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Miami Hurricanes
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The Miami Hurricanes have a lot of work to do in getting back to their national championship form. First and foremost, head coach Manny Diaz and the rest of the coaching staff — which now includes Ed Reed — have to recruit the best talent in the state of Florida.

It’s a recipe that Miami followed for its legendary 2001 national championship roster. So did the Florida Gators during the Urban Meyer years, as did Florida State under Jimbo Fisher. Now more than ever there’s more competition in the Sunshine State.

The ‘Canes have already landed their quarterback in Houston transfer D’Eriq King and now they’ve swiped one of the top defensive backs in the country from under the Gators in a surprise move.

 SAF Avantae Williams Signs With Miami

No. 2 safety and No. 44 overall prospect four-star safety Avantae Williams officially signed his national letter of intent with Miami during National Signing Day on Wednesday, a shocker considering most experts thought he was a sure bet to suit up in Gainesville.

Williams was considered a long shot to end up in Miami despite hailing from Deland, Florida, which is near Orlando. Ranked the top safety in the 2020 class by ESPN, Williams once verbally committed to The U in 2017 before backing out of that the following year. He then committed to Oregon and de-committed, but few expected him to turn back to the Hurricanes.

After official visits to Coral Gables and Gainesville in January, 247Sports’ crystal ball prediction 100 percent expected Williams to be a Gator.

Williams chose the Hurricanes, who finished 6-7 in 2019, over the Gators, who play in the SEC and turned in another top-10 finish after a New Year’s Six Bowl game win in ’19.

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“The relationship with the coaches,” Williams told 247Sports of what swayed him to Miami. “I have a great relationship with [Coach Banda], [Coach Diaz], [director of recruiting David Cooney], everyone on the defensive staff, actually everyone really. It was a gut feeling and it’s where I felt like I needed to be.”

Williams is also the cousin of former five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard, who just transferred from Miami to Florida during the early signing period.

Despite losing a top-50 player and what would’ve marked secondary help for the Gators, Florida head coach Dan Mullen told reporters in Gainesville he still reeled in one of the best secondary classes in the nation.

“Not that big of a deal,” Mullen said via Tampa Bay Times’ Matt Baker.

The 5-foot-11 Williams fielded offers from Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Ole Miss and Mississippi State before deciding between the two Florida schools.

Miami’s 2020 class needed Williams. He’s the highest-rated prospect in the school’s class and, surprisingly, the highest-ranked defender to sign with Miami since five-star defensive lineman Chad Thomas in 2014.

The Hurricanes currently rank 13th in the 2020 recruiting class rankings and No. 2 in the ACC behind Clemson.

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Avantae Williams Highlights

Williams shut down opposing wide receivers at Deland High School. His fast and physical approach were part of why he was selected as an Under Armour All-American and ranked one of the top safeties in his class by both 247Sports and ESPN.

Even if he’s not the second coming of Ed Reed, Williams is a great addition to The U under Diaz.

READ MORE: Florida’s New 4-Star DB Ready to Make Immediate Impact

Patrick Pinak About the author:
Patrick has spent parts of the last four years covering University of Florida athletics and spent two seasons with Major League Baseball. He's a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. A recent Gator grad, Patrick currently resides in Gainesville, Florida.
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