2020 Freshman 15: December Edition

2020 Freshman 15: December Edition

Stefan Adams
Previous: April, May, June, July, August, September (None), October, November

Welcome to the eighth 2020 edition of the column I like to call “The Freshman 15”. If you’re a first time reader, this will be a focus on the rankings and the order of the top 15 targets the coaching staff is pursuing.

The order will be based mainly on:
  • How likely a recruit is to commit to Miami at the time
  • Skill level
  • Miami's need at their position

While the on-field results leave a lot to be desired, there’s no doubt it’s been a good month for Miami recruiting. From last month's board, the Canes landed the top target on this list in safety Jalen Harrell, the third time they’ve secured the top name on the Freshman 15 this cycle, while also snagging surprising pledges from #10 in WR Dazalin Worsham and #13 in Jaylan Knighton. With just two weeks until the first signing day, spots in Category20 are becoming scarce and UM is bringing in a host of prospects on official visits during the final two weekends to try and close strong.

Let’s get into the board for December.

1. Justin Flowe, LB, Upland, CA (Upland) (Last Month: 5)

Ht 6-2 | Wt 225 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #5 Overall

Evaluation: Flowe has a prototype inside linebacker frame with a powerful lower body. Plays with a non-stop motor that, when combined with his freakish athleticism, makes him extremely disruptive all over the field and he is always around the ball to make a play. Clocked an impressive 4.68 laser 40 recently and his coverage ability has improved year-to-year in high school. A truly violent and devastating hitter. Takes on blocks well, and knows how to use his strength and hands to shed and wrap up the ballcarrier.

In The Mix: Flowe’s top 4 includes Clemson, USC, Oregon, and Miami.

Latest: A lot has changed here lately and as a result, Flowe shoots back up to the top of the board. I can confirm the Miami-positive rumors regarding Flowe have legs, and these legs are running marathons. After talking to multiple sources involved with the program, it’s clear there is top-level confidence coming from Hecht in favor of Miami, and after hearing what they had to say, I believe they are very justified in having that confidence. If signing day was tomorrow, I would be putting in a pick for UM here. The problem? Signing day is not tomorrow, and UM’s recent track record with recruits that have the pedigree of Flowe has not been so great. Recent history has seen UM in a position where they felt like they had things locked up with an elite out of state talent, only to have the rug pulled out from under them at the last second, and UM is aware of this reality as well. USC has gotten back in the game here too by securing an official visit next weekend, and the Trojans will try and throw up a Hail Mary to convince Flowe to stay home.

2. Jaiden Francois, S, Homestead, FL (South Dade) (Last Month: 4)

Ht 6-0 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #283 Overall

Evaluation: Shows on tape that he has a nose for the football and displays an impeccable football IQ. He is comfortable oscillating back and forth from the box to playing deep and would make a great lockdown corner or a ball-hawking safety at the next level. Makes plays at the line and can run and cover with just about any receiver on the outside, showing great positional versatility.

In The Mix: Miami and Nebraska are involved for Francois.

Latest: Things are still trending positively between Miami and Francois. Heading into the final 2 weeks before the early signing period and Francois set to be an early enrollee, the only official he’s taken has been to Nebraska, and he just cancelled his trip to Indiana this weekend. Francois is set to see Miami on an official December 13th weekend with the majority of the commits in attendance, including teammate Keshawn Washington, which is a definite positive for Miami. If Miami wants him, and all indications right now are that they do, sources close to the recruitment expect him to commit to UM again. It is interesting to note, though, that the Canes are covering their bases by bringing in other safeties for official visits, and I see that as a reflection of the volatility that Francois has exhibited this cycle.

3. Kobe Baynes, OG, Jacksonville, FL (Sandalwood) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 308 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #934 Overall

Evaluation: Powerful guard prospect. Needs to work on squaring up to properly hit his target. Has the athleticism to be an effective puller. Shows he has the awareness to climb block to the second level. Improved technique and leverage would lead to him unleashing more of his natural strength.

In The Mix: The Louisville commit is only considering a flip to Miami.

