‘The class is really coming together’: Hurricanes’ month-long recruiting surge pushes 2024 class into top 15

Miami Hurricanes quarterback commit Judd Anderson sent a text to a group chat with other UM recruits on July 13 that started a commotion.

“He was like, ‘How about them ‘Canes?’ ” offensive line commit Deryc Plazz said. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ So then I go check my Twitter, and the first thing I see from there was it was just going crazy — all the fans, coach (Ed) Pata, coach (Alex) Mirabal. Everybody was very excited.”

The excitement was warranted. The Hurricanes had just landed a commitment from Chaminade-Madonna five-star wide receiver Joshisa “JoJo” Trader.

Trader’s commitment was part of a month-long wave that has pushed Miami’s recruiting class from 29th in the nation in June to 14th, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

“The class is really coming together,” Anderson said. “I think I’m going to have some special guys to throw to.”

The Hurricanes’ recruiting run started in June as Miami landed a commitment from three-star linebacker Cameron Pruitt on June 10. Five days later, they added four-star tight end Elija Lofton. A few days after that, they picked up four-star running back Kevin Riley after the standout halfback took an official visit to UM.

Miami had some success at local powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas at the end of June, securing commitments from defensive backs Ryan Mack, the son of former Hurricanes linebacker Rod Mack, and Romanas Frederique Jr. But July has brought a string of commitments that vaulted Miami into the top 15.

First ,four-star edge rusher Marquise Lightfoot picked UM on July 3. Plazz, a three-star offensive lineman, committed four days later. Trader’s announcement came on July 13, and four-star defensive lineman Artavius Jones committed the next day.

Anderson, who was the second commit in the 2024 class, said Miami’s coaches are not just chasing the top-rated players. They have focused on bringing in recruits who combine talent with character.

“You look at the guys they’re bringing in; all those guys have just amazing characters,” Anderson said. “They’re going to come in and they’re going to work. I think that’s a big thing that Miami’s looking for.”

The Hurricanes’ run on the recruiting trail started as the team hosted dozens of recruits for official visits in June. Plazz visited UM alongside Riley the third weekend of June. Anderson visited the following weekend. Fellow commits Lightfoot, Jones, Frederique, Dylan Day, Juan Minaya, Chance Robinson and Isaiah Thomas took their official visit that weekend, as did several major Miami targets like wide receiver Jeremiah Smith and linebacker Chris Cole.

The official visits offered members of the Hurricanes’ class chances to get to know each other in person before they take visits in the fall and eventually enroll at UM.

“It’s very important because you want to have those relationships set up before you get there so that when times get hard, you’ve got to go to ground with that guy, you trust that guy, you have a strong relationship,” Plazz said. “And then just the fact those are guys in my class, so those are guys I’ll be with … throughout my whole college experience.”

The Hurricanes are on a roll on the recruiting trail, but Plazz does not think that momentum is self-sustaining. Instead, the idea of playing with other top players is part of what attracts more players to the class.

“I don’t think it’s momentum such as like, ‘Oh this guy just committed; I want to commit, too,’ ” Plazz said. “I think it’s more … when you get good ballplayers, other ballplayers take notice. You see when JoJo committed, a lot of guys tweeted back, they started dropping all the Miami Gardens (youth football team) pictures, stuff like that.”

The current streak could keep rolling as Miami coaches continue recruiting high-profile targets like Smith, Cole and others. There is still a long way to go before 2024 prospects can sign their National Letters of Intent.

“It’s just good to be a part of something as it grows,” Plazz said, “versus jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute.”