Navaughn Donaldson (Under Armour)

#WelcomeToTheU: National Signing Day 2017

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami football team welcomed its 2017 signing class on Wednesday with the addition of 24 student-athletes, who joined the Hurricane football program under the direction of head coach Mark Richt. 

 

The signing class features 10 early enrollees – Robert Burns, Amari Carter, DeeJay Dallas, Navaughn Donaldson, Zach Dykstra, Jonathan Garvin, Bradley Jennings, Jr., Brian Polendey, Waynmon Steed and Cade Weldon. The class also features 10 ESPN300 recruits and 16 players from the state of Florida. 

 

Miami enters the 2017 campaign following a strong 2016 season where the Hurricanes posted a 9-4 record and closed out the year with five straight wins for the first time since 2001. Among the five straight wins to close out the year was a 31-14 victory in the Russell Athletic Bowl over West Virginia.

 

Season tickets for the 2017 Miami Hurricanes football schedule are on sale now – visit HurricaneSports.com or call 1-800-GO-CANES for more information. Season ticket prices begin at only $160.

 

For the latest information on the Miami Hurricanes, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, @CanesFootball, or visit HurricaneSports.com.

 

2017 Signing Class – Roster Breakdown

Overall Signees

24 

 

By State

California - 1

Florida - 16

Georgia - 2

Illinois - 1

Iowa - 1

New Jersey - 2

Texas – 1

 

By Position

Athletes - 1

Defensive Backs - 4

Defensive Line - 3

Linebackers - 3

Offensive Line - 5

Punter - 1

Quarterbacks - 2

Running Backs - 1

Tight Ends - 1

Wide Receivers- 3

 

2017 Signees

Trajan Bandy | DB | 5’9”/180 | Miami, Fla. | Columbus High School

Consensus four-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Rated as the 30th –best cornerback by 247Sports…Earned a No. 33 ranking in the state of Florida by 247Sports…Rated as the 267th prospect nationwide on ESPN300…Participated in The Opening in 2016…Earned a Top 300 PrepStar All-America ranking…Named First Team All-Dade by the Miami Herald…Totaled a pair of returns for touchdowns as a senior…Coached by Chris Merritt at Columbus High School…Chose Miami over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Oklahoma and Colorado.


Cornerbacks Coach Mike Rumph on Bandy: “Trajan Bandy is the heart of Miami. He’s the dog of Miami and everybody knows him as that. If you spend less than five minutes with him, you’ll see why he is what he is, he’s intense, he’s all about the game, he’s fearless and he wants to put the Hurricanes back on the map.” 


Robert Burns | RB | 5’11”/215 | Miami, Fla. | Gulliver Preparatory School

Four-star running back prospect by ESPN…Three-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout…Selected to 2017 Under Armour All-America Game… Rated No. 67 overall prospect nationwide on ESPN300…Ranked No. 7 running back nationwide by ESPN…Rated No. 25 running back nationwide in 247Sports’ Composite Rankings…Rushed for over 1,200 yards in high school career with 15 rushing touchdowns…Had 265 yards junior year…Totaled 900 yards with 13 touchdowns in first two varsity seasons…Coached by Earl Sims at Gulliver Prep…Chose Miami over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State and Ohio State, among others.

 

Offensive Coordinator Thomas Brown on Burns: “Robert has all the physical tools to be an every down back. He is built to wear defensives down, and has enough speed to create explosive runs.” 


Amari Carter | DB | 6’2”/188 | Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. | Palm Beach Gardens High School

Four-star safety prospect by ESPN…Three-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 238 overall player nationwide regardless of position in ESPN300…Ranked No.5 on Palm Beach Big Board and Super 11 pick by the Palm Beach Post…Named Sun-Sentinel Defensive Player of the Year…Had 60 tackles and three interceptions during junior year at Palm Beach Gardens…Coached by Rob Freeman at Palm Beach Gardens…Chose Miami over offers from Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame, among others.

 

Safeties Coach Ephraim Banda on Carter: “At the safety position, the most important thing we look for is toughness and tackling. Amari excels in both of those factors.” 


