Miami is on its way to one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, and David Wilson and the DieHards.com team are in the eye of the storm to help you track the Hurricanes. Read daily notebooks here at 10 a.m. ET Monday through Friday and follow us on Twitter for the latest Miami recruiting news.
Jarren Williams lines up official visit for Saturday
It’s been less than a week since Artur Sitkowski surprisingly flipped his commitment from Miami to Rutgers and already the Hurricanes seem to have lined up a potential replacement for the 4-star pro-style quarterback. Jarren Williams, a dual-threat quarterback with a 4-star rating in the 247Sports Class of 2018 composite, plans to officially visit Miami this weekend for the No. 10 Hurricanes’ showdown against No. 3 Notre Dame at Hard Rock Stadium. Andrew Ivins of 247Sports first reported Williams’ planned visit.
Williams is currently committed to Kentucky, although it’s clear he’s not ruling out other potential destinations. Alabama, Auburn and Ohio State are all pushing for the 6-foot-3, 211-pound senior from Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. Miami is getting a visit before either the Buckeyes or Tigers, however. Williams’ only other visits this fall have been to see the Wildcats and Crimson Tide.
Anthony Williams, Jarren Williams’ father, did an extensive interview last month with Joe Mussatto, who covers Kentucky for our sister site SEC Country. Among the topics discussed was Jaren’s thought process as other schools get involved. The Hurricanes weren’t involved yet, although given Williams’ visit plans the same information should apply.
“I know sometimes schools don’t like for guys to go on visits or whatever,” Anthony Williams said during the interview, “but I believe that if you’re selling your program to be the best, it shouldn’t bother a school whether or not a kid goes visit. They’re gonna have an opportunity to choose where they wanna go.
“I think he wants to be around players that want to win. Kentucky has certainly demonstrated that they’re winning. They’re 5-2 (now 6-3). But I think for him, he’s looking at it from a point of view that he wants better players around him. He wants more explosive players around him. He realizes that football is a team sport and he can’t do it by himself.”
Although the 247Sports composite rankings may consider Sitkowski the superior prospect to Williams — the former pledge checks in at No. 113 overall and No. 5 among pro-style prospects, while Williams ranks No. 205 overall and No. 8 among dual-threat quarterbacks — the latter has had a far superior season, granted against softer competition. Williams threw for 3,015 yards on 214-of-348 passing with 28 touchdowns and only 4 interceptions. As a runner, Williams racked up a team-high 554 yards and 10 touchdowns on 115 carries.
Sitkowski, for comparison, has been benched this fall at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., and with one game to go he has 331 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions.
OLB commit Jesiah Pierre’s profile continues to grow
Jesiah Pierre seems like one of those prospects Miami was fortunate to get to early. The Hurricanes were the first school to offer the 3-star outside linebacker before his sophomore year at Christian Home & Bible School in Mount Dora, Fla., and the early presence buoys his commitment even as more heavy hitters get involved.
Pierre just wrapped up his junior season with Christian Home & Bible, which now goes by Mount Dora Christian Academy, and he’s looking like a potential steal in the Class of 2019. The 6-3, 215-pound pass rusher is only the fifth-highest ranked recruit in the Hurricanes’ seven-player class and is considered the No. 32 outside linebacker in his class by the 247Sports composite. He flies under the radar, though, mostly because he plays at a small school, competing in an independent conference.
“I know Apopka’s head coach really well,” said Mount Dora coach Kolby Tackett, referring to Central Florida powerhouse Apopka High School. “When he would come down to our practice he would look at me and be like, ‘[Pierre is] the best linebacker that [Apopka] would have.’ He said he’s the best linebacker in 8A (Florida’s largest classification).
“We feel fortunate to be such a small school and have kid like that.”
Pierre did a little bit of everything for Mount Dora Christian this fall on the way to a perfect regular season. He’s an outside linebacker and defensive end by trade, although Tackett shifted him inside this fall and even gave him the occasional snap as a running back, where he averaged more than 20 yards per carry.
His play as an inside linebacker helped turn heads this fall. Georgia, one of the other Power 5 schools still recruiting Pierre, now envisions him playing middle linebacker at the next level.
The Bulldogs are one of three schools still actively trying to pry Pierre away from Miami. North Carolina and Kentucky are also constantly in contact with the junior, who said he’s still listening to other pitches.
“I’m still looking around. It’s really challenging to see because they all have great things,” Pierre told DieHards. “Those schools are all amazing schools. Great schools, great coaching staffs and a great school vibe.”
With his season now complete following a second-round playoff lost, Pierre is hoping to get down to a game in Miami Gardens, Fla., before the end of the season. Right now, he’s hoping to get there this weekend for the Hurricanes’ game against the Fighting Irish.
And Miami will always have a special place in his heart. Pierre paid his own way to a camp more than a year ago and his offer from the Hurricanes put him on the map.
“They kind of helped me realize,” Pierre said, “that I actually had potential to play college football.”
Local 3-star CB Nigel Bethel chooses Florida
The top 3 of Miami, Georgia and Florida which Nigel Bethel laid out during the summer is much different now than it was when he named it. The Hurricanes and Bulldogs are both unbeaten and in the national championship hunt, taking a leap from their preseason expectations. The Gators, on the other hand, have ousted their coach and are in danger in missing out on a bowl.
Miami and Georgia are both still hunting after 5-star cornerbacks, meaning there isn’t a ton of room for Bethel. So only two weeks after Florida pushed out Jim McElwain the Gators scored Bethel’s commitment. The 3-star cornerback pledged to the Gators on Sunday.
— Nigel Bethel Jr (@F5_nigel) November 5, 2017
Only a week earlier, Bethel expressed some doubt about Florida, although he didn’t rule the Gators out. The senior, who also plays wide receiver for Miami Northwestern Senior High School, wanted to wait and see how everything shook out in Gainesville. He also, however, wanted to be sure one of his high-profile suitors would have space for him.
“I know the schools that are recruiting me, they’re big programs,” Bethel told DieHards. “I don’t want to wait too long to pick somewhere and them not have a spot for me.”
Neither the Hurricanes nor the Bulldogs could afford to take on the nation’s No. 135 cornerback right now. Both Miami and Georgia are still actively recruiting 5-star cornerback Tyson Campbell of American Heritage School in Plantation, Fla. For the Hurricanes, Bethel could have served as a backup plan if they missed out on Campbell or had one of their 4-star cornerback commits flip elsewhere. Bethel did say he plans to take official visits even after committing.
Miami seems to be in a good place with respect to holding on to its committed defensive backs, though. Gilbert Frierson, a 4-star cornerback, has become something of a staple at Hurricane home games this month and 4-star cornerback Josh Jobe plans to be in Miami Gardens for the Notre Dame game. Frierson remains one of the Bulldogs’ top targets, and Jobe is still considering Alabama and Michigan.
Speaking of Georgia, the Bulldogs are still in the mix for Micah Parsons, who was once a top Hurricane target. The 5-star weakside defensive end announced a top 5 of Georgia, Penn State, Ohio State, Nebraska and Oklahoma on Saturday. Parsons once mulled a visit to Miami, although it never materialized.
— Big Star (@BigStarRawSport) November 4, 2017
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