Miami Football Recruiting: Everything You Need to Know for National Signing Day
National signing day is approaching one of the most important offseason dates, and the Miami Hurricanes coaching staff is busy on the recruiting trail.
For those who do not completely understand the importance, national signing day is on Feb. 5, and it is the first day prospective college football players who were not early enrollees can officially sign their letter of intent.
After peaking in the Top 5 of the 247Sports' Composite Team Rankings, the collection of high-school athletes head coach Al Golden has pledged to Miami currently sits at No. 9 in the nation.
Signing day is less than one month away, and the Hurricanes have already compiled a well-rounded class. Now, it's a matter of keeping the prospects committed until their respective signature is penned on the bottom line.
Note: All recruit information via 247Sports.
Top Remaining Targets
Local defensive tackle Travonte Valentine is one of, if not the most important uncommitted target left on Miami's board.
At 6'3" and 338 pounds, the 4-star is already built for the next level, and as a senior, he racked up 31.5 tackles for loss, including 16 sacks.
Valentine was, at various times, committed to each of Louisville, Florida and "The U," so who knows where he will actually land. Currently, Valentine's two most likely destinations are LSU and Miami.
Currently committed to Tennessee, 4-star linebacker Gavin Bryant would be a steal for the Hurricanes.
Nate Adelson of 247Sports notes Miami is working on flipping Bryant, who cites a solid relationship with linebackers coach Michael Barrow.
The 'Canes are thin at inside linebacker, probably looking for junior Raphael Kirby to emerge next season.
New Jersey wide receiver David Njoku gave a pledge to Rutgers in April 2013 before backing out in October, and the 'Canes quickly jumped into the picture.
Miami needs to fill depth at receiver, and as a senior, Njoku hauled in 40 passes for 981 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Ohio State and Penn State appear to be the biggest competition for the services of the 6'4" wideout.
As it stands, the 2014 Miami class has 26 commitments, including six signees—four of whom are already enrolled.
*Kc McDermott: 6'6" , 300 lbs; OT; West Palm Beach, FL
*Braxton Berrios: 5'8", 170 lbs; WR; Raleigh, NC
*Trent Harris: 6'2", 226 lbs; DE; Winter Park, FL
*Juwon Young: 6'2", 228 lbs; OLB; Albany, GA
Calvin Heurtelou: 6'3", 304 lbs; DT; Scottsdale, AZ
Michael Wyche: 6'4", 315 lbs; DT; Monterey Park, CA
Note: Asterisk (*) denotes enrollee.
Chad Thomas: 6'5", 240 lbs; DE; Miami, FL
Joseph Yearby: 5'9", 190 lbs; RB; Miami, FL
Trevor Darling: 6'4", 327 lbs; OT; Miami, FL
Brad Kaaya: 6'4", 215 lbs; QB; West Hills, CA
Anthony Moten: 6'4", 292 lbs; DT; Fort Lauderdale, FL
Kiy Hester: 6'0", 220 lbs; S; Montvale, NJ
Reilly Gibbons: 6'6", 292 lbs; OT; St. Petersburg, FL
Darrion Owens: 6'3", 216 lbs; OLB; Orange Park, FL
Mike Smith: 6'2", 210 lbs; OLB; Miami, FL
Demetrius Jackson: 6'4", 220 lbs; DE; Miami, FL
Darrell Langham: 6'5", 190 lbs; WR; Lake Worth, FL
Trayone Gray: 6'2", 210 lbs; ATH; Opa Locka, FL
Chris Herndon: 6'4", 230 lbs; TE; Norcross, GA
Marques Gayot: 6'1", 205 lbs; S; Lake Worth, FL
Ryan Mayes: 6'2", 180 lbs; CB; Miami, FL
Malik Rosier: 6'2", 205 lbs; QB; Mobile, AL
Tyre Brady: 6'3", 187 lbs; WR; Homestead, FL
Nick Linder: 6'3", 273 lbs; C; Fort Lauderdale, FL
Courtel Jenkins: 6'2", 294 lbs; DT; Jersey City, NJ
Terry McCray: 6'2", 215 lbs; ILB; Pompano Beach, FL
Players Who Could Contribute as Freshmen
In the 2014 class, the definition of quick feet goes to local running back Joseph Yearby.
The 5'9" back has phenomenal instincts in the hole, typically making a single cut before accelerating through open space.
Yearby is enrolling early, and while Duke Johnson recovers from an ankle injury, Yearby is one of three backs who will share the majority of reps during spring practice.
If there is one player who could start immediately, it is defensive end Chad Thomas.
Heralded 2013 recruit and current 'Cane Al-Quadin Muhammad was expected to make an impact once he arrived at Miami, but he was simply too small at the time. Thomas, on the other hand, is already listed at the same size the official roster gives Muhammad.
Plus, the Hurricanes' defensive line was less than stellar last season, so Thomas has the physical size and a gifted opportunity in front of him.
The most difficult part about defense is learning the playbook, calls and positioning.
As an early-enrollee, Juwon Young has the opportunity to practice all those things on the field, not just processing them in his mind.
Additionally, Miami needs another key reserve outside linebacker behind Denzel Perryman and Thurston Armbrister. Sophomore Alex Figueroa will see significant playing time, and Young has a great chance to hold down the other side.
Look Out For...
Early enrollee Kc McDermott could work himself into playing time at offensive tackle, where the 'Canes need to replace Seantrel Henderson.
Though Miami is relatively set at safety, Kiy Hester is ready to compete in the defensive backfield.
Storylines to Watch
Locking Up Key Recruits
The aftermath of the Golden-to-Penn State rumors combined with some other factors caused a ripple in Miami's class.
Rumors will surround Brad Kaaya until signing day, but Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel caught up with the quarterback, who reaffirmed his commitment to The U.
Others like Chad Thomas and his teammate Demetrius Jackson have been mentioned in the same breath as other schools, so Golden and Co. will be trying to lock up the 26-man group.
More Decommits on the Horizon?
Subsequent to Golden's supposed flirtation with Penn State, in a matter of one week, Travonte Valentine, Nigel Bethel and Brandon Powell each decommitted from Miami.
That string worried many Hurricanes' fans—especially on Twitter—leading some to believe that the entire class was falling apart.
While the recruiting scene is constantly changing and last-ditch-effort scholarships are being thrown at players—which, per Safid Deen of The Miami Herald, flipped Powell—Miami should arrive at signing day as it currently sits.
Then again, we can never be so sure.
Al Golden has made a name for himself on the recruiting trail as a closer.
Over the past two seasons, Golden shocked many via Tracy Howard's 2012 commitment and Al-Quadin Muhammad's 2013 pledge.
Beyond Gavin Bryant, is there a currently elsewhere-committed player who Golden could possibly persuade to join the 'Canes?
The answer is not clear, but Golden might just raise some eyebrows for the third year in a row.
Kc McDermott: The 4-star offensive tackle is the brother of current Miami center Shane McDermott.
Nick Linder: The 3-star center is the brother of ex-Cane guard Brandon Linder.
Brad Kaaya: His mother, Angela (Means) Kaaya, played "Felisha" in the 1995 movie, Friday. Also, he attends the same high school (Chaminade in West Hills, Calif.) as Miami placekicker Matt Goudis did.