2020 Freshman 15: May Edition

2020 Freshman 15: May Edition

Stefan Adams
Previous: April

Welcome to the second 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 uncommitted (to Miami) recruits 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
This column will be updated throughout the cycle each month and will show movement up or down for each recruit as the list is updated.

From last month's board, the Canes did well to lock up their #1 target in QB Tyler Van Dyke, and now can put all their focus into other positions of need like offensive line, linebacker, and corner. This month marks the invasion of the out of state prospects on the board, as the Hurricanes get more national in their quest to bring home a class of blue-chips.

Let’s get into the board for May.

1. Jalen Rivers, OT, Orange Park, FL (Oakleaf) (Last Month: 13)

Ht 6-6 | Wt 330 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #135 Overall

Evaluation: Solid wide-build and powerful with long arms. A plus run-blocker that accelerates in his run fits and isn’t afraid to get nasty with his opponent. Active feet that are always moving into position to secure his block. Good timing on combo blocks. Shows high awareness when climbing up to the second level and is able to lock on to smaller targets and bury them.

In The Mix: Top 5 includes Miami, Bama, UGA, Florida, and FSU.

Latest: A lot has changed here within the past month. After previously leading throughout 2018, the Canes seemed to be on the outside looking in with Rivers for the early part of 2019. However, Rivers took a strong visit to UM in mid-April, and the staff really felt they made a move in this recruitment. Miami crystal balls starting coming in shortly after and I have also been hearing good things about Rivers and Miami. I still want to hear more before I make any picks, but Miami has really positioned themselves well for Rivers, an elite prospect at a huge area of need. With a summer decision on tap, Miami just has to hold on in this recruitment.

2. Chantz Williams, DE, Orange Park, FL (Oakleaf) (Last Month: 5)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 220 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #83 Overall

Evaluation: Makes his living in the opponent backfield and it’s tough for offensive linemen to square up on him with his speed off the edge. While he needs to add weight for the next level, his first step is devastating and he has the potential to be a dynamic pass rusher for whoever lands his services.

In The Mix: Miami is in his top 5, along with FSU, Florida, Alabama, and UGA.

Latest: Even more so than his teammate Rivers, Williams has been an enigma these past few months. Despite considering himself a package deal with Rivers for months now, the buzz was not nearly as strong for Williams coming off his mid-April Miami visit as it was for Rivers. So while that’s odd, no news for other schools with Williams is good news for Miami, especially if Rivers is set on Miami. Official visits are coming up for the pair in lieu of a summer decision, and they will only take two or three visits. Miami, Florida, and UGA are getting the strongest buzz for OV destinations right now.

3. Marcus Dumervil, OT, Fort Lauderdale, FL (St. Thomas) (Last Month: 4)

Ht 6-5 | Wt 300 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #118 Overall

Evaluation: The most impressive part about him is how well he carries his 300 pound frame; he can easily add another 25+ pounds and you probably wouldn’t notice that much because of how his weight is distributed. He can be overwhelming at times on the edge, smothering defenders. Shows very quick feet, so that even if he is beat off the snap, he recovers well to get in good position to make his block.

In The Mix: Pretty much every school in the country is going after Dumervil along with Miami, such as LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma, UGA, Auburn and others.

Latest: Miami and Butch Barry have really been making Dumervil a priority on the offensive line, and Dumervil has already visited UM multiple times this spring. That’s right in step with how Dumervil had been interacting with Miami before the coaching change, and he was a mainstay at home games this season. Early on, many saw Miami as Dumervil’s leader and he always talked up UM extremely highly, but as more and more top programs start to push for the trench star, Dumervil seems more open than ever. With UM failing to secure an early commitment, it looks like this battle could go on through the season, as Dumervil recently told CIS that he is likely to wait until December or January to announce anything. Dumervil took official visits last month to LSU and Oklahoma, which seems like a positive for Miami since he isn’t planning on an early decision. Dumervil also visited Louisville unofficially as well. The Canes just have to stay in the game here and show they can win under Manny Diaz’s new leadership, as a winning program is going to be one of his deciding factors.

4. Mookie Cooper, WR, St. Louis, MO (Trinity Catholic) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 5-9 | Wt 195 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #66 Overall

Evaluation: An extremely dangerous player with the ball in his hands and has the ability to go the distance with every touch. Clocked a 4.49 laser 40 and shows a next-level gear. Versatile athlete that you can line up anywhere in the formation and he will make the defense pay. A slippery jitterbug in the open field that is hard to get a hand on. Shades of Purdue freshman sensation Rondale Moore with similar speed, size, and build. Can be a dominant force in an offense with the right scheme and creativity.