Latest: With the need on the OL so high, and the former top OL targets in this class looking unrealistic, I’ve been waiting to see who the Canes would change their focus to at the spot. Although he is still a Louisville commit, I feel that it is Baynes that is most likely of the new targets to end up in this class. UM only offered 3 few weeks ago, but Baynes has since been treated like a top priority by the staff, and he immediately scheduled an official visit to Miami for this weekend, and UM is a school he has long been interested in. Current Hurricane Jordan Miller has a good relationship with Baynes, as they were former teammates at Sandalwood, while Canes’ commits Jalen Rivers and Chantz Williams grew up playing basketball with Baynes. Not to mention Butch Barry has really made an impression here, and one of Baynes top factors is how interactive the OL coaches are; Barry is known for putting visitors through mini-workouts when they’re on campus. I expect to hear some good things coming out of his UM visit this weekend and I’m close to putting in a UM pick.

4. Darnell Washington, TE, Las Vegas, NV (Desert Pines) (Last Month: 7)

Ht 6-8 | Wt 260 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #10 Overall

Evaluation: A physical presence with an incredibly chiseled frame. Long strider as a runner and clocked a 4.78 laser 40, but seems quicker on tape. Great hands and knows how to use his body to make himself an available target. True red-zone weapon that makes quick work of linebackers and safeties. Knows how to high point the ball in traffic. Big target who can run past most linebackers.

In The Mix: Washington has a top 5 of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida in addition to Miami.

Latest: After looking like UM might not get an official from Washington, an in-home visit from the Canes’ staff this week yielded a promise from the big tight end to come see Coral Gables one last time this weekend on an official before he makes his decision on January 2nd at the Under Armour All-American game. Washington will then take his final OV of the process to Tennessee the following weekend. Georgia is certainly still the team to beat here, but you can bet the Canes will be hammering home the “TEU” tradition and their history of developing tight ends this weekend during their last-ditch effort. Stay tuned.

5. Keyshawn Greene, LB, Crawfordville, FL (Wakulla) (Last Month: 9)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 195 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #154 Overall

Evaluation: Greene is considered one of the fastest linebackers in the nation, running in the high 4.4’s. This helps him find the ball and shut down a play in the backfield quickly, and Greene also shows he is a sound tackler on tape. That type of agility will also give him the chance to be elite in coverage at the next level. Shows strong backside pursuit to kill potential big plays.

In The Mix: The FSU commit is only considering Miami for the flip as of now.

Latest: In the past month, Greene was inches away from decommitting to FSU, telling reporters he was planning to leave the Noles’ class shortly. Odell Haggins got in his ear and got him to hold off that for the time being, but the fact he was openly telling people he wanted to bounce shows how open he is right now. He’ll take his first official visit of the process this weekend, and it’ll be in Coral Gables to see UM. I’m wary because going Greene’s small town of Crawfordville to the city atmosphere of Miami would be such a drastic environment change that kids are usually unwilling to make, but Greene is saying all the right things about the Canes so far. How comfortable he feels in the city is going to be a key factor to watch this weekend. Another thing to keep in mind: as of now, Greene is planning on pushing back his signing to February instead of next month, never a good sign for the school holding the commitment. FSU will try and change his mind on that when they get him on campus for an official the weekend before early signing day.

6. Davonte Brown, CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (American Heritage) (Last Month: 8)

Ht 6-2 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #2,194 Overall

Evaluation: A long and rangy defensive back with solid 4.6 speed and a promising 6-2 frame. Despite his slight build right now, he isn’t afraid to lower the boom and make a big hit. Demonstrates effectiveness in zone or man coverage. Has a propensity to give up too many easy catches because he isn’t aggressive enough with his jam or with his hands off the snap. There’s a ton of development needed here in terms of his game and his weight, and Brown is nowhere near a finished product.

In The Mix: Miami, Pitt, and UCF are Brown’s de facto top 3.

Latest: Brown is set to official to Miami this weekend, and UM will have a much better idea of where they stand with him after the trip. His only other officials have been to UCF and Pitt; would a Miami legacy really choose the Panthers or Knights over the Canes if Miami shows him how much they want him this weekend? I have my doubts he’d really leave UM hanging, but we’ll see what can be gathered coming off his visit. Brown may sign early, but also doesn’t rule out waiting until February to sign, so this recruitment could just be getting started.

