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Miami Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Miami Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets

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    Chad Thomas terrorized opposing backfields en route to a state title. He will bolster a below-average defensive line at Miami.
    Chad Thomas terrorized opposing backfields en route to a state title. He will bolster a below-average defensive line at Miami.247Sports

    The Miami Hurricanes' coaching staff is putting together one of the top recruiting classes during the 2014 cycle.

    Headlined by local products, head coach Al Golden is returning the 'Canes' philosophy to what made Miami teams of the past great. 

    Currently, Miami has 20 verbal commitments and six signed prospects. Though the Hurricanes return many important players, Golden and Co. have addressed needs all over the field and added depth at most positions.

    Slides will be updated when pertinent information is released until national signing day, so please check back frequently for the latest news and commitments.

    Notes: All measurements, stats and 40-yard dash times via 247Sports unless otherwise noted. All rankings reflect 247Sports' Composite.

Latest News

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    Brandon Powell was expected to enroll early at Miami; instead, he is headed to Florida.
    Brandon Powell was expected to enroll early at Miami; instead, he is headed to Florida.247Sports

    Update: Shortly after decommitting, much to do with frustration with an ACC rule, JUCO defensive tackle re-committed to the 'Canes.

    Update: Offensive lineman Reilly Gibbons decommitted from Miami and gave his pledge to Stanford, one of the top academic schools in the nation.

    Update: Defensive end commit Chad Thomas was given his fifth star by 247Sports, making him the only Miami pledge with the highest ranking possible.

    Update: Local 3-star defensive back Nigel Bethel tweeted that he decommitted from Miami and flipped to Texas Tech. (1/9/14)

    Update: Zach Abolverdi of The Gainesville Sun broke the news Brandon Powell decommitted from Miami and will enroll at Florida. (1/9/14)

    Update: Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald notes Travonte Valentine and his coach want to have a sit-down with Golden. (1/7/14)

    Update: NOLA.com's Andrew Lopez broke the news 4-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine has decommitted from Miami. (1/4/14)

    Update: Derrick Griffin tells 247Sports (subscription required) that he feels good about getting a qualifying ACT score to enroll at Miami for the spring semester. (1/1/14)

    Update: Brandon Sonnone of the Orlando Sentinel reports Dalvin Cook has committed to Florida State. (12/31/13)

    Update: 247Sports (subscription required) highlights linebacker Gavin Bryant, who the 'Canes are attempting to flip from Tennessee. (12/27/13)

    Update: Rivals (subscription required) caught up with DaeJuan Funderburk, and the safety narrowed his list to West Virginia and "The U." (12/27/13)

    Update: 247Sports (subscription required) notes defensive tackle Calvin Heurtelou has committed to Miami. (12/26/13)

Quarterbacks

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    Targets

    None

     

    Already Committed

    Brad Kaaya—4-star pro-style QB; 6'4", 215 lbs

    2013 Stats: 225-of-362, 2,853 YDS, 27 TD, 6 INT

    Malik Rosier4-star dual-threat QB; 6'2", 205 lbs; 4.64 40-yard time

    2013 Stats: 129-of-230, 1,888 PASS YDS, 15 TD, 4 INT; 1,275 RUSH YDS, 17 TD

     

    Analysis

    Brad Kaaya was an under-the-radar prospect before bursting onto the scene after a noteworthy showing at the Elite 11. Kaaya quarterbacked a pro-style system at Chaminade (CA), so he is already prepared to occasionally play under center at Miami.

    A gifted passer, Kaaya is practically a younger version of Stephen Morris, but he needs to work on his footwork, especially. Kaaya will contend for the starting position upon arrival.

    Though Malik Rosier may not really threaten to see the field until he is a senior, the quarterback from Alabama provides a true dual-threat option.

Running Backs

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    Joe Yearby may play an important role as a reserve next season.
    Joe Yearby may play an important role as a reserve next season.247Sports

    Targets

    Dalvin Cook5-star RB; 5'11", 190 lbs; 4.46

    Committed to Florida State (12/31/13)

    Sony Michel—5-star RB; 5'11", 205 lbs; 4.50

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Georgia (Current pledge to UGA)

     

    Already Committed

    Joseph Yearby—4-star RB; 5'9", 190 lbs; 4.58

    2013 Stats: 177 CAR, 1,700 YDS, 19 TD

     

    Analysis

    Physically, Joseph Yearby is a mirror image of Duke Johnson, but he is definitely not an identical player. Yearby possesses excellent vision and elite shiftiness, quickly cutting past defenders on a dime.

