Larry Blustein


Larry Blustein
March 20, 2019 - 12:59 pm

As spring practice got under way yesterday for the University of Miami – it was hard to believe that this was the same program that left the Pinstripe Bowl a beaten team.

What has transpired over the past three months is simply amazing. And, while they haven’t played a game yet, the good news has come in bunches, starting with the hiring of Manny Diaz as head coach.

From that initial hire, the ball has rolled faster than it has in years – even with the optimism two years ago after convincing home wins against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

What is happening now in Coral Gables is indeed a youth movement, and instead of keeping a low profile, the Hurricanes have gotten back to what earned them a solid reputation for over three decades.

Whether anyone wants to understand what is going on – we have been fortunate to watch every season since 1960 – and being close to the recruiting – when this program is successful – it is all about recruiting.

The memories of the 1980’s, 90’s and into the early part of the 2000’s will always be tough to duplicate. During that period of time, everything started to fall in place – the “perfect storm” – if you will. It’s not unlike what is going on now.

The nationally-rated prospects who have just been visiting the past 18 years, before heading to other powers, are now choosing Miami again, and everyone has embraced it.

New coaches who understand how to teach and relate to the players are in place – and with Diaz and his up tempo lifestyle running the show – the recruits are doing more than listening. We will say it over and over again: it’s all about recruiting.

While this 2019 class may not have been what everyone expected, the transfers who are coming in, will enhance and more than make up for it. But the real measure of what this regime is doing right now is to look at these upcoming classes. The rising high school seniors (2020) and talented juniors (2021) are really among the best in the country.


The one thing that this program wanted to do after a tough 2019 cycle is to make sure that the next two classes would give the Hurricanes a chance to get the athletes to help close the gap at the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

While Coach Diaz and his staff have some quality locked down for 2020, they learned a year ago that you cannot take anything for granted, and the way you make sure that the recruits do not waiver is make them a priority.

Here is a look at what this program has committed for the upcoming 2020 class:

On the offensive side of the ball, this class certainly boasts some elite prospects in running back Don Chaney, Jr. (5-11, 195, Miami Belen Jesuit), receivers Bryan Robinson (6-1, 180, Wellington Palm Beach Central) and Marcus Fleming (5-10, 160, Miami Northwestern) and tight end Dominic Mammarelli (6-4, 235, Naples), athlete Ladarius Tennison (5-9, 195, Rockledge).

On defense, defensive ends Sam Anaele (6-4, 245, Miami Carol City) and Tre’Von Riggins (6-2, 275, St. Petersburg Lakewood), tackle Willie Moise (6-3, 290, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna), and cornerbacks Jaiden Francois (6-0, 185, Homestead South Dade) and Daran Branch (6-1, 170, Amite, Louisiana).


The true measure of trying to get back into south Florida and keeping the elite prospects home is what this class may be all about.

There are some quality football players who jumped aboard early and hope to set the tone for others to follow.

Here is a look at this tremendous group:

Kahlil Brantley, WR, 6-2, 190, Miami Northwestern. One of the talented football players who began his career at Doral Academy – before making the move over the play for the 6A state champion Bulls. Over the next two years, he will continue to mature.


Romello Brinson, WR, 6-2, 175, Miami Northwestern. One of the true young playmakers who has made the most of his skills the first two years at the varsity level. This is someone who thrives on elite competition. Big time potential.


Savion Collins, DT, 6-4, 290, Southwest Miami. From the first time this tremendous talent took the field for the Eagles, all eyes were on this quality talent who showcased his skills throughout the past year. He was also impressive at the Hurricanes’ camp last summer.


Thad Franklin, RB, 6-1, 217, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna. One of the players that you have to watch to believe. This is a running back in a linebacker’s body with speed and plenty athletic ability. Also loves the quarterback position.


Donell Harris, DE, 6-4, 210, Miami Booker T. Washington. Big time athletes who is one of those impressive two-way performers. This will be one of the best prospects in Florida – without hesitation.


Tyler Johnson, LB, 6-2, 200, Homestead South Dade. Yet another of those instinctive playmakers that the Hurricanes are starting to recruit more and more of – especially the past two years. Solid talent who is still learning.


Chamon Metayer, DE, 6-3, 220, North Miami. Broke out of the gate fast this past season for a Pioneer team that made the playoffs once again. This is one of the top athletes in Florida. One of the elite basketball players as well.


Laurence Seymour, OL, 6-2, 295, Miami Central. Very few prospects made the splash that this young man did. From youth football to playing for the Rockets, this is one of those athletes who will dominate over the next two years.


James Williams, S, 6-4, 210, Plantation American Heritage. This is someone who is easily one of the best prospects in the country. Size, speed and a passion for the game. Started as a freshman at Monsignor Pace.


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