The Miami Hurricanes racked up 20 verbal commitments for the much-anticipated #Storm18 class—and proved to be one of a handful of big winners with December’s new Early National Signing Day as 19 players officially signed on with The U by mid-day Thursday.

The final holdout in February—big defensive tackle Nesta Silvera—who wants to be part of National Signing Day with his American Heritage teammates. Still, the Canes have signed the program’s best—and most-complete—class in a decade; with more potential surprises over the next six weeks.

The majority of this week’s signees will be fast-tracked; starting college life in the coming weeks, spring semester classes and doing everything they can in the weight room and on the practice field to earn playing time come next fall.

This is officially the second class for Mark Richt in Coral Gables; signing his first full class in February 2017, after scrapping last minute the year prior—on the job two months before locking down 19 kids for what was deemed the 22nd-best class in the nation.

Last year’s class ranked 12th, while this year’s is currently sixth—trailing Ohio State, Georgia, Texas, Penn State and Alabama, in that order.

Richt stated late day Tuesday that Miami still hopes to add a few more key pieces come February—which could prove doable as coaching changes in Tallahassee and Gainesville put some talented prospects back on the block.

For now, let’s dive in and focus on the 18 who signed on with Miami today and will part of a special Hurricanes class that should see great program success and improvement over the next three to four seasons.

Jarren Williams (QB) — A welcomed addition to the offensive side of the ball for the Canes. Malik Rosier filled in nicely during this season’s 10-2 run, but his abilities and ceiling were somewhat exposed in back-to-back losses. N’Kosi Perry redshirted this season and expected to give Rosier a run for his money come spring; but the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Williams will join the competition, as well.

Previously committed to Kentucky and having chosen Miami over Alabama, Ohio State and Auburn, the accurate and mobile 4-star quarterback from Central Gwinnett High School in Georgia is a much-needed pick-up for the Canes.

Williams threw for over 3,000 yards last season, with 28 touchdowns and four interceptions—while rushing for over 500 yards and 10 scores on the ground.

Realus George (FB) — A very Richt-like haul-in for the Canes; George is the top-ranked fullback in the nation. The 3-star prospect from Mechanicsville, GA also played defensive end at Pace Academy and is an all around hard-ass who looks and plays well beyond his years.

George clocks in at 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds and will factor into Richt’s ground game immediately, as Miami was forced to use walk-on linebacker and tight ends at the position this season, due to grad transfer Marquez Williams eligibility ending in 2016.

The signing of George is a welcomed addition to a Hurricanes’ ground attack that has struggled to impose its will over this past decade. With an upgraded offensive line and some quality running backs also joining the equation, George feels like a statement piece.

When seeing Richt’s former Bulldogs’ squad reaching this year’s College Football Playoffs behind the wheels of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel—it’s easy to get a sense where the second-year Miami coach wants to see this offense in years to come.

Lorenzo Lingard (RB) — One of two 5-star prospects in this class, Lingard is a huge coup for the Canes—who haven’t seen a back of this caliber in a long while. That’s no knock on a Mark Walton, Travis Homer, Joe Yearby or others who have recently come through the program; Lingard is simply that special. He’s also the Canes’ highest-rated back since Duke Johnson in 2012 and was named the 2017 Gatorade Florida Player of the Year.

While some have tossed the “next Todd Gurley” tag on the 6-foot, 190-pound back out of University High in Orange City—the second-best running back (and fourth-best player in-state)—will carve out his own niche at “The U”.

ESPN described Lingard as, “tall with a muscular build and the speed to take it the distance” while also touting his ability to “find seams and get downhill quickly.” Double L is an explosive runner who already possesses NFL side, speed and toughness. A mix of speed and elusiveness, Lingard has earned rave reviews off-the-field, as well—considered the “ambassador” of this #Storm18 class; hard-selling the Canes to anyone and everyone, like the true leader he is.

Like some great Canes of yesteryear, Lingard is also a track story—claiming the 2017 4A 300M Hurdles State Championship—while rushing for 1,700 yards and 26 touchdowns on the gridiron.

With Walton NFL-bound and Homer proving more than capable this season, though not yet a next-level guy—Lingard gives Miami’s ground attack another much-needed gear in 2018. Huge pick up by Richt and staff.

Cam’Ron Davis (RB) — Another one of those Carol City hometown kids who always wanted to play for the Hurricanes, the 4-star running back is said to be an exceptional route runner that can catch passes out of the backfield, while running with balance and focusing on being a quality blocker.

The signing of a bigger name like Lingard might take some luster off Davis, but don’t let that lack of hype fool anyone—this is a quality back with 22 offers that chose Miami over some big-time programs.

Davis is explosive, can cut on a dime and with a little more size has the potential to be very well-rounded back for “The U”.

Brevin Jordan (TE) — One of two tight ends in this class for the Canes, Jordan is a 4-star prospect out of Las Vegas that clocks in at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. When thinking of the tight end greats that have passed through Miami, Jordan looks all the part of the next in line.

