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2021 Spring - Final Thoughts

2021 Spring - Final Thoughts

DMoney
Some thoughts based on the three scrimmages, practices and speaking with people around the program:

QB- This position was the story of the spring. Tyler Van Dyke is big, strong and steady running the offense. He was efficient in all three scrimmages. His physicality could be a differentiator in full contact, as he’ll have the ability to shed tacklers. The next step for TVD is letting it rip a little more. Jake Garcia is more of a pure passer with a better release and ball placement. He plays quicker than expected, he’s deadly in rhythm and he challenges windows. I compared his style to Goff in high school, but he plays more like Mayfield on Greentree. This battle should go into 2022. Peyton Matocha has good size and athleticism but lacks arm strength. He fits best in lower-end G5 or FCS.

RB- Don Chaney was separating from the other backs before he got hurt. He’s the only guy with Miami franchise back tools and the game is slowing down for him. We know what Cam Harris brings to the table: a rocked-up back with average contact balance and homerun speed. He'll be a solid player for us. It was good to see Jaylen Knighton come on strong the last two scrimmages. He was tentative early and needed the boost of confidence. Thad Franklin and Cody Brown have a huge opportunity with Chaney likely out for most of fall camp.

WR- There’s still no true #1, but it’s a better overall group than last year. Mike Harley was the best and most consistent WR all spring. He’s improved his strength and balance, which allows him to play through contact. Charleston Rambo saved his best for the last two scrimmages. He’s longer than expected and has excellent speed. He’ll still drop some passes but he’s a clear upgrade over the Southridge duo. Keyshawn Smith might’ve been an undisputed starter by now if not for an ankle injury. Now that he’s bulked up to 185, he has the most complete toolbox in the room. Xavier Restrepo made more plays than anyone in camp, including multiple big plays in every scrimmage. He’s built more like a RB than Berrios and is better after the catch.

Mike Redding had moments and plenty of reps with the 1s. They want to get his size on the field. He lacks fluidity to separate but he’s a very hard worker. Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins looked like themselves. Of the two, Pope has shown more flashes. Unfortunately, he’s best in the slot and we’re deep there. Daz Worsham is more of a transfer candidate to my eyes, lacks the athleticism and twitch of the rest.

TE- We used walk-ons here most of the spring due to injury. Larry Hodges blew a golden opportunity with off-field mistakes. Now the door is wide open for Kahlil Brantley to seize that H-back role. Dominic Mammarelli looked ready to contribute as an in-line TE before getting hurt. He’ll come back closer to Bama. Elijah Arroyo should be full-go for camp and is the name to watch.

OL- My personal favorite five at OL is Zion-Rivers-Gaynor-Donaldson-Scaife. That was the line clearing the way for Knighton’s long TD. Zion Nelson is one of the better tackles in the ACC. I don’t see an early entry, NFL-type yet but he has the twitch and knockback to develop into a pro. The key for him is perfecting his technique since he doesn’t have elite size. Coach Justice says he projects Jalen Rivers as a guard long-term. Rivers has length and strength but his best attribute is his brains. He’s improving too fast not to start. Corey Gaynor got almost all of the starting snaps at center. He hasn’t made the All-Conference leap I’ve hoped for (athletic limitations), but he’s been one of our top two linemen the past couple years and should do better with bigger guards alongside him. Navaughn Donaldson was the starting RG every practice and looks poised for a run at the NFL. He helps address a huge strength deficiency at guard. Summer conditioning will be big for him. Delone Scaife has always been most comfortable at tackle and he did a solid job this spring. His arm length and balance helps make up for his height (6’3).

Jakai Clark started the spring game at LG over Rivers and remains firmly in the mix. He’s probably best as a utility interior OL given his size. Jarrid Williams is in a battle with Scaife at RT. He missed a couple weeks with COVID protocols but will be fine for summer. His biggest issue is getting push in the running game. He has a tall, thin frame that works better in pass protection. John Campbell had a quality spring. You don’t always see a fourth tackle with that kind of size and experience. Hopefully, he doesn’t transfer. There’s a future here.

I was disappointed in Chris Washington’s physical progress. He’s tall but skill skinny. Michael McClaughlin, on the other hand, came in huge. He missed most of spring with an injury (not a season-ender), but showed enough strength and movement to get people excited about his future. Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalontae Hillary aren’t playable and Ousman Traore is more of a G5 talent. Cleveland Reed missed spring and Issaiah Walker was limited. I could see Laurence Seymore moving past this tier when he arrives.

DT
- This position was a pleasant surprise. Jon Ford has an SEC body and NFL potential as a two-gap DE. He’s tantalized before, but now he has Jess Simpson and five years of experience. You need a moustache at DT. Jordan Miller is in good shape. He started alongside Ford for much of spring, which makes sense considering our struggles against the run and our first opponent. Jared Harrison-Hunte has the highest ceiling in the group. Donaldson bullied him, though, which is a good reminder that JHH needs a big summer in the weight room. Jalar Holley is a quick, coordinated athlete. An illness last year dropped his weight considerably, which set back his development. He can be a rotation player if he gets more stout. Elijah Roberts is a consistent playmaker but hasn’t filled out to DT size yet. It’s early. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t get any reps at DE. He’s going to be a good one wherever he ends up. Quentin Williams is still in the development stage.

DE- Don’t sleep on a transfer here. We lost two of the best in the nation so a drop off was inevitable. Size and length is my biggest concern. De’Andre Johnson missed most of camp but showed the same slipperiness he had at Tennessee. Jahfari Harvey is a sudden athlete with strong hands. Still waiting on some more craft from him. Chantz Williams has more potential than Cam Williams because of his weight (260+) and sturdiness. He’s stiff but has the 4.6 speed and effort to muck things up with sheer activity. Zach McCloud is an effort guy. I don’t see him in an everydown role. Thomas Davis flashed consistently with speed to chase down ballcarriers and the coordinated quickness to beat blocks. Height (6’0) is the obvious concern there. Leonard Taylor may start out at DE, which would add some much-needed size and talent to this room.

