The University of Miami continues to build its football success around a core of players that grew up locally. Four of those players came from Northwestern High School in Miami. And this year's no different, as the Hurricanes are actively recruiting two Bulls this year.
One of them is standout tight end/defensive end Cliff Dickson. At 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, Dickson is widely considered one of the top two-way players in the entire state. His athleticism is rare for a big man, especially when you see him running down the seam catching touchdown passes.
Dickson, however, thinks his future is on the defensive side of the ball.
"I like playing tight end and everything," Dickson said. "But I think I'm a defensive lineman. I love playing defense. "
Dickson has been playing both ways since his freshman year, when he was 6-2 and 235. With 4.8 speed over 40 yards, Dickson also carries a 2.8 GPA and is still waiting on his SAT scores to return.
Dickson's rare combination of size, quickness, and athletic ability has college coaches everywhere excited.
"I now have five scholarship offers in writing," he said. "Rutgers is recruiting me to play tight end. Indiana, N.C. State, Kentucky, and Florida have offered me as a defensive lineman."
Dickson said he also has some verbal scholarship offers, including one from the hometown Hurricanes.
"I went to one of Miami's scrimmages and talked to the coaches," he said. "They said they need defensive linemen and that they want me to come. They offered me verbally."
The talented defensive tackle prospect said two schools sit atop his list as co-favorites.
"Miami and Florida are the top two on my list," he said. "I like Florida because Taurean [Charles] is there and he said he's going to start as a freshman. They have a good program. With Miami, I just like the program. The competition at Miami is very strong and I think I could fit in well. It's close to home and I grew up with a lot of the players there now. Guys like Willis McGahee, Javon Nanton, and Travarous Bain all say it's a really good school too. Plus, I really like the defense Miami plays and also their coaches."
Dickson, who also plays basketball, said four other schools round out his current list of favorites. "I also like Ohio State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Rutgers," he said.
While Dickson agrees the recruiting action will pick up again real soon, he is focused on the season.
"I don't know when schools like you to take visits, but I want to focus on my season," he said. "Everyone's goal here [at Northwestern] is to get back to Tally [Tallahassee is the site of the state championship games] and win it this year. That's what I'm trying to stay focused on."
The other player UM is recruiting from Northwestern is linebacker Leo Waiters, who I thought had an outstanding spring. Dickson said his teammate is definitely ready.
"People have no idea what that man's going to do this year," he said. "He's been working really hard all summer and I think he's going to have a great season. Me, him, and all my teammates have one goal in mind and that's getting back to Tally and winning it."
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