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Mandarin Safety commits to college football in Miami


Canes beat Gators at 4-star safety

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Outside: Southern California. Inside: Southern tip of Florida.

That's the change coming for Hylton (Drake) Stubbs after Mandarin's rising four-star senior safety committed to play college football for Miami on Thursday, choosing the Canes over Florida in a ceremony streamed on Instagram.

Stubbs was ranked as a top 10 safeties by every major national recruiting service and was ranked eighth on the USA TODAY Florida Network's Top 100 in the spring. He chose the Canes despite receiving more than two dozen Football Bowl Subdivision offers. In the end, the battle to sign him became a neck-and-neck race between Mario Cristobal's Hurricanes and Billy Napier's Gators after Stubbs took official visits to both schools last month.

Stubbs made his commitment to the Canes a week after becoming the third mega-recruit to decommit from the Big Ten (yes, Big Ten) Trojans in June, following Georgia-based five-star defensive linemen Isaiah Gibson and Justus Terry.

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As a junior, Stubbs was named to the All-First Coast first team with 97 tackles, six interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He was also a good blitzer and run stopper, recording two and a half sacks and eight and a half tackles for loss.

Stubbs, who teamed up with Penn State freshmen AJ Belgrave-Shorter and Jon Mitchell in a secondary that helped the Mustangs to the Florida High School Athletic Association Class 4M championship game, now stands out as the leader of a young defensive backfield loaded with up-and-coming talent for the Class of 2026. Shareef Jackson, Brody Jennings and Tamajh Mitchell – previously at Raines, Sandalwood and Bartram Trail, respectively – are among the up-and-coming talents on the recruiting radar who have announced their transfer to Mandarin since the end of the 2023 season.

What does Stubbs' signing mean for Miami?

For Cristobal and the Canes, the arrival of another nationally rated talent – Stubbs is Miami's 11th four-star recruit for 2025 – is further fuel for a turnaround effort for a team still looking for its first conference title since joining the ACC 20 years ago. Miami, a 7-6 team last year, last won a bowl game after the 2016 season under Mark Richt.

Miami was already ranked 14th in the 247Sports recruiting rankings for 2025 prior to Stubbs' signing and could move into the top 10 in the updated rankings, although notable programs such as Florida State, Texas, Southern California and reigning champion Michigan already have several promising talents on board and could rise significantly in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Gators' quest to put together a strong 2025 class continues.

As of Thursday, Florida was ranked 67th in 247Sports' recruiting rankings with just eight committed players, although four (Tampa Plant running back Waltez Clark, Gadsden County defensive tackle Jeramiah McCloud, West Broward wide receiver Joshua Moore and Tallahassee Rickards edge rusher Jalen Wiggins) have four-star ratings in the 247Sports composite.