In The Mix: Miami, Illinois, Oklahoma, LSU and more are involved for Cooper

Latest: The recruitment of Cooper ramped up in the past month when the talented receiver got some Miami crystal balls pegged his way. Cooper, a former Texas commit, had been vocal that Illinois was his new leader when he decommitted back in March, but a Miami offer soon after seemed to change things for the speedy receiver. It wasn’t long until Cooper turned into a big Miami supporter on social media, even hyping up the Canes towards other recruits. As long as Cooper makes his planned visit, UM feels strong on their chances to eventually land Cooper.

5. Keshawn Lawrence, CB, Nashville, TN (Ensworth) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 190 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #95 Overall

Evaluation: Great frame with long arms, and fits the mold that Mike Rumph is looking for in that regard. Uses his length aggressively both in jamming receivers and getting off blocks. Good tackler in run support and not afraid to stick his nose in the mix and make a hit. Outstanding athlete that also plays running back full-time in high school and shows impressive vision that could be useful in returning interceptions, kickoffs, or punts. Solid, not great, speed, but is a long strider that accelerates well and shows good recovery speed in coverage.

In The Mix: Along with Miami, Auburn, Clemson, Ole Miss, and Tennessee are high up for Lawrence.

Latest: After all of Miami’s top in-state cornerback targets fell off the board in the past month, Lawrence is the new top guy at CB for Miami. The Canes got Lawrence on campus back in March, and the staff really felt they made a move with Lawrence on the visit. Clemson was thought to be out in front here, but the Tigers may not have room for Lawrence and have been slow-playing him lately. The 6-3 190 pound prospect has a connection to Miami as well, as he is cousins with Corn Elder. He’s already seen LSU on an official visit, but has said that Miami is the only other school that will definitely get an official visit. Schools like Tennessee and Auburn are also pushing as well. As in many out of state battles, the official visit will tell the story here.

6. Jalen Carter, DT, Apopka, FL (Apopka) (Last Month: 3)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 300 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #96 Overall

Evaluation: Built like a freak and has really put on a lot of good weight in the past year. Plays from consistent position of leverage and knows how to use his body to his advantage. Sets up blockers well with quick hands. Exceptional in working against redirect blocks and accelerates through the line to finish the play. Pursuit quickness from back end allows him to corral ball-carriers and clean up potential big plays. Explosive with big closing burst when he locks on to his target.

In The Mix: Auburn, FSU, Miami, UGA, Ole Miss and Florida are all involved.

Latest: Carter has been quiet this past month, only visiting FSU for a Junior Day event. From what I’m told, a source close to Carter’s recruitment feels it is actually Georgia that has built a bit of a lead. The Canes have work to do here, and it would be a good sign for Miami’s chances if Carter shows up for Paradise Camp next month, something he did a year prior.

7. Jaylan Knighton, RB, Deerfield Beach, FL (Deerfield Beach) (Last Month: 11)

Ht 5-9 | Wt 185 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #100 Overall

Evaluation: Elite straight-line speed that makes him seem like he was shot out of a cannon. A true burner that is still physical enough to lower his shoulder and run through contact. Shows an effective jump cut to defeat contain and swiftly run away from the flow of the defense. Love how decisive he is with his cuts and he doesn’t dance around in the backfield; in other words, he gets north-south very quickly. Crafty in leaking out of the backfield as a pass-catcher and is a threat in the screen game.

In The Mix: Knighton narrowed down a top 6 of Miami, FSU, Clemson, OU, Ohio State, and LSU.

Latest: Early last month, Knighton cut his list to 6, which included the Hurricanes. Then, he came off a Junior Day visit to FSU, and the next day, announced he was ready to reveal his decision. The Deerfield star looked set to choose the Noles, however, Miami convinced him to attend their spring scrimmage at Traz Powell the following weekend and I was told Knighton had a great visit and was very interactive with the coaches, players, and other recruits. Soon after, Knighton postponed his decision until August, clearly a good sign for the Canes. UM has put themselves in a great position to land Knighton, as they have gotten him on campus three times over the past three months, and TE coach Stephen Field’s connections to Deerfield have really made a huge difference here in UM’s surge with Knighton. Will it be enough to land him? That’s unclear as of now, but Miami is certainly trending in the right direction.

8. Justin Flowe, LB, Upland, CA (Upland) (Last Week: NR)

Ht 6-2 | Wt 225 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #3 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. A+ at running down plays from the backend and he is a middle linebacker that can be trusted to shadow the entire field. He is simply the complete package at LB.

In The Mix: Florida, Georgia, Texas, OU, USC, Ohio State, Clemson, Oregon, Alabama, Arizona State, LSU, and Miami make up Flowe’s top 12.