LB- Still need a transfer, but Keontra Smith looks like a huge addition. We’ve been calling for that move for a long time. Instinctual LBs usually flash early and Smith started making plays the moment he made the switch. He’ll be 5’11, 225 running 4.5s with explosive jumps. Corey Flagg has slimmed down and is a solid starter at MIKE. He’s not a top-level guy (step slow, not a knockback tackler) but he’ll produce and is a clear improvement over last year. Avery Huff took a positive step. He was very good the first two scrimmages and brings a unique combination of length, wiry strength and twitch as a converted WR. Waynmon Steed was the best of the veteran LBs but looks 75% of his prior athleticism. I hope he keeps healing because he can play. Bradley Jennings is a liability.

Tirek Austin-Cave is where Huff was last year. Tightly wound and powerful on contact but slow to diagnose and prone to mistakes. Deshawn Troutman has some similarities to Flagg with more pop. He’s just small. Ryan Ragone isn’t playing as much which is progress. Sam Brooks needs to heal to have any chance to meet the potential he showed against Louisiana Tech.

Striker- This position is a strength, despite Gilbert Frierson coming in a little out of shape. Amari Carter has always played closer to the ball and this move opens up a spot in a crowded safety room. Chase Smith is 6’4, fast, fluid, instinctual and a good tackler. In the first scrimmage, he had a pick in man coverage. High-end, NFL tools. Don’t be surprised to see multiple “striker” body types on the field on passing downs. We will try to make up for our linebacker weakness with versatility and deception.

Safety- Another area of strength on the defense. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall both have NFL talent but different issues. Bolden needs consistency and discipline. He was a Day 2 pick in the first half of the season, undraftable in the second half. Hall is different. T-Rob and Baker both said he is one of the best athletes they’ve ever coached. His problem is pulling the trigger and making instinctual plays. With good seasons, they are Day 3-type guys.

Avantae Williams plays like a maniac. He’s the most sudden defensive back and brings a physical edge on every snap. You feel his presence out there, which is key for a safety. He also has excellent range, coming from the opposite hash to the sideline to make a pick in the first scrimmage. He just needs reps and discipline as the last line of defense. Some of his aggressive angles led to long TDs, including Knighton on Saturday. Kam Kinchens came in as advertised: a ball magnet and student of the game with impeccable habits. He’s always in position to capitalize on overthrows and deflections. His tackling can improve but he was the leading tackler in two scrimmages and shows some pop when he’s squared up. Keyshawn Washington is behind those other two. I’d compare him to a more talented Rob Knowles. Brian Balom is hurt.

As with striker, don’t be surprised to see several of these guys on the field at once. James Williams will add another Joker to the deck.

CB- This position performed well with the first team but falls off after that. We have one of the biggest duos in the country with Tyrique Stevenson and DJ Ivey. Tyrique came in as advertised and set an immediate tone with his physicality. He’s like having an extra LB on the field. The challenge for him will be staying light, but he’s an exceptional athlete with PR ability. He immediately became the best NFL prospect on our team. Ivey was unreal on Greentree and his length is a perfect fit with TRob’s coaching. The challenge, of course, will be translating that to the games after three inconsistent years. His tackling should also be better given his size.

Te’Cory Couch was having an outstanding spring before he got banged up. We need him back. There is no other corner on the team with his feet and suddenness. Isaiah Dunson has similar length to Ivey and superior ball skills. He is also fearless as a tackler. His issue is a thin frame and below-average top-end speed. Marcus Clarke was banged up. Jalen Harrell lacks speed and is more of a striker to me.

K and P- I expect another year with NFL legs. Hedley is proven and Borregales is a stud. Even #45 is a quality backup. We’ve come a long way since Feagles and Baxa.

Overall- This is a good team. Best team I’ve watched on Greentree since the Brock years. It’s still below the playoff teams in terms of overall size and first round talent, but the gap is closing. The key is the QB room. A great player there covers a lot of warts.

The most improvement should come on the OL and the interior DL. We won’t be Georgia overnight, but we look bigger and stronger and the proof is on the scales. Age matters up front and we’re old. We’ve also added a lot of versatility in the back seven. Look at the athletes in the mix: Stevenson, Bolden, Hall, Avantae, JWill, Chase, Frierson, Keontra, Huff, Kam. These are high-end recruits with multiple skills. Manny and Bob Shoop can go “positionless” if need be.

I’d be on the lookout for a big DE and a LB in the Portal. Our standards should be NFL-talent only. Otherwise, I think we are in good shape. Go Canes.
 

Comments (102)

Fantastic write-up. It’ll be interesting to see how the board drags this thread into the sewer.

For those of us who love ball and aren’t miserable fucks, I’ll add this:

Manny continues to plug the holes that need plugging. Last year it was QB, EDGE, OT, and K. This year it’s been WR and backer (the move of Keontra will be glowing like the briefcase in Pulp Fiction by the end of the year). The extra year for these kids helped a TON, and although of course it helps other teams as well, Miami will see the benefit immediately a lot more than most teams. I’ll be shocked if this isn’t a really good football team and if it’s not, it’ll be the ultimate indictment on Manny. There’s just not many holes here at all that I can see. This is a solid team and the energy that is coming in the form of the 2021 class is going to be nuclear.
 
Some thoughts based on the three scrimmages, practices and speaking with people around the program:

QB- This position was the story of the spring. Tyler Van Dyke is big, strong and steady running the offense. He was efficient in all three scrimmages. His physicality could be a differentiator in full contact, since he’ll have the ability to shed tacklers. The next step for TVD is letting it rip a little more. Jake Garcia is more of a pure passer with a better release and ball placement. He plays quicker than expected, he’s deadly in rhythm and he challenges windows. I compared his style to Goff in high school, but he plays more like Mayfield on Greentree. This battle should go into 2022. Peyton Matocha has good size and athleticism but lacks arm strength. He fits best in lower-end G5 or FCS.

