Miami Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top 2015 Target at Each Position

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2014

Miami Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top 2015 Target at Each Position

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    Torrance Gibson
    Torrance GibsonCredit: 247Sports

    After one of the best recruiting classes in recent program history, Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes coaching staff are hard at work on the upcoming 2015 group.

    At every position, the 'Canes have top targets who they are continually contacting in an effort to bring them to Coral Gables, Fla.

    Every so often, it's necessary to break down the latest rumors and buzz surrounding the 'Canes' top targets in the current cycle.

    Plus, as the recruiting rules change to essentially encourage early commitments, "The U" must push even harder to keep up with elite programs around the nation.


    Note: All recruit information courtesy of 247Sports.

Quarterback: Torrance Gibson

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    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    Local quarterback Torrance Gibson is one of the biggest targets for Golden and Co.

    Gibson is an excellent dual-threat option in the backfield, throwing for 1,789 yards and 19 touchdowns and running for 1,063 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior.

    The nation's top quarterback, per the 247Sports Composite Rankings, Gibson has brushed off talk about switching to wide receiver. He will certainly be given a shot behind center, but a 6'4", 220-pound body along with a 4.50 40-yard dash provides a pretty great backup plan.

    Recently, Gibson tweeted at Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, saying there's an 85 percent chance he selects a school outside the state.

    And if he does leave Florida, it won't be for a lack of trying from the Miami coaches.


    No. 2 Target: Brandon Wimbush

Running Back: Jordan Cronkrite

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    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    The Hurricanes have at least five top, in-state running backs demanding their attention.

    However, Jacques Patrick and Jordan Scarlett are leaning elsewhere, so Jordan Cronkrite is quickly creeping up the board.

    Speaking of quick, Cronkrite slashed his way to 1,343 yards on 11.8 per attempt, scoring 15 touchdowns. The 5'11" back also caught 10 passes for 200 yards and three more scores.

    According to Jeremy Birmingham of Eleven Warriors, Cronkrite has been on campus three times but "if the best place for me isn't in Florida, I have no problem leaving."


    No. 2 Target: Dexter Williams (committed to Miami)


    4-20-14 Update

    Via his Twitter account, Cronkrite gave a pledge to the Hurricanes, joining Williams as the pair of running backs Miami was so desperately seeking.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Ridley

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    Commitment Status: Verbal to Alabama

    Calvin Ridley will remain at the top of the Miami wishlist for the next nine months.

    As a junior, the 6'2" playmaker hauled in 41 receptions for 1,131 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning a spot as the third-best receiver on the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

    Ridley has repeatedly discussed the draw to Miami, but he committed to Alabama while attending the Crimson Tide's spring game.

    On the bright side, signing day is a long way off and the opportunity to play for a program boasting three national championships since 2009 is understandably hard to pass up.


    No. 2 Target: Devante Peete

Tight End: Devonaire Clarington

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    Devonaire Clarington
    Devonaire ClaringtonCredit: 247Sports

    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    The 'Canes must replace Clive Walford and Beau Sandland after the 2014 season, and Devonaire Clarington is the key player in their mind.

    At 6'6", he is an excellent option split wide. However, Clarington only weighs 230 pounds, so he must add bulk to his comparatively slender frame if Miami wants him to be effective from a three-point stance.

    According to Chris Anderson of 247Sports (subscription required), Clarington's coach Mike Tunsil says that "right now, Miami is recruiting him the hardest, but he's open to everybody."

    Similar to Ridley and teammate Shawn Burgess-Becker, of course, Alabama is the biggest challenger for Clarington's services.


    No. 2 Target: Bowman Archibald (committed to Miami)

Offensive Line: Kevin Feder

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    Kevin Feder
    Kevin FederCredit: 247Sports

    Commitment Status: Verbal to Miami

    The Hurricanes focused on the offensive line situation during the 2014 class, bringing in Kc McDermott, Trevor Darling and Nick Linder. For that reason, Miami need not stress replenishing the line though Shane McDermott and Jon Feliciano are graduating after the season.

    A three-star from Pennsylvania, 6'9" Kevin Feder is the top target—and a solid commitment.

    Per Nate Adelson of 247Sports (subscription required), Golden, defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio and offensive line coach Art Kehoe stay in the most contact with Feder. "They've been talking with me just as much if not even more," Feder said. "I keep up with them as much as I can and we still have a good relationship."

    Barring something unexpected, Feder will be a member of the class on signing day.


    No. 2 Target: Leeward Brown (committed to Miami)

Defensive Line: Khalil McKenzie

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    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    The defensive line is another unit that Miami focused on in 2014, but a few "wants" remain on the board.

    Hailing from California, Kahlil McKenzie is a big-bodied tackle—6'4", 316 lbs—who would help clog the Hurricanes' interior.

    The son of former Tennessee linebacker and current Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, the defensive tackle is being heavily pursued by the Volunteers as well as Oklahoma and Notre Dame.

    McKenzie is far from a make-or-break piece in the class, but Golden and D'Onofrio sure could use him at a rebuilding position.


    No. 2 Target: Scott Patchan (committed to Miami)

Linebacker: Tevon Coney

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    Tevon Coney
    Tevon ConeyCredit: 247Sports

    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    Tevon Coney is not a well-known name, but his highlight tape and stats are definitely worth remembering.

    Coney put together a ridiculous junior season, accounting for 172 tackles, 14 sacks, six forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and a pair of interceptions.

    While linebacker is not a high priority in the current cycle, the 22nd-best outside linebacker in the 247Sports Composite Rankings would be an excellent addition to a thus far average class.

    However, per Blake Alderman of Rivals (subscription required), Coney did not list the 'Canes in his top schools. Can't have 'em all.


    No. 2 Target: Sh'mar Kilby-Lane

Cornerback: Tyrek Cole

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    Commitment Status: Verbal to Florida State

    Considering he attends the same high school as current Miami players Tracy Howard, Malcolm Lewis, Jermaine Grace and Ryan Williams, the Hurricanes have long been hoping for a commitment from Tyrek Cole.

    He may not have gaudy interception numbers—just four since 2012—but 32 total pass breakups during his sophomore and junior campaigns is rather impressive.

    Chris Nee of 247Sports (subscription required) writes that Cole said "I am committed [to FSU] but I am open because you never know what could happen between now and signing day. I just want to make sure I still have options."

    And you can bet Miami will be an option for the four-star cornerback until his letter of intent rolls through a fax machine somewhere.


    No. 2 Target: Marcus Lewis

Safety: Jaquan Johnson

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    Commitment Status: Uncommitted

    Last—but by no means least—four-star safety Jaquan Johnson leads the remarkably deep class of safeties in South Florida.

    Johnson, who, in my opinion, is the most-important target, has made 181 tackles and snagged 13 interceptions through his junior season at Killian, the alma mater of former UM star Lamar Miller.

    David Lake of 247Sports (subscription required) notes that Johnson was impressed by a recent visit to a Miami practice, and the safety added that "they said I am at the top of their board and they want me bad."

    Top of the Miami board, top of my board, top of the Hurricanes' targets.


    Co-No. 2 Targets: Tim Irvin and Shawn Burgess-Becker