Barry Jackson

Here’s how UM coach assesses new offensive players — and more juniors consider move to NFL

Canes notes on a Thursday when Jarren Williams’ father confirmed he will remain with the UM program:

UM offensive coordinator Thomas Brown said the Hurricanes are positioned to add 10 offensive players this offseason, and seven have already committed — including a Thursday addition, New York-based offensive tackle Adam ElGammal, who is rated a two-star prospect by and a three-star by

UM hopes to use the final three open offensive spots on a quarterback, another receiver (with Georgia’s Jadon Haselwood the priority) and a tight end. The quarterback could come from the prep, transfer or grad transfer ranks. An 11th or 12th offensive player could be added if UM deems it necessary.

Meanwhile, Brown this week assessed the six offensive players who signed on Wednesday:

Four-star Neptune Beach-based receiver Jeremiah Payton: “You talk about loyalty. You talk about a big-time dude that locked in with the Canes and shut everything down. Didn’t take a visit anywhere else. That’s how it should be. Wish all those guys were that way. He’s a big-time player who can do a lot of stuff for us. Can come in and have an immediate impact for us, and he’ll end up coming in and pushing for playing time.”

Three-star Tampa tight end Larry Hodges: “Loyal guy. Really excited what Larry brings to us from a versatility standpoint. Larry can do so much; he can be an inline tight end, can play off the ball, can move to H-back but also flex out wide and do some stuff in the receiving game standpoint. Really good route-runner, really good ball skills. Tough dude.”

Georgia-based three-star center Jakai Clark: “Can play center or guard for us. Very athletic guy, comes from a great program. He’s going to push for playing time.”

Two-star South Carolina based Zion Nelson: “Really like his size and athletic ability.” And, for what it’s worth, he runs well for an offensive lineman, Brown said.

Tommy Kennedy, the left tackle transfer from Butler who will have one season of eligibility:

“Came down to us, Auburn, Oklahoma, Texas, but he talked about how big of a fit Miami was for him. It was important to go after guys that can help us win games. He’s a big, large human. I like large humans. My running backs and quarterbacks like large humans as well that can block for them from a run game standpoint or a pass protection standpoint. The guy can come in and have an immediate impact.”

Asa Martin, the former star prep running back from Alabama who’s transferring to UM after one year at Auburn and will be eligible to play in 2020, 2021 and 2022: “Asa Martin was a big-time running back last year who I liked a lot. We took two guys who were very talented last year — Lorenzo Lingard and Cam Davis — and feel great about those guys. Asa came on a visit, came available, reached out when we were allowed to. He will have to sit out a year. But he’s a lot bigger than I thought he was going to be. Probably about 210 pounds, probably will end up playing about 215. We’re excited about him.”


According to a source close to junior linebacker Mike Pinckney, both Pinckney and Shaquille Quarterman were still trying, as of Wednesday night, to decide whether to turn pro, and the decision could go either way. Both plan to speak further with coaches, and they’ve solicited NFL feedback.

Junior running back Travis Homer said he hasn’t decided whether to turn pro.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper rates Quarterman the fourth-best inside linebacker among draft-eligible players but doesn’t rate Pinckney or Homer among the top 10 at their positions.

Nobody would be surprised if UM junior Joe Jackson turns pro; Kiper has him sixth among draft-eligible defensive ends.

Co-defensive coordinator Jonathan Patke said Vero Beach defensive end Jahfari Harvey will be the only early enrollee among the eight players who have been added on defense.

As far as offensive players, UM says Payton, Kennedy and Martin are expected to enroll in January.

UM, hoping to land another linebacker, offered three-star Rockledge-based Octavius Brothers. UM was his dream school growing up.

Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said linebacker Mike Smith, who missed the Pittsburgh game with a knee injury, will play in the Pinstripe Bowl. He started the November game against Virginia Tech.

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