2020 Columbus DE Elijah Roberts committed to the Canes on Saturday afternoon at UM’s OL/DL summer camp on campus.
The 6-3, 240-pounder is currently a 3-star in the national rankings. According to 247Sports, Roberts is the #360 player nationally, #18 WDE in the country, and the #45 player in the Sunshine State. His commitment keeps Miami’s class ranking at #1 on 247Sports. Rivals has not yet released team rankings for the 2020 class.
Roberts is a pure power rusher and has some impressive strength behind his 6’3” frame. He uses his hands well, and with his punch, is able to disengage from blocks easily to make a play. Roberts also shows awareness to diagnose run and is strong both setting the edge to contain or giving chase and take down the ball-carrier. He reminds me a bit of former Alabama star Jonathan Allen in both build and using violent strength.
I saw Roberts at the Under Armour Miami camp back in mid-March, an event he completely dominated against good competition. Not many knew who he was before that, but Roberts made sure he was the talk of the camp afterwards. Roberts was just bullying most every opponent, and won the vast majority of his reps handily. He shared the “Big Man Challenge” honors at the camp with Khris Bogle for the top lineman performance at the camp and earned his UM offer 2 weeks after this camp at Underclassmen Day. Seeing him up close, his physicality really stands out and with his body type, I would not be surprised if he ended up as a defensive tackle.
Roberts’ commitment gives UM 7 total verbals in the 2020 class. Roberts is now a part of an impressive early haul on the defensive line for the Canes, joining Chaminade-Madonna (FL) 4-star DT Willie Moise, IMG Academy (FL) 4-star DE/DT Tre'von Riggins, and Doral Academy (FL) 4-star Samuel Anaele. Roberts was planning on committing to UM last month, but reversed course and decided to play out the process a bit. It seems he couldn’t hold back any longer though, and was dead set on Miami.
Obviously, it’s still too early to get a true assessment on the numbers UM will be looking for on the D-Line in Category20 and the numbers taken in 2019 will eventually effect the numbers in 2020. I think it’s safe to say given the roster depth and recruiting strategy so far, the defensive line class will be large.
As for potential D-Line targets that UM could add in the future, from what I hear, as of now, the entire staff believes Apopka (FL) DE Jalen Carter is the best defensive player in the state of Florida for 2020. He’s a big-time priority for Jess Simpson and the rest of the staff moving forward. Simpson is also high on Pahokee (FL) 4-star Latarie Kinsler, a Louisville commit who was on campus at the camps this weekend.
By 2020, Miami will lose veterans Demetrius Jackson, Joe Jackson, and Scott Patchan to graduation. That leaves UM with a returning twosome of Jon Garvin and Greg Rousseau at end, while current DE commits in the 2019 class are Chaminade-Madonna (FL) 3-star Cameron Williams and DE/DT STA swingman Jason Munoz. The numbers really need continue to be upped at this position to ensure appropriate depth, though.
Depending on how the rest of 2019 shakes out, there will likely be ample playing time available for Roberts and his class of 2020 teammates on the D-Line as freshmen. If he can show he’s ready to play, there’s no reason Roberts can’t be in the rotation in his first season. Roberts will hope to develop enough by his sophomore year to begin earning starter’s minutes.