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Inside Word: Canes Coming Back

After being in Sun Life Stadium for Miami’s 21-16 win against traditional rival Florida on Saturday, it’s obvious that the win may just be what the Canes need to get all the way back to the level that the program is accustomed to. 

Also, Oregon once again is causing a buzz among the top prospects in the Southeast, Maryland is looking for help in the trenches, Wisconsin’s next commit and there is plenty of running back talent in the state of North Carolina in the next two cycles. 

All in this week’s Inside Word.

Class of 2015 Top247 tight end Devonaire Clarington said it was good to see "his team" win after Miami defeated Florida, 21-16, on Saturday.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Miami won its biggest game in years Saturday with a 21-16 triumph over Florida. The immediate future of the Hurricanes program, clouded by a pending NCAA decision on sanctions in recent years, could finally be on the verge of coming clear. The big win combined what’s expected to be a positive, upcoming announcement could give Al Golden’s program its first breath of fresh air on the recruiting trail since he took over the job in December of 2010. 

Miami’s sideline before kickoff was a who’s who of some of the best talent in south Florida in the 2014 through 2016 cycles. If the win tells us anything, perhaps Miami’s biggest season in years as will follow. 

That potential success translates to potential results on the recruiting trail, most notable in terms of acquiring defensive line talent. That’s what separates the good from the great among programs in the southeast and throughout the nation. 

Miami has pledges from four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, four-star defensive end Chad Thomas, three-star defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey, three-star defensive end Trent Harris, three-star defensive end Demetrius Jackson and Mike Smith, who could play defensive end or outside linebacker on the next level. 

The main remaining target on the defensive line for the 2014 cycle remains Anthony Moten from nearby St. Thomas Aquinas in nearby Fort Lauderdale. He was among the all-star cast of recruits at Sun Life Stadium, spending time with Hurricanes staff before and after the game. 

Moten, who is also highly considering South Carolina and Notre Dame, appears to be a lean towards Miami at this stage. The get would give Miami its best defensive line class in years to go with what just was its top on the field victory. 

Moten heads up the highlighted quotes from Saturday’s recruits in south Florida:

“Miami came in focused and that’s what they did in the end,” - Moten

Top247 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine said following Miami's 21-16 win against Florida that nothing could change his mind about his pledge to the Canes.

“It was good. There wasn’t anything too wild that got me out of my seat. I thought the wide receivers on both teams played well. I was kind of surprised. I thought Florida was going to beat Miami,” - Class of 2015 receiver Tavares Martin

“It was good. Miami was ready to play. Both teams played really good. It was a good game. I have high interest in both teams so it was hard to see one of them lose,” - Class of 2015 athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker

“That was a great game. I was surprised. I was expecting Florida to win,” - Class of 2015 athlete Tevill Holcy

“That was exciting. I wasn’t really surprised by the results. Miami caught my eye,” - Class of 2015 cornerback Tyrek Cole

“Oh it was good to see my team come out on top,” - Class of 2015 tight end Devonaire Clarington

“I thought the game atmosphere was really cool. It was very exciting for me. I thought the game was very hard fought on both sides defensively. It was a grind. I wasn’t surprised by the result. I would The U would come in very hyped up for the game and win like they did,” - Class of 2015 athlete Jordan Cronkrite 

“It was excellent. Miami kept the same intensity. They can be the team everybody says they can be. They might win the ACC. I’m not surprised at all. Miami was focused. Florida was very cocky. I was impressed by Denzel (Perryman). He had like 30 tackles. I talked to Miami’s coaches afterwards and they said they wish they could me there right now. I’m solid and 100-percent with them. Nothing is going to change my mind,” - Valentine 

Ducks have national appeal

First-year Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich has helped build (as OC under Chip Kelly) and inherited a program with serious national appeal.

During a recent, four state run over the last three weeks in south Florida, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, some of the nation’s most fertile recruiting grounds, that spanned over 65 school stops seeing the nation’s Top 2014 and 2015 four and five-star caliber recruits, one noticeable trend was evident: Oregon has major national appeal among the nation’s best talent. And its hot on the east coast for the Pac-12. Few teams, if any, were mentioned more among the top recruits in the Southeast region more than the Ducks in terms of wanting that offer. 

