IMG Academy is in Bradenton, Fla., hours away from Coral Gables, home to the University of Miami. In that sense, athletes who compete for IMG Academy are hardy from Miami’s home turf. Yet, in another sense, getting a commitment from a high profile IMG Academy athlete proves that the Hurricanes are back to prominence in their home state’s recruiting circles.
On Sunday, Miami landed a commitment from four-star IMG wideout Michael Redding III. The Opening competitor announced his decision at the event, and seemed to take many onlookers by surprise.
As it turns out, there was good reason for that shock. Earlier on Sunday, as Redding checked in for The Opening in Frisco, Texas, he told the assembled media that he assumed his recruitment was not close to completion. Then, less than an hour later, he committed to Miami. Why? Apparently head coach Manny Diaz is quite the closer.
“I got on the phone with [Miami wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield],” Redding told 247Sports. “We talked about a few things and he was just letting me know what was going on and what was the situation. Basically you know I had a good talk with him then I got to talk to Coach Diaz. I talked to him and he let me know [I had a full ride and a spot]. You know I was all in on Miami from the jump.”
So, that was it. All Miami had to do to land Redding was work him out on campus and formally extend him a scholarship offer. If only all recruiting was so easy.
It’s not, but landing an early commitment from a star at IMG Academy can help with that. More than almost any other program in the nation, IMG is loaded with big-time college football recruits. Per 247Sports, Jackson is one of nine expected Division I recruits at IMG, with Redding right at the top, a top-150 overall prospect now who could still improve.
Redding was the only current IMG Academy pledge who has committed to Miami, though he may not be the last. While most IMG athletes have made their college football decision already, Redding could attempt to sway his three uncommitted teammates as well as some of the classmates who picked other big time programs.
Only time will tell if Redding proves as strong a recruiter as he is a wide receiver. For now, the Hurricanes are more than happy just to add his skills on the football field.
“Miami is also very big when it comes to their brand,” Redding told 247Sports. “When you see The U, you know it’s Miami so that’s going to help me with my platform just being able to kind of network and spread my brand.”