Latest: Miami continues to push hard for Flowe and made his top 12 list last month. Even better, the Canes were able to score a visit from Flowe during the spring, and Flowe has stated his intent to return to Miami for an official visit, a huge win for the Canes. While it’s going to be a long fight to eventually land someone as talented as Flowe, the Canes are certainly in a better spot than they were a month ago and are really selling a thin depth chart and immediate playing time to the Upland star.

9. Issiah Walker, OT, Miami, FL (Norland) (Last Month: 8)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 285 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #138 Overall

Evaluation: Long and lean left tackle prospect that oozes athletic upside. Only adequate strength-wise right now, and needs to build his power, but has the type of quick feet that will help him stay at tackle long-term. At his best when he can get out in space and make climb blocks on the second level. Shows ability to redirect block with good technique. Could play with better leverage at this point and getting lower will benefit both his pass sets and run blocking.

In The Mix: The South Carolina commit is also considering FSU, Florida, LSU, and UCF along with UM.

Latest: Walker has had a busy spring of recruiting, making multiple trips to see schools like Miami and FSU, while also attending junior day events for Florida, UCF, and South Carolina, the school he is currently committed to. He attended Miami’s 2nd spring scrimmage held at Traz Powell Stadium back in mid-April, and took the time to get to know the coaching staff better, spending some one-on-one time with Manny Diaz as well. The Canes put the full-court press on Walker, and are pushing the family environment at UM as well as being able to stay close to home. Walker is setting a June LSU official visit as well as a South Carolina OV, but has yet to decide on his other three officials. Walker isn’t planning on making a final decision until December, so the Canes simply have to hang around here and slowly chip away at his South Carolina commitment.

10. Avantae Williams, S, Deland, FL (Deland) (Last Month: 6)

Ht 5-11 | Wt 170 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #45 Overall

Evaluation: An extremely hard-hitter that knows how to lower the boom on his opponent. Elite track speed makes him a dangerous weapon not only on interception returns, but kick returns and gadget plays on offense as well. Those type of wheels give him great range on the back end, and you can trust him in single-high coverages to clean up any mistakes. Reads the QB’s eyes well, and closes quickly on his target to pummel him into the ground. Would like to see more ball skills show up, but he is truly an exciting safety prospect with no ceiling.

In The Mix: The Oregon commit is still considering Miami, Florida, and UGA.

Latest: Williams did make his long-awaited visit to Oregon last month and enjoyed his time on the west coast, so the chances he sticks with the Ducks went way up. I’ve also been told that Georgia and Florida are better positioned for the flip as of now. UM is still involved, but Miami needs to hear some good news soon here or get him back on campus; otherwise, they are at risk of falling out of this recruitment.

11. Darnell Washington, TE, Las Vegas, NV (Desert Pines) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-8 | Wt 250 | 247 Composite: 5-Star, #14 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. Has the power and length to really become and standout run blocker.

In The Mix: Washington is considering Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, and Penn State in addition to Miami.

Latest: Coach Field worked his west coast connections to get Washington to make a cross-country visit to Miami, and now the Hurricanes are true players in this recruitment. Other spring visits went to Alabama, Georgia, Oregon, Florida, Tennessee, and Penn State. A big help here has been the Bishop Gorman trio at UM, who are working Washington hard and trying to make him feel comfortable at Miami. Field also spent some time heading back to the west coast to see Washington earlier this week during the spring evaluation period. The Canes have their foot in the door here, but getting Washington back on campus for an official is a must if they want to hang around.

12. Jonathan Denis, OG, Homestead, FL (South Dade) (Last Month: 9)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 280 | 247 Composite: 3-Star, #384 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: Miami, FSU, LSU, and Mississippi State are in contact with Denis the most.

Latest: Miami has certainly been going very hard after Denis, as new OL coach Butch Barry met with Denis either at his school or on UM’s campus over 10 times in the first month he was hired at Miami. Denis is currently in the process of scheduling summer official visits to LSU and Mississippi State, and he saw Florida State recently during a junior day event. After three of his close friends and teammates jumped on board with the Hurricanes and making countless visits to UM, Denis has long been pegged as Miami’s next commitment, but he wants to play out the process a bit more and take some officials so he can be 100% sure of his decision.

13. Jaylen Harrell, DE, Tampa, FL (Berkeley Prep) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-4 | Wt 235 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #123 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: Miami, UF, FSU, and Clemson are top players for Harrell.

Latest: A very quiet kid that doesn’t do many interviews, Harrell is a prospect that shies away from the spotlight of the recruiting process and is hard to get a read on. The Berkeley Prep star also didn’t make many trips this spring, staying within the state and seeing only Miami and FSU. This is likely going to be a Big 3 battle, but Miami is already in a good position here. Clemson is hanging around as well, but as with many other top prospects the Tigers are after, Harrell’s spot in the class is in limbo right now. How each Florida power’s season plays out could help tip the scales.