    Yearby suffered a fractured fibula that ended his senior season prematurely, but even as a true freshman, he is a prime candidate to complement Duke.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

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    Braxton Berrios ran a ridiculous 3.81-second shuttle at The Opening.
    Braxton Berrios ran a ridiculous 3.81-second shuttle at The Opening.Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

    Targets

    Travis Rudolph—4-star WR; 6'1", 185 lbs; 4.52

    Committed to Florida State (1/2/14)

    Jojo Robinson—4-star WR; 6'0", 183 lbs; 4.53

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Arkansas, Florida State and South Florida

    Brayden LeniusNon-rated WR; 6'5", 215 lbs

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Utah, Washington State, Minnesota, San Diego State

     

    Already Committed

    Braxton Berrios4-star WR; 5'8'', 170 lbs; 4.52

    2013 Stats: 57 CAR, 536 YDS, 11 TD

    Darrell Langham—3-star WR; 6'5", 190 lbs

    2013 Stats: 20 REC, 326 YDS, 5 TD

    Tyre Brady—3-star WR; 6'3", 187 lbs

    2013 Stats: 39 REC, 600 YDS, 14 TD

    Trayone Gray—3-star WR/ATH; 6'2", 210 lbs

    2013 Stats: 807 PASS YDS, 9 TD, 3 INT; 1,121 RUSH YDS, 11 TD

    Chris Herndon—3-star TE; 6'4", 230 lbs

    2013 Stats: 33 REC, 543 YDS, 6 TD

    David Njoku3-star ATH; 6'4", 220 lbs

    2013 Stats: 40 REC, 981 YDS, 11 TD; 39 CAR, 334 YDS, 6 TD

     

    Analysis

    Braxton Berrios draws the typical comparison to Wes Welker, but he runs crisp routes that routinely shake opposing corners. Of course, with his size, durability will always be a question, as it is with Darrell Langham, who is basically just a lanky end-zone threat at this time.

    Trayone Gray has outstanding burst and straight-line speed, and the 6'4" David Njoku is another excellent addition.

    Chris Herndon provides depth at a tight end position that has struggled to make a consistent impact since 2006.

    The Miami coaching staff is still pursuing a handful of receivers, so Golden is looking for at least one more wideout commit.

Offensive Line

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    Trevor Darling helps make up a very solid offensive line haul.
    Trevor Darling helps make up a very solid offensive line haul.247Sports

    Targets

    None

     

    Already Committed

    Kc McDermott4-star OT; 6'6", 300 lbs

    Trevor Darling—4-star OT; 6'4", 327 lbs

    Nick Linder4-star OG; 6'3", 273 lbs

     

    Analysis

    Kc McDermott projects as a tackle, and a darn good one at that. McDermott, the brother of current center Shane, and Nick Linder, the brother of graduating guard Brandon, are familiar with the program.

    Trevor Darling will move inside to a guard position early on before potentially returning to a tackle spot. Linder rounds out the group, likely transitioning to center.

Defensive Line

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    Travonte Valentine dominated some offensive linemen like they were mere obstacles.
    Travonte Valentine dominated some offensive linemen like they were mere obstacles.247Sports

    Targets

    Travonte Valentine—4-star DT; 6'4"', 315 lbs

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: LSU

    Davon Godchaux—4-star DE; 6'4", 265 lbs

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: LSU

     

    Already Committed

    Chad Thomas—4-star DE; 6'5", 240 lbs; 4.85

    2013 Stats: 72 TACKLES (15 TFL, 8 SACKS)

    Anthony Moten—4-star DT; 6'4", 292 lbs

    Trent Harris—4-star DE; 6'2", 226 lbs

    2013 Stats: 69 TACKLES (14 SACKS)

    Demetrius Jackson—3-star DE, 6'4", 220 lbs

    2013 Stats: 73 TACKLES (14 TFL, 7 SACKS)

    Calvin Heurtelou—3-star DT; 6'3", 304 lbs

    2013 Stats: 59 TACKLES (14 TFL, 4 SACKS), 2 FR

    Michael Wyche—3-star DT; 6'4, 315 lbs

    2013 Stats: 26 TACKLES (5.5 TFL, 4.5 SACKS), 1 INT

    Courtel Jenkins—3-star DT; 6'2", 294 lbs

    2013 Stats: 74 TACKLES (17 TFL, 5 SACKS), 1 FF

     

    Analysis

    The Miami defensive line has been relatively brutal for the past few seasons, and not in a good way. Opposing offensive fronts have had little trouble controlling the line of scrimmage, opening holes for running backs and protecting the quarterback.

