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Historic Recruiting Class Positioning Canes for Greatness



Credit: Miami Hurricanes Football

The Miami Hurricanes wrapped up a major portion of their recruiting class during the first signing period, securing a remarkable top three national ranking. This achievement marked a significant milestone for the Hurricanes, who currently trail only Georgia and Alabama. Their efforts continue as they actively recruit standout defensive back Xavier Mincey, looking to further strengthen their class. Notably, this period marks the first time the Hurricanes have achieved back-to-back top ten classes during the 247Sports era. Reflecting on the 2024 class and the signing day, here are some key insights:

Elite Recruiting at Miami
Since Mario Cristobal’s arrival in Coral Gables, Miami’s recruiting has reached new heights. The Hurricanes have secured 13 top-100 recruits, with ten of these coming in the two full recruiting cycles under Cristobal. Before his tenure, the 2022 class lacked any top 100 recruits; however, Cristobal’s impact was immediate, bringing in notable players like Jaleel Skinner, Cyrus Moss, and Nyjalik Kelly in just two weeks. The Canes added four top 100 recruits in 2023 and six in the 2024 class, a significant increase compared to the 14 top-100 players they acquired from 2017-2021. This impressive haul illustrates the transformative effect Cristobal has had on Miami’s recruiting capabilities.

Recruiting Rollercoaster for Miami
The signing day for Miami was not without its dramas, especially concerning high-profile recruits. Last year, Cormani McClain’s expected commitment was delayed amidst speculation about Colorado’s influence, and he eventually chose Colorado. This year, the signing day saga of Jeremiah Smith dominated national signing day. Smith, who had been a quiet and firm commit to the Buckeyes since December 14th, 2022, suddenly became the center of attention as rumors swirled about a potential switch to Miami. Despite initially appearing to sign with the Buckeyes, Smith did not immediately send his National Letter of Intent (NLI) to Ohio State. This led to a tense ten-hour period where both Miami and Ohio State intensely pursued him. Confidence was high among the Miami camp that Smith would join them, especially during the confusion surrounding his NLI. Ultimately, Smith made his final decision to sign with Ohio State University, securing written promises for his Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) benefits, as reported by journalist Manny Navarro.

“Flipmas” – A New Tradition for Miami

Under Cristobal’s leadership, Miami has become notorious for flipping top recruits from other programs. This cycle, Miami successfully flipped several high-profile recruits, including:

5-star Justin Scott (previously committed to OSU)
5-Star Armando Blount (previously committed to FSU)
4-Star Jordan Lyle (previously committed to OSU)
4-Star Adarius Hayes (previously committed to Florida)
4-Star Elias Rudolph (previously committed to Michigan)
4-Star Ny Carr (previously committed to UGA)
3-Star Deryc Plazz (previously committed to PSU)
3-Star Cole McConathy (previously committed to UL)
3-Star Nino Francavilla (previously committed to Harvard)

For the second year in a row, the Canes flipped a high profile recruit from a playoff team ( Michigan), flipped an elite WR from the back to back national champs ( UGA), continued to flip from perennial powerhouse OSU and flipped blue chippers from both their instate rivals (UF/FSU).

Miami’s Stellar Defensive Line Class
A key goal for Miami this cycle was to assemble a defensive line class to rival their 2023 offensive line group. Initially, there were doubts about achieving this goal, but the final roster suggests Miami might have the nation’s best defensive line class.

Miami’s 2024 DL includes Blue Chippers such as:
Five Star DL- Armondo Blount
Five Star DL-Justin Scott
Four Star DL-Artavious Jones
Four Star Edge-Marquise Lightfoot
Four Star Edge- Elias Rudolph
Four Star Edge- Booker Pickett

The Hurricanes also added three-star Cole McConathy who was the most productive player of the bunch and is reminiscent of Rueben Bain in terms of his insane production. The Alabama product finished his senior year with 100+ tackles, 24.5 sacks and four forced fumbles.

Rivals In Shambles

For years, the Hurricanes consistently built top-ten recruiting classes, only to see them raided by the elite programs on signing day. However, this year witnessed a reversal, with Miami’s rivals suffering significant losses. Florida’s recruiting class fell apart, while Florida State University (FSU) not only lost Armondo Blount but also five-star recruit KJ Bolden to Georgia. Despite completing an undefeated season at 13-0, defeating both in-state schools, and appearing as a strong contender for a top-five class, FSU faced substantial setbacks on signing day. Concerns are mounting among FSU fans, players, and recruits, especially with a mass exodus of players through the transfer portal, raising questions about FSU’s prowess in managing Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals. Finishing with a top-ten class after such a remarkable season, and heading into a new season with much of their portal talent gone, has been a disappointment for the Seminoles.

Even more troubling than FSU’s situation is the disaster that befell Florida on national signing day. A few months ago, the Gators were 5-2, boasting a top-three recruiting class. Yet, they didn’t win another game for the rest of the season and, in the last month, lost seven high-profile recruits. Consequently, Florida plummeted from third to sixteenth in the rankings in just one month. With a season opener against Miami in the Swamp and the most challenging schedule in college football, it’s clear that head coach Billy Napier is under immense pressure.

Looking Ahead
These recent classes laid a strong foundation for Miami’s future success. With Cristobal’s deepening roots in South Florida recruiting and early engagement with the 2025 and 2026 classes, Miami is poised for a historic run. Success in the 2024 season could potentially open the floodgates for even more top-tier recruiting, positioning the Hurricanes as a dominant force in college football and a legit threat to flirt with the number one class in the 2025 cycle.

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