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.