Miami Hurricanes Recruiting: Three-Stars Are People, Too


The Miami Hurricanes football team wrapped up its 2015 recruiting class this week, and although Miami landed several big-time prospects, they also brought in a lot of 3-star prospects. Recruits that earn the 4-star and 5-star labels certainly tend to do better than the lesser ranked prospects, but plenty of players outplay their rankings, too. This post highlights a handful of the diamonds in the rough that Miami has brought in recently.

TE Clive Walford, 2010 recruit

Clive Walford did not receive much national attention on the recruiting front. A consensus 3-star recruit, Walford was ranked the 58th best tight end recruit in the country. Some lower-tier programs showed interest in him – Indiana, Purdue, and FIU – but Walford chose the Hurricanes.

After redshirting his freshman season, Walford made an immediate impact. He recorded 77 receptions for 1,077 yards and 7 touchdowns through his first three seasons on the active roster, while sharing tight end duties with Chase Ford and Asante Cleveland. During Walford’s senior season, he emerged as one of the best tight ends in the nation. He reeled in 44 passes for 676 yards and 7 touchdowns this past season en route to third team All-America and second team All-ACC honors.

Clive Walford overcame his 3-star recruiting ranking and had an excellent career at Miami. His stellar senior season has earned him national recognition and he projects as anywhere from a 2nd to 4th round NFL draft pick.

WR Allen Hurns, 2010 recruit

The Carol City product was labeled as a 3-star wide receiver by each of the major recruiting services. ESPN listed Hurns as the 103rd best receiver in the country. Despite the unimpressive recruiting ratings, he owned relatively major offers from Mississippi, Pittsburgh, UCF, and West Virginia in addition to the Hurricanes. An injury during his senior season of high school contributed Hurns’ lack of attention.

Following a quiet freshman season, Hurns broke out as a sophomore emerging as one of the go-to targets of Jacory Harris. Hurns proved to be the most reliable receiver on the team during his record-breaking senior season. He caught 62 passes (3rd best in program history) and totaled 1,162 yards (best in program history).

Allen Hurns, despite a phenomenal collegeiate career, was not chosen in the 2014 NFL draft. Hurns signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent and immediately earned national recognition with a two-touchdown performance in the 2014 season opener. Hurns, consistently underrated, outplayed his 3-star rating and could potentially have a starting spot in the NFL in 2015.

LB Denzel Perryman, 2011 Recruit

Coming out of Coral Gables Senior High, Denzel Perryman was a consensus 3-star prospect despite holding major scholarship offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, and Florida State in addition to Miami. Perryman lacked the ideal height for the linebacker position and his athleticism did not jump off of the page.

Perryman proved his recruiting rankings wrong early. He recorded 69 tackles his freshman season, which led all ACC freshmen. Following a solid sophomore season, he emerged as a star during his junior campaign with 108 tackles, 1st team All-ACC recognition, and several bone-crushing hits. He moved from outside linebacker to the inside during his senior season and continued the high level of production.

The once undersized linebacker prospect ranks as one of – if not the best – linebackers in the country. Denzel Perryman projects as 1st or 2nd round draft pick in the 2015 NFL draft.

OT Taylor Gadbois, 2012 Recruit

Each of the major recruiting services listed offensive tackle Taylor Gadbois as a 3-star prospect or lower. Despite his low rating, Gadbois received major offers from Georgia, Kentucky, and Georgia Tech in addition to the Hurricanes.

Gadbois spent his first season in Miami redshirting and filling out his 6’8” frame. In 2013, he played in a reserve role. Gadbois broke out this past season and started the opening game at Louisville at right tackle. Once he found his groove a few games into the season, an injury cost him the remainder of 2014.

Gadbois’ best days as an offensive lineman are ahead of him. He will either continue to start at right tackle next season or fill in for NFL-bound Ereck Flowers on the left side. The former 3-star prospect could end up as a 3-year starter on the offensive line.

OG Nick Linder, 2014 Recruit

The younger brother of former Hurricanes and current Jaguars offensive lineman, Nick Linder received few major offers coming out of local powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas high school. Rivals, 247sports, and ESPN each rated the younger Linder as a 3-star prospect. 247sports ranked Linder as the No. 75 offensive guard prospect nationally.

After injuries to Taylor Gadbois and Kc McDermott plagued Miami’s offensive line early in the season, the Canes gave the true freshman Nick Linder the start at left guard against Georgia Tech. Many believed Linder would be better off redshirting his freshman season, but he quickly proved himself worthy of early playing time and helped the Hurricanes’ offensive line.

With Ereck Flowers, Jon Feliciano, and Shane McDermott each completing their college football careers, Nick Linder has the inside track on earning a starting role in 2015 and could perhaps be a 3-year starter on the offensive line. Linder can provide versatility by playing either guard or center at a high level.

Which 2015 3-star prospects will emerge as underrated?