DeeJay Dallas | ATH | 5’10”/191 | Brunswick, Ga. | Glynn Academy

Consensus four-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Played quarterback, receiver, running back and defensive back at Glynn Academy…Also returned punts and kicks…Ranked No. 15 athlete nationwide by Rivals and No. 190 overall prospect regardless of position…Rated No. 230 prospect nationwide on ESPN300…Earned No. 259 ranking on 247Sports’ Composite Rankings…Rushed for 1,139 yards and 13 touchdowns during junior year at Glynn…Added 678 passing yards and seven passing touchdowns…Led Terrors to 11-2 record in final year…Rushed for 168 yards to go along with 135 passing yards in final game of high school career in state quarterfinals…Coached by Rocky Hidalgo at Gylnn Academy…Chose Miami over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia, among others.

 

Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans on Dallas: “DeeJay is a very athletic kid, who has great vision and is very electric with the ball in his hands.” 


Jhavonte Dean | DB |6’2”/185 | Homestead, Fla. | Blinn College | South Dade High School

Consensus four-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 12 in the 247Sports composite rankings…Rated as the second-best cornerback by 247Sports…Listed as the nation’s No. 1 junior college cornerback…Played two seasons for Keith Thomas at Blinn College…Played for Nathaniel Hudson at South Dade High School…Comes to Miami with three years to play two seasons…Chose Miami over offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Utah and Kentucky.


Cornerbacks Coach Mike Rumph on Dean: “Jhavonte will be great for us going into the 2017 season because he is one of the most game ready corners that we have recruited.” 

 

Navaughn Donaldson | OL | 6’5”/335 | Miami, Fla. | Miami Central High School

Consensus four-star offensive line prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Selected to 2017 Under Armour All-America Game…Ranked No. 8 offensive tackle nationwide and No. 44 prospect regardless of position by Rivals…Rated as the No. 87 prospect nationwide on ESPN300…Ranked fifth-best player at position by ESPN…Rated No. 69 player nationwide on 247Sports Composite Rankings and No. 68 in Top247 rankings…Preseason All-America by USA TODAY entering senior season at Miami Central… Named Miami Herald First Team All-Dade…Won state championship junior year with Rockets…High school teammate of fellow early enrollee Waynmon Steed…Coached by Roland Smith at Central…Chose Miami over offers from Florida, Florida State, Georgia and Louisville, among others.

 

Offensive Line Coach Stacy Searels on Donaldson: “Navaughn Donaldson is a very talented and large human being. He’s very athletic for his size, he has punch and power and has played at the highest level here in Miami. We’re excited to have him come in and compete for a job this year.”


Zach Dykstra | OL | 6’6”/290 | Spirit Lake, Iowa | Spirit Lake High School

Consensus three-star offensive line prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked top-50 offensive tackle nationwide by ESPN…Ranked No. 5 player in state of Iowa by ESPN…Rated No. 7 player in state by Rivals…Coached by Josh Bolluyt at Spirit Lake High School…Chose Miami over offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Vanderbilt, among others.

 

Offensive Line Coach Stacy Searels on Dykstra: “Zach has good size and is very athletic. He moves his feet well and has the possibility to play all five positions.”


Zach Feagles | P | 6’2”/210 | Glen Rock, N.J. | Ridgewood High School

Earned a three-star rating from ESPN and Scout…Listed as a two-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals…Participated in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Game…Rated No. 7 among punters nationally by Kohl’s Kicking…Averaged 36.1 yards per punt during his high school career…Dropped seven punts inside the 20-yard-line as a senior…His longest punt of 57 yards came during his junior season…Chose Miami over offers from Rutgers and North Carolina…Son of 22-year NFL veteran and Miami alum Jeff Feagles. 


Special Teams Coordinator Todd Hartley on Feagles: “Zach is a legacy kid and is the son of Jeff Feagles. He came down here and competed at our camp. He has a very strong leg, great accuracy and very polished. We’re very excited to have him here and he’ll be a great asset to our special teams and give the ability to change the game with field position.”

 

Jonathan Ford | DL | 6’5”/275 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | Dillard High School

Consensus three-star defensive line prospect by from 247Sports, Scout and ESPN…Rated as the 27th-best defensive tackle by 247Sports…Ranked as the 52nd- best prospect in the state of Florida according to 247Sports…Selected Sun-Sentinel First Team All-County…Coached by Lorenzo Davis at Dillard High School…Chose Miami over offers from Kentucky, Tennessee, USC, Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma and West Virginia.


Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski on Ford: “Jonathan has gained 50 pounds in a year. He has great length and is extremely physical. He was the best defensive tackle we saw live in action during the recruiting process. His upside is through the roof.”


