UM welcomes 10 new players to campus this week, and at least half of them could end up playing a lot this season.
A look at the expected arrivals:
▪ Quarterback Jarren Williams
The nuts and bolts: Rated by Rivals as the No. 6 dual threat quarterback and 106th best player in this class. Completed 214 of 348 passes for 3,015 yards, 28 touchdowns and four interceptions in 10 games. Rushed for another 554 yards and 10 touchdowns on 115 carries, with a 4.8-yards-per-carry average.
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UM’s take: “He has all the attributes of a quarterback that you’d ever want,” quarterbacks coach John Richt said. “Physically, he can run. He’s good side to side. He can step up and move in the pocket. He can extend plays if he needs to. Our run game with the quarterback he’d be able to do with no problem. … And he’s done a great job of standing in the pocket and ripping it. … He has a great arm.
“Malik Rosier is more of a straight-ahead, fast guy who is a little bit thicker and might be able to take some shots. Jarren probably has a little bit more side-to-side elusiveness. N’Kosi Perry is that kind of guy, too.”
The view here: UM coaches rave about Williams’ intelligence and skill set, and though he won’t be the favorite to win the starting quarterback job, he at least will be given a chance to win it.
▪ Running back Lorenzo Lingard
The nuts and bolts: UM’s most ballyhooed running back recruit in more than a decade, the five-star Lingard is rated by Rivals as the No. 2 running back and the nation’s 10th best prospect overall in the 2018 class. Ran for 1,700 yards last season, averaged 8.2 yards per carry and scored 26 touchdowns.
UM’s take: “Based on what you see in high school, he’s a phenomenal football player, probably even better person and has the right makeup,” offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said. “He’s not just talented, he works like it. He came to Paradise Camp two years in a row. He’s a five-star recruit. He didn’t have to come and work out.
“He came out and worked every single rep, went full speed and was at the front of every single line. I watched him play in person. He’s very tough with the ball in his hands, but the guy lined up and played every single snap at tailback — didn’t have a backup. He played every single snap on punt team, ran down and made tackles. He also started on kickoff, would run down and make tackles on kickoff. He’s a very unselfish, team-oriented type guy, which is hard to find these days with elite players. Loyalty was a big thing with him. He was recruited by everyone in the country, and once he committed, he didn’t step foot on any other campus.
“Running-wise, he’s a slasher, as far as a one-cut downhill-type guy. He can make you miss in space but he’s not a big wiggle guy, which he doesn’t have to be, because he’s built the right way. Sometimes the wiggle guys waste too much motion at this level. He’s an elite track guy in high school.”
The view here: Expected to play a lot as a freshman, either as the starter or off the bench behind Travis Homer.
▪ Offensive lineman Delone Scaife
The nuts and bolts: The four-star Miami Southridge High product was rated the sixth-best tackle and 58th best overall prospect by Rivals. But he also can play guard.
UM’s take: “DJ Scaife, when I first started recruiting him I thought he’d be a center/guard type player,” offensive line coach Stacy Searels told Canesport.com. “But he has really long arms — he can play all five positions, which makes him very valuable.”
The view here: Will compete with Corey Gaynor, Hayden Mahoney, Tennessee transfer Venzell Boulware and others to replace departing Trevor Darling at guard.
▪ Offensive tackle John Campbell.
The nuts and bolts: The four-star tackle from Orlando’s Dr. Phillips is rated the 17th best tackle in the 2018 class by Rivals and the 51st best prospect in the state. Has good size (6-5, 270) and a strong lower body. A natural tackle.
UM’s take: “John is a really good player,” Searels told Canesport. “I’ve worked with him at camp, watched him at his spring practice and watched him in games. They won a state championship this year, he was a leader on his football team.
“He’s a very quiet kid but when he comes to practices, games, he was a finisher. He’s a tough kid, has a lot of upside. He’s a young player who I think is going to be a great player for us.”
The view here: UM loses left tackle Kc McDermott, but starting right tackle Tyree St. Louis and Kai Leon Herbert enter as favorites to be UM’s starting tackles next season. Campbell could provide depth (along with Zalon’tae Hillery, George Brown Jr. and others) or could end up redshirting.
▪ Defensive end Gregory Rousseau.
The nuts and bolts: The four-star prospect from Hialeah Champagnat had 70 tackles, two forced fumbles and11 sacks as a senior.
