Welcome to the sixth 2019 edition of the column I like to call “The Freshman 15”. If you’re a first time reader, this will be a focus on the rankings and the order of the top 15 uncommitted (to Miami) recruits the coaching staff is pursuing.
The order will be based mainly on:
How likely a recruit is to commit to Miami at the time
Miami's need at their position
This column will be updated throughout the cycle each month and will show movement up or down for each recruit as the list is updated.
Back-to-back dead periods and preparations for the upcoming 2018 season have slowed recruiting a bit lately, but there have been some major changes to the board in the past month. The Canes have made some serious traction with a few top targets, while losing ground on a few others.
Behind The Ranking: Neal is the prototypical top player on this board, thanks to his combination of talent, Miami’s need on the line, and the fact that he has family ties to the program. At 6’7” 375 pounds, I just call him “The Wall”. Neal has gone up against numerous top defensive linemen at various events and they were all hopelessly outmatched against him. He’s too big to get around and can overwhelm power rushers that try and go through him, while he is also quick enough to stone speed rushers.
In The Mix: Miami-Bama battle royale.
Latest: Not much has changed on Neal and he is notoriously quiet on updating his recruitment with the media. Despite some Bama rumors going around, I have not heard anything to sway me from calling Neal a Miami-lean. He gave me an extremely Miami positive vibe in our in-person talk at the Opening and everything I’ve heard from those around his recruitment indicate Miami is still the team to beat. If he locked in with a team right now, that team would likely be Miami. However, since he plans on taking his recruitment through the season, Nick Saban and the Tide still have plenty of time to sway him. Miami is going to have to battle tooth and nail with the national champs until the end to hold on.
Behind The Ranking: Running back, safety, receiver, quarterback, kicker, don’t matter. The book on Richards is simple: get him on the roster, figure out his position later. He’s that good. His speed and football instincts will play anywhere, and he loves offense, but Richards looks like an impact safety to me.
In The Mix: Miami, Auburn, Florida, Penn State, and Tennessee made Richards’ top 5.
Latest: Richards released his top 5 last week, and as expected, UM made the cut, along with Auburn, UF, PSU, and Tennessee. He also recently told CIS that he will start out on defense if he chooses Miami, and believes UM prefers him at safety over corner. The Canes are still in a very favorable spot with Richards, and he was on campus for Paradise Camp late last month. Similar to Neal, this will be a recruitment that will go to the very end, though, as Richards maintains he wants to give the rest of his top 5 a fair shot. While I was skeptical if Richards would end up at Miami and would ultimately decide to blaze his own path, the more I talk with him, the more I get the feeling that he’s simply doing his due diligence and making the most of the process. I am very confident right now that he signs with UM in the end, which will likely be in December.
Behind The Ranking: Ingraham is the type of hybrid prospect the Canes love, with the ability to play both inside and outside on the D-Line. The Hurricanes would likely move him to DT as he continues to grow to allow his speed and athleticism to become a mismatch against slower offensive guards.
In The Mix: Miami is Ingraham’s leader, with Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Oregon, and Kentucky in the game.
Latest: Ingraham has not been shy to list UM as his leader in the past and he has since showed up to all of UM’s big events lately, joining the rest of a loaded crew at “Miami Nights” in June, as well as Paradise Camp last month. Ingraham has also only made one other trip this summer, an official visit to Kentucky, and I don’t see another serious contender in this recruitment right now. He’s simply waiting to announce his decision on his mother’s birthday (October 23rd) and anything other than Miami would be a complete shock at this point.
4. Khris Bogle, DE, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Cardinal Gibbons) (Last: 8)
Behind The Ranking: Bogle makes his living in the opponent backfield and it’s tough for offensive linemen to square up on him with his speed off the edge. While he needs to add weight for the next level, Bogle’s first step is devastating and he has the potential to be a dynamic pass rusher for whichever team lands his services.
In The Mix: Seems like an informal top 7 of Miami, Tennessee, Alabama, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Louisville, and FSU.
