Miami-Florida State is always a bonanza for the Hurricanes and Seminoles program, drawing dozens of the state’s and nation’s top athletes, who often are considering both schools and end up attending one of them.
On Saturday, Seminoles coach Mike Norvell expected more than 100 prospects from the recruiting classes of 2024, 2025 and 2026, according to 247Sports.
UM star freshman defensive end Rueben Bain grew up a Hurricanes fan whose cousin Tolbert was a national champion cornerback for the Hurricanes, but Bain said earlier this week that he also had family members who played for FSU. He said as a youngster he would dress up in either UM or FSU gear depending on what stadium he attended for the big rivalry game.
When it comes to recruits in Florida and around the nation, how much does the UM-FSU game influence their ultimate decisions?
“As a former recruit, you definitely care about it,’’ said Bain, a Miami Central grad who attended last year’s game at Hard Rock Stadium, where FSU embarrassed Miami 45-3. “I know me, personally, I was just going to a place that fit best. Miami checked all the checkpoints off my board.’’
Top Miami freshman running back Mark Fletcher, a Plantation American Heritage alum, said the rivalry “will affect a lot of recruits, especially this big-time game. We recruit a lot of South Florida kids. They either want to go to FSU or Miami. It’s a pull-and-pull.’’
The 247Sports recruiting site listed top-ranked interior offensive lineman Jason Zandamela, who gave his latest pledge to USC, as attending.
Also expected to attend was Five-star Miami Central defensive lineman Armondo Blount, now an FSU commit in the 2025 class. Blount initially committed to the Hurricanes two hours before their Sept. 14 game against Bethune-Cookman. At that time, Blount was the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect in his class and No. 2 defensive lineman in the On3 Industry Ranking. Could he flip again? Probably not, but in this day and age of teenage recruits, it’s always a possibility.
Four-star cornerback Chris Ewald, a Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna student in the 2025 class, is committed to Michigan but reportedly could flip to the Seminoles or Miami. He visited UM last week, per On3.
Three-star Plantation American Heritage safety Xavier Lucas, from the 2024 class, is committed to Wisconsin but will visit the game and could be swayed to FSU, with UM also in the mix, according to 247Sports and On3.
Four-star, No. 4 safety Zavier Mincey, according to On3, is “silently committed to either Miami, Florida, Florida State or Alabama but has been mum on the details.’’ Mincey plays for Mainland High in Daytona Beach.
And those are just a sampling of the projected future college football standouts attending Saturday.
Miami center Matt Lee, who transferred to the Canes from UCF, is a fifth-year redshirt junior, was asked about the recruiting aspect of this game.
“I’m not super in touch with the recruiting world given that I’ve been out of high school five years,’’ he said. “But nonetheless, a rivalry game like Florida State vs. Miami does have an impact on recruiting, especially with how many recruits that FSU and UM are competing for on a daily basis.”
“I don’t know if that will come to fruition for anybody, regardless of what happens Saturday.’’
Both programs could know soon enough.
Miami kicker Andres “Andy” Borregales continues to shine.
Borregales on Thursday was named a semifinalist for the 2023 Lou Groza Award that honors the nation’s top placekicker.
Among the nation’s finest kickers throughout his three-year career at UM, Borregales had converted 89.8 percent of his field goal attempts this season for a 17-of-19 success rate going into the FSU game. His misses came on attempts of 54 and 45 years. He made 14 consecutive field goals before missing a 45-yarder last week at NC State — after converting field goals of 48 and 27 yards earlier in the game.
Named the ACC Specialist of the Week after UM’s overtime win against Virginia, Borregales became the only kicker to convert three field-goal attempts of 45 yards or longer in a game this season.
Borregales, a Hialeah Champagnat Catholic alum, also is UM’s kickoffs man. He had recorded 35 touchbacks on 52 kickoffs heading into FSU.
Borregales’ older brother Jose played his final season at UM and became the lone Lou Groza winner in Miami history when he won the award in 2020.