« Medication key issue for Bosh; Exploring with doctors whether he should play; More Arian Foster; Marlins, UM news; Luke suit dropped | Main | 1 p.m. Tuesday: Waiters and Pat Riley explain Heat move; Gase weighs in on Arian Foster: Richt on receivers post-Cager, Michael Irvin's son, recruiting, involvement of alums, AQM and other issues »

UM gets Richt's biggest commitment to date; Heat adding Dion Waiters; Encouraging Dolphins development; Metric site's analysis of Dolphins; How UM & Kaaya finished in preseason voting; Heat notes

Sacramento defensive end DJ Johnson became the highest-rated member of UM's Class of 2017 when he orally committed tonight. Johnson, who attended Mark Richt's Paradise Camp at UM last week, is rated the 30th best player in the 2017 class by ESPN.

With the addition, UM's class moved up to 8th nationally in 247sports.com's rankings. 

Here's what ESPN had to say about the 6-5, 240-pound Johnson: "Runs well with impressive range and closing speed off the edge. Explosive first-step and is quick to penetrate and cause disruption in the backfield. Fluid pass rusher who relies on speed. Long arms and frame allow him to stay clean from blockers and stretch runs out to the sideline. Very difficult to outflank and pursue."

AREAS OF IMPROVEMENT: "Needs to be cognizant of leverage and bend; tends to play high. Relies on athletic ability over refined technique. Not yet a stout anchor type versus the run." .

BOTTOM LINE: "This is a highly talented prospects with big-time upside and ability. Shows flashes of top-level ability. Key to success will likely be dictated by his continued physical development....

"Johnson is a lengthy edge defender that has the ability to explode off the ball and cover a lot of ground once in motion and those attributes will certainly garner him plenty of attention. Shows flashes, but needs to work to become a more consistently well-rounded defender. Needs some work, but can be disruptive as a pass rusher and that will likely be his quickest route to the field and may be how he best contributes throughout his college career and if he can maximize his ability in that area, there is nothing wrong with that because he is capable of more than earning his keep by getting after the QB....

Tremendous upside [as a pass rusher] and this is likely the area that will get him on the field the quickest. Length and first-step quickness are assets and while you will see flashes of him trying to work a rip or pick a blockers arm off of him, he tends to at this stage look to rely too much on his speed and needs to better utilize his reach and hands and be sure to have plan. Flashes decent dip, but needs to keep pads down. Flashes ability transfer speed-to-power, but can stall as gets up-field due to pad level. Flashes good leaping ability to knock down passes when recognizes and gets hands up."

Before Johnson's commitment tonight, UM's highest-rated UM oral commitment was Gulliver running back Robert Burns, who is rated as ESPN's 67th best prospect.

• 3 pm update: The Heat got a huge lift late in free agency when Dion Waiters agreed to accept Miami's $2.9 million room exception, according to a source. He has a $3M player option for 2017-18.

He immediately becomes the heavy front runner to start at shooting guard, replacing Dwyane Wade. Waiters averaged 9.8 points in 78 games for Oklahoma City last season, including 15 starts.

He shot 39.9 percent overall and 35.8 percent on threes.

Waiters spent the first two and a half seasons with Cleveland and the past year and a half with OKC. For his career, the 6-4 Syracuse product had averaged 12.8 points and shot 41.1 percent overall and 33.4 percent on threes.

Heat president Pat Riley said nine days ago that the Heat would not use its $2.9 million room exception this summer. But since then, OKC lifted its qualifying offer to Waiters, making him an unrestricted free agent instead of a restricted free agent. The Heat quickly pounced.

Before Waiters became available, the Heat planned to have Wayne Ellington compete with Josh Richardson and Tyler Johnson at shooting guard.

Those three and Goran Dragic now will join Waiters in a solid five man guard rotation, with Waiters considered the front runner to start. Richardson also can play small forward. The signing gives Miami 18 players. Teams can take 20 to training camp but keep no more than 15 once the regular season starts.


Before the Dolphins and every other NFL team adjourned for a six-week vacation, Adam Gase made abundantly clear to us – and his players – that he wanted all of them to return in shape.

And judging from the turnout at respected local trainer Pete Bommarito’s training facility this month, his players are paying attention.

