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After including UM in top group, #1 safety Mickens outlines recruitment

After including UM in top group, #1 safety Mickens outlines recruitment

Stefan Adams
As one of the top overall recruits in the nation for the 2020 class, Southlake Carroll (TX) 4-star safety RJ Mickens has been a heavily recruited prospect for quite some time now. Last week, he narrowed down the programs he will focus on for the foreseeable future to a top 11, and the Miami Hurricanes made the cut.

“I wasn’t getting tired of the recruiting process, but I was trying to focus in on some schools that I was serious about, schools I could really see myself going to,” Mickens said.

Miami safeties coach Ephraim Banda began contacting Mickens in mid-February before coming through with an offer on February 22nd. So, although his connection with the Canes is recent, Mickens says he is already developing a solid relationship with Banda.

“It was fairly recent, we were talking maybe a week before the offer. Since then we’ve been texting, staying in touch with each other,” Mickens said of Banda. “He comes off as a great guy, a family guy. He was filling me in on a vacation with his family - he just seems like a really cool guy.”

So what is it about the program that made Mickens comfortable putting Miami in his top group?

“I love the city and the history of safeties at the school,” Mickens said. “I haven’t visited the campus yet, so I can’t speak about it, but I have seen pictures and it’s nice.”

That visit to Miami’s campus will come soon though: Mickens plans a summer visit to Coral Gables to check out the campus. He’s already seen most of the schools in his top group (which includes blue-blood programs like Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and Oklahoma to name a few), but still has yet to take a trip to Miami, Florida, Nebraska or Michigan. Mickens says he wants to visit all the schools in his top group before he makes any decisions and will be announcing his choice before the season to focus on his senior year.

“I don’t think I’m going to narrow it down again,” Mickens said. “I was going to decide some time before the season, but after the spring. That’s the plan. I’m definitely trying to get it done by the time the season starts.”

Most schools, including the Canes, are recruiting the 6’1”, 190 pound prospect as a safety, and that is where Mickens is most comfortable, but he says he can also play corner if needed.

“It’s more so wherever I can play first is what I prefer,” Mickens said. “Corners who can cover can always move to safety, but it’s harder for safeties to move to corner because they’re usually bigger, slower, not as good feet. I’ve played corner, but I mostly take reps at safety, I’ve been playing it for the past two years. So, I don’t think it’s anything I can’t do, but I’m comfortable with safety and I like it a lot too.”

When it comes time for Mickens to make a decision, it’s clear transparency from the coaches and the opportunity to see the field early will be heavily considered factors.

“Just somewhere where they don’t sell lies, they tell the truth, and tell you how it is,” Mickens said. “I’m not necessarily looking for a place to start immediately, but I definitely want to come in with an opportunity to play, not a place that you definitely have to wait no matter how good you are. Just a place with good people and a nice city.”

While it’s true rankings aren’t everything, most would say it’s never a bad thing to be widely-regarded in your field. Reflecting on currently holding the top spot in the safety rankings of the 247Composite, Mickens says it’s nice to be recognized for his hard work, but doesn’t let it affect his game.

“Rankings change so it’s not something you should look at all the time, but it’s definitely cool being #1,” Mickens said. “It’s not like something you boast or brag about because you know everybody is coming for #1. You’ve just got to act like you’re not #1 and you’ve got to know in the back of your head you can’t think about it or act high-profile. You’ve got to work hard like everyone else to get to the top.”

In his junior year, Mickens had 57 tackles, 3 INT’s, 10 PBU’s, and 2 forced fumbles on defense, along with 973 yards receiving and 5 TD’s as a WR on offense, but Southlake Carroll fell short of the state championship after an injury to Mickens late in their campaign. Still, when looking back, Mickens feels that his team performed well overall in 2018.

“I feel like we started off pretty good, but we had some injuries at the end,” Mickens said. “I hurt my shoulder by the end of the year so I couldn’t play defense, I was still playing offense, though. Defense could have used me at the end. I feel like we were projected to do good and we met the expectation. We didn’t win it all, but we went 4 rounds deep, which is pretty good in Texas. We lost to Duncanville, which is probably the best team in the state.”

With the injury to his shoulder, will Mickens be fully-healed by the time senior year rolls around?

“I’m still getting back, I just had surgery after the season,” Mickens said. “I can still play but I would say I’m like 80-90% back. I’ll definitely be ready for senior year.”


 

Comments (21)

Is this Ray Mickens the DB from the Jets son? He went to Tex AM I believe. Are they the fave?
 
Is this Ray Mickens the DB from the Jets son? He went to Tex AM I believe. Are they the fave?

yes. This is his son. You would think that Tex A&M would have the edge but it doesn't sound like the kid has any favorites. Guess that will come to light soon.

On 247 site, he shows 50/50 Clemson & Ohio State
 
Go get em manny! Kacy rodgers recruit this kid for us😬
 
Doesn't wanna be told no lies, a genuine staff, doesn't wanna be buried on a depth chart but is ok with not starting right away, and of course wants to live in a nice city for school. Based on that I think we have a decent shot, most likely getting a visit at least.
 
Glad we made the Too 11 along with the other traditional powers to be. Serious question since I’m new to recruiting; why do kids always have a Top 11 list? Seems odd to me when they could just do say a Too 5/10 list. Oh well, we have an upfield battle on our hands for Mickens, I’m sure he loves Clemson and Baga. But he did mention that the city has to be nice - neither of those cities are cracking anyone’s Top 11 list of best cities to live in that’s for damn sure.
 
Glad we made the Too 11 along with the other traditional powers to be. Serious question since I’m new to recruiting; why do kids always have a Top 11 list? Seems odd to me when they could just do say a Too 5/10 list. Oh well, we have an upfield battle on our hands for Mickens, I’m sure he loves Clemson and Baga. But he did mention that the city has to be nice - neither of those cities are cracking anyone’s Top 11 list of best cities to live in that’s for damn sure.


It was originally 10 but the day he posted it he got offered by LSU and he added them on....
 
Our depth chart at Safety should appeal to him, too. With two guys already banged up, we could use some more bodies.
 
Prob a long shot but get him on campus and see what happens.
 

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