HB- Don Chaney was separating from the other backs before he got hurt. He’s the only guy with Miami franchise back tools and the game is slowing down for him. We know what Cam Harris brings to the table: a rocked-up back with average contact balance and homerun speed. He'll be a solid player for us. It was good to see Jaylen Knighton come on strong the last two scrimmages. He was tentative early and needed the boost of confidence. Thad Franklin and Cody Brown have a huge opportunity with Chaney likely out for most of fall camp.

WR- There’s still no true #1, but it’s a better overall group than last year. Mike Harley was the best and most consistent WR all spring. He’s improved his strength and balance, which allows him to play through contact. Charleston Rambo saved his best for the last two scrimmages. He’s longer than expected and has excellent speed. He’ll still drop some passes but he’s a clear upgrade over the Southridge duo. Keyshawn Smith might’ve been a clear starter by now if not for an ankle injury. Now that he’s bulked up to 185, he has the most complete toolbox in the room. Xavier Restrepo made more plays than anyone in camp, including multiple big plays in every scrimmage. He’s built more like a RB than Berrios and is better after the catch.

Mike Redding had moments and plenty of reps with the 1s. They want to get his size on the field. He lacks fluidity to separate but he’s a very hard worker. Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins looked like themselves. Of the two, Pope has shown more flashes. Unfortunately, he’s best in the slot and we’re deep there. Daz Worsham is more of a transfer candidate to my eyes, lacks the athleticism and twitch of the rest.

TE- We used walk-ons here most of the spring due to injury. Larry Hodges blew a golden opportunity with off-field mistakes. Now the door is wide open for Kahlil Brantley to seize that H-back role. Dominic Mammarelli looked ready to contribute as an in-line TE before getting hurt. He’ll come back closer to Bama. Elijah Arroyo should be full-go for camp and is the name to watch.

OL- My personal favorite five at OL is Zion-Rivers-Gaynor-Donaldson-Scaife. That was the line clearing the way for Knighton’s long TD. Zion Nelson is one of the better tackles in the ACC. I don’t see an early entry, NFL-type yet but he has the twitch and knockback to develop into a pro. The key for him is perfecting his technique since he doesn’t have elite size. Coach Justice says he projects Jalen Rivers as a guard long-term. Rivers has length and strength but his best attribute is his brains. He’s improving too fast not to start. Corey Gaynor got almost all of the starting snaps at center. He hasn’t made the All-Conference leap I’ve hoped for (athletic limitations), but he’s been one of our top two linemen the past couple years and should do better with bigger guards alongside him. Navaughn Donaldson was the starting RG every practice and looks poised for a run at the NFL. He helps address a huge strength deficiency at guard. Summer conditioning will be big for him. Delone Scaife has always been most comfortable at tackle and he did a solid job this spring. His arm length and balance helps make up for his height (6’3).

Jakai Clark started the spring game at LG over Rivers and remains firmly in the mix. He’s probably best as a utility interior OL given his size. Jarrid Williams is in a battle with Scaife at RT. He missed a couple weeks with COVID protocols but will be fine for summer. His biggest issue is getting push in the running game. He has a tall, thin frame that works better in pass protection. John Campbell had a quality spring. You don’t always see a fourth tackle with that kind of size and experience. Hopefully, he doesn’t transfer. There’s a future here.

I was disappointed in Chris Washington’s physical progress. He’s tall but skill skinny. Michael McClaughlin, on the other hand, came in huge. He missed most of spring with an injury (not a season-ender), but showed enough strength and movement to get people excited about his future. Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalontae Hillary aren’t playable and Ousman Traore is more of a G5 talent. Cleveland Reed missed spring and Issaiah Walker was limited. I could see Laurence Seymore moving past this tier when he arrives.

DT
- This position was a pleasant surprise. Jon Ford has an SEC body and NFL potential as a two-gap DE. He’s tantalized before, but now he has Jess Simpson and five years of experience. You need a moustache at DT. Jordan Miller is in good shape. He started alongside Ford for much of spring, which makes sense considering our struggles against the run and our first opponent. Jared Harrison-Hunte has the highest ceiling in the group. Donaldson bullied him, though, which is a good reminder that JHH needs a big summer in the weight room. Jalar Holley is a quick, coordinated athlete. An illness last year dropped his weight considerably, which set back his development. He can be a rotation player if he gets more stout. Elijah Roberts is a consistent playmaker but hasn’t filled out to DT size yet. It’s early. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t get any reps at DE. He’s going to be a good one wherever he ends up. Quentin Williams is still in the development stage.

DE- Don’t sleep on a transfer here. We lost two of the best in the nation so a drop off was inevitable. Size and length is my biggest concern. De’Andre Johnson missed most of camp but showed the same slipperiness he had at Tennessee. Jahfari Harvey is a sudden athlete with strong hands. Still waiting on some more craft from him. Chantz Williams has more potential than Cam Williams because of his weight (260+) and sturdiness. He’s stiff but has the 4.6 speed and effort to muck things up with sheer activity. Zach McCloud is an effort guy. I don’t see him in an everydown role. Thomas Davis flashed consistently with speed to chase down ballcarriers and the coordinated quickness to beat blocks. Height (6’0) is the obvious concern there. Leonard Taylor may start out at DE, which would add some much-needed size and talent to this room.

