Miami beats out Alabama, Ohio State to land elite IMG Academy tight end Riley Williams

Al Diaz/

The Miami Hurricanes’ incredible week of recruiting is still going.

Riley Williams, an elite tight end at Bradenton IMG Academy, orally committed to Miami on Friday on 247Sports’ YouTube page. The 6-foot-6, 230-pound athlete is the fourth blue-chip prospect to commit to the Hurricanes’ Class of 2023 in the last six days and might not be the last this weekend.

Miami is also a finalist for four-star edge rusher Jaxon Howard, who is also set to make a commitment Friday, and a finalist for five-star IMG Academy tackle Francis Mauigoa ahead of his Monday decision.

Four-star athlete Collins Acheampong was also originally slated to make a commitment Friday, but decided to hold off on a decision.

Williams, who’s the No. 77 overall prospect and No. 4 tight end in the 247 composite rankings for the 2023 recruiting class, made the move to IMG last week after previously starring at Portland’s Central Catholic. Last year, the four-star athlete caught 36 passes for 890 yards — both led the team — to help the Rams go undefeated and win a state championship. He caught four passes for 140 yards and a touchdown in the Class 6A title game.

Williams was a first-team all-state selection last year and the No. 1 prospect in Oregon before he decided to come to Florida for his senior season. He’s now the second highest ranked player in the Hurricanes’ 2023 class, behind only elite quarterback Jaden Rashada, who committed to Miami on Sunday.

Edison wide receiver Nathaniel Joseph and Melbourne Eau Gallie athlete were the Hurricanes’ other two four-star additions this week.

Miami effectively won this recruiting battle last month when it hosted Williams for an official visit. After he wrapped up his trip to Coral Gables, Williams canceled a previously planned official visit with the Oregon Ducks and set Friday as a commitment date, naming a top three of the Hurricanes, Alabama Crimson Tide, Ohio State Buckeyes.

Miami beat out the perennial juggernauts mostly because of coach Mario Cristobal’s long-standing relationship with Williams, dating back to when Cristobal was the coach at Oregon and coached Korbin Williams, the tight end’s older brother.

“It was really that relationship that I already had established with Coach Cristobal because of my brother and those years playing underneath him,” Williams said.

Even though three-star tight ends Jackson Carver and Reid Mikeska both committed to them last month, the Hurricanes kept recruiting Williams and now have an unusually large three-man class at tight end.

Carver and Mikeska, however, are both something of projects — those receivers, also both 6-6, had never played high school football before last year — and Williams gives Miami a more college-ready option. The Hurricanes could keep all three, redshirt Carver and Mikeska, and not recruit any tight ends in the Class of 2024, essentially viewing this haul as covering two classes.

Williams’ decision to join the Ascenders could have promising implications for Miami, too. At IMG, Williams will team up with Mauigoa and five-star edge rusher Jayden Wayne, both of whom are top targets for Miami in the 2023 recruiting cycle.