University of Miami

Miami beats out Alabama, Florida to land commitment from blue-chip in-state tackle

Diaz: Our team isn’t far from competing for championships

The Hurricanes football coach Manny Diaz says, "Maybe it just takes me". as he speaks to the media at the University of Miami on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
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The Hurricanes football coach Manny Diaz says, "Maybe it just takes me". as he speaks to the media at the University of Miami on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

The 16th addition to the Miami Hurricanes’ Class of 2020 might just be its most important. Jalen Rivers, one of the best offensive linemen in Florida for the 2020 recruiting class, is heading to Miami.

Rivers, who is the No. 4 player in the Jacksonville metropolitan area in the 247Sports.com composite rankings for 2020, announced his oral commitment to the Hurricanes with a Twitter post Sunday.

“After talking with my family and taking my time to consider all aspects of my decision, I am excited to say that I will be committing and continuing my academic & athletic career at The University of Miami!” Rivers wrote.

The four-star tackle from Orange Park Oakleaf is an Under Armour All-American and one of the best offensive linemen in the entire country. The No. 152 overall player in the class, Rivers is the No. 3 tackle in Florida for 2020 and the No. 18 tackle in the country. He’s currently in line to be Miami’s highest ranked offensive lineman since DJ Scaife in the Class of 2018 and its highest ranked tackle since Navaughn Donaldson in the Class of 2017. He picked the Hurricanes from a top group of schools which also included the Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs. This is easily offensive line coach Butch Barry’s biggest recruiting victory since he arrived in Coral Gables in January.

Following some solid hauls in 2017 and 2018, Miami struggled to recruit along the offensive line in the Class of 2019. The Hurricanes didn’t land a single blue-chip recruit in 2019 and Rivers is Miami’s first in 2020. He joins Ocala Vanguard three-star guard Antonio Smith as the only offensive linemen in the Hurricanes’ 2020 class.

Rivers also announced he plans to early enroll at Miami.

With its struggles on the recruiting trail, the Hurricanes finished the spring by starting Scaife, who was initially recruited as a guard, at right tackle and freshman Zion Nelson, a former three-star prospect Miami flipped from the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the fall, at left tackle. While both are athletically gifted, Scaife doesn’t exactly possess prototypical size at 6-foot-3 and Nelson is still bulking up after arriving in Coral Gables at 240 pounds. Rivers is already 6-6 and 331 pounds.

After helping guide Oakleaf to the postseason as the Knights’ starting left tackle as a junior in 2018, Rivers has the talent to be the Hurricanes’ next offensive lineman to contribute immediately as a freshman, especially considering the ongoing state of Miami’s offensive line, which has been one of their clear-cut weaknesses in recent seasons.

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