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 his daily notebooks here at 6:30 p.m. ET from Sunday through Thursday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
QB Michael Johnson Jr. planning Miami visit soon
Jon Richt spent December and January racking up more frequent-flyer miles than probably any other member of Miami’s coaching staff. At least six times, as Michael Johnson Jr. recalls, the quarterbacks coach made the long trip from Coral Gables, Fla., to Eugene, Ore., to meet with the 4-star dual-threat quarterback.
It quickly became clear Johnson is atop the Hurricanes’ quarterbacks board for the Class of 2019 despite living just about as far from campus as is possible in the contiguous United States. He never could have thought Miami would crack his top group, mostly because he assumed the Hurricanes would never recruit him like this.
“I never thought that they would spend this much time on a guy that’s so far away and the fact that they do that just makes it so much better,” Johnson told DieHards on Saturday. “It just shows how much they actually want me to be a Hurricane and I notice that.
“It’s one thing to say that they really want a guy, but actions speak louder than words and that was a really, really strong way of them showing that really I’m high on their list.”
Johnson will reward Miami with an unofficial visit later this month. The rising senior will make his way to South Florida during Sheldon High School’s spring break, which begins Saturday. He’ll begin his week off by visiting Alabama, then Mississippi. He’ll then wrap up his break by visiting the Hurricanes on March 28 and 29.
RELATED: 2019 Miami recruiting big board
A common thread with the schools he plans to visit is the style of offense. Johnson hopes to prove himself as a complete passer this offseason — and he’s started well by winning quarterbacks MVP at the Rivals 3 Stripe Camp in Hayward, Calif., last Sunday — but the 247Sports composite rankings consider him the nation’s No. 4 dual-threat prospect. Miami, like Ole Miss and the Crimson Tide, wants its quarterback to be a thrower first, while mixing in some read-option looks.
— Rivals Camp Series (@RivalsCamp) March 11, 2018
A pro-style system, Johnson feels, would let him showcase all his abilities.
“I think I can throw the ball a lot better than some people may think. I think I have good footwork and I can throw the ball really well with like some of the pro-style quarterbacks, and I think the Rivals camp was one of my ways at just proving that,” said Johnson, who also has played some free safety. “Every chance I get, I’m trying to show that I can throw the ball with anybody.”
In addition to Alabama and the Rebels, Oregon and Florida State, which just offered March 2, could be major challengers to the Hurricanes.
The Ducks, understandably, have long been viewed as the favorite because Michael Johnson, the prospect’s father, is Oregon’s wide receivers coach. Johnson Jr. insists his father isn’t playing much of a role, though. The assistant coach is letting the rest of the Ducks staff make their pitch.
“He doesn’t recruit me at all. He’s just pretty good about sitting back and being dad, doing pretty much nothing,” the 6-foot-4, 195-pound athlete said. “The rest of the coaching staff recruits me at Oregon pretty hard, and he just sits back and lets them do their thing.”
Top 2020 WR commits visit Miami on Saturday
Florida managed to get the top-ranked member of Miami’s Class of 2020 to campus Friday when Leonard Manuel, a 4-star wide receiver in the 247Sports.com rankings, made his way to Gainesville, Fla.
A day later, the Hurricanes got him back in their orbit. The rising junior from Vanguard High School in Ocala, Fla., made his way to the Miami metropolitan area for his first visit since committing to the Hurricanes in November.
— LM||| (@Begreatliltone2) March 17, 2018
Manuel wasn’t the only 2020 visitor on campus Saturday. Wide receiver is the strength of Miami’s 2020 class, and the Hurricanes’ two best visited the same day.
Marc Britt, a 4-star athlete in the 247Sports rankings, made the quick trip to campus with his family. The rising junior from Champagnat Catholic School in Hialeah, Fla., committed to the hometown team in December.
— jazz (@jsbjazzydiva) March 17, 2018
Manuel and Britt are shaping up to be two of the most coveted prospects from Florida in the 2020 cycle. The in-state schools will fight Miami to the very end.
Manuel, who also has played some defensive end, checks in around 6-5, 200 pounds. He has now visited all three of the state’s Power 5 schools since the start of February. Britt, who plays both wide receiver and free safety, recently added an offer from the Gators. The 6-2, 180-pound prospect is firm in his pledge.
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