LB- Still need a transfer, but Keontra Smith looks like a huge addition. We’ve been calling for that move for a long time. Instinctual LBs usually flash early and Smith started making plays the moment he made the switch. He’ll be 5’11, 225 running 4.5s with explosive jumps. Corey Flagg has slimmed down and is a solid starter at MIKE. He’s not a top-level guy (step slow, not a knockback tackler) but he’ll produce and is a clear improvement over last year. Avery Huff took a positive step. He was very good the first two scrimmages and brings a unique combination of length, wiry strength and twitch as a converted WR. Waynmon Steed was the best of the veteran LBs but looks 75% of his prior athleticism. I hope he keeps healing because he can play. Bradley Jennings is a liability.

Tirek Austin-Cave is where Huff was last year. Tightly wound and powerful on contact but slow to diagnose and prone to mistakes. Deshawn Troutman has some similarities to Flagg with more pop. He’s just small. Ryan Ragone isn’t playing as much which is progress. Sam Brooks needs to heal to have any chance to meet the potential he showed against Louisiana Tech.

Striker- This position is a strength, despite Gilbert Frierson coming in a little out of shape. Amari Carter has always played closer to the ball and this move opens up a spot in a crowded safety room. Chase Smith is 6’4, fast, fluid, instinctual and a good tackler. In the first scrimmage, he had a pick in man coverage. High-end, NFL tools. Don’t be surprised to see multiple “striker” body types on the field on passing downs. We will try to make up for our linebacker weakness with versatility and deception.

Safety- Another area of strength on the defense. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall both have NFL talent but different issues. Bolden needs consistency and discipline. He was a Day 2 pick in the first half of the season, undraftable in the second half. Hall is different. T-Rob and Baker both said he is one of the best athletes they’ve ever coached. His problem is pulling the trigger and making instinctual plays. With good seasons, they are Day 3-type guys.

Avantae Williams plays like a maniac. He’s the most sudden defensive back and brings a physical edge on every snap. You feel his presence out there, which is key for a safety. He also has excellent range, coming from the opposite hash to the sideline to make a pick in the first scrimmage. He just needs reps and discipline as the last line of defense. Some of his aggressive angles led to long TDs, including Knighton on Saturday. Kam Kinchens came in as advertised: a ball magnet and student of the game with impeccable habits. He’s always in position to capitalize on overthrows and deflections. His tackling can improve but he was the leading tackler in two scrimmages and shows some pop when he’s squared up. Keyshawn Washington is behind those other two. I’d compare him to a more talented Rob Knowles. Brian Balom is hurt.

As with striker, don’t be surprised to see several of these guys on the field at once. James Williams will add another Joker to the deck.

CB- This position performed well with the first team but falls off after that. We have one of the biggest duos in the country with Tyrique Stevenson and DJ Ivey. Tyrique came in as advertised and set an immediate tone with his physicality. He’s like having an extra LB on the field. The challenge for him will be staying light, but he’s an exceptional athlete with PR ability. He immediately became the best NFL prospect on our team. Ivey was unreal on Greentree and his length is a perfect fit with TRob’s coaching. The challenge, of course, will be translating that to the games after three inconsistent years. His tackling should also be better given his size.

Te’Cory Couch was having an outstanding spring before he got banged up. We need him back. There is no other corner on the team with his feet and suddenness. Isaiah Dunson has similar length to Ivey and superior ball skills. He is also fearless as a tackler. His issue is a thin frame and below-average top-end speed. Marcus Clarke was banged up. Jalen Harrell lacks speed and is more of a striker to me.

K and P- I expect another year with NFL legs. Hedley is proven and Borregales is a stud. Even #45 is a quality backup. We’ve come a long way since Feagles and Baxa.

Overall- This is a good team. Best team I’ve watched on Greentree since the Brock years. It’s still below the playoff teams in terms of overall size and first round talent, but the gap is closing. The key is the QB room. A great player there covers a lot of warts.

The most improvement should come on the OL and the interior DL. We won’t be Georgia overnight, but we look bigger and stronger and the proof is on the scales. Age matters up front and we’re old. We’ve also added a lot of versatility in the back seven. Look at the athletes in the mix: Stevenson, Bolden, Hall, Avantae, JWill, Chase, Frierson, Keontra, Huff, Kam. These are high-end recruits with multiple skills. Manny and Bob Shoop can go “positionless” if need be.

I’d be on the lookout for a big DE and a LB in the Portal. Our standards should be NFL-talent only. Otherwise, I think we are in good shape. Go Canes.
Any ear on whether those NCAA assholes will open additional counters?

Will it matter if the right LB and DE are on the table?
 
Out of interest, if we were playing Alabama tomorrow how many of the guys that were 'banged up' and held out of the Spring Game could suit up?

Seems like an awful lot of players were injured.
 
Great write up & assessment overall. Agree with almost everything but I'd like to see Eli Roberts help out at D end, a kid that explosive whose already flashing in limited action can help us with d end depth rather than waiting another year to fill out at DT. Regarding Worsham, I agree he lacks elite athleticism & explosiveness but what he showed in the spring game were good hands, catching every ball thrown his way, which is a big accomplishment considering last year's receiver performance.
 
Thanks for post/info. If somehow Ivey and Ford took a NFL type step forward, thats massive for the D this year and credit to T-Rob/Simpson.

So Transfer Candidate are:

WR (room is too crowded lets be honest):
- Jeremiah Payton (not even mentioned lol, think half of us forgot about him. Time to go or 1 more year?)
- Daz (hope he stays another year to see if he develops but cant blame him if he bounces)
- Pope/Wigs? (doubt they leave but they would honestly be better off for themselves going to FIU/FAU/UCF/USF type school and give themselves a chance to re-invent themselves and be a #1/2 guy)

LB
- Jennings (dude has to see the writing on the wall, no?)

OL
- 1 or 2 of Hillary/Campbell/Tarore/Herbert?

Who else?
 
