Miami football: RedHawks’ sign versatile recruiting class

Dunbar's Darian Leslie tries to avoid Wayne linebacker Adam Trick during on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Trick on Wednesday signed to play collegiately at Miami. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
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Dunbar's Darian Leslie tries to avoid Wayne linebacker Adam Trick during on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. Trick on Wednesday signed to play collegiately at Miami. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

247sports.com ranks group as top class in the MAC

By early afternoon on Wednesday, at least one football recruiting website credited Miami with hitting a home run in its 2022 recruiting.

The RedHawks’ 16-member class was ranked No. 1 in the Mid-American Conference by 247sports.com, ahead of second-place Central Michigan and third-place Toledo. The ranking is Miami’s highest since the 2015 class was ranked best in the MAC. The RedHawks’ recruiting class was ranked third in the MAC last year, fifth in 2020 and second in 2019.

“Rankings are awesome for fans,” Miami coach Chuck Martin said. “I think it’s fantastic. I never look at any of them. I don’t know where we’re ranked. I don’t care where we’re ranked. If I ranked kids every year, I’d be wrong. To me, it’s awesome to have rankings. It’d be awesome to have bonuses tied to rankings, but we’ve had so many great walk-ons here. Time will tell who’s good.

“This is a fun time of year, but nobody remembers where players were ranked. If a five-star plays like a five-star, beautiful. If you have a one-star that goes to the NFL, I’d rather have him.”

The website ranked Miami 68th among all of the Football Bowl Division schools with a class that includes three linebackers and three offensive linemen. Coach Chuck Martin and his staff also brought in two tight ends, two defensive backs and two wide receivers and one each of defensive tackles, quarterbacks, cornerbacks and defensive linemen, though where they all will end up playing for the RedHawks remains to be seen.

“We’re pretty excited,” Martin said. “Everybody is looking for talented kids. It starts with evaluating talent, but then you want to find kids who believe in what you believe in. We’re reaching for stars when it comes to football, but one of our kids going to the Senior Bowl is graduating with an engineering degree. We’re preparing them for both opportunities. It’s more than football. You’ve got to find families that embrace it. Miami’s not the place for everybody.”

Like many programs, Miami had to downsize its class this year after the NCAA returned to pre-pandemic roster-size restrictions.

“We thought in the 15 range was safe to take,” Martin said. “We had to cut down. We kind of shut it down in July. We didn’t take any tailbacks. We kind of got our numbers limited. We think we kind of covered all of the positions. We maybe didn’t get the volume we used to try to get, but we think we got a little bit of something everywhere.”

The class includes 6-foot-4, 220-pound Wayne High School linebacker Adam Trick, who piled up 65 tackles, including 16-1/2 for losses on his way to being named first-team all-Greater Western Ohio Conference.

Trick is one of seven Ohio high school products who signed national letters-of-intent with the RedHawks on the first day seniors could make official their commitments. Three of the recruits are from Indiana, two are from Kentucky and one each from Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida.

Among the Buckeye State products is 6-1, 215-pound Pickerington North linebacker Eli Coppess, who was named his conference’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior.

Versatility is a hallmark of this year’s class. Ironton, Ohio, High School’s Ashton Duncan is listed as a 6-4, 245-pound tight end, but he was named first-team all-conference on defense each of the past two seasons.

Javon Tracy is listed as a 6-foot, 185-pound wide receiver from Indianapolis Decatur Central, but the three-time team captain switched to quarterback early in his senior season and finished in the top five for the Indiana Mr. Football award.

Eric Smith, a 6-6, 295-pound offensive lineman from Fairmont, W.Va., Senior High School, was named first-team all-state on offense and logged 57 tackles and nine sacks on defense.

Mason Moore, 6-2, 190-pound Lexington, Ky., Christian Academy defensive back, had 34 tackles and five interceptions as a senior while also adding 897 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on offense.

Joseph Humphreys, a 6-3, 200-pound Daviess County (Ky.) High School quarterback, threw for 3,940 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior while also rushing for 601 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The 16 players combined to be named their team’s captains 26 times.

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