Class Impact: AJ Mathis to Miami

Stefan Adams

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2020 Pinellas Park LB AJ Mathis committed to the Hurricanes this afternoon.


The 6-1 210 pounder is currently a 3-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Sports Composite, Mathis is the #476 player nationally, #34 OLB in the country, and the #73 player in the Sunshine State. His commitment keeps Category20 at the #4 class ranking on 247Sports and #4 on Rivals.


The Player

Mathis’ Miami recruitment was quick and to the point, as he received his Miami offer less than a month ago. After visiting UM a week later, he soon included the Canes in his top 3 in late April, along with Florida and Auburn. Mathis was extremely pro-Miami on Twitter, so his decision today didn’t come as much of a surprise. Miami did a great job here identifying a prospect they liked at a position of need and quickly convincing him UM was the best place for him. A big-time junior season at Pinellas Park helped Mathis expand his recruiting profile, and the talented linebacker recorded 86 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, and 5 fumble recoveries (2 TD’s) in 2018 on his way to first team All-District honors.

On tape, Mathis is a long and lanky linebacker prospect that is equally disruptive playing the run or the pass. Shoots gaps well and looks to makes plays in the backfield. Demonstrates the ability to shed bigger blockers to hit the ballcarrier. Tracks runners and reads how blocks set up to accurately predict how a play will develop, then shuts it down. Is forceful and purposeful in his hits, and he locks-in and wraps-up well. He is always around the football, and that shows when you recover 5 fumbles in a season. When he forces a turnover, he shows the awareness to convert it into points and has a nose for the endzone.


The Class

Mathis’ commitment brings the total class numbers to 13 and he is the first true linebacker commit in Category20, while safety commitments like Amite (LA) 3-star Daran Branch and South Dade (FL) 4-star Keshawn Washington have the potential to move down to striker linebacker at the next level. According to a team source, Miami is looking to take 4 linebackers in this class, so they are nowhere near done at the position and there’s still work to be done.

At the top of the board at LB, Miami continues to push hard for Upland (CA) 5-star Justin Flowe and made his top 12 list last month. Even better, the Canes were able to score a visit from Flowe during the spring, and Flowe has stated his intent to return to Miami for an official visit. While it’s going to be a long fight to eventually land someone as talented as Flowe, the Canes are certainly in a better spot than they were a month ago and are really selling a thin depth chart and immediate playing time to the Upland star.

Pahokee (FL) 4-star Latarie Kinsler is a guy that Miami has been on for some time now and defensive coordinator and LB coach Blake Baker is beginning to recruit him as an outside linebacker instead of the defensive end former DL coach Jess Simpson saw him as. A source close to the recruitment says that LSU is going to be Miami’s primary competition for Kinsler and that the Tigers have made a surge here after recently getting involved.

The Canes also just landed in Mallard Creek (NC) 4-star Trenton Simpson’s top 5 this weekend, and he is working on locking in an official to Coral Gables. Simpson is a player that has shot up the rankings since deciding to focus on the position, going from a 3-star RB to a 4-star LB within the national top 100.

A guy that has really risen on UM’s linebacker board lately is Camden (NJ) 3-star Tirek Austin-Cave. Miami offered in February and have kept in constant contact with Austin-Cave, who is very high on the Canes right now. Syracuse, Maryland, and West Virginia are some of the other main contenders here, but UM has a great chance of landing Austin-Cave if they continue to push and he is working on setting up a summer visit to campus. Also trying to see campus over the summer months is Dublin (GA) 3-star Romello Height, who received an offer in March.

Technically, UM remains involved with Garfield (WA) 5-star LB Sav'ell Smalls and landed in his top 12 released in February, but he has yet to truly reciprocate that interest with a visit to campus and can't be taken seriously as an option until that happens.


The Team

By the time Mathis hits campus in 2020, Miami will have seven total linebackers already on the roster, with two returning strikers from that. However, guys like Waynmon Steed and De’Andre Wilder have been non-factors so far due to injury issues, and the rest of the LB’s are completely unproven. With Shaq Quaterman, Michael Pinckney, Zach McCloud, and Romeo Finley set to graduate, there will be plenty of playing time available for Mathis and others to soak up. The Canes are likely going to need a freshman from the 2020 class to step up and fill a role and there’s a chance that guy is Mathis, who is already well built for the college game at 210 pounds and continuing to grow. That likelihood is even higher if he enrolls early for spring ball.