Some thoughts based on the three scrimmages, practices and speaking with people around the program:

QB- This position was the story of the spring. Tyler Van Dyke is big, strong and steady running the offense. He was efficient in all three scrimmages. His physicality could be a differentiator in full contact, as he’ll have the ability to shed tacklers. The next step for TVD is letting it rip a little more. Jake Garcia is more of a pure passer with a better release and ball placement. He plays quicker than expected, he’s deadly in rhythm and he challenges windows. I compared his style to Goff in high school, but he plays more like Mayfield on Greentree. This battle should go into 2022. Peyton Matocha has good size and athleticism but lacks arm strength. He fits best in lower-end G5 or FCS.

RB- Don Chaney was separating from the other backs before he got hurt. He’s the only guy with Miami franchise back tools and the game is slowing down for him. We know what Cam Harris brings to the table: a rocked-up back with average contact balance and homerun speed. He'll be a solid player for us. It was good to see Jaylen Knighton come on strong the last two scrimmages. He was tentative early and needed the boost of confidence. Thad Franklin and Cody Brown have a huge opportunity with Chaney likely out for most of fall camp.

WR- There’s still no true #1, but it’s a better overall group than last year. Mike Harley was the best and most consistent WR all spring. He’s improved his strength and balance, which allows him to play through contact. Charleston Rambo saved his best for the last two scrimmages. He’s longer than expected and has excellent speed. He’ll still drop some passes but he’s a clear upgrade over the Southridge duo. Keyshawn Smith might’ve been an undisputed starter by now if not for an ankle injury. Now that he’s bulked up to 185, he has the most complete toolbox in the room. Xavier Restrepo made more plays than anyone in camp, including multiple big plays in every scrimmage. He’s built more like a RB than Berrios and is better after the catch.

Mike Redding had moments and plenty of reps with the 1s. They want to get his size on the field. He lacks fluidity to separate but he’s a very hard worker. Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins looked like themselves. Of the two, Pope has shown more flashes. Unfortunately, he’s best in the slot and we’re deep there. Daz Worsham is more of a transfer candidate to my eyes, lacks the athleticism and twitch of the rest.

TE- We used walk-ons here most of the spring due to injury. Larry Hodges blew a golden opportunity with off-field mistakes. Now the door is wide open for Kahlil Brantley to seize that H-back role. Dominic Mammarelli looked ready to contribute as an in-line TE before getting hurt. He’ll come back closer to Bama. Elijah Arroyo should be full-go for camp and is the name to watch.

OL- My personal favorite five at OL is Zion-Rivers-Gaynor-Donaldson-Scaife. That was the line clearing the way for Knighton’s long TD. Zion Nelson is one of the better tackles in the ACC. I don’t see an early entry, NFL-type yet but he has the twitch and knockback to develop into a pro. The key for him is perfecting his technique since he doesn’t have elite size. Coach Justice says he projects Jalen Rivers as a guard long-term. Rivers has length and strength but his best attribute is his brains. He’s improving too fast not to start. Corey Gaynor got almost all of the starting snaps at center. He hasn’t made the All-Conference leap I’ve hoped for (athletic limitations), but he’s been one of our top two linemen the past couple years and should do better with bigger guards alongside him. Navaughn Donaldson was the starting RG every practice and looks poised for a run at the NFL. He helps address a huge strength deficiency at guard. Summer conditioning will be big for him. Delone Scaife has always been most comfortable at tackle and he did a solid job this spring. His arm length and balance helps make up for his height (6’3).

Jakai Clark started the spring game at LG over Rivers and remains firmly in the mix. He’s probably best as a utility interior OL given his size. Jarrid Williams is in a battle with Scaife at RT. He missed a couple weeks with COVID protocols but will be fine for summer. His biggest issue is getting push in the running game. He has a tall, thin frame that works better in pass protection. John Campbell had a quality spring. You don’t always see a fourth tackle with that kind of size and experience. Hopefully, he doesn’t transfer. There’s a future here.

I was disappointed in Chris Washington’s physical progress. He’s tall but skill skinny. Michael McClaughlin, on the other hand, came in huge. He missed most of spring with an injury (not a season-ender), but showed enough strength and movement to get people excited about his future. Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalontae Hillary aren’t playable and Ousman Traore is more of a G5 talent. Cleveland Reed missed spring and Issaiah Walker was limited. I could see Laurence Seymore moving past this tier when he arrives.

DT
- This position was a pleasant surprise. Jon Ford has an SEC body and NFL potential as a two-gap DE. He’s tantalized before, but now he has Jess Simpson and five years of experience. You need a moustache at DT. Jordan Miller is in good shape. He started alongside Ford for much of spring, which makes sense considering our struggles against the run and our first opponent. Jared Harrison-Hunte has the highest ceiling in the group. Donaldson bullied him, though, which is a good reminder that JHH needs a big summer in the weight room. Jalar Holley is a quick, coordinated athlete. An illness last year dropped his weight considerably, which set back his development. He can be a rotation player if he gets more stout. Elijah Roberts is a consistent playmaker but hasn’t filled out to DT size yet. It’s early. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t get any reps at DE. He’s going to be a good one wherever he ends up. Quentin Williams is still in the development stage.

DE- Don’t sleep on a transfer here. We lost two of the best in the nation so a drop off was inevitable. Size and length is my biggest concern. De’Andre Johnson missed most of camp but showed the same slipperiness he had at Tennessee. Jahfari Harvey is a sudden athlete with strong hands. Still waiting on some more craft from him. Chantz Williams has more potential than Cam Williams because of his weight (260+) and sturdiness. He’s stiff but has the 4.6 speed and effort to muck things up with sheer activity. Zach McCloud is an effort guy. I don’t see him in an everydown role. Thomas Davis flashed consistently with speed to chase down ballcarriers and the coordinated quickness to beat blocks. Height (6’0) is the obvious concern there. Leonard Taylor may start out at DE, which would add some much-needed size and talent to this room.

