Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation. 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 from Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
Pair of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., OLBs set return visit
Miami may not have to look too far to reload its linebackers corps if its three starters leave after this season. Two of the nation’s best outside linebackers play just a county away at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and the blue-chip tandem has visited the Hurricanes a handful of times during the last few months, as recently as January.
The duo will be back in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday for what is shaping up to be a major unofficial visit weekend early during the 2019 recruiting cycle. Anthony Solomon and Jahmar Brown, both considered 4-star prospects by 247Sports.com, will be in attendance at the Watsco Center this weekend when the Miami men’s basketball team hosts Syracuse. It will be the second trip to Watsco for the linebackers since the start of 2018. Both juniors watched the Hurricanes fall to then-No. 12 Duke on Jan. 15.
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Andrew Ivins of 247Sports reports Jaden Davis will also join his two St. Thomas Aquinas teammates at the game. The 4-star cornerback also attended the loss to the Blue Devils and made a trip to Miami Gardens, Fla., on Dec. 30 for the Hurricanes’ Orange Bowl loss to Wisconsin.
While Miami is in an uphill battle against Michigan for Solomon, who is also a 4-star prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings, the Hurricanes are the early favorite for Brown. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound linebacker is unranked in the 247Sports composite, but is poised for a breakout senior year. As a part-time player for the Raiders as a junior, Brown recorded 30 tackles and 2 sacks. With Solomon on track to start on the strongside once again in 2018, Brown should be able to slide in opposite him on the weakside, which is where he says Miami also envisions him playing.
“They see me playing the ‘Will’ linebacker spot more than likely,” Brown told DieHards. “I can wind up playing the ‘Mike’ linebacker spot if I wind up gaining like 45 pounds, but I don’t see myself playing ‘Mike’ linebacker at 240-245.”
Despite a relatively low profile in terms of rankings, Brown doesn’t lack for offers. The prospect holds 21 offers, including added interest from Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Stanford since the start of the new year. The Gamecocks, who offered on Jan. 4, are one of the out-of-state suitors Brown is looking to visit.
For now, though, the Hurricanes are pushing harder than anyone else with the pitch of immediate playing time. Brown, who is strong and physical enough to play a middle linebacker’s role in some 3-4 defenses, is an ideal fit on the outside of Miami’s 4-3 defense. For St. Thomas Aquinas, outside linebackers spend most of their time in coverage, which means Brown will be tested in a variety of roles before college.
“They want me to come in and help them rebuild at the linebacker position because nine times out of 10, the linebackers they currently have are going to the league after this year,” Brown said. “They were telling me since last year they weren’t going to offer a crazy number of linebackers, but they were going to offer a good crop of linebackers that can fill their needs at the position.”
Jacksonville area prospects head to South Florida
Interest has picked up a bit for Kenny Logan since he received his initial Power 5 Conference offer from the Hurricanes in January. Purdue and Minnesota followed up by the end of the month. Boston College joined the fray a few days later. Even Alabama sent some coaches by Pedro Menendez High School in St. Augustine, Fla., to check in with the unranked athlete.
The 6-1, 170-pound junior will kick off a major run of visits Friday with a trip to the Miami metropolitan area smack in the middle of it. Logan, who projects best as a free safety, plans to visit Central Florida on Friday. He’ll then head down to watch the Hurricanes play the Orange on Saturday. On March 3, Logan plans to head out of state for an unofficial visit with Clemson.
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Logan, who could also play running back or wide receiver, told DieHards after he received his Miami offer the early interest would keep the Hurricanes in the thick of his recruitment.
“Miami, with them pulling the card first,” Logan said, “really showed me a lot.”
Miami will also use Saturday as an opportunity to get more face time with one of Florida’s most coveted prospects. Jeremiah Payton, who DieHards pegged No. 7 in its initial 2019 state rankings, will make his first trip to South Florida this winter. The 4-star wide receiver previously planned to visit for the Duke game before a conflict arose.
The Hurricanes are doing a better job than anyone of recruiting the 6-3, 187-pound pass catcher from Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach, Fla. Tight ends coach Todd Hartley visited the junior a number of times throughout the winter. He even brought coach Mark Richt to one of Payton’s basketball games Jan. 12.
Still, Payton doesn’t see himself committing to Miami anytime soon.
“It’s a possibility,” Payton told Matt Shodell of Rivals.com, “but I think I’ll wait.”
Miami prepares to host pair of 5-star running backs
The Hurricanes aren’t desperate for elite running backs in the Class of 2019 like they were in 2018. It doesn’t mean they’re going to let the Sunshine State’s — and, arguably, the country’s — best slip away without a fight. Miami’s impressive list of Saturday visitors will include 5-star running backs Trey Sanders and Noah Cain, according to Ivins. This will mark the first visits for both since the spring.
Both halfbacks are currently playing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where the Hurricanes have built a strong foothold during recent seasons. Miami signed 4-star wide receiver Brian Hightower this past cycle, and already holds a pair of commitments from Class of 2020 prospects at IMG. A national schedule for the Ascenders, however, means visits during the season can be difficult. Two of the nation’s top-3 tailbacks are just getting back to visits. Sanders, who de-committed from Alabama during January, only visited Florida during the fall, and Cain only visited Oklahoma. Both have visited the Hurricanes during the last year.
Both Sanders and Cain spoke about Miami ahead of the Future 50 combine at the Under Armour All-America Game in January with varying levels of enthusiasm. Cain, who hails from Louisiana, said communication with the Hurricanes died off before ramping up during the winter. The Hurricanes are back in the mix with powerhouses like LSU, Mississippi, Ohio State, Nebraska, Texas and the Sooners. He plans to announce a top 5 sometime this summer. The Buckeyes are probably the only lock to make the cut. Miami is still in good position.
“I knew they were going to be at this point right now — I had a good feeling about it when I went up there in the spring and last fall when I saw them play Florida State,” Cain told DieHards. “I just told them I know the program’s going to be back where it’s supposed to be at. Looking at them now, I spoke it into existence.”
As for Sanders, the Hurricanes weren’t quite as connected to the 6-1, 220-pound junior because of his commitment to the Crimson Tide. Running backs coach Thomas Brown, however, was the first to reach out to Sanders after he backed off from his Alabama commitment. It helped Miami land another visit from the Port St. Joe, Fla., native.
“They were the first to contact me,” Sanders said. “He just wants to get me on campus and talk to me.”
This weekend will provide the chance.
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