Chuck Martin and his coaching staff have already stockpiled linemen in Miami's 2015 recruiting class, but now, they need someone for those linemen to protect. Well, hot on the heels of Monday's verbal from RB/CB Maurice Thomas, Miami landed two more verbals from well-regarded running backs on August 3.
The first pledge came from Leonard Ross of La Grange, Illinois, who broke the news himself on Twitter.
Ross chose Miami over a Big Ten offer from Illinois and offers from both NIU and Nevada, two programs undeniably more successful than Miami of late. Although we haven't spoken with him yet, it's safe to guess that Miami's new running backs coach, former Notre Dame standout Autry Denson, played a large role in securing Ross's verbal.
Ross has two-star ratings from 247Sports and Scout, but clocks in at three stars on Rivals. As a junior last season, he racked up 6.46 yards per carry for the playoff-bound Lyons Township Lions, who were seeded #11 overall in the state when the postseason came along.
Interestingly, Ross didn't emerge as a starter until halfway through his sophomore season, which helped him fly under the radar. Illinois coach Tim Beckman offered him in the summer of 2013 based just on game film from that half-season, but Ross kept his recruiting open, leading to an offer from what's arguably the MAC's best program in NIU. Once again, Martin and his staff have stolen a solid player from programs with more cachet.
And here, courtesy of Hudl, are the highlights from Ross's junior season: