St. Thomas Aquinas linebacker Avery Huff signed with Miami today. He is the second player to send in his NLI so far.
The 6-3, 200-pounder is currently a 4-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Sports Composite, Huff is the #222 player nationally, #13 OLB in the country, and the #34 player in the Sunshine State.
Avery Huff has been arguably the most solid commitment in this class throughout the entire cycle. Huff committed to Miami in May and did not so much as take a visit to another school since then. Despite the fact that he plays violent on the field, Huff is a very quiet kid and is not a fan of the whole recruiting game. After all, he did announce his commitment on Twitter without any warning and at 11:30 on a Monday night. There were some websites in recent weeks saying Huff would take an official visit to FSU since he received an in-home visit from the Seminoles, but there was never a solid plan for that to happen.
Miami recruited Huff as an OLB prospect, but he has an adequate frame to put on weight and play inside LB as well if his body develops that way. Huff showed out at St. Thomas during his senior season, totaling 38 tackles, 8 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 QB hurries, and 1 interception which he returned for a touchdown. He did all of that despite not even playing the entire first half of some games since St. Thomas would blow teams out.
Huff plays with a violent and reckless abandon, demonstrating the “killer-instinct” mentality that it takes to succeed as a LB at the next level. He pairs that with great speed and shows he is a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage. Huff plays on a downhill tilt and is aggressive while always looking to draw first blood. Fast to see how a play will develop, Huff processes what he is seeing and responds quickly, creating tackles for losses by shooting gaps at appropriate angles. He has the athleticism and awareness to excel in coverage, but those skills will have to be continued to be refined.
Huff is one of two linebackers that were expected to sign with Miami this week, the other one being Sam Brooks.
At the time of writing this, Zach McCloud has announced his intentions to return to Miami for his senior season. For now, it remains unclear whether Shaq Quarterman and Mike Pinkney will return for their senior seasons. Should Pinkney and Quarterman choose to leave for the NFL, Miami will have a serious lack of experienced depth at the linebacker position. Miami will also lose Mike Smith to graduation.
If Quarterman and Pinkney were leave for the draft, there would be a very competitive race for that second linebacker spot next to Zach McCloud. Huff would have to beat out Sam Brooks, Patrick Joyner, and the 2017 linebacker signees for that job. If Pinkney and Shaq stay, Huff will battle those same players for backup reps.
Another option besides traditional linebacker for Huff could be the striker position. Huff has all of the physical tools to be excellent in the striker role, but it is unclear at this time where Miami plans on using him. If Quarterman and Pinkney were to stay, backing up Romeo Finley at striker would lead to more immediate playing time for Huff.
Redshirt Probability: 4/10
There are a lot of unknown variables here that will have an impact on whether or not Huff takes a redshirt year. One thing that I do know for sure is that Huff is a physical freak and one of, if not the most, physically impressive players in the class. For this reason alone, I think it is unlikely he is kept of the field for 8+ games in 2019.