Dillard linebacker and 2017 UM commit Tyler Dunning did an exclusive video interview with the Miami Herald at the UM 7-on-7 last Sunday.
Since it's hard to hear with all the blaring music, here are some of his quotes.
Why did you decide to commit to UM when you did?
"I felt it was a good opportunity to come here and it was already close to home," Dunning says. "I like everything about the school. I like the vibe, I like everything."
Dunning says he's even trying to recruit his teammates on a talented Dillard defense -- most notably 2017 defensive end Jon Ford, who has a Miami offer and 2016 defensive tackle Aaron Thompson and linebacker Kenneth Ruff, who are waiting on UM offers.
"I tell them all the time that if they come we're going to bring the U back, there isn't any point in leaving," Dunning says.
Dunning adds Ruff is considering South Carolina and Thompson LSU, but "if Miami offers, they're going to come."
He says other schools coming on strong are FAU, FIU, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina but adds "I'm all Cane right now. My decision isn't changing right now."
Fort Lauderdale linebacker Dallas Jeanty has always said all he needs is a football scholarship offer from the University of Miami and he's a Hurricane.
Jeanty, the 6-0, 218-pound three-star with an incredible backstory, has been waiting on the offer from his dream school for some time now and was hopeful it may come at the 7-on-7 tournament UM hosted on Sunday.
By Jeanty's estimation, he "balled out" and the coaches witnessed his performance and spoke with him Sunday, but he still left Coral Gables with no offer.
"I don't even know if I'll commit on the spot anymore just with the way the whole recruiting process is going," Jeanty said Tuesday after watching Miami bump its commitment total to 24 in the Class of 2016 with two more players committing in Clewiston wide receiver Reginald Henderson and Maryland defensive end Izon Pulley -- Henderson which hasn't played football in two years because of academic issues. "I don't know what's going on.
"They know enough about me now. They've seen practice in person multiple times -- told me they loved what they saw -- they've seen me practice at the tournament, they've seen me go through drills, they know my potential, know I have academics (3.9 GPA and 1920 SAT). I'm the type of kid that not only am I going to bring up the team GPA, but I'll still be a hell of a player."
With 36 offers, Jeanty has been making it clear to other schools that if he gets the Miami offer he covets, he would wrap up his recruitment.
With how long it's taking UM to offer, the pitch he's now hearing from other schools has turned into: "This is a school that obviously doesn't believe in you and we certainly do. Why are you wasting your time?"
Telly Lockette, former Miami Central head coach who is now running backs coach at Oregon State, is telling him they'll stop recruiting linebackers if he commits and that he's all they need at the position.
Hearing that has Jeanty opening up to Oregon State a little more, and Michigan has told him the Wolverines want three or four linebackers in their class and want him to be one of them.
What has Jeanty loving Miami so much?
"Miami feels at home. It just feels at home there," Jeanty says. "You know how you don't want to do certain things when you're out in public, but when you come in, you open your room, you sit down and you're like, 'OK, I'm cool; I'm home.' That's how I feel when I'm on campus."
While he doesn't hold the offer he wants, progress has been made with the Canes' level of interest. On Monday he was followed on Twitter by several coaches. They weren't previously following him despite showing him interest.
He certainly has the right attitude you would want out of a freshman coming in.
"I go in there and I'm taking somebody's spot. I don't care," Jeanty says. "Who else is committed -- that's none of my business. If they want to go up and compete against me, that's all well and good and I hope they enjoy being my backup."
Several fans have jumped on Jeanty's bandwagon hoping he gets his UM offer. There was fan page created on Twitter: @DallasToMiami with the title "We Want Jeanty."
Trevon Grimes, a five-star receiver in the Class of 2017 from St. Thomas Aquinas, has listed Ohio State as his front runner but is opening up to possibly coming to UM, which wasn’t the case previously.
“I’m actually feeling them a lot. I like the atmosphere of the school. I like the coaches – Kevin Beard,” says Grimes, who stands at 6-2 and is teammates at Aquinas with committed 2016 four-star receiver Sam Bruce. “One thing I really like about UM is that they produce receivers. They mold receivers – Phillip Dorsett came from St. Thomas. I definitely feel like I can fit in at UM.”
Grimes participated in the 7-on-7 tournament at UM on Sunday and came away impressed.
“Time will tell what happens between me and them, but I’m definitely looking to pursue them,” Grimes says. “More so than previously. I’ve been talking to Bruce. They have a little bit to prove this year, this upcoming season, but I’m definitely going to give them a shot and see what happens.”
He says seeing what they prove this season doesn’t mean he needs to see a certain number of wins, but he’s more so looking to note how the offense runs and the team gels.
“Just how they play as a team – do they use their receivers? Are they using their receivers more? Are they going to run the ball more?” he lists as things he looks for. “Everybody doesn’t win [all their] games or go undefeated. I don’t have any crazy expectations for them like that, but it would be a really big plus if they did have a winning season.”
