Where Miami football stands with several key Florida defensive recruiting battles

Lake Gibson (7) Cormani McClain makes a touchdown catch against the Lakeland defense during first half action at Virgil Ramage Stadium in Lakeland Fl. Friday November 12 2021. ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER111221 Ep Braves 7 News
Lake Gibson (7) Cormani McClain makes a touchdown catch against the Lakeland defense during first half action at Virgil Ramage Stadium in Lakeland Fl. Friday November 12 2021. ERNST PETERS/ THE LEDGER111221 Ep Braves 7 News /

The Miami football team is pursuing three defensive prospects among the “10 key Florida recruiting battles to watch this spring” from Jerry Crabtree of On3.Com. Miami currently does not have any defensive players committed to its 2023 class. The Hurricanes are in the lead for only one of the three prospects.

Miami signed several elite defensive players in their 2022 Class. Four-star cornerbacks Chris Graves and Khamauri Rogers and linebacker Wesley Bissainthe were committed to Miami before Mario Cristobal was hired in December. All three signed with the Miami football program in December.

Four-star defensive ends Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss were not committed to Miami until Cristobal was hired. Kelly signed with Miami in December and Moss committed to the Hurricanes in early January. Miami is likely to target linebackers in the Class of 2023 as a position that needs significant improvement.

The three players profiled by Crabtree are two defensive linemen and a CB. Graves and Rogers should provide Miami a strong foundation at CB in the future. Miami is a long shot with five-star CB Cormani McClain. Alabama is currently the leader for McClain, but Miami was able to flip four-star 2022 TE Jaleel Skinner from Alabama.

"“Five-Star Plus+ CB Cormani McClain Lakeland (Fla.) Lake GibsonOn3 Consensus Ranking: No. 3NIL Valuation: $56KOn3 Recruiting Prediction Machine: Alabama 42.2%, Florida 30.9%, Miami 14.5%, Georgia 8.3%The Skinny: “Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Ohio State are the schools I hear the most about. You can’t count Miami out. He was just at Florida. The Gators could be the favorite at this stage.”— On3 Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons on Five-Star Plus+ Cormani McClain."

McClain unofficially visited Miami in January. Miami is involved with several high-profile recruits in the Class of 2023. McClain is the highest-ranked 2023 Miami target per 247 Sports. The competition with Alabama and Florida will be fierce for McClain. Flipping Skinner is a good sign for Cristobal for the Miami program.

"4-star EDGE Malik Bryant Orlando (Fla.) JonesOn3 Consensus Ranking: No. 33NIL Valuation: $41KOn3 Recruiting Prediction Machine: Alabama 29.4%, Miami 29.4%, Florida 10.3%The Skinny: “Upcoming visits will likely play a major role ahead of Bryant’s July commitment date. Florida is the school to monitor, especially with the Gators surging for Payton Kirkland and Derrick LeBlanc. Yet, he has only visited with the new staff once and that was several months ago.Getting Bryant back on campus is the major key, while the likes of Georgia, Alabama and Miami are right there at the top as well.” — Bender on Malik Bryant"

Modern college football programs never have enough edge rushers. That is evident with the competition Miami will have for four-star edge rushers, Malik Bryant and Damon Wilson. The Miami football program is in a good place for Bryant as the co-leaders with Alabama. Bryant visited Miami at Pro Day in January.

"4-star EDGE Damon Wilson Venice (Fla.) HighOn3 Consensus Ranking: No. 56NIL Valuation: $15.2KOn3 Recruiting Prediction Machine: Alabama 46.8%, Florida State 2.1%, Georgia Tech 2.1%, Miami 2.1%, Clemson 2.1%, Michigan 2.1%, USC 2.1%, Ohio State 2.1%The Skinny: “This one seems to be wide open. There is some buzz around Alabama, the school his teammate Elliot Washington is committed to, but all options are on the table. Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami and others are still being considered.”— Simmons on Damon Wilson"

Wilson is leaning heavily towards Alabama according to the On3 prediction machine. No visits have been taken yet by Wilson according to his 247 Sports profile. The On3 consensus ratings place Wilson as the sixth-best edge rusher and 11th best prospect in Florida in the Class of 2023.

Next. Miami standing with key Florida offensive recruits. dark

Cristobal did not finish hiring his staff until February. All of the new hires and holdover, tight ends coach Stephen Field have all been praised as elite recruiters. With the history Cristobal has as a recruiter, the Miami football program should at least equal the 2022 class in the top 15 with a strong chance of exceeding that.