What does Miami have to do to keep its top class?
That is what State Of The U is asking. Miami has the No. 1 class in the country as of this writing, with 16 commitments and 12 four- or five-star players.
Here’s the best answer, I think.
If you win, they will come. Miami has one of the weakest schedules in the ACC. The Hurricanes’ hardest game, like every season, is against Florida State. The Canes will travel to Tallahassee week three with an inexperienced quarterback, a game that will prove to be extremely tough for Miami. Other than that, the Hurricanes don’t have too many daunting opponents. I wouldn’t be surprised if Miami dropped a close game in the fourth quarter against a team like Virginia Tech or Notre Dame, but the Hurricanes should go at least 10-2 during the regular season. Then throw in a possible appearance in the ACC Championship plus the bowl game, and Miami should easily secure 10+ wins.
Miami is winning the offseason, but it’s done that before. It has to show progress on the field. If the Hurricanes find a QB to replace Brad Kaaya, they will be my pick to make the ACC Championship Game for the first time ever.
Nebraska adds a bushel of commits.
Nebraska has landed back-to-back top-25 classes in the last two years, but the 2018 class could be the best yet under Mike Riley. Getting 40 players to visit for the spring game on Easter weekend is quite impressive.
The Cornhuskers have added five commitments in the last week.
Cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles, of the IMG Academy, was the big name over the weekend. The 5’8.5, 176-pound cornerback is rated as the No. 5 corner nationally (though after measuring in at under 5’9, I doubt he keeps that rating). Radley-Hiles possesses excellent quickness and a bulldog mentality on the field. Originally from California, the four-star is a dynamic player and personality, and he’s already helping to get other players to Lincoln. The Cornhuskers are doing a good job recruiting in California, which is a trend continuing from recent years.
While Radley-Hiles gets most of the publicity, the Huskers also grabbed an excellent receiver in Manuel Allen. The 6’1 Allen consistently finds ways to get open and catches the football well. And he’s yet another California player, taking snaps for Corona High. Allen is a four-star and deservedly so, in my opinion. He’s very smooth.
Defensive end Tate Wildeman, of Pakrer (Co.) Legend High School offers a big body with upside, picking Nebraska over recent offers from Arizona State, Washington State, and Iowa. And Nebraska also picked up Will Farniok, a South Dakota offensive linemen whose brother is already on campus for Big Red.
Looking to the future, Texas receiver Marquez Beason, a 2019 prospect, also pulled the trigger. Beason has already received offers from Arkansas, LSU, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma.
Recruiting expert Brian Towle, of Corn Nation, believes that Mario Goodrich, a four-star athlete from Lees Summit (Mo.) West could be the next to commit.
Nebraska may be putting distance between itself and other Big Ten West teams, and is perhaps narrowing the gap between it and the Ohio State and Michigan duo.
I recapped the top 10 commitments so far in April, including prospects who chose Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State.
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Is it too soon to worry about Georgia’s 2018 recruiting class? Only a little, according to Dawg Sports.
Georgia is off to a poor start, with just two commitments. The Bulldogs rank No. 12 in the SEC. And there is a scenario in which Georgia misses out on 70 percent of the state’s four- and five-star commitments.
If Cox heads out of state he’d join five star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (Penn State), and Emory Jones (a longtime Ohio State commit), Lassiter safety Derrik Allen (Notre Dame), and defensive linemen Robert Cooper (Florida State) and Justin Mascoll (Clemson) as players ranked in the top 10 in the Peach State leaving to play elsewhere.
It’s early in the Smart era yet, but missing out on 70% of the top prospects in the state sounds a lot like the chain of events that preceded Smart coming into possession of his current job. In short, it's something up with which a vocal segment of the Bulldog fanbase has been loathe to put.
I think it is too early to worry in a big way about this. Player rankings are far from finalized. Georgia just had the No. 3 class in the country — one that could have been the No. 1 class in some years (Alabama and Ohio State were Nos. 1 and 2 with ridiculous hauls). It didn’t lose the recruiters who brought those kids to Georgia.
What Georgia is entering, though, is its “prove it” year. Georgia was more talented than most rosters who gain a new head coach. This has created an expedited timetable. While most coaches might not be expected to show real results on the field until Year 3, Kirby Smart’s UGA program must show a jump in play in Year 2. If Georgia does take a step forward and establish itself as the top dog in the SEC East, expect recruiting to tick up again.
- Four-star QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, of Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman has narrowed his list to UCLA and Michigan, and will decide Sunday. I think UCLA will be the pick, and have for a while. The reason behind that belief is Jedd Fisch, who left Michigan to become the offensive coordinator at UCLA. Fisch had a good relationship with Thompson-Robinson before leaving. It is somewhat of a surprise to me that Thompson-Robinson wanted offers from East Coast teams, yet is electing to commit before visiting them.
- LSU gets some much-needed help at defensive tackle in the form of a DT named Breiden Fehoko, formerly of Texas Tech.
- In 2015-16, FBS and FCS teams recruited about one in 10 Floridian high school players, the NCAA says. The Sunshine State is a good ways ahead of everybody else, with Georgia (8.6 percent), Louisiana (8.1 percent), and Washington, D.C. (7.2 percent) all fairly close.
- Emory Jones returning to Ohio State for a visit is a good sign for the Buckeyes. He claims his OSU commitment is “110 percent,” but that doesn’t jive with him taking visits elsewhere.
- How the early National Signing Day will change things for fans.
Other stuff I found interesting
- Bill Connelly writes about how the quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL draft are potentially a big gamble. “Your top two prospects probably deserve to be the top two QBs (but not top two picks).” Spot on.
- Richard Johnson recapped and explained all of the NCAA’s new rules.
- Which draft prospects are underrated according to college fans? I picked Clemson’s Mike Williams.
- Nine of Leonard Fournette’s best trucks at LSU.
- How long since every FBS team had a first-round NFL draft pick.