Welcome to the eighth 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.
We're now 2/3rd's of the way through the full 2019 cycle and the early December Signing Period is just two months away. With time running out, it was a productive month for Miami's recruiting efforts, as they either held steady or made positive moves with most of their top targets.
Evaluation: 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, with FSU and LSU trying to break in.
Latest: Neal is all business in focusing on IMG’s season and he’s really put recruiting on the back burner to focus on his senior year. In furtherance of that, Neal has set up his Alabama official visit for November 24th weekend, which is after IMG’s season, and his Miami official will follow soon after. That’s something I see as a positive for the Canes, as UM will be able to stave off any momentum that Bama builds up while also getting the final word in. Neal also hasn’t visited any school since June, and that visit was to UM, a trip on which Neal brought most of his family and saw Miami make a huge impression. I have not heard anything to sway me from calling Neal a Miami-lean, but Bama remains just behind Miami and is the only team I see being able to make a move for Neal at this point; even if FSU or LSU do get OV’s, I don’t think they’ll be able to gain much traction and I’m not worried about them making a move. The official visits to Miami and Bama will really be the deciding factors here, and Neal seems like the kid that will take his trips, weigh the pros and cons, and make a simple announcement of his choice without any build up or fanfare.
2. Khris Bogle, DE, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Cardinal Gibbons) (Last: 2)
Evaluation: 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, Oregon, and UF.
Latest: Bogle has been in Miami for each of their past 3 home games, while cancelling a planned Tennessee visit on one of the occasions to watch UM instead. While I always felt like Miami was ahead here, the Volunteers were still hanging around not far behind. I’ll say that in the past month or two, Miami has really put some distance between themselves and the Vols and should be considered the runaway favorite at this point. Last time we talked, Bogle gave me the impression he would be ready to make his decision after his Alabama official visit on Nov. 10th weekend, but he’s recently backed off that and is back to talking up making a February Signing Day announcement. Miami may have to hold off the competition a little longer, but either way, they are in a very good spot.
Evaluation: 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: This is a UGA, Miami, and Auburn battle for Haselwood.
Latest: Haselwood decommitted from the Bulldogs earlier this month, so moving him up the board was a no brainer. UGA was still feeling very confident right up until then, as apparently the staff was blind-sided when Haselwood told them the news. I was told part of the decommitment had to do with his mother’s feelings towards the staff at UGA and she’s not convinced UGA is the best place for him, so it’s clear the playing field has really changed here. Getting Haselwood in for an official visit the same weekend he backed off his pledge was huge for Miami and he predictably had a great visit watching Miami beat FSU. Even though he’s already been to Miami multiple times already, he still set his UM official visit first without having set any others, so that’s just another encouraging sign. Although Haselwood’s camp is trying to downplay any team being ahead, you have to love the position the Canes are in for him right now. Still, a decision won’t come at least until after Haselwood takes an official visit to Auburn, which has yet to be set up but is in the works.
Evaluation: 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 make up Richards’ top 5.
Latest: Auburn has really made an impression here and Richards loves Gus Malzahn’s offense. The Wellington star has a good relationship with the Auburn head coach going back to the time Ahmmon was recruited to the Tigers and he also confirmed that he has set his Auburn official visit for November 2nd weekend for when the Tigers take on Texas A&M. Richards was part of a huge recruiting weekend for Miami two weeks back and was in the stands for UM-FSU, telling CIS he “called the comeback” during Miami’s exciting win. Richards has been impressed with UM's handlng of his brother's career-ending injury, and it has only reinforced the familial bond that exists between the parties. Another surprising development here is that Miami is beginning to see Richards more on offense lately as a RB, instead of the safety position they originally told him they wanted him at in July. Although I’m still comfortable with my UM pick here, Auburn should be considered a real threat to take Richards out of South Florida. The plan is still a December decision and I would be surprised if he pushed it past then.
Evaluation: 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, Florida, Oregon, and Kentucky in the game.
Latest: Ingraham has been a very public Miami-lean in the past, but I will say that view has only been strengthened in my mind the past month, as I’ve continued to hear more good news with him from sources close to the recruitment. It seems the visit for the UM-FSU game helped to stave off any possible threat that Alabama had been mounting for the 4-star talent, who took an official visit to Tuscaloosa the week before. I'm not worried about Ingraham's Oregon OV he took last weekend either. Ingraham’s decision is next week on Oct. 23 and I have no reason to believe the pick won’t be UM.