Sunday marked the first time UM was able to host such a major 7-on-7 tournament that involved 12 fields holding games at once with more than 900 athletes from 48 high schools.
“It proves a lot that they’re building their facilities, they’re trying to expand it and I feel like they are taking the steps to build their program back up,” Grimes says.
Grimes is originally from Indianapolis. He has his parents living with him in South Florida but the rest of his family still lives in Indiana – that’s where his allegiance with a Midwest school like Ohio State comes from.
“I’ve lived up there and I grew up watching Ohio State, so it’s kind of a plus for Ohio State,” he says.
Hall-of-Famer Cris Carter’s allegiance to both St. Thomas Aquinas and Ohio State may have something to do with it too.
Grimes still has a long way to go before Signing Day 2017, but the Canes are taking steps in the right direction in the recruitment of a top local talent.
It finally puts UM on par with other elite college football programs when it comes to recruiting.
Having all the facilities and resources at its disposal for the first time, the University of Miami hosted the Adidas South Florida Shootout, a 7-on-7 tournament that brought together more than 900 athletes from 48 different high schools.
The Canes had games going on the Cobb Stadium soccer field, Greentree Practice Fields and the intramural fields for a total of 12 fields holding games at once.
Several UM recruits and commitments were in attendance, and all of UM's future plans, including the new Adidas uniforms and the Sun Life Stadium renovations, were pitched, as pictured below.
Current UM players, along with the coaches, were active in the effort of hosting it for the program. Quarterback Brad Kaaya was seen talking to several offensive recruits and giving them pointers.
The multi-talented Chad Thomas, a rising sophomore defensive end who was once a five-star recruit out of Booker T. Washington, was on the turntables as the DJ for the festivities.
Here's a sight Canes fans could get used to seeing -- 2016 commit and four-star stud receiver from St. Thomas Aquinas Sam Bruce on Greentree Practice Fields.
St. Thomas 2017 five-star wide receiver Trevon Grimes has previously mentioned Ohio State as a leader in his recruitment, but he says talks with Bruce and the atmosphere of the 7-on-7 have him strongly considering Miami now.
The 6-2 standout was stellar in the action I saw. He made resistance from opposing corners appear futile, as seen in this video captured by Alejandro Narciso, snagging a ball over a Jackson defender in the end zone.
A video posted by @ale_narciso_canes on May 31, 2015 at 8:15am PDT
Gulliver has four players currently committed to the Canes. 2017 running back commit Robert Burns was absent, but here are the three 2016 commits -- from left to right: DE Joseph Jackson, ATH Cedrick Wright and WR Dionte Mullins.
Four-star middle linebacker commit Shaquille Quarterman didn't have his Orange Park Oakleaf team in the tournament, but decided to make the five-hour drive anyway to check out the action. He told me his commitment is very solid.
Another LB commit but in the Class of 2017, Tyler Dunning, reaffirmed his commitment is very strong and he is trying to recruit his teammates on an elite Dillard defense. 2017 DE Jon Ford has an offer and 2016 DT Aaron Thompson is waiting on one but receiving interest from the Canes.
It doesn't stop at 2017. Even younger recruits were present, including Thomas Burns, a cornerback out of Miami Northwestern who is one of four commits in the Canes' Class of 2018 and current UM CB Artie Burns' brother.
Former UM and Marlins catcher Charles Johnson was back on his old stomping grounds watching his son Brandon, a three-star recruit out of Plantation American Heritage. CJ told me he also planned to check out the baseball team's regional final at 7 p.m. at Mark Light Field.
Brandon Johnson has a UM offer, but Charles told me he hasn't been recruited all that actively by UM coaches as of late. CJ also said he definitely wants his son to end up at his alma mater.
In the end, Coconut Creek won the championship game 21-14 over Flanagan. Here are the #CreekBoyz holding up the trophy. Congrats to coach Kareem Reid and wide receiver Binjimen Victor, who appeared to get hurt in the final but re-entered the game for the finish.
Those are my pictures on a bunch of people throwing up the U and all the tremendous setups put together by the Hurricane coaches, as well as staff members Josh Darrow, Eric Josephs and Brooke Wilson, among others.
Friday night's baseball meeting between the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers at the Coral Gables Regional, the two school's first meeting since 2008, featured 29 players that played high school ball in either Miami-Dade or Broward County. Fifteen of them play for the Canes, 14 for the Panthers.
Plantation American Heritage 2017 cornerback Marco Wilson has already made one incredible catch this spring that went viral -- a one-hander while doing a backflip on the run in the end zone.
On Thursday he was right back at it with a 540 behind-the-back catch in response to another video that began circulating around the Internet of a player catching two balls one-handed while performing a backflip.
Here's a Vine of the catch that Wilson was responding to. The player in the video is North Carolina A&T running back Tarik Cohen.
While impressive, Cohen is standing still and not on the move like Wilson is in both of his catches. It also appears like the balls coming at Cohen came off a Juggs machine, so he knows exactly where they're going to end up.
