By: Cam Smith, USA TODAY High School Sports | June 9, 2017
Miami currently sits atop the Class of 2018 recruiting rankings. Now Mark Richt is out to prove that his forthcoming class is no fluke.
On Thursday Richt and his staff got their fourth commitment from the Class of 2019 in the form of Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar defensive end Derick Hunter Jr. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound rising junior is the top-rated pledge to this point among Miami’s still fledgling class of four student athletes.
Hunter Jr. chose the Hurricanes ahead of scholarship offers from many of the nation’s most powerful traditional programs, including Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame and Oregon, among others.
It’s clear that Hunter’s burgeoning relationship with Miami defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski played a crucial role in his comfort in committing to Miami before his junior season even began.
“Coach Kool (Kuligowski) just thinks that I can be the plug in the middle,” Hunter told 247 Sports. “I like Miami because you just see the change. They were in a little drought for a little bit, but now with the new coaching staff I can see things going in the right direction, especially with Coach Kool.”
— Derick hunter. jr (@hunterderick31) June 8, 2017
The real question now is whether Miami and Richt can continue to build momentum behind Hunter’s decision as it did with early runs in their Class of 2017.
Just as with the Hurricanes’ Class of 2018, which features just two recruits from outside the Sunshine State, Hunter’s crew is currently a solely in-state crop. A few more where the early group came from and the Hurricanes may even be able to move right back into the national top-5 for a second-straight recruiting class.