Jonathan Garvin | DL | 6’3”/222 | Lake Worth, Fla. | Lake Worth Community High School

Four-star defensive end prospect by ESPN…Three-star prospect by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 279 player regardless of position on the ESPN300 rankings…Ranked No. 22 defensive end by ESPN and No. 33 by Scout… Selected Sun-Sentinel First Team All-County…Selected Palm Beach Post Defensive Player of the Year…Dominated in final year at Lake Worth, finishing with 97 tackles, 59 tackles for loss and school-record 18 sacks…Totaled 93 tackles, including 36 tackles for loss and nine sacks in junior year at Lake Worth…Added six forced fumbles and one interception for Trojans in 2015…Coached by Micah Mays at Lake Worth…Chose Miami over offers from Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee, among others.

 

Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski on Garvin: “Jonathan is big, tall, fast, athletic and an extremely productive player. He has a single vision for success in and won’t stop until he gets there.” 


Corey Gaynor | OL | 6’4”/285 | Parkland, Fla. | Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Listed as a three-star prospect by 247Sports, Scout and ESPN…Rated as the 20th-ranked offensive guard out of the South according to Scout… Named Miami HeraldFirst Team All-Broward…Selected Sun-Sentinel First Team All-County…Recorded 97 pancake blocks as a senior…Versatile offensive lineman, who has seen action at center and guard…Coached by Willis May at Marjory Stoneman Douglass…Chose Miami over offers from Arizona, Houston, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, UCF and West Virginia. 


Offensive Line Coach Stacy Searels on Gaynor: “Corey Gaynor my be one of the toughest and meanest offensive linemen, I’ve seen in a long time. He’s a finisher, he’s very aggressive and he’ll be good for our offensive line mentality.”


Mike Harley | WR | 5’9”/160 | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. | St. Thomas Aquinas

Consensus four-star wide receiver prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Took part in the U.S. Army All-American Game…Ranked as the 24th-best player in the state of Florida according to Rivals…Ranked as the 40th-best player in the state of Florida by 247Sports…Named Miami Herald First Team All-Broward…Selected Sun-Sentinel First Team All-County…Helped guide St. Thomas Aquinas to a 12-2 record and the 7A Florida State High School Championship during his senior season…Caught three touchdown passes in the state championship game…Coached by Roger Harriott at St. Thomas Aquinas…Chose Miami over offers from Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

 

Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans on Harley: “Mike is fearless, very explosive, a really good route runner and someone, who loves to compete.” 


Kai-Leon Herbert | OL | 6’5”/285 | Plantation, Fla. | Plantation American Heritage School

Consensus four-star offensive line prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Rated as the 28th–best offensive tackle in the class of 2017 by 247Sports…Ranked No. 99 regardless of position on the ESPN300 rankings…Participated in The Opening in 2016… Selected to 2017 Under Armour All-America Game…Earned a Top 300 PrepStar All-America ranking…Named Miami Herald First Team All-Broward… Selected First Team Sun-Sentinel All-County…Helped anchor an offensive line that posted over 4,700 total yards…Spent his senior season playing for former Miami Dolphin Patrick Surtain at American Heritage High School…Played three seasons for cornerbacks UM coach Mike Rumph at American Heritage High School…Chose Miami over offers Michigan, Auburn, Florida, California, Colorado, Georgia and LSU.


Offensive Line Coach Stacy Searels on Herbert: “Kai-Leon is a very athletic tackle prospect. He moves his feet extremely well and he has been coached very well in his pass sets, but he will also stick his face on a linebacker.”


Zalon’tae Hillery | OL | 6’6”/287 | Brunswick, Ga. | Glynn Academy

Earned a three-star ranking from 247Sports, ESPN and Rivals…Rated as the 49th-best player at his position by ESPN…Ranked as the 50th–best player in the state of Georgia by 247Sports…Coached by Rocky Hidalgo at Gylnn Academy…Helped guide Glynn Academy to an 11-2 record during his senior season…Chose Miami over offers from Florida, Kentucky, Alabama and Clemson.


Offensive Line Coach Stacy Searels on Hillery: “Zalon’tae is a very athletic, long-armed guy who plays with tremendous energy. He is very intense, he’s got a great attitude and he is a very intelligent guy, who is going to do great things here.”


Bradley Jennings, Jr.| LB | 6’2”/218 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Sandalwood High School

Consensus three-star linebacker prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 36 outside linebacker nationwide by Rivals…Had 146 tackles and 10 tackles for loss in junior season at Sandalwood…Added three forced fumbles and two sacks for Saints in 2015…Selected to 2015 Florida Times-Union All-First Coast Second Team…Coached by Adam Geis at Sandalwood…Chose Miami over offers from Florida State, Louisville, Michigan and North Carolina, among others.

