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Cornhuskers Takeover: How Nebraska Has Managed To Capture Top South Florida Talent

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

South Florida has delivered some of the most prominent football players at the collegiate and professional levels.

From Frank Gore, Sean Taylor, Michael Irvin, Devin Hester, Lamar Jackson, Dalvin Cook, Amari Cooper, and so many others, it’s no question that exclusive football talent originates from these three counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach.

With once in a generation hometown star athletes, including Gulliver Prep’s Donell Harris, Columbus’ Xavier Henderson, Belen’s Don Chaney Jr., Miami Carol City’s Thaiu Jones-Bell and more, South Florida won’t be losing its position on the football world anytime soon. Talent seems to develop naturally in the area.

The University of Miami was one of the early programs to take advantage of the local talent. Since Howard Schnellenberger became the Hurricanes coach in 1979, Miami made it a priority to transform the struggling school through the South Florida pipeline.

Several National Championships and Hall of Fame players and coaches later, the Miami Hurricanes have transformed into one of the most well respected programs in college football history.

However, a series of struggling seasons for the Hurricanes have affected some of South Florida’s top tier high school football stars to favorite other high-major schools.

One of those schools to have taken advantage: The Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Home to five National Titles, 46 Conference Championships, and the most academic All-Americans in NCAA history, the Cornhuskers have an impressive resume that has totaled them high-graded recruits from Miami in their 2020 recruiting class.

Marcus Fleming (WR) – Miami Northwestern

Andrew Ivins/247Sports

Miami Northwestern receiver Marcus Fleming chose the Huskers over Miami (FL), Georgia, Florida State, Maryland, and others. In fact, Following Fleming’s visit to Nebraska on November 16, the four-star wideout decommitted from Miami and eventually signed with coach Scott Frost’s Huskers.

Fleming — 5-foot-10, 160 pounds — caught 51 passes for 887 yards and seven touchdowns last season for the Bulls. The speedy receiver is listed as the nation’s No. 43 receiver on 247Sports Composite rankings.

The loss could be critical for Miami, as Fleming could have filled the shoes of K.J. Osborn, who was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the 2020 NFL Draft. Fleming is a great option at the slot, similar to that of Osborn.

Jaiden Francois (Safety) – South Dade

Christopher Stock, 247Sports

South Dade four-star safety Jaiden Francois collected 13 interceptions and finished with 79 tackles, as well as eight pass breakups. Francois was committed to Manny Diaz’s Hurricanes before making a surprise turnaround on signing day.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder put his trust in coach Frost, saying that he “just didn’t see enough” when he visited Miami. “A little bit of change in the programs. Coaches. Players. Everything played a big part of it,” said Francois.

247Sports Composite rankings list Francois as the No. 28 safety in the 2020 class. Lucky for Miami, four-star 2020 safety Avantae Williams and three-star Keshawn Washington, who also went to South Dade, signed with UM, keeping them from missing out on a 2020 safety.

Ronald Delancy III (CB) – Miami Northwestern

Andrew Ivins/247Sports

The 5-foot-11, 160-pound cornerback decommitted from Louisville less than a week after his trip to Lincoln. Delancy picked Nebraska shortly after.

Delancy, who plays at the safety or cornerback position, is ranked by 247Sports’ Composite rankings as the No. 76 cornerback in the country and No. 124 overall player in Florida.

Miami offered the three-star native, but were never seriously involved in his recruitment. Nonetheless, Delancy has the skill level to become another generational talent out of Miami Northwestern.

Conclusion

These three players, along with seven total Florida natives in Nebraska’s freshman class underlines their ability to recruit players from the area with its variety of connections. Huskers’ assistant coaches Travis Fisher and Sean Beckton both played and coached at Central Florida (UCF) before heading to the Huskers. Fisher holds a tight connection in Miami.

This is just the start. Scott Frost and his staff are likely to recruit the South Florida Pipeline for plenty of years to come.

A Cornhuskers takeover is bound to happen.

Michael Yero covers the Miami Heat, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Dolphins and South Florida High School sports for 305Sports. He’s born and raised in Miami, currently attending Immaculata LaSalle High School.

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