UM’s take: “He played every position in high school, but for us he’s going to play defensive end,” defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski said. “Super fast, tall, like 6-7 tall, 225 pounds right now but he’ll be 260 pounds before you know it. Super kid. Very fast. Athletic. Great change of direction. We would have offered him as a receiver or a safety but he just kept growing. Very productive.”
The view here: With UM’s lack of depth at defensive end, he figures to get playing time as a freshman.
▪ Cornerback Gilbert Frierson
The nuts and bolts: The four-star prospect from Coral Gables High is rated by Rivals as the No. 20 safety (he will play corner at UM) and 226th best prospect overall.
UM’s take: “Gilbert’s a freak,” safeties coach Ephraim Banda said. “We’re super happy to have Gilbert. Cane blood. He was born a Cane. We had to battle some teams for him. But his length, his size, his ability to cover people up, his competitive nature is something maybe you don’t see unless you watch him in practices or games. I loved going to his practices because he just competed. He had fun. I’m starting to really see it, what makes South Florida different, it’s the competitive spirit the kids play with and he has it. It’s that Mark Walton, that Jaquan Johnson, that Trajan Bandy, something about those kids, Chad Thomas, they just love football and he loves it. … They play the game with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, a lot of fire.”
The view here: He will have a legitimate chance to earn playing time as a rookie, in a competitive battle with Michael Jackson, Trajan Bandy, Malek Young, Jhavonte Dean, incoming D.J. Ivey and anyone else added in the coming months.
▪ Safety Gurvan Hall
The nuts and bolts: The four-star safety from Palm Beach Lakes is rated by Rivals as the No. 15 safety and No. 191 overall prospect in this class.
UM’s take: “His ability to play both field and boundary safety for us is really intriguing,” Banda said. “His physicality is one of the best in my opinion. He is the best safety in South Florida. I can’t wait to get to work with him.”
▪ Cornerback D.J. Ivey
The nuts and bolts: The three-star prospect from South Dade High is rated the 54th best cornerback by Rivals, but his production (five interceptions last season) suggests he might have been underestimated by recruiting services. UM believes he was.
UM’s take: Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph: “He did everything right. Whenever I watched him, he kind of reminds me of myself. He has a chip on his shoulder and wants to be better than everybody else. I don’t think a lot of people see him but his stats show it. Had six interceptions, led his team to be 9-2. He comes from a strong mom, a good family, single-parent home just like myself. He wears No. 8 like me. I kind of saw myself in him. He’ll get the recognition when he steps on campus.”
Diaz: “What D.J. brings is length, speed, but really in recruiting at times, guys will sort of take the foot off the gas their senior year. D.J. really came on strong this year. You talk to the coaches at South Dade, they couldn’t get him off the field. Played on special teams, did it all. Tackling a lot better — a lot more physical at the point of attack.”
The view here: Like Frierson, he will have a chance to win playing time as a freshman on defense if he proves he’s one of UM’s five best corners.
▪ Receiver Brian Hightower
The nuts and bolts: The four-star receiver from IMG Academy in Bradenton caught 35 passes for 474 yards and eight touchdowns last season and is rated by Rivals as the No. 39 receiver and the 217th best overall prospect. His size (6-3) gives UM an advantage against small cornerbacks.
UM’s take: “He brings size; he brings strength,” receivers coach Ron Dugans said. “To be that size, he’s athletic, good route runner. Good ball skills. We need his length. Good kid on the field, good kid off the field.”
The view here: Though Hightower was criticized by several Rivals.com recruiting analysts for his inconsistent play, he has a real chance to beat out Darrell Langham as UM’s so-called big receiver — a player who can emerge as a red zone target in advantageous matchups.
▪ Receiver Daquris Wiggins
The nuts and bolts: Three-star prospect from Southridge was rated the 66th best receiver in this class by Rivals.com. At 6-2, he gives UM another receiver with size.
UM’s take: “Wiggins wants to prove to everybody I don’t have all these stars but I’m the best receiver in the country,” Dugans said. “At Paradise [camp], he proved he’s a really good football player. He ran track this offseason. Got faster on track. His route running, he’s a good route runner. … Got good quick. Is willing to block. I want guys that can block, too. I like what Wiggins brings to the table. Every time I see him, he gets taller and taller. He’s got really good body control. I think he can be a really good natural receiver.”
The view here: Might be difficult to earn playing time at receiver as a freshman because of considerable depth there, unless he wows everyone in the coming months.