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.
Miami’s class takes hit with CB Josh Jobe‘s flip to Alabama
Mark Richt has basically been able to do no wrong on the recruiting trail since he arrived at Miami. The Hurricanes pulled together an impressive class on short notice for his first National Signing Day at the helm and enter the early signing period this year with an even-better Top-5 class.
Saturday presented the first major loss on the trail during the coach’s tenure. Josh Jobe, who had been committed since June of 2015, finally flipped his pledge to Alabama during an official visit to Tuscaloosa, Ala. The decision had been a long time coming – the 4-star cornerback suggested he’d listen to other suitors after he transferred to Cheshire (Conn.) Academy from Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School during the summer – and coach Nick Saban finally sealed the deal when Jobe got to see the No. 4 Crimson Tide in person. Jobe won’t even take an official visit to Coral Gables, Fla., to give the No. 11 Hurricanes a chance to flip him back. The 6-foot, 185-pound defensive back plans to sign his national letter of intent with Alabama on Wednesday when the early signing period begins.
I want to thank all coaches from the University of Miami but at this time I have to do what is best for me, my future and my family. I will be signing with the University of Alabama on December 20th. #Rolltide pic.twitter.com/bjzoVk94UM
— JJ (@JoshuaMJobe) December 16, 2017
Jobe’s decision is an undeniable hit to Miami’s still strong Class of 2018. The Hurricanes dropped one spot in the 247Sports composite team rankings to No. 4 and are now down to four 4-star defensive backs with cornerbacks Al Blades Jr., Gilbert Frierson and D.J. Ivey, plus safety Gurvan Hall. Jobe was a perfect fifth piece not only because of his massive potential, but also because of his versatility. His greatest upside is at cornerback, and if it doesn’t work out it’s hard to not see him being at least a great safety because of his combination of size and speed.
It’s a setback for now. Miami does have options, though.
Where does Miami turn to fill new void in secondary?
Finding a replacement for Jobe in the secondary now becomes the Hurricanes’ biggest priority between now and National Signing Day on Feb. 7. Miami already seemed likely to take one more defensive back and finding at least one is more important than ever.
One potential option came off the board Sunday when 3-star safety John Huggins of Mainland High School in Daytona Beach, Fla., verbally committed to Florida. The 6-2, 200-pound senior plans to sign his national letter of intent Wednesday, which means he won’t be visiting Miami in January as he had previously planned.
— John Huggins (@jhuggins_23) December 17, 2017
The top option is and always has been Tyson Campbell. The 5-star cornerback is a teammate of 4-star defensive tackle commit Nesta Silvera’s at American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. The 6-2, 185-pound also played for Hurricanes cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph when Rumph was the coach at American Heritage during Campbell’s freshman and sophomore seasons. While Campbell doesn’t have a date lined up yet for his official visit, Patriots coach Patrick Surtain said Campbell’s looking at visiting alongside Silvera during the final weekend before National Signing Day. Miami also hopes to get Patrick Surtain Jr., Surtain’s son and American Heritage’s other 5-star cornerback, on campus the same weekend, although he’s still a long shot.
With Huggins off the board, the fallback plan becomes Miami Northwestern Senior High School’s Nigel Bethel. The 3-star cornerback, who was briefly committed to the Gators, has already lined up an official visit to see the Hurricanes the same weekend and remains an intriguing prospect because of his speed. The 6-foot, 185-pound athlete is also a star wide receiver for Miami Northwestern Senior and has been clocked as fast as 4.38 second in the 40-yard dash.
The wild card in everything right now is Asante Samuel Jr., Blades’ teammate at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The 4-star cornerback is committed to Florida State and is considering signing with the Seminoles early after taking his official visit to Tallahassee, Fla., last weekend. If he waits, the Hurricanes will make a late push to bring him in for an official visit, although the 5-10, 166-pound senior was extremely complimentary of Florida State coach Willie Taggart to Rivals’ Michael Langston and Ira Schofell after his visit.
“He’s a great guy,” Samuel said. “He’s real in everything you see. Felt real comfortable with him and all the players. … I saw a lot of players really buying into everything Coach Taggart is saying. It’s changing for the better. This a big visit and impact visit for me.”
Miami solidifies most of class with big official visit weekend
The loss of Jobe was the last thing on the mind of everyone visiting Miami last weekend, however, and it was a huge group in attendance. Eighteen of the Hurricanes’ 20 scholarship commits made their way to the Miami metropolitan area to take their official visits and at least a couple of recruits solidified their decisions to sign early during the trip.
Brevin Jordan told DieHards on Sunday he’ll join fellow 4-star tight end Will Mallory, who also took his official visit last weekend, by signing his national letter of intent Wednesday. Neither, however, are able to early enroll.
“I know I’m going to Miami,” Jordan said. “The main reason I wasn’t going to sign is because I didn’t think my high school was doing a ceremony, but now they are. Why not get it out of the way.”
Cam’Ron Davis, a 4-star running back, also tweeted he plans to sign Wednesday. He spent most of his weekend with 5-star running back Lorenzo Lingard and 3-star fullback Realus George, and all three got a chance to meet former Hurricanes running back Frank Gore.
Signing Day Next Week pic.twitter.com/5bsmwdw3Px
— Camron Davis (@polo_man_cam) December 16, 2017
Two others who visited last weekend have said they’re now considering bringing an end to their recruitments this week. Blades told DieHards on Sunday he hasn’t decided yet whether he’ll join Hall, Frierson and Ivey – all of whom were also visiting – as early signees from the secondary.
“I’m not sure yet,” Blades said. “It may be next week.”
Cleveland Reed, a 4-star guard, said the same to 247Sports’ Andrew Ivins. He would join 4-star guard Delone Scaife and 3-star tackle, both of whom visited last weekend, as early signees on the offensive line.
Every other player who visited over the weekend plans to sign early. The list: 4-star wide receiver Mark Pope, 4-star WR Brian Hightower, 3-star Daquris Wiggins, 3-star weakside defensive end Gregory Rousseau, 3-star weakside DE Patrick Joyner and 3-star kicker Bubba Baxa. Jarren Williams, a 4-star dual-threat quarterback who took his official visit in November, will also sign early. Silvera was the only other player not to visit and he will wait until February to sign.
Clay James, an unranked long snapper, also visited last weekend, but can’t sign because he will be a preferred walk-on.
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