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Friday afternoon update: UM adds a TE, looking to fill other needs

Most of this University of Miami recruiting class is already secured: Nine are enrolled, 16 others are orally committed. But after losing key commitments at cornerback (Nigel Bethel), running back (Brandon Powell) and defensive tackle (Michael Wyche, Travonte Valentine) in the past few weeks, the Hurricanes are trying to bolster a few positions before National Signing Day on Wednesday.   

They picked up one new commitment moments ago when tight end David Njoku announced he is commiting to UM. Njoku, a 6-4, three-star prospect who can also play receiver, was also considering  Connecticut, Temple and Oregon. Penn State and Rutgers also offered him, but Ohio State reportedly pulled his offer.

He caught 40 passes for 981 yards in 2013, averaging 24.5 yards per reception. In his high school career, he caught 76 passes, averaging  23.6 yards per reception.

UM had one tight end/H-back already committed (Christopher Herndon).

Some positions where is still looking for help:

### Defensive tackle: Hialeah Champagnat’s  Valentine, rated by Rivals.com as the nation’s No. 3 defensive tackle and the 59th best player overall, is still considering Miami but isn’t visiting this weekend because he wants to spend time with his family and has already been on UM’s campus several times, according to our Manny Navarro.

Valentine said earlier this week he hasn’t ruled out Miami but said his heart is with LSU. He said he likes the UM coaches but has bonded with players and recruits at LSU more than at UM. He also said LSU “fits my personality.” And Valentine told Manny he’s most comfortable playing at about 315 pounds, and UM wants him bigger than 320 so that he can play nose guard in a 3-4 (not his preference). Manny has more on Valentine on the UM blog, to be posted after 3 today.

… Stung by the loss of Wyche (who dropped his commitment because of an ACC rule requiring junior college transfers), UM has been exploring other options. North Carolina-based three-star Lamont Gaillard is visiting UM this weekend but calls himself a solid Georgia commitment.

### Quarterback: UM already has two firm commitments (Brad Kaaya and Malik Rosier), but is making a pitch to Booker T. Washington’s Treon Harris, who’s visiting this weekend.

Harris, an FSU oral commitment who threw for 28 touchdowns and four picks in 2013, has already visited UF and Auburn. He told a Birmingham, Ala. newspaper that he’s “still solid” to FSU and “I’m just taking my visits, experiencing things I’ve never seen before in my life.” FSU remains the favorite.  

### Running back: With only one committed (Miami Central’s four-star 5-9, 177-pound Joseph Yearby, who’s already enrolled), UM would love to add another back with more size and has targeted Louisiana-based two-star Kameron McKnight (6-2, 220 pounds) and Georgia-based three-star Tavon Ross (6-1, 196), a Missouri oral commitment.

Ross told rivals.com that his visit to UM last weekend “went pretty well” but his decision will hinge on how his trip to Missouri goes this weekend. McKnight will choose from among UM, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech and Southern Mississippi.

The wild card here is five-star prospect Bo Scarbrough, who created a buzz by visiting UM last weekend and reportedly was due to return this weekend unless Alabama coaches could talk him out of it. Scarbrough, who has returned to Alabama after attending IMG Academy in Bradenton, is an Alabama oral commitment who said earlier this month that he was considering Mississippi but not Miami. UM has been trying to get him to change his mind.

### Cornerback: UM has only one in this class --- three-star Miami Northwestern prospect Ryan Mayes, who’s already enrolled --- and covets Immokalee four-star prospect JC Jackson, whose finalists are UM and UF. Jackson’s father is a Canes fan, and the lack of an impact cornerback in this UM class could help UM’s chances. But this decision is a toss-up.

### Receivers: UM recruited three three-star receivers in the past week but appears unlikely to get any of the three. California-based Brayden Lenius (Kaaya’s high school teammate) very likely won’t choose Miami for geographic reasons even though he liked the idea of playing with Kaaya, his coach told me Friday.

Jacksonville-based Isaiah Ford canceled his Miami trip last week and is leaning toward Virginia Tech or Louisville, one of his coaches said. And South Dade’s C.J. Worton declined an offer to visit Miami and is considering UM and West Virginia.

### Defensive end: UM is in good shape at this position (with Chad Thomas, Demetrius Jackson, Mike Smith, etc.) but has been trying to entice Dillard's Randy Ramsey to visit. Dillard coach Lorenzo Davis told me today that Ramsey still hasn't decided whether to visit UM this weekend. An Arkansas oral commitment, Ramsey had 23 sacks this past season.... UM also has been linked to Tampa three-star defensive end/linebacker Josh Black, who is considering numerous schools.     