Wilson already lists several major Division I offers and is the brother of current Florida Gator Quincy Wilson.
What catch do you think takes this battle: Wilson's 540? Cohen's double one-handed backflip? Or Wilson's original backflip catch?
**UPDATE: Thieman added an FIU offer Thursday evening, bringing his total up to 17.**
Try cracking the rotation at wide receiver at St. Thomas Aquinas when ahead of you are studs like Class of 2015 three-star Jawuan Harris (Rutgers signee), 2015 four-star Devante Peete (Louisville signee), 2016 four-star Sam Bruce (UM oral commit) and 2017 five-star Trevon Grimes.
That's the obstacle that 2016 wide receiver Dominic Thieman was hit with to try to earn playing time and show what he's capable of. His junior season resulted in just one catch for 17 yards -- the only catch of his high school career.
But now with Harris and Peete headed to college, the 6-2 Thieman, a two-star prospect right now, is in the top-three mix at St. Thomas with the highly-recruited Bruce and Grimes.
"All I needed was an oppurtunity last year," says Thieman, who has been with Aquinas since his freshman year. "It didn't come, but this year I knew I'd get my chance and I capitalized on it."
He's been a spark plug for the Raiders offense in practices and scrimmages and college coaches have noticed. With offers from Cincinnati and UCF coming in on Thursday, Thieman upped his list to 16 total offers - a list that also includes the likes of Illinois, FAU, Army, Ohio, Miami (OH), Southern Miss and New Mexico.
"I bring a big frame, great hands and the ability to get in and out of cuts quick for a tall wide receiver," Thieman says of his skill set. "I'm hard-working and can pick things up fast, fearless when it comes to going across the middle and explosive off the line."
Thieman says he currently has no top with how quickly offers have been swarming -- all within the past couple of weeks -- but if everything goes as planned, he hopes to make a decision by the end of the summer.
**I also wrote a story for the paper on both the St. Thomas Aquinas and Flanagan scrimmages. Click here.**
Now for some additional notes from the Flanagan scrimmage…
The Falcons hosted several coaches from the likes of UM, Virginia Tech, Georgia and Middle Tennessee and put their athletes on display for the coaches with various 11-on-11 scenarios and then split into one-on-one drills. Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was also present.
Four-star inside linebacker Devin Bush Jr. (pictured to the left doing the Dirty Bird) certainly has the ideal combination of size and athleticism to excel at the next level.
Another asset he possesses, but that you can’t see on film and need to catch him live to witness is his leadership. He’s the unquestioned quarterback of that defense, leads the stretches and you can just tell when he talks others listen.
Both linebacker/safety Devin Gil (hand) and cornerback Stanford Samuels (knee) were held out of the scrimmage, but when they return for the Falcons, the Dirty Birds defense is going to be something to watch.
Samuels, a 2017 four-star uncommitted recruit, currently lists a top five of Florida State, Georgia, LSU, South Carolina and Alabama.
Here’s everything Samuels, who is the son of the former FSU cornerback that went by the same name, told me in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald:
Gil, a senior three-star UM commit, had Miami defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio and linebackers coach Hurlie Brown attend the scrimmage.
“It’s great. I like to see them around. I’ll be seeing them in the future, but it’s nice to see that they’re still interested, still coming down and showing love.”
Gil says his commitment to the Canes stands firm, and right now the other schools still pursuing him are Michigan, Louisville and UCF. He’ll visit the Wolverines in June.
Gil says he grew up a Hurricane fan, especially a fan of Ed Reed and Sean Taylor.
Bush Jr., although he’s heavily linked to FSU because father and Flanagan coach Devin Bush played for the Seminoles, he’s hearing it from Gil every day trying to get Bush Jr. on board with the Canes.
“That’s my brother, so wherever he goes, I’m going to be happy with it,” Gil says. “As long as he thinks it’s a great fit for him, I think it’s a great fit for him.”
If they end up at rival schools?
“I might have to hit him every play then.”
But they’ll both be playing defense…
“I’ll ask Coach to go on offense.”
--Quarterback transfer from Champagnat Kato Nelson did what we’re used to seeing out of him in big games with Champagnat, except in a different uniform. Nelson was poised in the pocket, delivered passes with precision and proved mobile when necessary.
--I came away impressed with 2017 wide receiver Clevan Thomas in one-on-one drills. He was professional in his route-running and cuts, exhibited a burst of acceleration to get open and displayed sure hands.
--2017 athlete Faion Hicks can develop into a really good cover corner. He was blanketing receivers in one-on-one coverage.
--Rising senior Tyler Goetz is listed as a linebacker on certain sites, but he played fullback and tight end in 11-on-11 and gave Nelson a big target with the ability to get open, especially over the middle and in the red zone.
--Lastly, 2017 offensive tackle Jamar Lambert is HUGE (6-3, 350). Interest and offers have to start coming in for this kid with ideal size once he hones in on his technique.