Among those that have been working out this month at Bommarito’s Davie facility: Jarvis Landry, Earl Mitchell, Kenny Stills, Jelani Jenkins, Tony Lippett, Bobby McCain, Chris Jones, Terrence Fede and Isaiah Pead.

“Landry has been our poster boy; been huge for us,” Bommarito said. “I love Earl Mitchell; he’s a machine. I have a soft spot for Bobby McCain; he’s fast and physical. Bobby always had good straight-line speed. He’s [now] playing as fast as his timed speed.”

Among non-Dolphins who have been working with Bommarito: Lamar Miller, Sean Spence, Vontae Davis, Frank Gore and Teddy Bridgewater.

By the way, though Ryan Tannehill isn’t working at Bommarito’s facility, he came by an adjacent field in Davie to throw passes to a couple of his receivers earlier this month.

• A couple highlights from Pro Football Focus’ season-preview of the Dolphins:

On Ryan Tannehill, PFF says he “has always struggled with some of the more minor aspects, like pocket presence, of the quarterback position. In 2015 though, Tannehill started to even look shaky in the things he used to do well. His downfield accuracy wasn’t nearly the same as it had been in the past. Some of that can obviously be attributed to seeing pressure on 38.8 percent of his dropbacks – the highest rate of his career. At the same time though, he could have coped with the weak offensive line by holding onto the ball less and improving his processing speeds, but he’s still struggling with that aspect of his game. It’s cliché to say, but this offense goes with Tannehill and if he can’t take a legitimate step forward this year they may have to look elsewhere.”

PFF, on the Dolphins’ cornerbacks: “Miami likely has upgraded here, but much like the front-seven, it’s hard to see any impact players outside of Reshad Jones. Byron Maxwell’s struggles are a tad overstated and he’s still good enough to be a starting cornerback in the NFL, but his 1.52 yards per coverage snap was 95th-best in the league a year ago. Opposite him they’ll either be looking at second round pick Xavien Howard or second year player Tony Lippett to take a hefty amount of snaps. Howard was seen as a developmental prospect here at PFF and might be a few years away from his raw physical skill set translating to the field. Lippett might be the frontrunner though as he only saw the field on 137 snaps last year, but came away with a +1.9 overall grade. At safety, Isa Abdul-Quddus was one of PFF’s favorite under-the-radar signings in free agency. The former Lion has only 1,668 career snaps to his name, but in every seasons where he’s played 150 snaps (4) he’s graded out positively.”

Here is the full PFF piece.

• In voting of 191 media members released today, UM was picked to finish second in the Coastal Division behind North Carolina. UM had 50 first place votes; North Carolina had 121.  Pitt (14), Virginia Tech (3), Duke (2) and Georgia Tech (1) and Virginia (0) were third through seventh.

Clemson (148 first-place votes) was picked to win the Atlantic. FSU had 42 first place votes.

Clemson (144) was picked to win the conference title game, with FSU (39) second. UM got no votes.

And Brad Kaaya received two votes for ACC Player of the Year. Clemson QB Deshaun Watson won it with 164 votes. FSU's Dalvin Cook was second with 18. Only three others receiver votes: UNC QB Elijah Hood (4), Louisville QB Lamar Jackson (2) and Duke CB DeVon Edwards (1).

• Among 350 players who qualified for ESPN’s NBA efficiency ratings last season, three of the Heat’s four most prominent additions rated in the bottom third: Luke Babbitt at 256, James Johnson at 262 and Wayne Ellington at 301. But Derrick Williams was rated a solid 83rd.

By the way, Luol Deng was 137th and Goran Dragic 128th. I question the ratings considering Deng was rated so far behind Williams, when Deng was clearly the better player.

FYI: Dwyane Wade was rated 36th, Chris Bosh 38th.

• According to basketballinsiders, the three developmental prospects signed by the Heat this month --- guard Rodney McGruder, power forward Stefan Jankovic and forward Okaro White – each were given $100,000 guarantees. More guaranteed money is triggered for McGruder if he’s on the roster on four upcoming dates over the next several months. McGruder got a three-year deal at the minimum; White and Jankovic got two-year deals at the minimum.

But if Briante Weber makes the team, Waiters' addition makes it unlikely that any of the aforementioned three will make the final 15.

If you missed it, please click here for an update on the Chris Bosh situation, plus Dolphins, Marlins and more Canes.

Twitter: @flasportsbuzz