LB- Still need a transfer, but Keontra Smith looks like a huge addition. We’ve been calling for that move for a long time. Instinctual LBs usually flash early and Smith started making plays the moment he made the switch. He’ll be 5’11, 225 running 4.5s with explosive jumps. Corey Flagg has slimmed down and is a solid starter at MIKE. He’s not a top-level guy (step slow, not a knockback tackler) but he’ll produce and is a clear improvement over last year. Avery Huff took a positive step. He was very good the first two scrimmages and brings a unique combination of length, wiry strength and twitch as a converted WR. Waynmon Steed was the best of the veteran LBs but looks 75% of his prior athleticism. I hope he keeps healing because he can play. Bradley Jennings is a liability.

Tirek Austin-Cave is where Huff was last year. Tightly wound and powerful on contact but slow to diagnose and prone to mistakes. Deshawn Troutman has some similarities to Flagg with more pop. He’s just small. Ryan Ragone isn’t playing as much which is progress. Sam Brooks needs to heal to have any chance to meet the potential he showed against Louisiana Tech.

Striker- This position is a strength, despite Gilbert Frierson coming in a little out of shape. Amari Carter has always played closer to the ball and this move opens up a spot in a crowded safety room. Chase Smith is 6’4, fast, fluid, instinctual and a good tackler. In the first scrimmage, he had a pick in man coverage. High-end, NFL tools. Don’t be surprised to see multiple “striker” body types on the field on passing downs. We will try to make up for our linebacker weakness with versatility and deception.

Safety- Another area of strength on the defense. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall both have NFL talent but different issues. Bolden needs consistency and discipline. He was a Day 2 pick in the first half of the season, undraftable in the second half. Hall is different. T-Rob and Baker both said he is one of the best athletes they’ve ever coached. His problem is pulling the trigger and making instinctual plays. With good seasons, they are Day 3-type guys.

Avantae Williams plays like a maniac. He’s the most sudden defensive back and brings a physical edge on every snap. You feel his presence out there, which is key for a safety. He also has excellent range, coming from the opposite hash to the sideline to make a pick in the first scrimmage. He just needs reps and discipline as the last line of defense. Some of his aggressive angles led to long TDs, including Knighton on Saturday. Kam Kinchens came in as advertised: a ball magnet and student of the game with impeccable habits. He’s always in position to capitalize on overthrows and deflections. His tackling can improve but he was the leading tackler in two scrimmages and shows some pop when he’s squared up. Keyshawn Washington is behind those other two. I’d compare him to a more talented Rob Knowles. Brian Balom is hurt.

As with striker, don’t be surprised to see several of these guys on the field at once. James Williams will add another Joker to the deck.

CB- This position performed well with the first team but falls off after that. We have one of the biggest duos in the country with Tyrique Stevenson and DJ Ivey. Tyrique came in as advertised and set an immediate tone with his physicality. He’s like having an extra LB on the field. The challenge for him will be staying light, but he’s an exceptional athlete with PR ability. He immediately became the best NFL prospect on our team. Ivey was unreal on Greentree and his length is a perfect fit with TRob’s coaching. The challenge, of course, will be translating that to the games after three inconsistent years. His tackling should also be better given his size.

Te’Cory Couch was having an outstanding spring before he got banged up. We need him back. There is no other corner on the team with his feet and suddenness. Isaiah Dunson has similar length to Ivey and superior ball skills. He is also fearless as a tackler. His issue is a thin frame and below-average top-end speed. Marcus Clarke was banged up. Jalen Harrell lacks speed and is more of a striker to me.

K and P- I expect another year with NFL legs. Hedley is proven and Borregales is a stud. Even #45 is a quality backup. We’ve come a long way since Feagles and Baxa.

Overall- This is a good team. Best team I’ve watched on Greentree since the Brock years. It’s still below the playoff teams in terms of overall size and first round talent, but the gap is closing. The key is the QB room. A great player there covers a lot of warts.

The most improvement should come on the OL and the interior DL. We won’t be Georgia overnight, but we look bigger and stronger and the proof is on the scales. Age matters up front and we’re old. We’ve also added a lot of versatility in the back seven. Look at the athletes in the mix: Stevenson, Bolden, Hall, Avantae, JWill, Chase, Frierson, Keontra, Huff, Kam. These are high-end recruits with multiple skills. Manny and Bob Shoop can go “positionless” if need be.

I’d be on the lookout for a big DE and a LB in the Portal. Our standards should be NFL-talent only. Otherwise, I think we are in good shape. Go Canes.
Thank "U" as always a great write up.......
My only differences are i would have the Oline as Nelson Rivers Donaldson Scaife Williams and i would not play Ivey at all CB , i would move him to safety.........Couch and Blades are both much better.....
 
Some thoughts based on the three scrimmages, practices and speaking with people around the program:

QB- This position was the story of the spring. Tyler Van Dyke is big, strong and steady running the offense. He was efficient in all three scrimmages. His physicality could be a differentiator in full contact, as he’ll have the ability to shed tacklers. The next step for TVD is letting it rip a little more. Jake Garcia is more of a pure passer with a better release and ball placement. He plays quicker than expected, he’s deadly in rhythm and he challenges windows. I compared his style to Goff in high school, but he plays more like Mayfield on Greentree. This battle should go into 2022. Peyton Matocha has good size and athleticism but lacks arm strength. He fits best in lower-end G5 or FCS.

RB- Don Chaney was separating from the other backs before he got hurt. He’s the only guy with Miami franchise back tools and the game is slowing down for him. We know what Cam Harris brings to the table: a rocked-up back with average contact balance and homerun speed. He'll be a solid player for us. It was good to see Jaylen Knighton come on strong the last two scrimmages. He was tentative early and needed the boost of confidence. Thad Franklin and Cody Brown have a huge opportunity with Chaney likely out for most of fall camp.

