High School Recruiting

National Signing Day: Here are the 10 underclassmen recruits to watch for next season

Deerfield Beach Bucks running back Jaylan Knighton (24) carries the ball against Piper Bengals during their football game on Friday, October 28, 2016, at Piper High School in Sunrise
Deerfield Beach Bucks running back Jaylan Knighton (24) carries the ball against Piper Bengals during their football game on Friday, October 28, 2016, at Piper High School in Sunrise Special to the Miami Herald

South Florida’s stellar Class of 2019 includes Clemson recruit Frank Ladson at wide receiver, Florida State recruit Akeem Dent at cornerback and Miami recruit Anthony Solomon at linebacker. They are certainly players to keep an eye on on National Signing Day.

But the 2020 and 2021 classes are loaded, too.

Here are 10 underclassmen to watch:

Jaylan Knighton (Deerfield Beach, 2020): As a sophomore running back, he ran for 1,223 yards and 15 touchdowns. The 5-10, 180-pound running back recently committed to Oklahoma over offers from Auburn, Miami, Alabama and Louisville.

James Williams (Monsignor Pace, 2021): This 6-3, 200-pound free safety has already committed to Miami, although that could change since his signing day is so far away. Pace coach Joe Zaccheo said Williams “could be the next Sean Taylor.” That is high praise, and Williams already has 15 scholarship offers.

Amari Daniels (Miami Jackson, 2021): This 5-8, 185-pound running back has transferred from Central to the Generals and has offers from Georgia, Miami, Louisville and Texas A&M.

Courtney Holmes (Columbus, 2020): He’s a safety who does a great job of blowing up running backs and receivers. Michigan is interested in Holmes, a 5-11, 185-pounder who runs sprint relays in track.

Samuel Anaele (Doral Academy, 2020): A 6-4, 245-pound defensive end, he has already committed to Miami.

Marcus Dumervil (Aquinas, 2020): A 6-6, 300-pound offensive tackle, Dumervil already has offers from Miami, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and more.

Deajuan McDougle (Deerfield Beach, 2020): A 5-10, 175-pound wide receiver, McDougle has offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Ole Miss and North Carolina.

Don Chaney (Belen, 2020): The 5-11, 195-pound running back — featured in this space recently — is considered by some to be the best running back in the South Florida prep ranks, regardless of class.

Jesus Machado (Miami Central, 2020): The 6-1, 205-pound outside linebacker has been on scouts’ radar screens since his sophomore year. Alabama, Georgia and FSU lead the chase to sign him.

Derohn King (Deerfield Beach, 2020): It’s not a great time for South Florida quarterbacks, but King (6-1, 180) is one of the best of the bunch. He has offers from Florida, FIU, UCF and Bowling Green.


The South Florida Bulls, who had incredible success with former Miami Jackson quarterback Quinton Flowers, have returned to this area in search of a QB. So far, they are the only school to offer a scholarship to South Broward passer TJ Smith, a 6-1, 180-pounder from the Class of 2019.

Another quarterback to watch is 6-3, 190-pounder Jesse Rivera (Western, 2019). He has offers from Pitt and Akron.

Over the past decade, few teams have had the running back depth enjoyed by the Central Rockets. Out of that depth comes Kejon Owens (2020), a 5-10, 170-pounder who has offers from Pitt, FIU, Kentucky, Syracuse and Louisville.

South Carolina may have gotten a steal recently when it received a commitment from center Vincent Murphy (Aquinas, 2019), a 6-3, 290-pounder.

The Recruiting Column is a year-round feature of the Miami Herald. If you have a tip or story idea regarding recruiting or an impending college commitment, please contact Walter Villa at: wvilla07@yahoo.com