 

Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz on Jennings, Jr.: “The first thing that stands out with Bradley is his toughness. He’s a bruising presence in the middle of the defense. He’s stout versus the run. He has good vision and instincts.” 


D.J. Johnson | DL | 6’5”/240 | Sacramento, Calif. | Luther Burbank High School

Consensus four-star defensive lineman by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Rated as the 72nd-best prospect in the country according to 247Sports…Listed as the ninth-best player in the state of California by 247Sports…Ranked No. 62 in the final ESPN300 rankings…Rated as the No. 5 position prospect by ESPN…Ranked No. 34 on the PrepStar Top 150 Dream Team…Totaled 85 tackles (47 solo), 14.5 sacks and 31 tackles for loss during his senior season…Took part in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Bowl…Coached by John Heffernan at Luther Burbank High School…Had offers from 100 schools...Chose Miami over Washington, USC, Ohio State and Alabama.


Defensive Line Coach Craig Kuligowski on Johnson: “D.J. posses everything you could want in a defensive end - speed, size and great change of direction. He’s an intelligent football player on the field and a great student off the field. He was very productive and extremely durable throughout his career. D.J. was dying to be a Cane and we are proud to have him.”


Evidence Njoku | WR | 6’6”/196 | Cedar Grove, N.J. | Wayne Hills

Consensus three-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…One of the top recruits in the state of New Jersey, ranking No. 10 according to ESPN…Spent three season at Cedar Grove High School before transferring to Wayne Hills as a senior…Caught 18 pass for 306 yards and five touchdowns as a junior at Cedar Grove…Also excelled on kickoff returns Cedar Grove as he accumulated 350 yards and four additional touchdowns during his junior season…Finished his senior season with over 400 yards receiving and eight touchdowns...Coached by Wayne Demikoff at Wayne Hills…Young brother of former Hurricane tight end David Njoku…Chose Miami over offers from Boston College, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, Oregon and Penn State among others. 


Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans on Njoku: “Evidence has a huge upside. He is a tall wide receiver who moves very well for his size. He has good speed and is a deep ball and red zone threat.”


N’Kosi Perry | QB | 6’4”/185 | Ocala, Fla. | Vanguard High School

Widely regarded as one of the most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation…Consensus four-star quarterback by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Rated as the sixth-best quarterback at his position according to 247Sports…Comes to Miami ranked No. 29 in the state of Florida by 247Sports…Ranked No. 84 in the final ESPN300 rankings…Earned a Top 300 PrepStar All-America ranking…Received FHSAA 6A Player of the Year honors...Helped guide Vanguard to an impressive 10-2 overall record during his senior season…Totaled 24 touchdowns and completed 64 percent of his passes during his senior season…Scored 43 total touchdowns with 11 coming on the ground during his junior season…Threw for over 2,000 yards during his junior campaign…Coached by Edwin Farmer at Vanguard High School…Chose Miami over offers from Auburn, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida State and West Virginia.


Quarterbacks Coach Jon Richt on Perry: “N’Kosi is a great athlete. He does a lot of things with the ball outside of the play call, which is nice. He has great touch and great arm strength. He’s going to be a guy, who is going to come in a compete right away and everybody on campus, so we’re excited to get him down here.” 


Brian Polendey | TE | 6’5”/230 | Denton, Texas | Guyer High School

Consensus three-star tight end prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 11 tight end nationwide by ESPN…Ranked No. 20 tight end in 247Sports’ Composite Rankings…Rated No. 24 tight end by Rivals and No. 25 tight end by Scout…Born in Eugene, Ore., and grew up in state of Washington…Finished junior year with nine receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns…Coached by John Walsh at Guyer…Chose Miami over offers from Arkansas, Colorado, Houston and Michigan, among others.

 

Tight Ends Coach Todd Hartley on Polendey: “Brian brings an unbelievable amount of physicality to our room. He plays tough, nasty, and will absolutely finish every play by putting his man on his back. He is extremely intelligent, which will allow him to pick up on our system quicker and put himself in a position to contribute earlier. He also runs and catches the ball well to do what we need him to do in our offense at a high level.”


