Class Impact: Jonathan Denis to Miami

Class Impact: Jonathan Denis to Miami

Stefan Adams
2020 South Dade (FL) OG Jonathan Denis committed to the Canes last Friday night after visiting campus with his teammates at Paradise Camp.

The 6-3, 270-pounder is currently a consensus 4-star in the national rankings. Denis is ranked #312 overall, the #12 guard prospect, and the #51 player in the Sunshine State. His commitment keeps Category20 at #1 overall on 247Sports and Rivals.

The Player

South Florida does not develop top-tier offensive linemen at a high clip, so when guys like Denis do pop up, it is imperative that Miami keeps them home. Entering his junior year of high school, Denis is already an advanced run-blocker and shows top-notch athletic ability, with movement skills that are smooth and unencumbered for a man of his size. Denis is particularly adept at angle blocks, walling his man off to open up a perfect lane for a back. He’s mobile enough to reach the second level of a defense with ease, featuring climbs to linebackers as a work-up blocker.

Denis is a 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. He sports the natural aggression that Stacy Searels is trying to make a staple of every lineman at UM. On one particular play from his tape, he drives a linebacker nearly 25-30 yards downfield before pummeling him to the turf; the play didn’t even go to his side. He’s also known for his intelligence off the field and has one of the best GPA’s on the team at South Dade. That type of IQ can only aid his efforts to become an impact player at the next level.

The Class

Denis’ commitment brought the total class numbers to 11 (at the time) and he is the first offensive line commit in Category20. It was awesome to see him and his close friends and teammates Francois and Washington and commit back-to-back-to-back like that, and they’ll all take their bond and undoubtedly further the feeling brotherhood on this team.

Sorting out the rest of the potential class on the O-Line, Miami has only offered one other 2020 guard prospect in elite Oak Park (MI) 5-star Justin Rogers, but he has already set his top group and eliminated Miami. So far, the Canes have focused their efforts on bringing in some top-notch tackles to the equation in 2020, and have set their sights on three guys in particular.

4-star OT Jalen Rivers from Oakleaf (FL) is probably the top target for the Canes at this point. He’s considered a top 50 prospect in the country that’s been favoring Miami for quite some time now. Rivers was competing out at Paradise Camp last weekend and was a top performer, burying most of his opponents. We’ve heard some really positive chatter from sources close to the Rivers recruitment and I expect him to be a Hurricane in the end.

Next up is St. Thomas Aquinas (FL) 4-star Marcus Dumervil, who has been to every Miami event possible for an underclassman this off-season. The local product has played both offense and defense at STA, but the Canes like him at OT. Dumervil grew up a fan of the team and I think it’s only a matter of time before he hops on board with UM; it can only help being on a high school team with so many Miami commits.

At nearly 6-4 and 300 pounds, Vanguard (FL) 4-star Miller Merriweather-Lewis has been pursued by the Canes since landing an offer in the fall of 2016 during his freshman season of high school. N’Kosi Perry’s former teammate is recovering from a knee suffered last fall, but has already named Miami to his top 3, along with LSU and UGA. UM is going to have to battle a little bit more to land Merriweather-Lewis, but they’re certainly in a prime position to eventually land his commitment if they keep pushing.

The Team

The Denis pick-up is huge not only from a talent perspective, but also because the offensive line is the position on the team that is struggling the most right now. Besides Navaughn Donaldson, Miami’s entire starting offensive line will be graduated by the time Denis hits campus in 2020. Although we don’t have a full picture of what the 2019 O-Line class will look like at this time and UM is certain to add more bodies, there’s no doubt there will be playing time available for Denis and his Category20 classmates.

Predicting a true freshman two years out to come in and start at left or right guard is dubious at best and offensive line is one of those positions that it’s hard to truly tell what you have until they show up on campus. However, with Denis’ intelligence and coachable attitude, there’s a chance Denis could be in the two-deep as a freshman, and, once he gets his body right for the college level, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the starting lineup by his sophomore year in 2021.

Comments (60)

Love the South Dade boys. Denis going to be a road grader these next 2 seasons....him and big baby at the future guard spot is scary.

S/o to the south florida coaches that developed this big boiii talent!
Recruiting the Offensive line at a high level is key, I like the concentration on OT. Welcome J Denis!!
The 2020 class is looking more and more like the 2018 class. Early and hard commitments. Gonna be a great one!
Miller Merriweather-Lewis has some pretty good feet in his sophomore film. He has long arms and uses his powerful hands well. He plays good pad level and gets to the next level well. In the 2017 Nike as a freshman he had nearly a 2 foot vertical jump - darn good for a 300 pounder at that young age showing explosion. He needs to continue his weight training and reshaping his body. If he could sprout another inch so he would be an excellent OT, possibly a LT as he matures.

Miller Merriweather-Lewis on Hudl
Great report @Stefan Adams. More in depth info than you can get just about anywhere. You’re setting a high standard.

I say this because it’s important to appreciate nice things, when you have them.

Better than pay site quality reporting and analysis, and definitely better than any of the big 3 newspapers down here....and it’s not even close.