Latest: Bogle has now been crystal balled to five different schools, something that’s pretty rare. That’s either a case of a lot of misinformation out there or a kid that is very good at convincingly telling programs what they want to hear. It seems like a new “third” contender pops up every month, but the two constants in this recruitment have been Miami and Tennessee all along. Any damage that may have been done due to Bogle skipping Paradise Camp seems to have been mended, as he took a visit to campus the week after; I’ve been told by a source close to the Bogle recruitment that he is still Miami’s to lose and that he is simply having fun with the process. The plan with Bogle is still to decide on Signing Day and I expect plenty of drama until then.
Behind The Ranking: Summerall is a Gregory Rousseau clone. His length and speed at his size are unreal and give him a huge advantage over his competition. I also love the way he uses his hands to create space for himself. Obviously he has to put on more weight for the next level, but he has the frame to do just that.
In The Mix: Miami, FSU, Florida, Ohio State, and Georgia are some of Summerall’s favorites.
Latest: Summerall was on campus for Paradise Camp, and Miami definitely made a positive move on the visit, as he stayed in town overnight. A source tells us the UM staff feels confident with Summerall and he’s saying all the right things to make them believe he’s going to be a Cane in the end. FSU was considered the favorites for the past few months, but I’ve heard Summerall is actually not high on the staff in Tallahassee. It’s actually UF that has made the biggest move lately, and he begun crystal ball trending to the Gators last month. However, I don’t see anything with Summerall as a done deal at all and I think Miami still has a good chance to win out.
Behind The Ranking: A flex tight end with wide receiver traits, Zipperer can line up all over the field and make a defense pay in a variety of ways. He has soft hands to reel in passes and creates separation with ease. He’s not just a pass-catcher though, and shows the ability to block with anger and take defenders out of plays.
In The Mix: Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, Florida, FSU, North Carolina, and Miami are a few that are pushing for Zipperer.
Latest: Zipperer’s most recent trip to a school was to see none other than the Miami Hurricanes, and he had a good time on his visit to Coral Gables for Paradise. He stayed in town overnight along with Summerall, Larry Hodges, and Jadon Haselwood to hangout with current UM players on the team. The Gators are a team that will always be involved here and the talk is starting to become about package deals for the new high school teammates of Zipperer and Summerall. Zipperer had been teasing on Twitter that he’s leaning towards going out of state for college, but all indications are that this is a Miami-UF battle, with Alabama as the usual business decision option. I feel like Todd Hartley’s relationship with Zipperer will be tough to overcome and will at least keep UM in the game until the end.
7. JJ Weaver, DE, Louisville, KY (Moore Traditional School) (Last: 12)
Behind The Ranking: Weaver is an athletic specimen that plays all over the field for Moore. You see Weaver lining up at defensive end, linebacker, and tight end, but with his size and fluidity, most schools are going after him as a DE. He seems at his best stopping the run, but he certainly has the raw physical tools to develop more of a pass rush in the next coming years.
In The Mix: Miami, Louisville, Tennessee, Kentucky, Purdue, and Cincinnati are Weaver’s top 6.
Latest: Weaver put the Canes in his top 6 last week, along with Louisville, Tennessee, Kentucky, Purdue, and Cincinnati. He is originally from Lauderhill and grew up in the area before moving to Kentucky recently. Weaver still considers himself a Broward boy, so Miami has a claim to be the “home team” in this recruitment. Miami has secured an official visit for October 5th weekend, which is the FSU game. With a decision scheduled for November 3rd and no other OV's scheduled, UM is in a very good spot right now. He’s also already burned two OV’s on Cincinnati and Purdue over the summer. His stock has been rising though, and I think you will see more top programs start to get involved with him as the cycle goes along and top targets make their decisions. Georgia is one that has already offered and would obviously be a thorn in UM’s side if they started making Weaver a priority.
Behind The Ranking: Battle has next-level instincts at DB and displays great hip-flip when running with receivers. He was consistently impressive throughout many camps this off-season and will make an outstanding defensive back at the next level.