 
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Mathis, Kinsler, and 1 of Flowe/Simpson would be an elite haul. I still wouldn't mind trying to get Hyppolite in the class as well. I know we are thin at LB but taking anymore than 4 seems ludicrous since we are moving to move of a 4-2-5 defense.
 
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Mathis, Kinsler, and 1 of Flowe/Simpson would be an elite haul. I still wouldn't mind trying to get Hyppolite in the class as well. I know we are thin at LB but taking anymore than 4 seems ludicrous since we are moving to move of a 4-2-5 defense.
4 true backers is the perfect number. It’s the most dire position on the team. Need to restock, and quickly. 4 backers and 2 kids they see at strikers would be prefect, now let’s just make those 4 Mathis, Flowe, Kinsler, and Simpson and let’s ride.
 

twes.305

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4 true backers is the perfect number. It’s the most dire position on the team. Need to restock, and quickly. 4 backers and 2 kids they see at strikers would be prefect, now let’s just make those 4 Mathis, Flowe, Kinsler, and Simpson and let’s ride.
it is the most dire position now, but next year that will not be the case as long as we take at 3LBs this year we will be fine.
 

dwreck27

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Mathis, Kinsler, and 1 of Flowe/Simpson would be an elite haul. I still wouldn't mind trying to get Hyppolite in the class as well. I know we are thin at LB but taking anymore than 4 seems ludicrous since we are moving to move of a 4-2-5 defense.
I would normally agree but we have two LBs on the roster right now who have been injured for their entire careers in Steed/Wilder( no fault to them)

LBs not only play the LB spot (duh) but they are key to your STs core units.. we need quality kids who can play
 
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I would normally agree but we have two LBs on the roster right now who have been injured for their entire careers in Steed/Wilder( no fault to them)

LBs not only play the LB spot (duh) but they are key to your STs core units.. we need quality kids who can play
That's a good point. I just think 4 freshman + Huff + Brooks + Jennings + Steed + Wilder is more than enough depth. Unless like you said the last 2 can't be counted on.
 

westcoastcanes

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looks like he has good arm length, looks like he doesnt get driven back. I never mind taking an extra linebacker either, they have value on punt/kickoff teams as well so we can give our starters a breath.

Any testing numbers out there?
 

ALLoverCANE

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Dec 1, 2016
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That's a good point. I just think 4 freshman + Huff + Brooks + Jennings + Steed + Wilder is more than enough depth. Unless like you said the last 2 can't be counted on.
We only play 2 LBs at a time, so I disagree with the notion that it is in "dire" shape. (If you're counting strikers as LBs, then you need to add Frierson to that list, as well as consider the potential of using Carter and both Smiths in that role.) You also forgot to mention Joyner.

-If you exclude striker, it's 4-6 guys, plus freshmen (currently 1 commit), for 2 spots.
-If you include striker, it's 5-10 guys, plus freshmen (currently 3 commits), for 3 spots.

I think all of the fretting over our LB depth is just off-season boredom...
 

Canes_U_Pride

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That's a good point. I just think 4 freshman + Huff + Brooks + Jennings + Steed + Wilder is more than enough depth. Unless like you said the last 2 can't be counted on.
Its important to take as many talented LB's possible we dont have depth now and once the seasons over shaq, pinckney, mccloud, and finley graduate. Which leaves the cupboard bone dry with wilder and steeds being unhealthy and inexperienced.

You take 4 knowing you have to find at least 2 that can come in and contribute immediately, while whomever isnt ready or healthy can be given time to learn and rest up.
 
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That's a good point. I just think 4 freshman + Huff + Brooks + Jennings + Steed + Wilder is more than enough depth. Unless like you said the last 2 can't be counted on.

You should never take 4 freshmen at LB.

We have 2 holes in our depth due to upperclassmen injuries.

One of our LB signees should be a JuCo or grad transfer.
 

raytiller

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May 6, 2019
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325
You should never take 4 freshmen at LB.

We have 2 holes in our depth due to upperclassmen injuries.

One of our LB signees should be a JuCo or grad transfer.
probably will be an option later down the line when kids start committing to schools.... I say sign(HS/juco) who you can sign and then look towards the portal worst case scenario
 

TheU 4ever

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2020 Pinellas Park LB AJ Mathis committed to the Hurricanes this afternoon.