WR- There’s still no true #1, but it’s a better overall group than last year. Mike Harley was the best and most consistent WR all spring. He’s improved his strength and balance, which allows him to play through contact. Charleston Rambo saved his best for the last two scrimmages. He’s longer than expected and has excellent speed. He’ll still drop some passes but he’s a clear upgrade over the Southridge duo. Keyshawn Smith might’ve been an undisputed starter by now if not for an ankle injury. Now that he’s bulked up to 185, he has the most complete toolbox in the room. Xavier Restrepo made more plays than anyone in camp, including multiple big plays in every scrimmage. He’s built more like a RB than Berrios and is better after the catch.

Mike Redding had moments and plenty of reps with the 1s. They want to get his size on the field. He lacks fluidity to separate but he’s a very hard worker. Mark Pope and Dee Wiggins looked like themselves. Of the two, Pope has shown more flashes. Unfortunately, he’s best in the slot and we’re deep there. Daz Worsham is more of a transfer candidate to my eyes, lacks the athleticism and twitch of the rest.

TE- We used walk-ons here most of the spring due to injury. Larry Hodges blew a golden opportunity with off-field mistakes. Now the door is wide open for Kahlil Brantley to seize that H-back role. Dominic Mammarelli looked ready to contribute as an in-line TE before getting hurt. He’ll come back closer to Bama. Elijah Arroyo should be full-go for camp and is the name to watch.

OL- My personal favorite five at OL is Zion-Rivers-Gaynor-Donaldson-Scaife. That was the line clearing the way for Knighton’s long TD. Zion Nelson is one of the better tackles in the ACC. I don’t see an early entry, NFL-type yet but he has the twitch and knockback to develop into a pro. The key for him is perfecting his technique since he doesn’t have elite size. Coach Justice says he projects Jalen Rivers as a guard long-term. Rivers has length and strength but his best attribute is his brains. He’s improving too fast not to start. Corey Gaynor got almost all of the starting snaps at center. He hasn’t made the All-Conference leap I’ve hoped for (athletic limitations), but he’s been one of our top two linemen the past couple years and should do better with bigger guards alongside him. Navaughn Donaldson was the starting RG every practice and looks poised for a run at the NFL. He helps address a huge strength deficiency at guard. Summer conditioning will be big for him. Delone Scaife has always been most comfortable at tackle and he did a solid job this spring. His arm length and balance helps make up for his height (6’3).

Jakai Clark started the spring game at LG over Rivers and remains firmly in the mix. He’s probably best as a utility interior OL given his size. Jarrid Williams is in a battle with Scaife at RT. He missed a couple weeks with COVID protocols but will be fine for summer. His biggest issue is getting push in the running game. He has a tall, thin frame that works better in pass protection. John Campbell had a quality spring. You don’t always see a fourth tackle with that kind of size and experience. Hopefully, he doesn’t transfer. There’s a future here.

I was disappointed in Chris Washington’s physical progress. He’s tall but skill skinny. Michael McClaughlin, on the other hand, came in huge. He missed most of spring with an injury (not a season-ender), but showed enough strength and movement to get people excited about his future. Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalontae Hillary aren’t playable and Ousman Traore is more of a G5 talent. Cleveland Reed missed spring and Issaiah Walker was limited. I could see Laurence Seymore moving past this tier when he arrives.

DT
- This position was a pleasant surprise. Jon Ford has an SEC body and NFL potential as a two-gap DE. He’s tantalized before, but now he has Jess Simpson and five years of experience. You need a moustache at DT. Jordan Miller is in good shape. He started alongside Ford for much of spring, which makes sense considering our struggles against the run and our first opponent. Jared Harrison-Hunte has the highest ceiling in the group. Donaldson bullied him, though, which is a good reminder that JHH needs a big summer in the weight room. Jalar Holley is a quick, coordinated athlete. An illness last year dropped his weight considerably, which set back his development. He can be a rotation player if he gets more stout. Elijah Roberts is a consistent playmaker but hasn’t filled out to DT size yet. It’s early. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t get any reps at DE. He’s going to be a good one wherever he ends up. Quentin Williams is still in the development stage.

DE- Don’t sleep on a transfer here. We lost two of the best in the nation so a drop off was inevitable. Size and length is my biggest concern. De’Andre Johnson missed most of camp but showed the same slipperiness he had at Tennessee. Jahfari Harvey is a sudden athlete with strong hands. Still waiting on some more craft from him. Chantz Williams has more potential than Cam Williams because of his weight (260+) and sturdiness. He’s stiff but has the 4.6 speed and effort to muck things up with sheer activity. Zach McCloud is an effort guy. I don’t see him in an everydown role. Thomas Davis flashed consistently with speed to chase down ballcarriers and the coordinated quickness to beat blocks. Height (6’0) is the obvious concern there. Leonard Taylor may start out at DE, which would add some much-needed size and talent to this room.

LB- Still need a transfer, but Keontra Smith looks like a huge addition. We’ve been calling for that move for a long time. Instinctual LBs usually flash early and Smith started making plays the moment he made the switch. He’ll be 5’11, 225 running 4.5s with explosive jumps. Corey Flagg has slimmed down and is a solid starter at MIKE. He’s not a top-level guy (step slow, not a knockback tackler) but he’ll produce and is a clear improvement over last year. Avery Huff took a positive step. He was very good the first two scrimmages and brings a unique combination of length, wiry strength and twitch as a converted WR. Waynmon Steed was the best of the veteran LBs but looks 75% of his prior athleticism. I hope he keeps healing because he can play. Bradley Jennings is a liability.

Tirek Austin-Cave is where Huff was last year. Tightly wound and powerful on contact but slow to diagnose and prone to mistakes. Deshawn Troutman has some similarities to Flagg with more pop. He’s just small. Ryan Ragone isn’t playing as much which is progress. Sam Brooks needs to heal to have any chance to meet the potential he showed against Louisiana Tech.