7. Jaylen Harrell, DE, Tampa, FL (Berkeley Prep) (Last Month: 2)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 235 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #304 Overall

Evaluation: An athletic specimen that plays all over the field for Berkeley Prep. Tremendous explosion off the snap and is very fluid for someone of his size. Uses his hands violently, and is workmanlike in setting linemen up to the outside, only to quickly burst inside. Shows the ability to drop back in coverage if necessary and hold his own. Impressive closing speed when he locks onto a target, and finishes his takedowns in a punishing manner.

In The Mix: Seems to be a Big 3 battle between Miami, UF, and FSU, along with Michigan and Penn State.

Latest: Harrell’s drop on the board can more be explained by UM’s shortage of remaining spots than any concrete new info from his camp. If it comes down to it, I have a hard time believing Miami would use their final spot on another defensive lineman when it would be such a huge luxury and with other areas of importance needing to be addressed. Michigan is turning into a huge player here, as they got him up to Ann Arbor on his own dime last weekend; that’s big because Harrell has not made many visits so far in the process and Harrell wants to return to Michigan for an official. Right now, the only official visit he has set up is to Miami on December 13th weekend, the same weekend all the commits are coming, but Harrell is going to have time to take his visits without rushing because he’s currently planning on waiting until February to sign. That will help give UM a better idea if they want to take him into the class after seeing who they can lock up on the first signing day. In addition to Miami and Michigan, FSU, Florida, and Penn State are in line to fill out his official visit schedule, and FSU is still in very strong standing.

8. Chris Morris, OG, West Memphis, AR (West Memphis) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 285 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #101 Overall

Evaluation: Versatile enough to work at tackle or guard. Impressive when asked to combo block. Decent at redirect blocks in pass pro. Digs opponents out of their anchored spot and moves them where he wants them to go with exceptional drive blocks. Well-timed and compact initial punch. Would like to see slightly better bend. Sports a nasty streak.

In The Mix: The TAMU commit is only considering a flip to the Canes.

Latest: Morris is a prospect many Canes fans might not have heard of until recently, but his interest in Miami extends back into the spring and beyond. Morris was begging for a Miami offer earlier this cycle, but the staff never got around to offering him. By the time UM did pull the trigger in October, it was a week before Morris’ Texas A&M official, a trip where he left committed to the Aggies. It seemed UM had missed their shot, but the staff convinced Morris to take an official visit on Dec. 13th weekend and Butch Barry gave him a school visit earlier this week. Obviously, there is some interest here coming from Morris, but it’s going to take a lot to flip him from the SEC after coming in so late. He should be viewed as a longshot until proven otherwise, but anything can happen when you get a kid on campus for an official.

9. Doneiko Slaughter, S, Roswell, GA (Roswell) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 5-11 | Wt 170 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #996 Overall

Evaluation: Devastating hitting machine that loves to lay the wood. Terrific straight-line acceleration and is top notch at open field pursuit. Great understanding of the field as a grid and is comfortable operating in space. Loves to deploy in the box and has a knack for making big plays both in coverage and in the run game. An exciting sleeper.

In The Mix: The ASU commit is also considering a flip to Tennessee and Boise State along with UM.

Latest: Slaughter is a target that UM has shown renewed interest lately, scheduling him for an official visit this weekend out of the blue a few days ago. Slaughter was actually on campus for Paradise Camp in the summer, but committed to ASU a few days later. With the relationship pretty much completely rebooted at this point, it’s hard to say just how serious he is about Miami, and you also have to factor in that Miami is treating him as a Plan B; Slaughter is certainly a contingency plan in case Francois bolts.

10. Jonathan Denis, OG, Homestead, FL (South Dade) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 280 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #360 Overall

Evaluation: Advanced run-blocker that shows top-notch athletic ability, with movement skills that are smooth and unencumbered for a man of his size. He’s mobile enough to reach the second level of a defense with ease, featuring climbs to linebackers as a work-up blocker. Punishing presence on the line and doesn’t stop until he drives his opponent to the ground; if he gets his hands on a defender and locks on, it’s over. Also known for his intelligence off the field and has the best GPA’s on his team. That type of IQ can only aid his efforts to become an impact player at the next level.