The 6-1 210 pounder is currently a 3-star in the national rankings. According to the 247Sports Composite, Mathis is the #476 player nationally, #34 OLB in the country, and the #73 player in the Sunshine State. His commitment keeps Category20 at the #4 class ranking on 247Sports and #4 on Rivals.


The Player

Mathis’ Miami recruitment was quick and to the point, as he received his Miami offer less than a month ago. After visiting UM a week later, he soon included the Canes in his top 3 in late April, along with Florida and Auburn. Mathis was extremely pro-Miami on Twitter, so his decision today didn’t come as much of a surprise. Miami did a great job here identifying a prospect they liked at a position of need and quickly convincing him UM was the best place for him. A big-time junior season at Pinellas Park helped Mathis expand his recruiting profile, and the talented linebacker recorded 86 tackles, 9 TFL, 2 sacks, and 5 fumble recoveries (2 TD’s) in 2018 on his way to first team All-District honors.

On tape, Mathis is a long and lanky linebacker prospect that is equally disruptive playing the run or the pass. Shoots gaps well and looks to makes plays in the backfield. Demonstrates the ability to shed bigger blockers to hit the ballcarrier. Tracks runners and reads how blocks set up to accurately predict how a play will develop, then shuts it down. Is forceful and purposeful in his hits, and he locks-in and wraps-up well. He is always around the football, and that shows when you recover 5 fumbles in a season. When he forces a turnover, he shows the awareness to convert it into points and has a nose for the endzone.


The Class

Mathis’ commitment brings the total class numbers to 13 and he is the first true linebacker commit in Category20, while safety commitments like Amite (LA) 3-star Daran Branch and South Dade (FL) 4-star Keshawn Washington have the potential to move down to striker linebacker at the next level. According to a team source, Miami is looking to take 4 linebackers in this class, so they are nowhere near done at the position and there’s still work to be done.

At the top of the board at LB, Miami continues to push hard for Upland (CA) 5-star Justin Flowe and made his top 12 list last month. Even better, the Canes were able to score a visit from Flowe during the spring, and Flowe has stated his intent to return to Miami for an official visit. While it’s going to be a long fight to eventually land someone as talented as Flowe, the Canes are certainly in a better spot than they were a month ago and are really selling a thin depth chart and immediate playing time to the Upland star.

Pahokee (FL) 4-star Latarie Kinsler is a guy that Miami has been on for some time now and defensive coordinator and LB coach Blake Baker is beginning to recruit him as an outside linebacker instead of the defensive end former DL coach Jess Simpson saw him as. A source close to the recruitment says that LSU is going to be Miami’s primary competition for Kinsler and that the Tigers have made a surge here after recently getting involved.

The Canes also just landed in Mallard Creek (NC) 4-star Trenton Simpson’s top 5 this weekend, and he is working on locking in an official to Coral Gables. Simpson is a player that has shot up the rankings since deciding to focus on the position, going from a 3-star RB to a 4-star LB within the national top 100.

A guy that has really risen on UM’s linebacker board lately is Camden (NJ) 3-star Tirek Austin-Cave. Miami offered in February and have kept in constant contact with Austin-Cave, who is very high on the Canes right now. Syracuse, Maryland, and West Virginia are some of the other main contenders here, but UM has a great chance of landing Austin-Cave if they continue to push and he is working on setting up a summer visit to campus. Also trying to see campus over the summer months is Dublin (GA) 3-star Romello Height, who received an offer in March.

Technically, UM remains involved with Garfield (WA) 5-star LB Sav'ell Smalls and landed in his top 12 released in February, but he has yet to truly reciprocate that interest with a visit to campus and can't be taken seriously as an option until that happens.


The Team

By the time Mathis hits campus in 2020, Miami will have seven total linebackers already on the roster, with two returning strikers from that. However, guys like Waynmon Steed and De’Andre Wilder have been non-factors so far due to injury issues, and the rest of the LB’s are completely unproven. With Shaq Quaterman, Michael Pinckney, Zach McCloud, and Romeo Finley set to graduate, there will be plenty of playing time available for Mathis and others to soak up. The Canes are likely going to need a freshman from the 2020 class to step up and fill a role and there’s a chance that guy is Mathis, who is already well built for the college game at 210 pounds and continuing to grow. That likelihood is even higher if he enrolls early for spring ball.

Another great overview and analysis Stefan! Thanks again for your effort.
 
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