesday, running backs Willis McGahee and Najeh Davenport were added, along with receivers Devin Hester and Michael Irvin.
Wednesday, he named Bryant McKinnie and Brett Romberg, who will mentor the big men up front, and defensive backs Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips.
Thursday, two more well known names: defensive linemen Vince Wilfork and Calais Campbell.
On Friday, Richt dropped a fan favorite: Ed Reed, one of the greatest safeties in history.
Last year, the event debuted with Ray Lewis and Michael Irvin speaking to attendees, UM coaches and former players instructing recruits through drills and everyone — really, everyone — giving positive reviews. Even the lightning decided to stay away.
The invite-only camp, which runs Friday for ninth- and 10th-graders and Saturday for those entering grades 11 and 12, will be held on UM’s intramural fields. The program is building a $34 million indoor practice facility on its usual practice home, Greentree.
I almost forgot! #20 is coming home! We'll see Coach Ed Reed here at PARADISE tomorrow night!! U Family! pic.twitter.com/Nakys5kzzr
Miami signee D.J. Johnson’s impressive sprint times – 11.22 in the 100, 23.79 in the 200 at 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds – had me thinking of a feature we used to run when I covered high school sports.
Here’s the spring track honor roll, with a Miami bent.
A caveat: Not all football players compete in track, and not all fast, strong, explosive football players are great track athletes. But here’s saluting the recorded accomplishments of those who will wear the ‘U’ in the future (or already do) — such as running back commit Lorenzo Lingard, who wants to compete in the 2020 Olympics.
An early signing period, which needed the final approval of a governing body separate from the NCAA, received the go-ahead Monday and will be in play this December.
After the approval of the Collegiate Commissioners Association, recruits may now sign binding letters of intent during a 72-hour window that begins Dec. 20.
The NCAA needed the outside approval because it follows the National Letter of Intent program, which the CCA controls.
The early signing period is in addition to the traditional start of the signing period (“national signing day”), which begins the first Wednesday in February (Feb. 7 in 2018).
The early signing period coincides with the Dec. 20 start of the junior college signing period, which runs until Jan. 15, 2018.
It’s something recruits “wanted and will take advantage of,” UM Athletics Director Blake James said last month, when the NCAA’s Division 1 Council approved multiple college football changes, including the addition of a 10th assistant coach, giving permission for recruits to take official visits the spring of their junior year and the elimination of two-a-day practices. James also chairs the D1 council.
Miami’s recruiting class is rated No. 1 by a consensus of Rivals, 247Sports, ESPN and Scout. Several players, including five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard and four-star quarterback Artur Sitkowski, have stated their intention to enroll at UM in January.