Jacurri Brown said his mind spent the last week “racing” and his head spinning while the Miami Hurricanes put the final touches on their decision to fire Manny Diaz, and hire Mario Cristobal on Monday.
Last week, the four-star quarterback reaffirmed his commitment to Miami, even as Diaz’s future was in doubt, but it was always going to be impossible for him to be 100 percent certain he would wind up with the Hurricanes. After all, he didn’t know whether Cristobal would even want him.
After Diaz got fired, Rob Likens reassured Brown, “There’s just no way [Cristobal] wouldn’t want you,” the recruit said. After Cristobal got hired, Brown shot the new coach a direct message on Twitter and Cristobal immediately gave him a call.
“He kind of reassured a lot of things,” the 6-foot-4, 205-pound senior said. “I think he will be up here this week to meet my family and stuff like that.”
With a little more than a week until he can sign a national letter of intent, Brown said his “mind is set on being at Miami.”
“I’m in a good spot,” he said.
Brown orally committed to the Hurricanes since March and is one of only eight players committed to Miami in the Class of 2022. He’s the No. 22 quarterback in the country, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, and is coming off a monster season for Lowndes in Valdosta, Georgia.
As a senior, Brown went 136 of 242 for 2,165 yards, 23 touchdowns and only three interceptions, and ran for 882 yards and 10 touchdowns on 174 carries. His big season — paired with a wild coaching carousel — has gotten the Arkansas Razorbacks and Oklahoma Sooners to try to make a late push for Brown.
Both Arkansas and Oklahoma, which is reportedly hiring offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby from the Ole Miss Rebels on Monday, are trying to get Brown to campus for a visit this weekend. Brown, however, said he would like to make another trip to Coral Gables since he’s now allowed to take a second official visit there because of the coaching change.
“I know he’s racing like 100 mph right now with a lot of things going on, so I will talk to him later on this week and figure that out,” Brown said. “My priority would be getting back down there for sure, and I hate that I didn’t get down there during the season. ... I definitely want to go where I’ve been familiar with. Like I said, I’ve been locked in on Miami.
Brown did note he didn’t like how the school left Diaz hanging for more than a week — “Coach Diaz is a good guy, so the way they handled it is dreadful,” he said — but, as long as everything goes well with Cristobal in the next week, Brown should officially be a Hurricane by the time the early signing period ends Dec. 17.
Brown thinks most of the recruiting class is in a similar place.
“Everybody’s straight,” he said. “Everybody’s on what I was on.”
Coach Mario Cristobal’s first decommitment
About an hour later, Miami got its first decommitment of the Cristobal era.
Justin Medlock, a three-star linebacker from Manvel in Texas, decommitted from Miami on Monday following Diaz’s firing. The 6-1, 210-pound senior had been orally committed to the Hurricanes since July and added an offer from the Utah Utes in October.
Medlock’s decommitment comes two days after Miami secured an oral commitment from Miami Central four-star linebacker Wesley Bissainthe. The Hurricanes could also choose to make a run at four-star linebacker Devon Jackson, who committed to Cristobal and the Oregon Ducks over Miami in October.
Keeping rest of class together
Although the Hurricanes only have eight commits, six are blue-chip prospects, which means they’ve been the targets of other schools’ recruiting efforts in recent weeks.
Chris Graves, a four-star athlete from Fort Myers Bishop Verot, has become the subject of the Florida Gators’ fascination in recent weeks and hosted Florida coaches for an in-home visit Tuesday.
The 6-1, 175-pound prospect has been orally committed to Miami since July and said in a text message he wasn’t surprised by Diaz’s following, but it was a “tough loss.” Graves, who’s being recruited as a cornerback, said he wants to see how the coaching staff shakes out and, in particular, whether Cristobal retains cornerbacks coach DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Khamauri Rogers, a four-star cornerback from Mississippi, also spent part of Monday recruiting other uncommitted players on Twitter. Marcus Rogers, the corner’s father and his coach at Holmes County, said in a text message his remains locked in, but the family still has not heard from Cristobal.
The rest of the Hurricanes’ four-star commits — Bissainthe, wide receiver Isaiah Horton and safety Markeith Williams — previously indicated they’d stick with Miami no matter what.
What’s next for Cristobal’s recruiting
The Hurricanes are currently scheduled to host two blue-chip official visitors this weekend.
Jovantae Barnes, a four-star running back from Desert Pines in Las Vegas, is set to be in South Florida this weekend. The 6-foot, 190-pound tailback lined up the visit before Diaz was fired Monday.
The big one, though, is Nyjalik Kelly, a four-star defensive lineman from Dillard. Diaz and Co. had prioritized the 6-4, 240-pound senior in recent weeks, and brought him to campus for a practice ahead of the regular-season finale. Cristobal will pick up where his predecessor left off and he already has an in: Oregon was a major contender to land Kelly before Cristobal left for Miami and a Crystal Ball popped up Monday predicting Kelly will now land with the Hurricanes.