Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and David Wilson and the DieHards.com team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read daily notebooks here at 10 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
How Mark Walton’s injury affects Miami’s future RBs
Miami’s recruiting class has a good chance to finish in the top 5 of the 247Sports composite ranking and perhaps no group is stronger than the Hurricanes running backs. With one 5-star running back and another 4-star prospect – both of whom could wind up playing in January All-American games – Miami has prospects who could start early and rejuvenate a mostly thin group of current players on the roster.
After Mark Walton’s season-ending injury was confirmed Monday, the Hurricanes may not need their two incoming potential stars to play an immediate role. Walton projected as a mid-round NFL draft pick before the injury and if his grade is lowered he could be back in Coral Gables, Fla., for his senior year.
Miami was going to be fine even if Walton had a good enough 2017 season to justify entering the 2018 NFL Draft and the Hurricanes will still be fine if Walton decides to go pro anyway.
But if it seems like Walton will stay for his senior year, will it affect Miami’s recruiting efforts at the position?
The short answer is probably not.
While Lorenzo Lingard surely had to love the potential idea of starting as a freshman, it wasn’t a requirement for him. The 5-star running back from University High School in Orange City, Fla., has never wavered from his commitment and still won’t. Besides, he’s just too talented to not find somewhere to play next year. It could be as a home-run hitting reserve to complement backup running back Travis Homer or as a potential weapon in the kick-return game. No matter what, Lingard has a good chance to start by his sophomore year and it’s not like he was guaranteed to start as a freshman if Walton leaves, anyway. Homer should be a more-than-capable starter.
Cam’Ron Davis’ short-term future is a little more murky. The 4-star running back from Miami Carol City Senior High School in Miami Gardens, Fla., isn’t a lock to contribute as a freshman and if Walton stays that likelihood decreases even more. Davis would be behind Walton, Homer and Lingard, and have to carve out a niche, like as a blocking third-down running back, to find consistent playing time. He’d also have to leapfrog freshman running back Robert Burns, a former Under Armour All-American, to sniff the depth chart.
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) October 7, 2017
The one player in the Class of 2018 this could affect is Abraham Alce. The 3-star running back from Immokalee (Fla.) High School has already taken one unofficial visit to Hard Rock Stadium this year and is intriguing partially because of his potential to play fullback. If Walton returns, the Hurricanes will simply have too many talented tailbacks to regularly use a fullback. But Alce probably wasn’t going to contribute as a freshman, anyway. The bigger question there is whether Miami is still willing to justify another running back scholarship if Walton will return.
Of course, these are all good questions for the Hurricanes to have to answer. Walton’s injury exposed Miami’s thinness at running back. That shouldn’t be the case for the foreseeable future.
“It’s going to be a one-two punch,” Davis said of he and Lingard on Friday. “When he busts one, I’m going to bust one right after him. When I bust one, he’s going to bust one right after.”
3-star T John Campbell locks in with Miami
John Campbell has positioned himself as an active recruiter during the relatively brief time he’s been committed to the Hurricanes, so it’s not a surprise he’s fully committed to Miami. On Monday, he confirmed it.
The 3-star tackle from Orlando’s Dr. Phillips High School told 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins he is “locked in” with the Hurricanes.
“I’m just taking visits to take visits,” Campbell said after Dr. Phillips’ 21-14 loss to Apopka (Fla.) High School in Orlando. “I just want to see other places and the other opportunities that I have out there, but right now I’m locked in with UM.”
Campbell is still the most recent addition to Miami’s 2018 class. The senior pledged to the Hurricanes on July 3 and is one of Miami’s most important peer recruiters of 3-star defensive tackle Dennis Briggs. Campbell has expressed optimism in convincing the defensive lineman from Gateway High School in Kissimmee, Fla., to join him.
Briggs was in Tallahassee on Saturday to see the No. 11 Hurricanes beat rival Florida State 24-20.
“It’s like a 99.9876-percent chance that he’ll come,” the tackle told DieHards in August.
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