Manny Diaz named best head coach recruiter in Florida

Manny Diaz was named the top recruiter among head coaches in Florida via a poll conducted among seven 247 Sports expert analysts. A lot has changed since the last time 247 examined the best recruiters among head coaches in Florida in 2018. Entering only his third season, Manny Diaz is now one of the most tenured coaches.

Only Butch Davis entering his fifth season at FIU and Dan Mullen at Florida commencing his fourth have led their programs in the Sunshine State longer than Diaz. Davis and Mullen both loom large over Diaz. Davis led Miami out of probation in the nineties and recruited the roster that won the 2001 National Championship.

Mullen is one of Diaz’s mentors. Diaz was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State under Mullen in 2010 and 2015. The first game for Diaz as a head coach was in 2019 was a 24-20 loss to Mullen and the Gators in a game Miami at least could have won. Now they are battling in recruiting.

Diaz inherited the nation’s 27th ranked signing class in 2019. The first full class Miami signed in 2020 significantly improved to 16th and the Hurricanes have climbed to 12th with the 2021 class. Diaz was credited with two of the top three signees in the 2020 Miami class.

Manny Diaz Runs Away With No. 1 Spot

Diaz made some big splashes early through the transfer portal, adding high-profile players like Jaelan Phillips and D’Eriq King. But the Hurricanes started to flex their muscles in the high school ranks last cycle following a strong 2020 season, adding a pair of local five-stars: Leonard Taylor and James Williams.

Earning signatures from Taylor and Williams signals the first occasion since 2014 that the Hurricanes signed two of the top 10 players from Florida and the first time since 2012 it inked two of the top 5.

That success on the trail helped Diaz earn four out of seven possible first-place votes. He ranked no worse than second on any single ballot. Miami’s 2021 class ranking of 12th is the program’s second-best effort since 2013.

Five-star safety James Williams was a four-year recruitment after Diaz and his staff built a relationship with him. Williams was the 14th ranked player nationally, the top-ranked safety and fourth-ranked player in Florida in the Class of 2021. Diaz was also credited with signing 2021 four-star quarterback Jake Garcia.

Miami appeared to go all-in on Garcia in 2021. If the Hurricanes did not sign Garcia they might have gone without a QB in the Class of 2021. Miami signed the most blue-chip (four or five-stars) players from Florida in the Class of 2021. The Hurricanes inked 11 blue-chip players from the Sunshine State. Alabama was second with six.

Continuing to sign top 15 recruiting classes and developing those players is critical for the ascent of the Miami football program. Diaz has continued to show he is will to make any necessary changes on the Miami coaching staff or to the Hurricanes roster through the transfer portal.

The ability Diaz has shown as a recruiter has helped Miami close on critical signees. Garcia and Williams have the potential to be the best players for Miami on offense and defense in a year or two. The foundation is being set by Diaz with the staff and culture he has created on and off the field over the last two years.