In The Mix: The Oregon commit appears to only be considering Miami at this point.

Latest: Denis is the first of a few former commitments that the Canes seem to be circling back on at this stage of the game. Denis appeared in the stands for Miami’s last home game vs. Louisville and, after UM conducted a school visit with Denis earlier this week, the staff is pressing Denis to join his South Dade teammates for the big Dec. 13th official visit weekend. If he ends up making that trip, there’s a very strong chance he ends up in this class according to a source close to the recruitment.

11. Daran Branch, DB, Amite, LA (Amite) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-1 | Wt 170 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #531 Overall

Evaluation: A physically gifted safety, and the first thing that stands out about him is his extreme length. Shows a nose for the football on tape and has an affinity for stopping the run. Comfortable playing close to the line and is slippery in getting off blocks and making a play on the ball-carrier. Plays with great eye discipline in coverage and is difficult to fool. Ball skills do not really show up on tape, but that does not mean they are not there or can’t be developed.

In The Mix: The Ole Miss commit is considering UM, and more schools could get involved soon.

Latest: An interesting case here, as Branch decommitted from Miami less than 3 weeks ago and flipped to Ole Miss for family reasons, seemingly ending things between the two parties. However, the Rebels fired head coach Matt Luke this week, opening the door for Miami yet again. Branch has indicated that he may push back his signing to take visits and be sure of his decision, and Miami would certainly be one school in the discussion for a visit. Since nothing’s changed in terms of his family situation, it’s hard to be confident in UM’s chances, but the situation is worth monitoring at the least.

12. Justin Hodges, CB, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Western) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-2 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #1,851 Overall

Evaluation: The first thing that stands out about him is his top-notch ball skills. Shows the ability to high point a ball almost like a receiver and either knock it away or pick it off. Shows great anticipation in recognizing route patterns before they develop. His length is also an asset in coverage as well and allows him to get to many passes other corners can’t. Very sticky in coverage and proves difficult for most receivers to separate from. Lacks long/straight-line speed, but has good enough quickness, and has solid recovery speed also.

In The Mix: Miami is involved, along with Washington State, UCF, Minnesota, and Indiana.

Latest: Probably the most surprising name on this list is Hodges, who it seemed Miami had completely cut off connections with. However, cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph made the short trip to visit Hodges at school this week, and it seems UM will be keeping tabs on him down the stretch. Hodges is certainly behind Brown for a spot in Miami’s class at this point, but depending on the vibe they get with Brown off his official this weekend, you could see UM start to push Hodges to OV. He’s already taken one official to Washington State and will take his second to see UCF this weekend. Minnesota and Indiana are also involved. As someone set to sign and enroll early, things will have to progress quickly here for him to end up in the class.

13. Malachi Wideman, WR, Sarasota, FL (Venice) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 180 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #130 Overall

Evaluation: A rare talent that combines the frame of a lanky outside receiver with the athleticism of a smaller player. His body control allows him to go up and make contested catches with bigger corners, while still showing the agility to rack up yards after the catch against quicker corners. Long strider with impeccable catch radius due to spectacular hands and has the concentration to make difficult catches look easy. He still needs a little polish and to work on his route tree.

In The Mix: The FSU commit is still considering Washington State along with UM.

Latest: I expect a big part of UM’s decision of whether or not to take a 4th receiver to be based on if they feel Wideman has legit interest. The FSU commit began looking around a bit once the Noles fired Willie Taggart last month, and UM was glad to hop in and offer. This is another situation where the relationship is so new, so it’s hard to get a read on, but if you see Miami make the effort to bring him in on an official, it will be because they believe he is open for the taking. Wideman will take his first OV of the cycle to Washington State this weekend. Although he is not currently slated to sign early, just like with Greene, the Noles will be pushing him to sign early on his Dec. 13th official visit. The likelihood Wideman sticks with FSU drops dramatically if he doesn’t sign in two weeks.