Comments

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johnnie j

Too bad Wyche won t be able to join the U.He seemed like a good one but what can you do.There s always snafus and unknown things that disappoint coaches and players.Miami s on the cusp of getting the defense turned around hopefully.If we can get a couple of players that won t decide until the last minute then that s awesome for this class.That s always what you hope for and makes next Wednesday an exciting one for the players and the schools they choose.

Marios

How about linebacker. I thought the biggest problem with our defense last year was at LB.
Unless they improve, which they should, poor tackling, lack of size, and freelancing in coverage made us give up lot's of yards and made the defensive scheme look more inappropriate than it already is for our talents.

Owens and Harris are recruits that can help right away but I though they should be mentioned before some of these positions above, where we're OK at.

rboud

UM remains cursed at the D-Tackle position. In my opinion, D-Tacklse is the most important position on the defense. UM will continue to struggle defensively until they land some big-time tackles. The loss of Wyche hurts the most. Losing Brandon Powell was also a downer. Valentine is staying away form UM this weekend for whatever reason he may want to say. Official visits are much different that unofficial one's. Only he knows the real answer why he canceled it.

Barry Chitwood

Speaking of tackles, UM needs some players who can make tackles. The tackling last season was atrocious.

[]_[] got to be kidding

They need a D coordinator who knows how to call a game, make adjustments DURING the game and who will turn these kids loose on the offense instead of sitting back and waiting for the offense to make a mistake. Defensive players should be aggressive by nature.. let them be aggressive and attack the offense instead of having your D linemen stand straight up at the line of scrimmage once the ball is snapped. UM fans should pack Sun Life just to be able to chant "No D Has To Go" until the networks notice it and it starts getting Golden's and the Board of Trustees attention when they highlight it on Sportscenter!

Warren Sapp

DT and Linebacker remain seriously weak. Add another 2 to 3 years of mediocre seasons.

cane4ever

Until u get d linemen that demand a double team why bring the house. It will be a 11\11 even match wit a corner getting beat cross the middle

dennis erickson

True DT and LB talent,size,toughness,strength,speed and intelligence is what the D needs.Does it start with the DC or the HC?HC will SAY it starts with him.Lots of talk but no one s walking the walk.Didn t mind hearing Warren Sapps remarks the other day either.Yeah.....I know he s a known loudmouth and controversial guy but dang.....it felt good to hear him say what I ve been saying and hundreds and hundreds of folks around Miami have been saying about the DC.BFF can t even be fired or reassigned to another position Coach assignment.That s just unbelievable and has been unbearable to watch for the past two years.

TheSergeantMajor

It's "Scarbrough" Barry, not Scarborough. Good update. Thanks.

RichmondHeightsCane

Why are we reporting Njoku as a TE? Based on his high school film, he played WR. He is listed at 217 pounds, and has above average speed. Why would we put him at TE? I can see him coming into the game as a slot receiver, if the U go 4 wide. If the U are planning on him getting bigger, this will not be in the best interest of his skills.

As for the incoming LBs, this will be a major improvement across the board. Owens, McCray, Young, and Harris are big time ballers, which I believe will be suited for the 3-4 scheme. Bush, Jenkins, Carter, Hester, Gayot, Burns, and Howard will compete everyday as the starting 4 DBs. Yes, the problem is at DT, but the answer may be on the existing roster. Look at the OL who is very aggressive, but cannot break into the starting 5-7. Please don't use schollies for DTs who will not fit what you need. Remember, a lot of these All-Americans will not qualify, and they will be either going to prep of JC.

dennis erickson

So much has already been said the past two seasons regarding Miami s DC.Anyway it sure seems like if the D continues to have such lousy luck in finding and delivering good,solid DT s here.....then a MAJOR change in Al s philosophy would be long OVERDO.He would have to find and hire a DC with a proven,track record of success in developing defensive linemen.THAT is the only way Al would be able to deal with the mostly entire community calling for HIS head if the defense continues to give up over 5000 yards per season and 5800 in 2012...the worst in Canes history ....EVER.

CaneFan

The Miami staff has to address the defensive tackle issue now, not next year, it's been known for years this is the position killing the defense.

Valentin will be unhappy and lonely at LSU, it's a long way from home and hard to get to. Miami is Valentine's best route to the NFL.

We need another running back, it's too thin and two of the backs have broken ankles.

dennis erickson

Glad to see that the JC DT Wyche has RECOMMITTED today to Miami.He decided to take 1 more semester of classes but report late to the Canes after he gets it done.THAT guy will still be a huge help and get.Now that s the way to begin closing on these guys Golden.Only a few more days to go but THIS is GREAT NEWS again.

CaneRock

[]__[]!!!

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