Striker- This position is a strength, despite Gilbert Frierson coming in a little out of shape. Amari Carter has always played closer to the ball and this move opens up a spot in a crowded safety room. Chase Smith is 6’4, fast, fluid, instinctual and a good tackler. In the first scrimmage, he had a pick in man coverage. High-end, NFL tools. Don’t be surprised to see multiple “striker” body types on the field on passing downs. We will try to make up for our linebacker weakness with versatility and deception.

Safety- Another area of strength on the defense. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall both have NFL talent but different issues. Bolden needs consistency and discipline. He was a Day 2 pick in the first half of the season, undraftable in the second half. Hall is different. T-Rob and Baker both said he is one of the best athletes they’ve ever coached. His problem is pulling the trigger and making instinctual plays. With good seasons, they are Day 3-type guys.

Avantae Williams plays like a maniac. He’s the most sudden defensive back and brings a physical edge on every snap. You feel his presence out there, which is key for a safety. He also has excellent range, coming from the opposite hash to the sideline to make a pick in the first scrimmage. He just needs reps and discipline as the last line of defense. Some of his aggressive angles led to long TDs, including Knighton on Saturday. Kam Kinchens came in as advertised: a ball magnet and student of the game with impeccable habits. He’s always in position to capitalize on overthrows and deflections. His tackling can improve but he was the leading tackler in two scrimmages and shows some pop when he’s squared up. Keyshawn Washington is behind those other two. I’d compare him to a more talented Rob Knowles. Brian Balom is hurt.

As with striker, don’t be surprised to see several of these guys on the field at once. James Williams will add another Joker to the deck.

CB- This position performed well with the first team but falls off after that. We have one of the biggest duos in the country with Tyrique Stevenson and DJ Ivey. Tyrique came in as advertised and set an immediate tone with his physicality. He’s like having an extra LB on the field. The challenge for him will be staying light, but he’s an exceptional athlete with PR ability. He immediately became the best NFL prospect on our team. Ivey was unreal on Greentree and his length is a perfect fit with TRob’s coaching. The challenge, of course, will be translating that to the games after three inconsistent years. His tackling should also be better given his size.

Te’Cory Couch was having an outstanding spring before he got banged up. We need him back. There is no other corner on the team with his feet and suddenness. Isaiah Dunson has similar length to Ivey and superior ball skills. He is also fearless as a tackler. His issue is a thin frame and below-average top-end speed. Marcus Clarke was banged up. Jalen Harrell lacks speed and is more of a striker to me.

K and P- I expect another year with NFL legs. Hedley is proven and Borregales is a stud. Even #45 is a quality backup. We’ve come a long way since Feagles and Baxa.

Overall- This is a good team. Best team I’ve watched on Greentree since the Brock years. It’s still below the playoff teams in terms of overall size and first round talent, but the gap is closing. The key is the QB room. A great player there covers a lot of warts.

The most improvement should come on the OL and the interior DL. We won’t be Georgia overnight, but we look bigger and stronger and the proof is on the scales. Age matters up front and we’re old. We’ve also added a lot of versatility in the back seven. Look at the athletes in the mix: Stevenson, Bolden, Hall, Avantae, JWill, Chase, Frierson, Keontra, Huff, Kam. These are high-end recruits with multiple skills. Manny and Bob Shoop can go “positionless” if need be.

I’d be on the lookout for a big DE and a LB in the Portal. Our standards should be NFL-talent only. Otherwise, I think we are in good shape. Go Canes.
Transfer starting caliber LB and DE gives us a 10-2 season
 
Cam Harris looks like Tarzan and plays like Jane.... Never seen a RB his size get tackled so eazy. With his size and speed he should never be brought down by wimpy arm tackles
Unfortunately that's all too common with many backs. You ever seen Saquon Barkley? Brandon Jacobs? Kalen Ballage? etc

I mentioned it in my thread but backs who like to dance and make big wide cuts get tackled very easily. Casual viewers get wowed by the explosive jump cut but it causes you to miss holes or lose your balance and forward momentum. The best backs are usually economical with their footwork and always moving forward even as they cut. The exceptions are freaks like Adrian Peterson or Barry Sanders.
 
I mentioned it in my thread but backs who like to dance and make big wide cuts get tackled very easily. Casual viewers get wowed by the explosive jump cut but it causes you to miss holes or lose your balance and forward momentum. The best backs are usually economical with their footwork and always moving forward even as they cut. The exceptions are freaks like Adrian Peterson or Barry Sanders.
Reggie Bush was the worst offender. It looked great against Fresno State but was more difficult in NFL traffic.

One of the tells with RBs is when they are always ending up on their back or side.
 
Thanks for post/info. If somehow Ivey and Ford took a NFL type step forward, thats massive for the D this year and credit to T-Rob/Simpson.

So Transfer Candidate are:

WR (room is too crowded lets be honest):
- Jeremiah Payton (not even mentioned lol, think half of us forgot about him. Time to go or 1 more year?)
- Daz (hope he stays another year to see if he develops but cant blame him if he bounces)
- Pope/Wigs? (doubt they leave but they would honestly be better off for themselves going to FIU/FAU/UCF/USF type school and give themselves a chance to re-invent themselves and be a #1/2 guy)

LB
- Jennings (dude has to see the writing on the wall, no?)

OL
- 1 or 2 of Hillary/Campbell/Tarore/Herbert?

Who else?
I don’t see a lot of transfers happening. I’m sure Manny has let the kids know about all of the names in the portal right now. These guys haven’t showed anything to garner any more interest than the guys already in the portal.
 
I don’t see a lot of transfers happening. I’m sure Manny has let the kids know about all of the names in the portal right now. These guys haven’t showed anything to garner any more interest than the guys already in the portal.
Idk when the one time transfer becomes official I bet a lot of guys jump in the portal.
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
CB
6'2"
180
Alabaster, AL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

Latest Predictions

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