The Miami Hurricanes have an immense recruiting weekend on tap in the midst of a pivotal month that could shape their 2022 recruiting class, which only has two commitments so far.
With double-digit high-priority targets coming to Coral Gables, the impression UM makes on these top prospects could go a long way in determining whether the Hurricanes end up with a class full of their first choices or backup plans.
While Miami’s class remains at two commitments — four-star quarterback Jacurri Brown from Georgia and three-star wide receiver Quan Lee out of Gainesville — that’s not to say the Hurricanes haven’t been building momentum with high-end recruiting targets.
As soon as the doors were kicked down on the NCAA recruiting dead period, which was lifted June 1, the Hurricanes got to work on bringing prospects to campus. First, it was a pair of separate cookouts they held each of the first two days in-person contact and campus visits opened up — one for the rising high school senior class and the other for underclassmen. They parlayed that into a key official visit weekend that followed, which now leads them into an even bigger weekend.
“It’s been incredible for everybody,” Miami director of player personnel Andy Vaughn told WQAM 560-AM on Wednesday. “The events we had last week, especially those two on Tuesday and Wednesday, it was just incredible. It was kind of like a family event, a family reunion where you haven’t seen somebody in a couple of years. It’s the same sense of excitement, I think, from our staff, from the recruits and the families just to be able to get away from the computer screen for a while and actually have something tangible.”
The Miami recruiting staff had to finalize its 2021 recruiting class and build early inroads with future classes largely through electronic communication, like Zoom web conferencing.
“You can build a relationship through those Zoom calls, but you still miss a lot,” Vaughn said. “It’s hard to get a sense of who somebody really is, sometimes, from that.”
The Hurricanes have been able to make progress with five-star defensive end Shemar Stewart from Miami Monsignor Pace. After he attended the cookout on June 1 and then took an unofficial visit to LSU, where early predictions had him going, two “crystal ball” predictions by 247 Sports analysts flipped to UM.
Five-star defensive tackle Bear Alexander, from Fort Worth, Texas, is visiting Miami’s campus over the weekend. He announced his plans minutes after announcing a de-commitment from Georgia earlier in the week.
Keeping the five-star theme going, IMG Academy safety Kamari Wilson was in Coral Gables this week, posing for pictures with Miami’s Turnover Chains at team facilities.
Broward County prospects have also been to UM of late. Four-star defensive end Nyjalik Kelly from Dillard, a former Florida State commit, was there back-to-back days on Wednesday and Thursday, according to 247 Sports — Thursday for a workout. St. Thomas Aquinas tight end Mason Taylor, the son of Miami Dolphins Hall of Fame edge rusher Jason Taylor, was there for a workout on Tuesday. Four-star American Heritage cornerback Jacolby Spells is set to be part of the huge visit weekend that starts Friday.
The slate of visitors also includes the Hurricanes’ two commitments in Brown and Lee, which could go a long way in helping get prospects contemplating a move to UM get on board. Both appear enthusiastic about helping recruit others to join them in the class.
Isaiah Bond, a wide receiver from Buford, Ga., who plays 7-on-7 with Brown and is committed to Florida, is coming back to Miami after taking an independent visit once with Brown while there was still a recruiting lockdown. Another interesting name is four-star linebacker Justin Medlock, who hails from Manvel High in Texas, the same school that quarterback D’Eriq King attended.
“Some of these guys have been here before the pandemic, and so they’ve seen it and it’s just getting back familiar with them and their family, seeing some of the new things that we have, actually meeting some of the new staff in person,” Vaughn said. “Other guys are out of state that have never been here before, so it gives them a baseline of what to expect from the staff and the facilities and Coral Gables.”
The recruiting doesn’t stop at football. The nation’s top-ranked basketball recruit, Jalen Duren from Montverde Academy near Jacksonville, is slated to visit UM, according to Rivals’ CaneSport.com, with Kentucky and Memphis his other two visits set.