Evaluation: 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, Oklahoma, Florida, LSU, Penn State, and Miami have made Zipperer’s top 6.
Latest: Zipperer finally cut down his wide-ranging list, announcing his top 6 earlier this month, which UM made. He has since set up a Miami unofficial visit for November 3rd weekend to come watch UM take on Duke at Hard Rock. While this is still going to be a Miami-UF battle to the end, and many have the Gators a tick ahead, a source close to the recruitment says it’s actually the Canes slightly out in front here, and that’s after Zipperer visited UF for the LSU game recently. We’ll see if those positive vibes are still trickling in after his visit in November. If so, I could be ready to make a pick for the Canes.
Evaluation: 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, Florida, FSU, LSU, Auburn, and Nebraska made Summerall’s top 6.
Latest: Like his teammate Zipperer, Summerall also released his top 6 this month, and he included the Canes as well. Following up the pair’s trip to UF earlier this month, Summerall will be with Zipperer in Miami for the Canes’ game against Duke on November 3rd. Summerall and those around him are really playing things close to the vest, so I’m not as confident with him right now as I am with Zipperer. However, as they continue to take the majority of their visits together, the two are looking more and more likely to end up at the same school, and that’s only good news for Miami. Summerall’s planned decision announcement is in December as of now.
Evaluation: 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: Miami and Bama are heavily involved here.
Latest: UM finally won over Nunn’s mother, and that was the catalyst for his decision to decommit from Syracuse last week. So why hasn’t Nunn publicly committed to UM yet? At least in part because of Nick Saban. Since he decommitted, Alabama got in contact to let Nunn know that his offer was still on the table. While I’m still confident Nunn is all Hurricane, it’s never good to have Alabama involved, and we’ll have to keep an eye on the Tide here.
9. JJ Weaver, DE, Louisville, KY (Moore Traditional School) (Last: 8)
Evaluation: 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 headed down to Miami for his official visit earlier this month for the FSU game weekend, and continued build his relationship with the UM coaching staff. Miami’s main competition here are the in-state schools Kentucky and Louisville, and Weaver will finish out his final two official visits to those programs in the next two weeks. He’s also burned two OV’s on Cincinnati and Purdue over the summer, two places he is not likely to end up at. Even with a good OV to Miami, it still feels as if the Canes are running slightly behind UK and UL right now. The biggest factor to overcome for the Canes is going to be distance from home, but Weaver does have family in the Miami area to help mitigate that issue.
Evaluation: 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: Although Miami hasn’t made a move, Georgia has definitely taken a step back here. The latest from a source close to the Stevenson recruitment suggests that Georgia and the Southridge star are not on the best of terms right now and UGA has backslid. Just like over the spring and fall, the 4-star DB has continued to visit Miami heavily throughout the season (most recently for the FSU game) and the Canes have held steady in Stevenson’s mind. So yes, any bad news for UGA is good news for UM, as this has mostly been a two-horse race up to this point. However, Miami has already been high up in Stevenson’s picture, so I think this news most benefits a third program that can make a real jump into Stevenson’s top group. Now that the door has been cracked a bit, watch out for a program like the Crimson Tide to become more involved, as Bama has been hanging around the fringes of this recruitment for a while now waiting for an opportunity like this. Buckle up and get ready for a bumpy ride.
Evaluation: 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: Fuller has been making on-field success in 2018 a big point of emphasis all off-season, so FSU’s struggles out of the gate are very intriguing to say the least. Fuller is still saying all the right things about the Noles, but the losses, combined with the fact that he’s been looking around for some time now, has to have FSU feeling a little nervous. Sources close to Fuller’s recruitment aren’t feeling strong about UM’s chances right now and Miami is also working to get mom on board with UM, as she has yet to be convinced Fuller will be a fit at Miami. It will be key to get her on campus when Fuller comes on his planned official visit to UM, and whether she shows up with him or not will be very telling. Another interesting development: this is yet another prospect on the board that Alabama has made a move for and Fuller has begun to be personally recruited by Nick Saban.
Evaluation: 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, Miami, Auburn, Michigan, and Bama are McIntosh’s top 5.
Latest: McIntosh has now taken officials to Auburn and Oklahoma, and he will take officials to Michigan (Nov. 3) and Alabama (Nov. 24) as well. Oklahoma is still ahead here, but I’ve heard Auburn is now starting to feel good about their chances with McIntosh as well. UM is still recruiting him hard and Miami’s definitely not out of this yet, as he’s still taking unofficial visits to see the Canes (FSU game). It remains to be seen if he’ll follow through with a future Miami official visit, which would obviously give Miami a huge opportunity to sway him back to the orange and green.
