The Miami Hurricanes are prioritizing the interior defensive line in the 2024 recruiting class. After landing just one high school interior defensive lineman in the 2023 class, Mario Cristobal wants to land multiple elite, blue-chip caliber types of defensive linemen, similar to what he accomplished with the offensive line last year. So far, a slew of offers has gone out to multiple defensive linemen with the Canes casting a wide net that extends nationwide. After three months, the board of targets for Miami has become clearer, and the Canes have expanded their target list of tackles. It seems the Canes will easily take 5-7 guys on their board as some of the targets they are chasing have the versatility to also play defensive end. Here is the updated and growing list of DT targets that the Canes are chasing:
Daylen Russell- Miami Commit
This is a recruit that the Miami staff has liked for months. Columbus has traditionally been a feeder school to Miami and the Canes are continuing that relationship by taking one of their best players, who was the Miami- Dade defensive player of the year in 2022. Russell finished the year with 84 tackles and 10 sacks. One of his best traits is his motor and proven production. His addition to the class will have zero effect on the other targets Miami has been chasing, they will take as many quality tackles as they can take.
Stone brings a dominant presence to the field with his explosive first move and powerful hands, making him a formidable opponent for opposing offenses. Stone transferred to IMG Academy, a top-ranked high school football program, prior to his junior year and made an immediate impact on the team. He was a crucial defense member that finished fifth in the MaxPreps Top 25. Not only is Stone a valuable asset as a pass rusher with his ability to get past opposing linemen and collapse pockets, but he also excels at shedding blocks and filling gaps, making him a versatile interior lineman. His streamlined build and agility make him a challenging player to block, and his nearly 7-foot wingspan provides him with the length to disrupt passing lanes. The Miami Hurricanes should make Stone their number one priority in their recruiting class, as he possesses the burst and versatility to make a significant impact early in his college career. Stone gives the Hurricanes a powerful weapon in the middle of their defense and adds a Leonard Taylor-type of blue-chip talent to one of the most important positions in college football. Stone will officially visit Miami on June 9th.
Scott is another high-priority defensive tackle for the Hurricanes. Considered a top-8 national prospect by Rivals and a top- 5 DT on the 247- composite ranking, Scott has all the tools to dominate at the college level. Scott’s size and athleticism make him a dominant presence in the middle of the field. He is quick off the line and his ability to bend well allows him to outmaneuver blockers with ease. Additionally, he moves swiftly toward the ball, making him a formidable opponent for any offensive player. This is the type of DT that usually ends up in a major SEC program. Miami will have strong competition for the Chicago native, with Notre Dame presenting a strong challenge to obtain his verbal commitment. Miami has made a lot of progress in this recruitment and Scott has been crystal balled to Miami by 247 Sports. Scott will officially visit Miami from June 16th-18th, and I expect Miami to continue the momentum with Scott and close strong here.
Hailing From Mater Dei in Santa Ana California, Aydin Breland is one of the top defensive players in the nation. Already listed as 6’5 and 290lb, without hitting a college weight room, Breland is a man amongst boys at the defensive tackle position. When you look at his film, the first word you think of is “explosive”. Breland has a great burst and long hands that easily helps him get by offensive linemen. With over 22 offers including LSU, USC, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Alabama, Breland will be another blue-chip battle. I do like that Mario Cristobal is focusing nationally and going after talents such as Breland. His experience in the Pacific Northwest puts him in a prime position to land a big-time talent in a position of need. Breland has been effusive in his praise for the Hurricanes program during his unofficial visits. Miami is hoping to continue to impress Breland when he officially visits Miami on June 9th.
Ernest Willow Jr.
Originally from Baltimore, Willow Jr transferred to IMG Academy for his senior season. Primarily an edge player, Willow Jr. also has experience working as an interior DL. Currently boasts 26 offers including Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, and Wisconsin. At 6’4 and 250lb, he can be seen as a “tweener” at DT, but his frame will allow him to put on more weight once he reaches a college weight room and a proper strength and conditioning program. I expect Mario Cristobal will make Willow Jr. one of his highest priorities this whole cycle and would love to land both Stone and Willow Jr. and continue the” IMG to the U” trend that started last year. Willow Jr. would give Miami an elite athlete that can be used in multiple formations as he can play both inside and outside.
January is a massive DT who carries a 6’4 frame weighing 325 lbs. The three- star tackle out of Texas currently has 25 offers with the likes of FSU, OU, Texas, and LSU chasing him. For Miami, finding an interior DT that is a space eater is a top priority this cycle. January fits this bill and would give the Canes another talented space eater with Ahmad Moten already on the roster. January took an official visit to Miami on June 2nd.
A dual- sports athlete from Mississippi, Franklin is an athletic defensive player that can play both inside and outside. Franklin had 19 sacks and 93 tackles his junior year and is one of the top priorities along the defensive line for the Miami Hurricanes. Miami is in a good spot with Franklin but the team to watch here is Tennessee as they have also made inroads in this recruitment. Franklin is officially visiting Miami this weekend, June 2-4th and Miami is hope to make a significant move in his recruitment.
Jackson hails from IMG Academy and is also another large space eating DT that stands at 6’2 and 300lbs. Miami really likes Jackson and is recruiting him along with a slew of other IMG standouts this cycle including interior defensive line teammate David Stone. Jackson has offers from 32 programs and Florida, OSU, OU, and Texas are the top contenders for his services with the Canes in the thick of things. Jackson took an official visit to Florida on June 2nd and is expected to official to the Canes on the massive June 9th weekend. Coming into this weekend Miami is in a good spot to land Jackson’s services.
Artavious Jones is another blue-chip DL that the Canes are after. Jones stands at 6’3 and 280lbs and is rising in the rankings as he is closing in on becoming a top-150 prospect in the nation. Jones has 26 offers and Tennessee and Florida State stand as Miami’s top competitors. Jones has an official visit scheduled to Miami on June 23rd and the Canes would love steal this one from Nole territory.
Cunningham is another versatile defensive tackle that can play both defensive end and can play inside. Recently transferred to Miami Central, Cunningham has been very comfortable around the Miami Hurricanes program. The Central standout claims to have over 60 offers and has a good rapport with Breland and Justin Scott. I expect Miami to continue courting him. Do not be surprised if Cunningham lands in this class.
Johnson is another massive tackle that Miami has offered and is pushing hard for. At 6’4 and 300lbs, Johnson is another space eater that provides the size that Miami is currently lacking on the roster. Johnson is another dual sport athlete that the Canes are recruiting, as he played basketball his sophomore season of high school. Johnson has 20 offers including offers from programs such as Washington, Auburn, Alabama and Georgia. Right now, Miami and Washington are the top two contenders to sign his services. Johnson will officially visit the Canes on June 16th.
The Canes are going to be as aggressive as possible this cycle with the entire defensive line. Miami is recruiting a mix of athletic and versatile guys that can play outside and inside while also recruiting big, quality space eaters. Expect the Canes to bring in one of the best defensive line classes in the nation and possibly the best single class in the history of Canes football.
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