    Golden and Co. have clearly recognized this weakness and are addressing it with both quantity and quality.

    From a physical standpoint, high school seniors Chad Thomas and Anthony Moten are ready to play immediately. Junior college commits Calvin Heurtelou, Michael Wyche and Courtel Jenkins are expected to contribute in 2014.

    Thomas has the highest ceiling of the group, and high school teammate Demetrius Jackson has the most room to improve. Jackson played organized football for the first time at Booker T. Washington this past season and had an impressive year.

Linebackers

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    If Denzel Perryman declares for the NFL draft, Darrion Owens will be a key freshman in 2014.
    If Denzel Perryman declares for the NFL draft, Darrion Owens will be a key freshman in 2014.247Sports

    Targets

    Gavin Bryant—4-star ILB; 6'2", 235 lbs; 4.60

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Tennessee (Current pledge to Tenn)

    Antonio Kinard—3-star OLB; 6'3", 220 lbs

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Arizona, Oregon State and USC

     

    Already Committed

    Darrion Owens—3-star OLB; 6'3", 216 lbs; 4.62

    2013 Stats: 59 TACKLES (4 TFL, 2 SACKS), 2 FF, 4 FR, 1 INT

    Juwon Young—3-star OLB; 6'2", 228 lbs; 4.62

    2013 Stats: 118 TACKLES

    Mike Smith—3-star OLB; 6'2", 210 lbs

    Terry McCray—3-star ILB; 6'2", 215 lbs; 4.70

    2013 Stats: 101 TACKLES (19 SACKS)

     

    Analysis

    The 247Sports Composite Rankings ranks all four prospects as 3-star 'backers, but Darrion Owens and Juwon Young definitely possess 4-star talent. By all accounts, both Owens and Young are vicious hitters, something the 'Canes have lacked in recent years.

    Mike Smith is more of an edge rusher, akin to the role Shayon Green occupied for the last two seasons. A project player, Terry McCray will not see the field immediately, save for a special teams role or garbage-time defensive snaps.

    Gavin Bryant would be a significant flip for Golden, but the Miami collective should not hold its breath on the Tennessee commit.

Defensive Backs

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    Targets

    J.C. Jackson—4-star CB/ATH; 5'10", 180 lbs; 4.60

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Florida and Florida State

    DaeJuan Funderburk—3-star S; 6'1", 180 lbs; 4.50

    Biggest Competition for Commitment: Kentucky and West Virginia

     

    Already Committed

    Kiy Hester—4-star S; 6'0", 200 lbs

    2013 Stats: 56 TACKLES (3 TFL, 1 SACK), 5 INT, 1 INT TD, 18 PBU

    Marques Gayot—3-star S; 6'1", 205 lbs

    2013 Stats: 4 INT

    Ryan Mayes—3-star CB; 6'2", 180 lbs; 4.50

     

    Analysis

    Kiy Hester highlights the group, bringing his hard-hitting ability from New Jersey. Marques Gayot is more of a ballhawk, tallying 17 career interceptions in high school.

    Ryan Mayes is a local product from Miami Northwestern, so Golden is re-establishing the pipeline with one of the perennial powerhouses. Mayes needs to add some muscle, though, because FBS receivers will dominate his current frame.

Special Teams

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Targets

    None

     

    Already Committed

    None

     

    Analysis

    Placekicker Matt Goudis will be a junior next season, so the Hurricanes do not have an immediate need there. Punter and first-team All-ACC honoree, Pat O'Donnell, graduates, but Ricky Carroll and Austin Barnard will battle for the job next season.

    Barnard and backup kicker Joshua Bacon were surprise additions last year, so Golden may find another specialist. One name to potentially watch for is Jonathan Semerene, a placekicker from nearby Cypress Bay High School, who has kicked a 70-yard field goal.

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