Recent success, running a fast-paced high-profile offense, the uniforms, facilities and everything in-between has recruits buzzing over Oregon:

“Oregon is my favorite. That’s pretty much it. I have offers from Florida State, Miami and about 10 others but I want that one from Oregon. They are my favorite and I haven’t heard from them yet. I love the offense they run. They have speed, pure speed.” - Tavares Martin


“That’s who I really want an offer from to play quarterback there. I love their offense,” - Treon Harris, Class of 2014 four-star Florida State commit

“That’s the darkhorse (in my recruitment). That’s a big program. Everybody knows them. They put up points,” - Travis Rudolph, four-star Class of 2014 prospect, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman 

“I gotta get out to Oregon for one of my official visits for sure. I gotta see it,” - Lorenzo Featherston, four-star Class of 2014 Top247 defensive end, Greensboro (N.C.) Page 

“I’m really hoping Oregon offers. I love their offense and how they play fast,” - Anthony Ratliff, three-star Class of 2015 dual-threat quarterback, Matthews (N.C.) Butler 

“I’m originally from Tacoma, Wash., and grew up liking Oregon. I’m hoping they offer. I like their tempo. I love the no huddle offense,” - Zack Bailey, four-star Class of 2015 offensive tackle, Summerville (S.C.)  

Defensive tackle Arthur Williams from Fayetteville, N.C., could be an Auburn commit if the Tigers push.

Auburn adding defense

Auburn right now has 14 commits and not the Tigers are not expecting to sign a big class, but they are looking to add defensive class to its current allotment. The top instate prospect left on the board, Top247 safety/athlete Ronnie Clark, is on the verge of making his college choice between Auburn and Alabama. 

Auburn has some elements working its in favor in this specific situation, including wanting to play Clark at safety. Still, its hard to see them overcoming Alabama in this situation. The tea leaves say that Clark will pledge to the Tide this fall. 

Auburn appears in better footing with a pair of defensive linemen. They have help and connections with four-star defensive end Andrew Williams from the Atlanta area and and are currently battling Clemson, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame and Florida State for the four-star defensive end. Also, as of this morning, Auburn has positioned itself as the team to beat for Williams and another Williams, Arthur Williams, a defensive tackle out of Fayetteville (N.C.) E.E. Smith. 

The Crystal Ball trends East Carolina currently for Williams but look for a fall push from Auburn to reverse that. 

Wisconsin Peaches

Wisconsin played host to a pair of three-star standouts from Jesup (Ga.) Wayne County this past weekend on official visits and the Badgers have now positioned themselves as the team to beat for Krenwick Sanders, a wide receiver, and remain in the lead group along with North Carolina State and Arkansas for Jeremy Patterson, a defensive tackle.

Patterson favored the Badgers going into the visit and appears to want to take more visitors before making his decision. Wisconsin made up more ground with Sanders in his time in Madison. He still wants to take an official visit to Vanderbilt, Missouri or Syracuse before making his decision. 

Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen may be on the verge of landing two good prospects out of the state of Georgia.

Virginia has now gotten into the equation and inquired on both prospects but are deemed a serious contender for either at this point. 

Wisconsin is looking to add at least one more defensive tackle and holds Patterson on top of its want list at the position among the offered targets they are currently in the lead group for. 

The Badgers will look to add two, maybe three wide receivers in this class. They are in the best shape right now with Sanders, Jalen Embry and Jalen Brown.

Wisconsin leads for Sanders and Embry and they are battling Vanderbilt for Brown. 

Look for Wisconsin’s next commit to come from Joe Keels, a defensive end at Highland (Kan.) Community College. The Badgers offered the former Kenosha (Wisc.) Bradford standout on Friday which immediately positioned themselves as the team to beat and put him directly on commit watch for possibly as soon as this week. 

Halfway There

Maryland has 10 commits and hopes to take a class of 20 on National Signing Day. 

The biggest area of need still left to fill this cycle is on the offensive line. The Terps have three commits on the offensive line currently and could sign as many as eight this cycle. 

They still remain hot and heavy after the likes of local five-star Damian Prince, Massive Brock Ruble, New Jersey trenchman Kevin Wilkins and others. 

Florida State running backs coach Jay Graham, a North Carolina native who recruits the state for the Noles, has not given up on four-star Virginia OT commit Will Richardson. Graham was at Richardson's game Friday night.

One name that just now starting to get evaluated on their board that could soon land an offer is Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas offensive lineman Ryan Crozier, one of the top sleepers in the Sunshine State and the country this recruiting cycle.  The three-star offensive lineman (6-4, 293) won MVP OL honors at the Miami camp and was named a Top three lineman at the North Carolina and Arkansas camps. Maryland, Syracuse, Purdue and Appalachian State are all evaluating him as a potential offer.



Maryland also hopes to get another steal out of south Florida. The Terrapins signed one of the best defensive backs in the area last cycle, Will Likely from Belle Glade (Fla.) Glades Central, which was considered an upset on the recruiting trail. They’re going to try and pull another one this round with high hopes for Shawn Boone, a three-star safety from West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer. 

