Signing Day 2017: Mark Richt’s first comments on Miami Hurricanes class

Mark Richt speaks to reporters on signing day, 2017. (Matt Porter)

Mark Richt speaks to reporters on signing day, 2017. (Matt Porter)

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* The addition of Mike Harley and Jeff Thomas, two All-American wide receivers, was a major boost to a receiving corps that loses Stacy Coley and needs weapons around Ahmmon Richards.

“We did need speed,” Richt said. “If you have a super-fast guy on this side of the field and not enough speed to balance it, the defense will tilt … Not only are they fast, they’re very skilled. They can make people miss.”

Richt didn’t ask either to announce on national television, but seeing them put on ‘U’ hats on ESPNU (Thomas) and CBS Sports (Harley) was a boost for the program. “I’ll be honest with you: we’re never 100 percent sure,” he said, smiling. “It’s good to have that positive momentum on signing day.”

Richt said DeeJay Dallas will start out as a receiver.

* About his quarterbacks, Cade Weldon (on campus now) and N’Kosi Perry (coming in May): “True quarterbacks that are athletics,” Richt said. “I like the fact they can move.”

Weldon will “receive as many reps as anyone” this spring, Richt said.

“I don’t have a front-runner. You’d think I would, being here a year … my guess is [the battle will] go well into the summer and fall camp.”

* Richt was very pleased with Miami’s haul up front — “We thought we did great on the offensive line,” he said — and has “no doubt” Navaughn DonaldsonKai-Leon Herbert, Corey Gaynor, Zalon’tae Hillery and Zach Dykstra can be starters.

“We’re well on our way to having that group be special for us,” he said.

* “We got 24 in the house right now, counting the guys who are already here at midyear. I think 16 of 24 are from the state of Florida,” Richt said, name-checking cornerback Jhavonte Dean (a junior college player who hails from Homestead). “We really hit across the board all the position needs that we had.” He said UM has room to add a graduate transfer or two.

“We will have space if guys are still out there that have interest in Miami,” he said. “I think it’s healthy to have one or two at the end of your class. Things happen.”

* Miami was at 80 scholarships a year ago, and will have 85 this fall — the maximum allowed by the NCAA.

“The previous staff was fighting with one hand tied behind their back,” Richt said, adding that while on its 3-year probation that ended in October, UM was allowed to bring recruits to one on-campus event, like a basketball game. Now they can come to anything, anytime.

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