Manny Diaz and Miami football staff showing elite recruiting ability within South Florida

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 05: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

If I told you the Miami football program just secured its highest-rated recruit in over a decade after the way the 2019 season ended, you’d probably call me crazy.

As surprising as it might seem, five-star athlete James Williams announced his recruitment was over with a commitment to the Miami football program over Georgia Tuesday night. Fourteen months initially after de-committing from The U, the American Heritage star made it clear that Coral Gables was where he wanted to be.

Williams chose Miami despite the fact that 247 Sports considered the Bulldogs to be heavy favorites. Williams is ranked as not just the top positional athlete in Florida, but the top player in the state, and a top 10 player in the entire country for his 2021 class. This commitment could be groundbreaking and program changing.

What’s been most impressive is even with a 2019 season under .500, head coach Manny Diaz and his staff have done a phenomenal job at keeping some of South Florida’s best players for the 2021 class at home.

Williams is the latest and most important example of that, but it’s a trend that dominates Miami’s 2021 class. The Hurricanes have secured nine commitments from four-star (or higher) players from the South Florida area. That’s compared to just three for the 2020 class as a whole. And Diaz and his staff may not be done yet.

What’s intriguing is the precedent it could set for other top recruits with Miami on their radar. That would include five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor, who plays right down the road at Miami Palmetto High School and has Miami in his top two, along with Florida. Taylor is set to decide on a commitment on August 6.

Florida is considered favorites, but as history has shown, that may not mean much.

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Whether or not Taylor becomes Miami’s second five-star in for its 2021 class doesn’t change the fact that the Hurricanes coaching staff is putting a culture-changer in place, to keep some of the best of South Florida’s hotbed of high school talent right at home and to rep their city.