Despite haling from the west coast, Jordan—like Lingard—was another strong ambassador and leader for this #Storm18 class. Committed since April, Jordan didn’t even flinch when Alabama recently came calling with an offer weeks back.

The Bishop Gorman threat knows something about winning programs as a three-time state champion and two-time national champ. Jordan posted 1,111 yards on 63 catches with 13 touchdowns his senior seasons and views himself as a running back in a tight end’s body.

With senior Chris Herndon moving on to the NFL and Michael Irvin II not yet locking down the starting gig, Jordan will most-certainly be in the mix for a starting spot in 2018—though the lack of enrolling early could impact the learning curve.

Will Mallory (TE) — Another 4-star tight end signing for the Canes, Mallory hails from Jacksonville—Gator Country—and has strong family ties to Michigan, yet still found his way to Coral Gables and Tight End U—rocking a Jeremy Shockey jersey in his youth, with the Canes seemingly on his radar early.

Clocking in at a prototypical 6-foot-5—though a little underweight at 215 pounds—Mallory was ranked the ninth-best at his position nationwide. Fluid in his route running and strong in his yards-after-catch abilities, Mallory is a great addition for Miami and with his size, speed and vertical threat, is primed for greatness.

Mallory will enroll in May, and like Jordan is expected to compete for a starting role immediately.

Mark Pope (WR) — Another 5-star prospect for the Canes, Pope is fourth-ranked wide receiver in the nation and 25th best prospect overall. Expected to make an immediate impact for the Canes—both at wide receiver and on special teams.

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound prospect out of Miami Southridge and according to 247Sports, is “a bouncy athlete that makes things look effortless when releasing off the line of scrimmage” while also, “a crisp route runner that does a nice job breaking off defenders to get separation.”

Reclassified from the 2019 class to 2018, Pope will need to get bigger and stronger in the weight room but in due time will be a nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators from the slot. 

Daquris “Dee” Wiggins (WR) — Wiggins is a 3- or 4-star prospect—depending on the website—and also hails from Miami Southridge. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver is said to have good size and speed, but will still need to add some mass and strength. Height and length make him a good jump-ball candidate when guys like Lawrence Cager and Darrell Langham are gone in the coming years.

Wiggins started his career at Miami Killian and was a teammate of current UM safeties Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine. A bit raw as a route runner, there’s strong potential to be a No. 1 wideout once the experience is there as Wiggins has all the natural tools and he’ll be on campus in May to get to work.

Brian Hightower (WR) — From the west coast to the east, this Southern California prospect trekked to Bradenton for his final two years of high school and completed the migration to Coral Gables, opposed to USC or UCLA—both of which came calling.

The 4-star prospect originally committed to the Canes back in March and withstood unofficial summertime visits with the Trojans and Bruins months back. Clocking in at 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds Hightower is a good mix of size and speed, while also a solid deep ball threat.

A lack of consistent hands and blocking are thought to be knocks, but with Miami receivers forced to play such a large role as blockers, a safe bet Hurricanes coaches will get Hightower where he needs to be so he can see the field and show his stuff.

John Campbell (OL) —Offensive line signings aren’t as sexy as skills players, but when watching the Canes’ front five struggle at times during the season—it serves are a reminder the importance of bringing in quality talent at the position.

Campbell is a 4-star talent out fo Dr. Phillips in Orlando and is ranked as high as the 17th-best tackle in the nation. Campbell—like most true freshmen linemen—needs to pack on some weight, but with his speed (and hopefully a quick learning curve regarding the playbook), he will compete with Tyree St, Louis (a senior next season) for playing time.

Campbell currently clocks-in at 6-foot-5 and 295 pounds and will enroll in January.

Delone Scaife (OL) — Another Miami Southridge signee, Scaife is a 4-star prospect and ranked as high as the sixth-best offensive tackle in the nation. With current left guard Trevor Darling on his way out, the addition of Scaife was a much-needed pick-up.

ESPN’s scouting report stated that the 6-foot-3, 320-pound prospect has “excellent speed and athleticism”, with “fluidity and foot quickness to hold up in space”. The four-letter network also stated he, “flashes the nasty”—which is always a bonus with linemen.

No clue if Scaife will be play guard or tackle, but he’ll be on campus by January—learning the playbook and getting in college o-line shape.

Cleveland Reed (OL) — Reed was Miami final addition to the early signing period on Thursday and the 4-star prospect out of Fort Meade High is a solid pick-up for the Canes. Ranked the eight-best guard in the nation, Reed was praised by 247Sports for an ability to play “with a wide base” and is said to have “nimble feet” in both the run and pass game.

Clocking in at 6-foot-4 and 296 pounds, Reed will have to shed some of the bad weight and get in better playing shape—but the upside is there for a kid who “pumps his fee and drives through his opponent until the whistle is blown.”