14. Kyren Lacy, WR, Thibodaux, LA (Thibodaux) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 205 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #1,228 Overall

Evaluation: Big-bodied receiver that is an expert in high-pointing the ball and making DB’s look silly. Sneaky good speed. Lines up all over the field, including tight end. Highly productive at the HS level. Shows a much more polished route tree than is typical for big men. No doubt he is an impressive prospect.

In The Mix: The Louisiana commit is only considering a flip to Miami.

Latest: If everything goes right with the top targets on the board, I highly doubt the Canes end up taking a 4th receiver in lieu of some of their other needs. Still, it’s good to finally see Miami recruiting the right way and lining up contingency plans, which Lacy certainly is at this point. Although Lacy is committed to Louisiana, he hasn’t ruled out pushing his signing back to February. How well the Canes end up faring on early signing day will determine if they seriously pursue Lacy.

15. Ronald Delancy, CB, Miami, FL (Miami Northwestern) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 5-11 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #1,722 Overall

Evaluation: Great ball skills to go along with above average speed. A bit undersized but he’s not just a finesse corner, proving adept at run support and physical both in getting off blocks and making hits. Lives in his man’s hip pocket and is tough to separate from. Willing to hand fight at the line. Could be a gem in the right system.

In The Mix: The Nebraska commit is only considering a flip to Miami.

Latest: Delancy was offered just last week, but seemed lukewarm on UM after being ignored by the hometown Canes for so long, saying they would have a lot of work to do at this point. He didn’t immediately jump at the thought of taking an OV to Miami, and I’ve already heard Delancy and former UM receiver commit Marcus Fleming (his HS teammate) currently prefer a package deal. All that points to Delancy sticking with Nebraska, but with Miami’s need for corners, there’s no telling what could happen if they really pushed Delancy.

Falling Off

3. Douglas Emilien, WR: A surprise, last-minute official visit to Minnesota over the weekend ended with a surprise commitment to the Golden Gophers to end a recruitment UM felt confident on.

6. Ruben Hyppolite, LB: Both parties have moved on here.

11. Kentron Poitier, WR: Looks set to choose FSU or UF.

12. Marlon Martinez, OG: The Canes have stopped recruiting the St. Thomas star.

14. Marcus Dumervil, OT: Won’t be taking an official to Miami ahead of his decision date which is set for two weeks from now.

15. Ronald Williams, CB: Locked in all 5 official visits, none of which will be to Miami.

Comments (75)

Haven't followed recruiting a ton to this point, but did fsu firing Taggert not put us back in the picture with Bryan Robinson? Seemed like he left to go there from what I read on here?
Haven't followed recruiting a ton to this point, but did fsu firing Taggert not put us back in the picture with Bryan Robinson? Seemed like he left to go there from what I read on here?
As it stands he’s visited Nebraska a few weeks back, Pitt officially and now it looks like somewhere in North Carolina this weekend. He’s slated to visit bama next weekend so with that it appears none of the big 3 will get an official visit from him and I dont Know if he’s signing early or not
I dont know about this flowe stuff especially when the confidence is coming from the miami side. We all have seen what happens when they are confident. And ivins just said he has heard the losses to fiu and duke has hurt miami with flowe.
Staff has a good feeling about Flowe..... . Like Surtai, Jr. in the 18 class, and Haslewood in the 19 class guarantees we are about to get clowned again.
The staff had a good feeling about a number players in that 2018 class too and they hit on nearly everyone on their board except surtain/Campbell/ jobe. Also even in this year they hit on a lot of their targets including recently in knighton of who they “felt good about”. Can’t just say they had a good feeling on some of the guys they missed on but not also state that they had good feelings on the guys they hit on in recruiting either, not really fair to do that.
for you social media lurkers, don’t just get to posting this about flowe all on social media with screenshots either, counting eggs before they hatch, only making Miami fans looking foolish If it doesn’t come to fruition
I dont know about this flowe stuff especially when the confidence is coming from the miami side. We all have seen what happens when they are confident. And ivins just said he has heard the losses to fiu and duke has hurt miami with flowe.
Yeah that whole confident stuff should signal everyone to run for cover. Don’t buy it.
I think Stefan said it best with Flowe, if signing day were today we have a good shot, the longer this takes makes me think someone comes in with an offer he can't refuse.