Waynmon Steed | LB | 6’0”/221 | Miami, Fla. | Miami Central High School

Consensus-three-star linebacker prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 19 inside linebacker nationwide by Rivals…Rated No. 22 inside linebacker by 247Sports…Suffered torn ACL during senior year…Missed junior season with shoulder injury…Finished sophomore season at Central with 83 tackles, leading team to state championship…High school teammate of fellow early enrollee Navaughn Donaldson at Miami Central…Coached by Roland Smith at Central…Chose Miami over offers from Colorado, LSU and NC State, among others.

 

Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz on Steed: “Waynmon Steed has great instincts and great quickness. He’s able to see the play very quickly, is able to diagnose what’s going on and is able to beat the running back to the spot. He just has a great natural feel on how to play the linebacker position.”


Derrick Smith | DB | 6’2”/200 | Jacksonville, Fla. | Trinity Christian Academy

Consensus three-star prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Listed as the 76th-best prospect at his position by ESPN…Listed as the 124th-best recruit in the state of Florida by 247Sports…Helped guide Trinity Christian Academy to an 11-3 record…Coached by Verlon Dorminey at Trinity Christian Academy…Chose Miami over offers from USC, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Kentucky and Cincinnati.


Safeties Coach Ephraim Banda on Smith: “Derrick Smith brings a lot of athleticism to our room. He’s a physical young man, he’s a very good tackler, he’s very rangy, but most importantly, he’s a Cane. He’s always wanted to be a Cane. He was dying to be here and he proved to us everyday that he wanted to be a Miami Hurricane.” 


Jeff Thomas | WR | 5’10”/175 | East Saint Louis, Ill. | East St. Louis

Consensus four-star wide receiver prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout...Rated as the No. 1 player in the state of Illinois by ESPN…Listed as the sixth-rated wide receiver and the No. 2 player in the state of Illinois by 247Sports…Ranked No. 55 in the final ESPN300 rankings… Took part in The Opening in 2016…Starred in the 2017 Under Armour All-America Game and posted game records of 148 yards receiving and two touchdowns…Selected to the Top 150 PrepStar All-America Dream Team…Was a three-year starter in high school…Finished his career with 177 receptions for 3,532 yards and 41 touchdowns…Helped guide East Saint Louis High School to a perfect 14-0 season as a senior and its first Illinois State Championship in eight years…Hauled in a pair of touchdowns in the state championship…Caught 50 passes for 1,101 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior…Coached by Darren Sunkett at East Saint Louis High School…Chose Miami over offers from Louisville, Oregon, Illinois, Michigan and Alabama among others.

 

Wide Receivers Coach Ron Dugans on Thomas: “Jeff is extremely fast. He is a dynamic kid who is very good with the ball in his hands. He makes a lot of plays on offense and on special teams.”


Cade Weldon | QB | 6’2”/203 | Tampa, Fla. | Thomas Jefferson High School

Consensus three-star pro-style quarterback prospect by 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals and Scout…Ranked No. 19 pro-style quarterback nationwide by Rivals…Rated No. 23 pro-style quarterback by ESPN…Totaled 3,135 passing yards and 19 touchdowns in senior year…Completed 61 percent of passes in final campaign and rushed for 368 yards and one touchdown…Missed junior year due to knee injury…Threw for over 2,100 yards with 20 touchdowns in sophomore year at Jefferson…Father Casey was 1991 Heisman Trophy runner-up under then-Florida State offensive coordinator Mark Richt…Chose Miami over offers from Kentucky, South Carolina and Wake Forest, among others.

 

Quarterbacks Coach Jon Richt on Weldon: “Cade is a big and physical quarterback that has the ability to play with his arm and feet. I personally feel that he was one of the most underrated players coming out of the 2017 class. I can’t wait to see him compete.” 


De’Andre Wilder | LB | 6’3”/202 | Opa Locka, Fla. | Miami Carol City High School

Earned a four-star ranking by ESPN…Listed as the 22nd–best prospect at his position by ESPN…Ranked as the 51st–best player in the state of Florida by ESPN…Rated as four star prospect by Rivals…Listed as the 26th-best linebacker and 40th-best prospect in the state by Rivals…Earned a three-star rating from 247Sports…Named Miami Herald Second Team All-Dade…Helped guide Carol City to the 6A Florida State High School Championship…Coached by Aubrey Hill at Carol City…Choose Miami over offers from Georgia, USF, Florida, LSU, Louisville and Alabama.


Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz on Wilder: “Wilder has elite speed for a linebacker and is a disruptive nature in the backfield. He was a stalwart on Carol City’s state championship team, he can run sideline-to-sideline and packs a punch on contact.”

 


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