14. Trenton Simpson, LB, Charlotte, NC (Mallard Creek) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-3 | Wt 220 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #67 Overall

Evaluation: Simpson is a player that has shot up the rankings since deciding to focus more on the LB position, going from a 3-star RB to a 4-star LB within the national top 100. As such, has a high learning curve and continues to show rapid development as a high-impact linebacker. Well put together and is perfectly built for the position. Quick-twitch athlete with big burst to close and shortens gaps quickly. A bullet with a vengeance shooting into the backfield. Still learning to take on blocks and play with better efficiency.

In The Mix: Top 5 includes Miami, UNC, Tennessee, Auburn, and UGA.

Latest: The Canes also just landed in Simpson’s top 5 this weekend, and he is working on locking in an official to Coral Gables. Outside of that, not much is really known about Simpson and Miami’s relationship, as it is so new. He’s unofficially visited the rest of his top 5 besides the Hurricanes, so his official visit will really give a better indication of just how UM stacks up to the competition. He has already set officials to Auburn and Georgia next month. A fast-rising talent at a big position of need, it won’t hurt for the Canes to shoot their shot here. Teammate and fellow Miami target DE Quentin Williams is also a factor as here as well, and he suggested Miami for Simpson’s 5th official visit after enjoying his unofficial visit to UM himself, so that is something that could play in Miami’s favor down the line with Simpson if they land Williams.

15. Ethan Pouncey, CB, Winter Park, FL (Winter Park) (Last Month: NR)

Ht 6-1 | Wt 160 | 247 Composite: 4-Star, #237 Overall

Evaluation: Incredible reaction time when breaking on the ball. That type of anticipation has helped him become an interception machine, and his natural ball skills don’t hurt either. A long strider that has great acceleration and his top speed is better than most. Long arms helps him pester receivers all over the field. Not just a height-length-speed corner, but also proves adept at run support and is physical both in getting off blocks and making hits. Needs to add more weight, but his potential is very high.

In The Mix: Florida, UGA, Auburn, and Texas are involved with Pouncey aside from Miami.

Latest: Pouncey was offered by UM in early February, but didn’t seem to be showing much interest in the Canes. That changed late last month when he surprisingly showed up at Miami’s spring game in Orlando. As a result, Miami has put themselves in the thick of this recruitment. Pouncey is someone that seems very open right now and he visited Florida, UGA, Auburn, and Texas this spring in addition to UM.

Falling Off

2. Evan Prater, QB
: Committed to Cincinnati.

7. Fred Davis, CB: Committed to Clemson.

10. Jalen Harrell, CB: Committed to FSU.

12. Caziah Holmes, ATH: Named FSU his leader; could find his way back to the board in the future.

14. Antoine Sampah, LB: Committed to LSU.

15. Lejond Cavazos, CB: Committed to Ohio State.

Comments (69)

That seems like a really strong list that I feel cautiously optimistic about. Really heavy on the offensive line which is a great sign. The secondary concerns the **** out of me. I highly doubt we get Lawrence, Williams, or Pouncey.
If we even get 5 of these guys, 2 of the OL, I’d be shocked. Hoping for the best.

If you could only get 5 (realistic ones), who do you take?

For me it’s Flowe, Mookie, Lawrence, Walker, and Harrell. LOVE Knighton but the others are bigger needs imho.
Didn't even think about the Mook and Rondale comparison but it's pretty spot on. I seen Rondale play when he was at Trinity and he may have just a little more speed than Mook but both are definitely playmakers. Out of everyone in this class he is one I really hope we land.
Jonathan Denis got his rating dropped a lot. I just noticed.
Must land 3/4 of them??? I'll be happy if we get 1. Land 2 and we party like it's 1999.

Yes. 2 OT and OG Denis. We wont ever compete for anything of substance without actual OTs and playable depth of 10-12 guys.
This is the class we need to load up on OL. We won’t (shouldn’t) lose anyone of importance heading into 2020 so the 4-6 OL recruits can RS/provide depth.

Last year’s OL class was a ****show. We landed 3 under the radar/not highly recruited guys. The odds of all 3 panning out aren’t great. Barry and Enos need to hit HRs this cycle.
This is the class we need to load up on OL. We won’t (shouldn’t) lose anyone of importance heading into 2020 so the 4-6 OL recruits can RS/provide depth.

Last year’s OL class was a ****show. We landed 3 under the radar/not highly recruited guys. The odds of all 3 panning out aren’t great. Barry and Enos need to hit HRs this cycle.
The odds of 3 highly rated OL working out isn't good either, OL is a position group that everyone has trouble evaluating