Sounds like another nasty-streak for an o-lineman in this class, bringing a toughness the Canes front line can use.

Reed originally planned to visit Oklahoma and North Carolina, signing with Miami come February—but chose to sign on now when Hurricanes coaches let it be known they’d continue recruiting other linemen had things not formalized in December.

Greg Rosseau (DE) — A 4-star prospect out of Hialeah-Champagnat, Rosseau is a 4-star prospect ranked the 15th-best athlete nationwide. Clocking it a 6-foot-7, the 225-pounder will need to pack some weight onto his frame—but sky could be the limit for the one-time wide receiver, due to size and wing-span.

Rosseau will be on campus in January and a safe bet a redshirt is in the future for a guy ESPN called, “a developmental prospect that needs to find his fit and grow into it technically and physically.” No rush here. Miami simply needs to pick a direction for Rosseau and start building him up.

Patrick Joyner (LB) — For all the local kids Florida State has stolen from Miami’s backyard the past few years, it was nice to see a former Noles commit out of Homestead having a late change of heart and sticking with the hometown Canes.

The 4-star prospect committed to Florida State last April and flipped to Miami weeks back—also spurning advances from Alabama in the process. The Canes were high on Joyner and the addition of the nation’s 23rd-best outside linebacker is huge.

Joyner clocks in at 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds and will enroll this May.

DJ Ivey (CB) —Ivey is another Homestead kid. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound talent is ranked as high as the 34th-best cornerback in the nation and is expected to be an early contributor on both special teams, as well as the cornerback rotation with Dee Delaney graduation and Michael Jackson deciding whether to come back for his senior season.

With the 4-star prospect enrolling in January, Ivey will have a chance to compete for a starting role.

Ivey is said to be an aggressive defender who 247Sports stated, “makes full use of his measurables”. ESPN called Ivey a “smooth-moving corner who has the size many collegiate programs covet.” Potential to move to safety down the road, too. Solid pick-up and immediate-impact type player.

Gilbert Frierson (DB) — A short commute for the Coral Gables High talent, Frierson is a 4-star and ranked the 20th-best safety nationwide. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder returned punts and kicks with the Cavaliers and could see a similar role at Miami, as well as early playing time.

According to ESPN, Frierson is a “fluid, explosive athlete with good speed”, though he doesn’t have next-level speed and will need to add strength to match his aggressive style of play. Also said to be a ball-hawk with the moves to take it to the house, while also taking good angles in run support, before packing a wallop.

Hails from Coconut Grove, cousin of Frank Gore and super-familiar with the Miami program—which is always a plus

Al Blades (DB) — That name says it all. Another Blades is headed to “The U”; in this case, son of the late, great Al Sr. and nephew to legends Brian and Bennie. Blades is a 4-star prospect out of the always-reliable St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale and is the seventh-best cornerback in the nation.

In true Blades fashion, Al earned fame from his recruiting trip to Florida State—where he tossed up “U” hands, standing on the Seminoles’ logo inside Doak Campbell Stadium and posted the image to social media.

Blades is knows as a long and physical, smooth defensive back that plays with swag (duh!) and a tremendous energy and spirit. ESPN also praised his “burst to close on underneath routes in zone” as well as calling him “smart with very good instincts”.

Blades originally committed to Miami back in 2015, but opened things up after Al Golden was fired. Recommitted back in June and chose the Canes over 30 other offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and others. Blades will arrive on campus in May.

Gurvan Hall (S) — The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Hall hails from Palm Beach Gardens and is ranked the 11th-best safety nationwide. Hall made headlines with his commitment weeks back when requesting the No. 26 to honor his hero, the late, great Sean Taylor.

Hall is another kid that only had Miami on the brain; his only official visit to “The U”—despite offers from the Florida bigs, Auburn, Ohio State, Notre Dame and others. Hall was on Alabama’s radar, too—to the point where Nick Saban rolled into Palm Beach Lakes by helicopter to recruit him.

Hall will compete for a starting gig by 2019 after both Johnson and Redwine graduate, but should see playing time this upcoming season. According to 247Sports, Hall “projects best as an instinctive safety that can really burst out of his breaks and come downhill in a hurry. He plays with toughness and physicality on defense, but needs to work on his tackling technique.”

Wearing the No 26 is a real-deal commitment at Miami; but have a sneaking suspicion Hall will do ST proud.

Hall will arrive on campus in January and he is also a track guy, which oft proves well for Miami football players who compete in both sports.  

Bubba Baxa (K) —Baxa is a 3-star prospect, but as a kicker is ranked between the fourth-best and best in the nation, depending on the publication. The 6-foot, 195-pound Baxa hails from Texas and upon the graduation of Michael Badgley after next season, is primed to be another great one for the Canes.

According to ESPN, Baxa wrote “his field goal range and kickoff ability are at the level of what a college senior would be expected to have. He needs to be come a more-consistent striker of the ball on field goals, but has a leg that all the other top players know is different.

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