By DAVID FURONES
and RUSSELL QUINOA
Miami Jackson quarterback and three-star athlete Desmond Phillips, a Toledo commit, received a Miami offer in mid-October and Saturday was in attendance to watch the Hurricanes' 27-21 win over Virginia.
Phillips spoke exclusively with the Miami Herald after he wrapped up his high school career Friday night in a loss to Northwestern in the Soul Bowl.
"It made me proud," Phillips said of receiving the UM offer. "It made my family open their eyes more. Now it's up to a decision on what I want to do."
Phillips has played quarterback throughout his high school career with the Generals but is being recruited as a slot receiver -- both by the Canes and by Toledo.
UM wide receivers coach Kevin Beard has gotten a chance to see Phillips at receiver at camps.
"He's a great coach," Phillips said. "When I went to their camp and he coached me up when I was at receiver, he told me a lot about what I need to know. He's a great guy."
Phillips is a versatile athlete and his skill set will transition well to the collegiate level at receiver.
"Next level I feel like I could bring a lot to any team I go to -- my speed, my talent," Phillips says. "Everything I have, I can just add to a team."
*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jon Ford has also been receiving interest from UM, as well as Alabama, Syracuse and South Carolina. Ford plans to visit FSU, UM and Alabama this summer. He has stayed in contact with Alabama coach Mario Cristobal throughout the season.
"I love the program and hope they consider me to play there," says the 6-5, 265-pound Ford of UM.
*Three-star 2017 Dillard defensive end Jordan Wright is being heavily recruited by North Carolina. Wright (6-5, 220) has also received interest from UM, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.
*Three-star Dillard defensive tackle Aaron Thompson has received more than 30 offers. Thompson's current top three is Virginia, South Carolina and Pitt.
Thompson (6-4, 260) on why Virginia is his favorite: "They're the truth."
UM defensive line coach Randy Melvin passed by Dillard recently when the Panthers played host to Plantation.
*Two-star Dillard 2017 wide receiver Jordan Merrell has 11 offers so far into his junior season. Merrell's top three is Cincinnati, Marshall and Michigan.
Merrell, who had 16 receptions for 185 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Plantation earlier this season, plans to do a college tour this summer to visit potential schools. Some of the destinations will include Cincinnati, TCU and Baylor.
"They know how to throw the ball," says the 5-10, 180-pound receiver on why the Bearcats are his favorite.
*Three star Dillard linebacker and Virginia commit Kenneth Ruff has received 25 offers. Ruff plans to stay committed to Virginia but has plans to take a visit to Illinois in December after the season. Ruff (6-2, 235) also strongly considered South Carolina and North Carolina before committing to Virginia.
*Two-star Dillard receiver James Jackson currently has two standing offers from Youngstown and Kent State.
"I really like Youngstown. There's a lot of tradition," Jackson says.
Jackson unofficially visited Youngstown this summer and plans to visit Kent State after the season. The 6-4, 190-pound prospect has also received interest from Virginia and Pitt.
*Three-star Dillard receiver Demetrius White (6-3, 200) has nine offers so far. White's top three includes Toledo, Kent State and Marshall. White has scheduled an official visit with Toledo on Jan. 19.
*Unranked Dillard linebacker McKinley Williams III is being courted by Middle Tennessee. Williams has received preliminary interest from Iowa, Pitt and Mississippi State. Williams (6-5, 260) plans to visit Iowa in December.
*Unranked Dillard linebacker Torian Williams is currently weighing offers from Alcorn State and Monmouth University. Rutgers is also showing interest and Williams (6-3, 220) plans to visit the Scarlet Knights in December.
*Unranked Blanche Ely tight end Leonard Warren's top three includes Ohio, Cincinnati and Florida. Warren currently has no visits in the near future. Warren (6-4, 225) has current plans to wait until after National Signing Day to commit.
"I really liked Ohio's atmosphere, very welcoming," Warren says.
*Two-star ranked Blanche Ely wide receiver Thomas Geddis currently has 25 offers. His top three are Cincinnati, Temple and Wisconsin. He has already visited Cincinnati and plans to visit Massachusetts in December. Geddis could make for a big target in the red zone for a school at 6-3, 165 and can stretch the field.
*A long, athletic, dynamic defensive end out of Ely, Trevor Goodrum Jr., is flying well under the radar.
Goodrum, who has received interest from Princeton with a 3.0 GPA, has 35 tackles and 13 sacks on the season for Ely as the Tigers prepare for postseason play as the runner-up in District 14-7A.
*Unranked Varela receiver Jay Stringer plans to remain uncommitted until January. Stringers says it's "so it gives me time to really think about where I'm going to go, and I want time to talk with my family."
Stringer's No. 1 option is FIU, but he is considering multiple offers as he recently visited Florida A&M and Valdosta state.
About his trip to check out the Rattlers, Stringer said, "I talked to coach Edwin Pata from FAMU on my visit. I really loved the staff."
Stringer spent more time at Valdosta State.
"It is a very nice, the campus. It's beautiful and the town has nice people," said Stringer. "Great fans and a good staff. I'm thinking about going there."
*Photos: RUSSELL QUINOA//FOR THE MIAMI HERALD (Stringer photo courtesy of Jay Stringer)