In The Mix: Seems like a two-horse race between Miami and Ohio State, with others like UF, LSU, and Oklahoma on the outside looking in.
Latest: The tenuous situation at Ohio State has opened up the door for Miami to get back involved with Battle and the Canes are trying to take full advantage. Mark Richt is personally making Battle a top priority from here on out and the STA star is feeling the love. Battle remains publically committed to OSU while the process plays out with Urban Meyer, but Meyer himself played a huge role in landing Battle’s commitment originally. If Meyer is no longer with the Buckeyes, there is a very strong chance Battle will not end up at OSU. Battle told CIS earlier this month that UM was his #2 behind the Buckeyes, so Miami is in as good a spot as anyone to make the flip. Something else to keep in mind: Battle has used his OV’s to both Miami and OSU already.
Behind The Ranking: The way Haselwood is able to elevate and sky above defenders to make a play is truly jaw-dropping. Haselwood could be completely covered, and his QB will still throw it up to him because he’s that confident that Haselwood will go make and play on it. And the 5-star receiver usually does. He’s just playing at a different level than everyone else at all times and his motion seems effortless as he glides past defenders and under a pass.
In The Mix: Even though he's committed to the Bulldogs, I’ve heard this is a UGA, Miami, and Auburn battle for Haselwood, with OU on the outside looking in.
Latest: Miami is still heavily involved with Haselwood and have put themselves in a very strong position here going into the 2018 season. Haselwood enjoyed his weekend long Paradise trip so much that he stayed both Friday and Saturday nights when most only stayed for one or none. Right now, it’s Georgia, Miami, and Auburn that are true contenders to land the Peach State product. The outcomes of how each of the contenders’ seasons goes will absolutely have a huge impact here and Haselwood will be paying close attention to how each offense functions, as well as how prominent the receivers are utilized. The amount of passing Mark Richt has done the past few years at UM is what has Haselwood intrigued in UM the most, and Miami will continue to sell him on being a superior fit in their offense, compared to the run-heavy scheme that UGA prefers.
Behind The Ranking: Nunn flies all over the field, showing great range and recovery speed. It’s Nunn’s length that really sets him apart though, as he’s just able to get to so many more passes and tip away close calls. Receivers find it very difficult to separate from him and it seems Nunn’s only improving every time I see him.
In The Mix: Nunn is committed to Syracuse, but other schools, including the Canes, have continued to push for him.
Latest: After Miami re-offered him before Paradise Camp, Nunn further solidified himself as a take at the event with a big performance, telling CIS that Miami has been coming on strong to flip him. He also told us last week that UM is looking at him as a safety, and that striker was also being talked about as well. If it was up to him, Nunn would already be committed to UM right now, but he comes from a big FSU family. This is a recruitment where UM is working against mom and getting mom on board is UM’s biggest hurdle, as she’s not high on the Canes, but the good thing is that it seems FSU is filling up at DB and likely won’t come through with an offer. If Miami really wants him, they have to keep pushing and recruit the entire family.
Behind The Ranking: Stevenson just smothers receivers in the passing game and has that rare ability to take half the field away from an opposing offense. The Southridge star runs well for his size and features elite closing speed, while also showing potential as a rangy safety prospect.
In The Mix: This is all Miami and Georgia, with Alabama also making a push for Stevenson’s signature as well.
Latest: I’ve not heard anything in the last month that would make me change my mind on Stevenson being a UGA-lean. UGA has also begun crystal ball trending here as well. He plans on visiting UM for the FSU game and Georgia for their tilt against Auburn. No, I don’t think Miami is out of this just yet, but things are certainly headed in the wrong direction in terms of eventually keeping Stevenson home at UM.
Behind The Ranking: McIntosh has good burst through line of scrimmage to rip through arm tackles and attacks the second level. He runs with plus effort every time he touches the ball and always keeps his feet moving at first contact. He also surprised me as a receiver out of the backfield, showing great route running ability and quality hands. He’s truly a complete back.
In The Mix: Oklahoma is running in front, with Miami and Auburn also involved.
