When a major program loses a key recruit, Rivals.com takes a look at how big of a blow it is to the respective school, analyzing it from a local and national level. To quantify the “sting” of each decommitment, we assign a score from 1-10, with one being no big deal and 10 being a catastrophic hit.
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When Brandon Cleveland committed to Miami in August, he said the Hurricanes could be great. By Christmas, the four-star defensive lineman from Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day said he was locked in with his decision.
But in recent days, Cleveland backed off his pledge as some assistant coaches that were recruiting him had shuffled positions and the staff has turned its focus to other elite defensive linemen for the 2022 class.
At this point, the situation looks like this: Cleveland is a talented in-state prospect but Miami could have bigger targets. Miami and the four-star defensive lineman have parted ways, which could end up being a smart move or could hurt the Hurricanes if the Tampa Carrollwood Day standout continues his development.
“The decommit of Brandon Cleveland is a sign that Miami is finally trying to get its act together in recruiting. Way too many early commits have been taken in past years from players who did not move the needle for the program. The Hurricanes have not been competitive in games against good teams the past few years and got crushed by Clemson and North Carolina last season. Coach Manny Diaz made assistant coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball with recruiting in mind, luring defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, long reputed to be one of the nation’s best staff recruiters, linebackers coach Ishmael Aristide, who built his reputation as a strong recruiter as an analyst at Texas A&M, and promoting Demarcus Van Dyke from the recruiting office to cornerbacks coach. Now he’s going to give those guys a chance to raise the bar on the quality of players the Hurricanes recruit. The question will be whether Miami and Diaz can win those battles against the top programs around the country. We will know in December. But right now, Cleveland didn’t make the cut.” – Gary Ferman, CaneSport.com
Sting factor: 2
“I understand that Miami has targeted higher-ranked or arguably more talented defensive ends for this class but Cleveland is no slouch, he’s an in-state kid and by the Rivals rankings he’s the fifth-best defensive end in the state. This is not the type of player that you ship off elsewhere and while he probably won’t be the centerpiece of the Hurricanes’ recruiting class, Cleveland plays an important position and could have been a contributor in the coming years. Miami has done an excellent job rebuilding their staff of assistants to be more aggressive and to land higher-profile players but Cleveland is someone who could have contributed, he’s a four-star kid and shooting for the stars sometimes only ends up with you shot in the foot. Losing Jamaal Johnson probably won’t hurt Miami’s recruiting class much but I do believe Cleveland could be a big-time player somewhere.” – Adam Gorney, Rivals National Recruiting Director
Sting factor: 5