Class Impact: Jaylan Knighton to Miami

Class Impact: Jaylan Knighton to Miami

Stefan Adams
2020 Deerfield Beach (FL) RB Jaylan Knighton committed to the Hurricanes on Thanksgiving.

The 5-9, 195-pounder is currently a consensus 4-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Composite, Knighton is the #103 player nationally, the #10 RB in the country, and the #18 player in the Sunshine state. His commitment moves Miami’s 2020 class ranking to #14 on 247Sports and #12 on Rivals.

The Player

Knighton’s eventual commitment to Miami was shocking to some, as he originally seemed like he would find any excuses to leave home. At various points in the cycle, Knighton was first committed to Oklahoma, and then FSU, and Miami always felt like they were in the conversation, but ultimately an afterthought. Knighton’s thought-process seemed to change, however, when he decommitted from the Noles following Willie Taggart’s firing last month. Despite the whirlwind of committing to two other schools, Miami never gave up on him, something Knighton recognized by the end of the process, saying that UM recruited him the hardest of any school. The Canes’ efforts paid off, and Knighton now joins teammate Xavier Restrepo to definitively kill off UM’s bad luck streak at Deerfield.

On film, Knighton shows 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. He’s a complete back in every sense of the term and also is frequently cited for his leadership in the locker room.

Knighton averaged a whopping 9.7 yards per carry in 2019 during 12 regular season games, racking up 1,414 rushing yards and 19 TD’s on the ground to go along with 13 catches for 267 yards and 2 TD’s through the air. Last season, he was awarded Broward 8A Player of the Year after setting the Bucks’ single-season rushing record (2,099 yards, 28 TD’s). He ran a 4.49 40-yard dash, a 4.26 short shuttle, and had a 32.90 inch vertical leap at the Opening Finals in July.

The Class

Knighton was the 20th commit overall in the 2020 class (at the time) and the second running back in Category20, joining Belen Jesuit 4-star Don Chaney. That’s it for this position, and Miami essentially locked up their top two targets of the cycle here in a job well done.

The Team

With Knighton now on board, the Canes have the potential to sport one of the most talented backfields in America and UM is loaded with frontline guys on the roster right now. Of course, a senior DeeJay Dallas would lead the way in theory, but some expect him to head to the NFL early. Even without Dallas, Miami would be in good hands, and Knighton would compete with guys like Cam’Ron Harris, Robert Burns, Lorenzo Lingard, and Don Chaney for playing time when he enrolls this spring in what should be one of the most exciting position battles to watch this offseason. Of those backs, Harris has the most experience and has performed well enough in a complementary role this year to be the presumptive favorite. Still, it’s going to be tough to count out a player of Knighton’s talent level: He’s the type of back that doesn’t last more than 3 years on campus. It’s going to be interesting to see how Miami balances this situation with so many mouths to feed.


Comments (129)

Hopefully this is his final commitment. His acceleration is crazy. The talent in the backfield hasn’t been this good in a long time. Hopefully the new OC knows how to use them all

That’s the biggest concern. This team is stacking serious talent at running back, the kind of talent maybe only a handful of (playoff) teams have. They need to do something with this ridiculous wealth of riches at such a key position.
When was the last time we didn’t miss at a particular position at all? 2/2 on our top 2 targets is hella impressive.

and some people say fire the whole offensive staff. Maybe is just Enos. Hickson, field and Stubbs seem to be doing pretty well for a 6-6 team. Barry the jury is still out. So hard to project lineman. Maybe we replace Enos, or tell him to pickup the tempo. I know it’s been rumored that Manny told him to slow it down to “save” the defense. I would like to hear a media member ask Diaz about that.
The future is bright boys. Pretty soon D-****ies won’t have much to complain about.

Glad he's here man...may even say he might be better than Chaney. Glad to have both battle it out RB haul in a good while. I remember the days of having Bryce brown and Lamar Miller.....Bryce was sought after big time but Miller was the true stud out of Killian.

Love both glad they will be canes..let me not write too much cause they may decommit cause of my post.
Any track times?
Chaney ran a 10.71 100 m in February at 5’11 200 pounds. Knighton at the Nike opening final Ran a 4.49 40 yard dash at 195 pounds(in February he ran a 4.51 at 185 pounds so he’s getting faster)
You can’t teach most of what I just saw on that tape. My goodness.