Latest: Things have changed dramatically here in the past month or so and, according to a source close to the recruitment, Oklahoma has in fact made a serious move with McIntosh. I believe the Sooners should be considered the leaders to land McIntosh and OU would be my pick if he were deciding today. Simply put, Miami has some catching up to do.
13. Kardell Thomas, OG, Baton Rouge, LA (Southern University Lab) (Last: 10)
Behind The Ranking: Thomas’ aggression and mean-streak are no joke, and that’s a scary proposition at his size. He is simply nasty in his demeanor and his goal is to pummel you into submission. That’s only part of the equation, though. Due to his overly physical play, I think it’s also lost on some how sound he is technique wise with his hands and quick feet.
In The Mix: The LSU commit is also considering schools like USC, Penn State, Miami, and FSU.
Latest: FSU really made an impression on Thomas when he visited for their camp last month, and he has since dropped Oklahoma from his top 5 to make room for the Seminoles. The good news is that Miami is still slated to get an official from Thomas during the season, which would be his second visit to campus. The bad news is that he’s been committed to LSU for over two years now and it will take a lot for a team to sway him off that. However, hosting him on an OV is the first step, and anything can happen from there. Miami can also really make a statement with a win over the Tigers to open the season in two weeks.
Behind The Ranking: Listed as an end by most sites, Fuller also plays DT and looks mighty comfortable on the inside. His rip move is so violent and you’re just taken back by the ease at which he was throwing some of the top O-Linemen out of his way. Fuller looks like a budding star at the position with the top-tier speed and hands to give larger, slower offensive guards fits.
In The Mix: The FSU commit is looking around at programs like Miami, Georgia, Alabama, and UF.
Latest: I have not been hearing good things about Fuller’s Miami recruitment lately and I believe the Canes have slipped in his mind. This is not altogether surprising to hear after FSU had really made him a priority again in the past month or two. However, Fuller has admitted to me that on-field success will be a big factor in his recruitment. Any faltering from Willie Taggart in his first year could open the door for UM to swoop in and it’s something to watch for as the season progresses.
Behind The Ranking: A pure left tackle prospect, Wright is an advanced run-blocker and has the frame and athleticism to excel in pass protection with more development. He is also known for being proficient at the mental side of the game.
In The Mix: Ohio State was an early leader, but Tennessee and Alabama have now made a move over the Buckeyes and schools like Miami, Clemson, Georgia, and Virginia Tech.
Latest: I’m keeping him on the board purely for his talent level and because he continues to say good things about Miami in interviews. In our last chat at the Opening, Wright maintained that he’ll make it to Coral Gables for an official visit in the fall. However, the longer he goes without making a trip or at least making concrete visit plans, the farther UM’s chances will fall to actually get him on campus and land his commitment. Despite Ohio State feeling confident in the past, we’re hearing Tennessee is out in front for now, but Alabama is making a move and Wright paid his own way to get to an Alabama camp last weekend after previously saying it was money that was preventing him from visiting schools too far from home.
15.Mike Morris, DT: Seems destined for Michigan, as UM and FSU haven’t been pushing too hard lately.
I politely disagree. We've got plenty of RB's. We've already got Crowley on board which is perfect. That's 3 freshman/sophomores in 2019, a junior, and maybe a senior pending what Homer does. 2020 is loaded with star RB's in Caziah Holmes, Bowman, and Cheney Jr.
I was really high on Mac as he has a lot of shake, but he's slow for a top RB. He's run some 4.7's and 4.8's. That doesn't cut it at big time football.
I wonder why we slipped with Mac....
No surprise on TS, although I'll continue hoping against hope.
Would also love to see us land one of the truly elite talents like Thomas, Wright, or Haselwood and give us some momentum on the trail.
At least we are doing well with the Must-have of the class in Neal, and it seems we are doing well with MAR and our DL targets. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna sweat Mac too much because we do have some pretty good depth at RB.
Something about those McIntosh brothers not wanting to come to Miami. Deon went to Nd and was out of there within 2 years I think. Curious to know how Kenny’s career would go if he were to choose Oklahoma.