The fax machines were on fire for The Miami Hurricanes on signing day. Twenty-four signees will officially be Hurricanes in the fall. With this being Mark Richt’s first full year to bring a class, several key positions of need were addressed and there was some recruiting battles that were won, as well as some that were lost.
- Miami started off the season on a four game winning streak, then lost the next four and eventually won the last five. The brutal four game losing streak all were games in which the Hurricanes failed to have a running back rush for over a 100 yards. Injuries to the offensive line attributed to that, so on the recruiting trail the Hurricanes signed five offensive lineman to help with depth. Nevaugh Donaldson, an Under Armour All-American from Miami Central High School, is the most notable of the bunch and Hurricanes Offensive line Coach Stacy Searels expects him to contribute for a starting position with Donaldson already enrolling early to the Coral Gables campus. Aside from Donaldson, Kai-Leon Herbert is another Under Armour All-American from American Heritage High School, in Plantation, Florida and is regarded as “a very athletic tackle prospect. He moves his feet extremely well and he has been coached very well in his pass sets, but he will also stick his face on a linebacker.”
- Junior Quarterback Brad Kayaa decided after the bowl win versus West Virginia to declare early for the NFL Draft, leaving Miami with only one active quarterback on the roster, junior Malik Rosier, who has never thrown a pass within a live college game. Coach Richt, doubling duties as both head coach and the primary play caller, realizes the importance of having a quarterback that can run as well as pass. This led to a great effort to sign two at the position for this class, one of whom is already enrolled at Miami and will be participating in spring football. Cade Weldon, a 6-3 204 lb. quarterback from Tampa, is the son of a former Florida State Heisman runner up Casey Weldon. The irony is that the offensive coordinator at that time was Mark Richt. The other signee is N’Kosi Perry, a 6-4 185 lb. quarterback from Ocala, Florida with a rocket arm and dangerous running ability as well. Perry is rated as the sixth best at his position as well as being ranked #84 within the ESPN 300. Richt has announced that the position is open and there are no clear cut favorites.
- Miami scored big on signing day with two dynamic Wide Receivers in Mike Harley, a 5-9 speedster out of football factory St.Thomas Aquinas, and Jeff Thomas, the Under Armour MVP from East St. Louis, Illinois. With the Hurricanes losing one of it’s most dynamic players in school history, Stacy Coley, a renewed effort was placed on finding that trademark speed that playmakers from Miami are known to possess. With DeeJay Dallas already enrolled early, there will sure to be alot of competition at that position in the fall.
Now no recruiting class is perfect and no coach is going to get every prospect that they recruit, so let’s talk about some areas in which the Miami Hurricanes may have underwhelmed or fell short of expectation.
- The Hurricanes last year had three running backs on the roster that had over 50 carries or more. Only one of those backs, Mark Walton will be returning. For a position that gets hit every play, the staff would like more depth at that position. The Hurricanes lost a recruiting battle to Maryland when Anthony McFarland elected to stay and play in his home state. That left the staff with only one running back committed but reports have indicated that they will still be open to adding running backs to the roster post national signing day .
- Two local defensive backs that the Hurricanes were targeting in Christopher Henderson and Brain Edwards both ended choosing the Gators after being committed to Miami at one point in their recruitment. Although the Canes were able to sign two at the cornerback position, it’s never good to lose to the Gators in anything. Miami was able to get a former Alabama commitment to sign to them on signing day and because of his junior college experience Miami will look for him to be ready to contribute early.
Overall this was a good recruiting class for Mark Richt in his first full year in Miami. They were able to get quality players that have the ability to play immediately and help the Hurricanes return back to its powerhouse status.