Miami football: Martin looking for the right fit on National Signing Day

Sixteen new RedHawks signed with Miami on Wednesday, the first day of the early signing period for college football.

The group includes four players ranked among the top 25 players in their home state by 247Sports: defensive back Mychal Yharbrough of Belleville, Mich., offensive tackle Ben Decker of Noblesville, Ind., interior offensive lineman Edward Hartig of Evansville, Ind., and defensive back Daisjaun Mercer of Hopkinsville, Ky.

“We recruit to who we are,” ninth-year Miami head coach Chuck Martin said. “We recruit to who I am. I love competitive kids that want to be better than anybody in the world. I want kids that want to academic piece along with the football piece, not one or the other. And then we recruit to Miami. What kids will thrive at Miami University? What kids will take advantage of in-state or out-of-state scholarship and take advantage of the football opportunity?”

He noted the RedHawks, who went 6-6 in the regular season and lost the Bahamas Bowl to UAB on the last play earlier this month, are 29-26 over the last five seasons after going 16-23 in his first four, and they have been sending players to the NFL more recently.

“We had five seniors here go make NFL camps. We had three on NFL rosters. That’s the dream,” Martin said. “That’s the football dream. I want to have a great experience at Miami. I want to win championships at Miami. I want to beat Power 5 teams at Miami. I want to go to bowl games at Miami, but I want to play in the NFL. That’s what they’re looking at.”

“The other side is I get an opportunity to go to one of the top universities in the country. Not every kid wants that.”

Also joining the program officially Wednesday were defensive lineman Roosevelt Andrews III (Barberton, Ohio), receiver Lynel Billups-Williams (University Park, Ill.), running back Janerious Jackson (St. Louis, Mo.), offensive lineman Andrew Lowry (Newmarket, Ont., Canada), linebacker Malcom McCain (Snellville, Ga.), defensive lineman Ethan McDowell (Newman, Ga.), linebacker Christian McKinney (Homewood, Ill.), receiver Ryan Sims (Chicago), offensive lineman Gregory Smith Jr. (Pittsburgh), defensive back Raion Strader (Pittsburgh), receiver Cole Weaver (Roswell, Ga.) and athlete Que Williams (St. Louis, Mo.).

Miami’s class ranks fourth in the Mid-American Conference — according to 247Sports — behind Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan.

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