13. Jordan Battle, S, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas) (Last: 11)
Evaluation: 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: The Ohio State commit is considering others like Miami, UF, LSU, and Oklahoma.
Latest: Last month, OSU retained Urban Meyer, and that’s really all that Battle wanted to hear from the beginning; everything else was just static. Miami had a bit of momentum with people around Battle initially, due to how poorly the OSU press conference and investigative report was handled, but I think that’s died out a lot in the past few weeks, as this is 100% Battle’s decision to make. I think he sticks with OSU, with Miami and Oklahoma continuing to push as the most likely options if it’s not the Buckeyes. An encouraging sign was that Battle did visit for Miami-FSU 2 weeks back.
14. Akeem Dent, CB, West Palm Beach, FL (Palm Beach Central) (Last: 15)
Evaluation: Dent is an extremely fluid and athletic corner, but what really sets him apart from the pack is his violent and physical demeanor on the field. Dent is one of those rare corners that is not afraid to lower the wood and take somebody’s head off, as he plays the line of scrimmage very well. He also has an extra gear that makes him seem like he was shot out of a cannon. Dent’s ball skills are off the charts as well. What’s not to love? He’s the complete package.
In The Mix: The FSU commit seems to only be showing interest in Miami and Alabama other than the Noles.
Latest: I still don’t see Dent coming to Miami whatsoever, but he is at least now starting to make visits. Miami certainly has never given up on him, and their persistence paid off in the form of an unofficial visit from Dent in the home opener against Savannah State, as well as a visit for the FSU game. To be honest, that’s farther than I even thought they’d get. What will be more interesting to see will be if Dent returns for a full official visit weekend. Until then, I’d say Alabama has the best shot at him if he were to flip from FSU.
Evaluation: Washington is at his best when he’s on the move and pulling or blocking out in space. He plays with redirect power in his upper body and strikes his target with menace. Looks much more advanced in the run game, while his pass blocking is still improving. Washington needs to redistribute some of the weight in his upper half and he plays a little high, but has good potential to mold.
In The Mix: The Mississippi State commit is taking a look at South Carolina and Miami.
Latest: Miami is in desperate need of offensive tackles, and after Neal, it seems UM is best positioned with Washington. The Pensacola native has been committed to Mississippi State since June, but is starting to look around a bit, taking recent official visits to Miami and South Carolina in addition to the Bulldogs. Washington’s official to Miami for the FSU game weekend went well, but not well enough for UM to pull in front of Mississippi State. The Canes are still chasing the Bulldogs and have work to do here.
14. Kardell Thomas, OG: Thomas planned to be in Miami for UM-FSU but never made the trip. It remains to be seen if his trip will be rescheduled, but it’s not a good sign for UM’s already bleak chances.
bring me 1,2,3,4,5,6,8,9,10
and i'll shut the fuq up..............Anything else is fail
Wish we could get Battle, typical OSU 1st rounder thats how he looks. CLOSE CLOSE CLOSE for once, Im not expecting it but this staff has to close, if they allow Bama to pull Neal Nunn and Tyrique (because thats what bama does close) then that would be a disaster. After the past 2-3 cycles closing hasnt been our strong point so Im not very optimistic here.
Really in need of O-Linemen. All the skill position guys are great - but what we really need is a massive upgrade at the offensive line position - starting with Evan Neal. Dont know much at all about Washington - but get him in here if he is better than Turnstyle St. Louis and Mahoney/Jones.
The boosters have apparently assured the University that they will be heavily involved in funding it. He would get a lump sum $15 million within 30 days of firing. The remaining $16-$17 million is paid out over 4 years. I read a bunch of stuff about this last night. It seems like Malzahn is literally 1 loss away from losing his job
So if they get Neal that excuses all the others? They need alot on that list, I agree Neal is at the top......but they have to close on others to keep them away from who we chasing if not we will still be chasing no matter whos on the OL. Every kid on that list is important and we should close on most. Should.......key word but its unlikely do to evidence of the last 2 cycles........closing isnt there strong suit depending on who they are going up against......if bama and Ugay are involved those are the keys to weakening those teams. Close on home growns or find someone who can........I have given up on this staff but closing (since they wont get canned) is important. Im not expecting much though keeping my expectations low.