Barry Jackson

Recruiting expert analyzes UM’s group of 2019 commitments on eve of early signing period

So what’s UM getting with this recruiting class, among players already committed, most or all of whom will sign on Wednesday? Local recruiting guru Larry Blustein weighs in:

FRONT SEVEN DEFENDERS

Vero Beach four-star defensive end Jahfari Harvey (rated by Rivals as the seventh-best weakside defensive end and 187th best player overall): “He is the best recruit defensively they’ve got in this class. He will start by midseason next year. He’s a freak of nature. He impressed me more than any player I’ve seen in their class. Strong, quick, agile, good first step. He overpowers you.”

St. Thomas Aquinas three-star defensive end Jason Munoz: “He had a monster postseason. Good pass rusher but he’s not designed to be a run stuffer.” Rivals doesn’t rank Munoz among the 50 top ends or among the 100 best players, instead listing him as the 99th-best prospect in Florida.

Miami Northwestern end/linebacker three-star Samuel Brooks: “He bounced back from the injury that kept him out as a junior. He came back slowly. He’s been one of the best down here in the second half of the season.

“He’s playing outside linebacker and maybe Miami starts him out there [instead of defensive end]. You can’t block him. He is a tackling machine. He’s going to be in the mix to play by the middle of the year next year.” Rivals rates him as the 42th best weakside defensive end and 92nd best player in the state.

Hollywood Chaminade four-star defensive end Cameron Williams (rated by Rivals as 13th best weakside defensive end overall and 31st best player in the state): “Had a good year; can’t say he’s had a great year. Still a work in progress. You will see crazy improvement, like [UM linebacker] Mike Smith had, once gets into college weight room. Pass rushing is his [top] skill. Has long arms; he’s like [UM freshman end] Gregory Rousseau in a lot of ways but maybe not as athletic.”

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star linebacker Avery Huff (rated the eighth inside linebacker and 171st best player overall): “You know who he reminds of? Thurston Armbrister [the former UM linebacker/safety who is now on the Arizona Cardinals and exceeded everyone’s expectations at UM]. People in the know know what he can do. He has playmaking skills and high football IQ like Armbrister.”

Brooklyn-based four-star defensive tackle Jason Blissett (rated the 11th best defensive tackle): “A guy who used to coach down here is one of his assistant coaches at his high school and he told me he’s got to keep his work ethic but if he does he will be [good]. Big weight room guy.”

Buford, Ga.-based three-star Jalar Holley, rated the 40th-best defensive tackle: “A couple of Deerfield Beach players told me Holley is a monster; strong, hard to move; heavy handed kid.”

DEFENSIVE BACKS

Hollywood Chaminade’s four-star Keontra Smith (rated the 27th best cornerback): “He’s the second best defensive player in this class behind Harvey. I’m not saying he’s Jaquan Johnson but he’s going to be like him. He hits like a truck, rangy, won’t come off the field. He’s in the mix right away because he’s that physical.” UM is expected to use him at safety.

Hollywood Chaminade’s four-star Te’Cory Couch (rated the 45th best cornerback): “He’s a corner, and they may move him to safety. Good player, not a great one.”

RECEIVER

Neptune Beach’s four-star 6-foot-3 Jeremiah Payton (18th best receiver, 139th best prospect overall): “An elite kid. Has good speed and size and great hands. Will go up for every ball. The kid can jump and he always came down the ball.”

TIGHT END

Tampa-based three-star Larry Hodges (rated the 21nd best tight end): Blustein said programs need these type of versatile players “who can do a lot. Probably will be an H-back. He has some Brevin Jordan in him. You need kids who can be a Swiss Army knife like that.”

UM also has two offensive linemen committed: two-star South Carolina-based Zion Nelson and Georgia-based three-star center Jakai Clark. San Francisco-based junior college punter Louis Hedley is also committed and will battle with Zach Feagles for the job next year.

News note: The Dolphins poached former UM defensive tackle Kendrick Norton off Carolina’s practice squad and signed him to their 53-man roster, according to a source.

UM is prepared to pursue a potential transfer quarterback from an SEC school, and Manny Diaz had a lot to say on Tueday. Click here for all of that.... Twitter: @flasportsbuzz

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