Miami football recruiting: Gain 1, lose 1, third UM is dream school

BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)
BLACKSBURG, VA - NOVEMBER 17: (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images) /

It has been a busy few days for the Miami football program on the recruiting trail. Since receiving an oral commitment from 2020 three-star linebacker A.J. Mathis on Monday the Hurricanes have received another commitment and lost another.

A third potential Miami football recruit told David Wilson of the Miami Herald that UM is “his dream school.”  The lost commitment to the Miami football program is 2021 safety, James Williams. Williams is the 11th ranked player in his class and the top recruit at his position. Williams can’t officially sign until December 2020.

The Miami football program lost Williams at least for the time being but picked up an oral commitment from 2020 three-star safety Justin Hodges. Hodges is the 1,612th ranked player in the Class of 2020, the 113th rated defensive back and 198th ranked player in Florida. His star is rising despite the low numbers.

Adam Lichtenstein of the Sun-Sentinel reported that Hodges also has offers from Central Florida, Kentucky, and West Virginia in addition to several unnamed schools. Hodges commitment was secured by cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph according to 247Sports. Hodges is the fourth 2020 defensive back commit for Miami.

The Hurricanes have also received commitments from four-star cornerback Jaiden Francois, four-star safety Keshawn Washington and three-star cornerback Daran Branch. Hodges is the ninth player to commit to Miami’s 2020 Class from South Florida. Signing local players has been an emphasis for Manny Diaz and staff.

Williams initially committed to Miami during the spring of 2018 as a Freshman. He led American Heritage with four interceptions in 2018 and made 64 tackles. The list of colleges recruiting Williams is extensive. All the programs in Florida plus major powers like Alabama and Georgia are among those interested.

Williams commitment from Miami leaves him without a school he is leaning towards. The 247 Sports projections for Williams have him listed as cool on all the schools on the list and there are no crystal ball predictions which school he is leaning towards.

Jamari Stewart is a three-star, 6’4 215 pound linebacker from Port St. Lucie. He told the Miami Herald’s David Wilson that Miami is his dream school. The only crystal ball prediction has Andrew Ivins from 247’s Miami site projecting that Stewart will sign with the Hurricanes. Manny Diaz has been in charge of Stewart’s recruitment.

Diaz convinced Stewart to visit last fall before Miami had extended an offer. He was in attendance for Miami’s regular season-ending victory over Pittsburgh last November. When Diaz became the Hurricanes head coach in December he finally extended an offer to Stewart in January. Stewart discussed the timeline with Wilson.

"“Finally when Manny Diaz became the head coach, that’s when I got the offer. Me and coach Diaz speak a lot. I haven’t really made any plans to make a visit there or anything…“Miami, that’s just a big school. That’s a dream school.”"

Stewart was at Miami’s Junior Day in February. He met Miami football alums, Hall of Famer wide receiver Michael Irvin and current NFL tight ends Greg Olson of the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns’ David Njoku. Stewart was impressed with the alumni in attendance.

"“It was good seeing all the alumni around."

Stewart is the 775th ranked player, the 61st ranked outside linebacker and 101st ranked player in Florida in the Class of 2020 according to 247 Sports. His high school defense is a 3-4. Diaz and the Hurricanes defensive staff project him as a defensive end in their 4-3. His size is similar to current Miami DE Greg Rousseau.

Stewart recorded 33 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and three sacks in 2018 per Wilson via Treasure Coast Newspapers in Port St. Lucie. Stewart has taken unofficial visits to North Carolina State and South Carolina. He has an official visit scheduled with Pittsburgh in June.

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Stewart told Wilson he is not in a rush to make a decision but wants to decide by the end of the summer. He also said he “possibly” early enroll at the school of his choice.”