Boone has lined up official visits to North Carolina State, Ohio State, Maryland and Arkansas and Maryland is working on getting that fifth and possibly final official. 

On The Road





Some college staffs were out evaluating this past week with the Sept. 1 start of the fall evaluation period.

-Featherston indicated that Florida State assistant Jay Graham was at his game on Friday night. The Seminoles are currently not in Featherston’s lead group or in his official visit plans. Graham is working on changing that if possible. Currently, Clemson and Florida are doing battle for the Greensboro (N.C.) Page standout with North Carolina, North Carolina State and Tennessee round out the lead group. 

-Four-star Virginia offensive line commit Will Richardson said Graham also stopped by his school. The four-star offensive tackle visited UVA on Saturday and took in the Cavaliers’ loss to Oregon. His pledge to Virginia hasn’t stopped Florida State from trying to flip him. 

-Graham also scouted Ratliff at Butler High and the school’s 2016 running back Benjamin LeMay, the latest LeMay (joining Christian and Uriah) to be a highly-recruited player from the school. Butler won its game, 56-14.

Class of 2015 defensive end Kengera Daniel is just the latest major defensive line prospect to emerge out of "D-Line Heaven"- the Carolinas.

-Four-star Class of 2015 offensive tackle Mason Veal of Charlotte (N.C.) Ardrey Kell and four-star safety Van Smith of Charlotte (NC) West Mecklenburg indicated that Clemson assistant Danny Pearman was by for parts of both of their games on Friday. Smith is a recent pledge to the Tigers and Veal holds Clemson and North Carolina on top of his list with South Carolina rounding out his lead group. 

-Hogansville (Ga.) Callaway five-star 2015 athlete Terry Godwin indicated Clemson assistant Mike Reed was at his game on Friday night. Godwin, the No. 2 athlete in the nation for ’15 by 247Sports, will be an Alabama-Georgia battle ultimately with the Tide having significant help in this situation. 

New Names

-Gastonia (N.C.) Ashbrook has produced three Division 1 talents in the last five cycles including Jheranie Boyd (North Carolina), Norkethius Otis and Zeek Bigger (East Carolina). Next up is Austin Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound quarterback in the 2015 class that’s just starting to make his way onto major college’s radars.  

-The next emerging prospect in ‘d-line heaven’ of the Carolinas is Kengera Daniel, a 2015 defensive end at Raleigh (N.C.) Millbrook. Florida State, North Carolina, Duke and North Carolina State are starting to show interest in the 6-foot-5, 230-pound junior. 

N.C. also loaded with backs

As traditionally loaded that the state of North Carolina is for defensive line talent, in the coming two cycles its especially deep at running back. Already nine backs have Division 1 offers in the 2015 class.

Top 9 running backs in North Carolina in 2015



1- Bryce Love, Wake Forest (N.C.) Rolesville
2- Nyheim Hines, Garner (N.C.)
3- Jave Jones, Asheville (N.C.) AC Reynolds 
4- Reggie Gallaspy, Greensboro (NC) Southern Guilford
5- Rocky Reid, Concord (N.C.)
6- Shawn Furlow, Winterville (N.C.) South Central 
7- Trai Sharp, Carrboro (N.C.) 
8- William Cameron, Durham (N.C.) Southern 
9- Albert Funderburke, Monroe (N.C.) Sun Valley

Love looks pretty wide open with North Carolina and South Carolina among his early favorites. Ohio State could be the team to beat if they offer. Hines likes North Carolina as well but is waiting on an offer from Clemson or Florida. He could transition to playing slot receiver on the next level. Jones favors his early offer from North Carolina. Gallaspy has connections to the programs in Michigan and Ohio State. He also likes North Carolina and Clemson as does Reid. Furlow has offers from East Carolina, North Carolina and Syracuse. Duke has offered Funderburke and West Virginia have offered Cameron, while Shap has Purdue, Appalachian State, Illinois and Purdue offers. 

The position appears to be stocked again in 2016 with five Division 1 talents in the Charlotte area alone.

Top 5 Charlotte-area running backs for 2016


1- Antonio Williams, New London (N.C.) North Stanly
2- Robert Washington, Huntersville (N.C.) Southlake Christian Academy 
3- Benjamin LeMay, Matthews (N.C.) Butler
4- Moe Neal, Gastonia (N.C.) Forestview 
5- Elijah Deveaux, Charlotte (N.C.) Christian

Follow National Recruiting Insider Ryan Bartow on Twitter @RyanBartow

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