AA Weekend Primer: Ranking the Cane Recruits

Reuben Foster - SB Nation Recruiting

The All-America weekend is nearly upon us with 3 games scheduled featuring tons of Miami recruits. First up is the Under Armour All-American game at 5PM ET today, followed by the Semper Fidelis All-American bowl at 9PM ET tonight. Tomorrow (Saturday) marks the arrival of the Army All-American Bowl at 1PM ET. In this article you will find a rankings list of the Cane targets in all three games combined. Use this write-up as a resource to track both Cane targets and top talents alike.

1. LB Reuben Foster (Auburn, AL) - UA game, White team - Foster's Jr season highlights are the most impressive I've ever seen from a LB prospect. He's more explosive than former 5* Manti Te'o and he's bigger and stronger than former 5* (and former Cane) Arthur Brown. If he matures and stays motivated he'll have a special career. Miami's chances are slim to none, although he is expected to visit.

2. RB Alex Collins (Plantation, FL) - Semper Fi bowl, East team - The Collins saga continues into 2013 with Miami in good shape for the final stretch. I expect him to be the best player on the field for the Semper Fi game. His impact on an offense is immeasurable because he does so many things well. In the right offense, Collins will be hard to scheme against and stop.

3. LB Matthew Thomas (Miami, FL) - UA game, Black team - "Big 6" is still raw technique-wise and lacks bulk, but his elite explosiveness negates his sloppy footwork, and he has wiry strength to play physical. His range and playmaking ability will be showcased this evening, but several months in the weight room would benefit him before he gets to college. His recruitment has been trending positively for Miami as of late.

4. DL Dee Liner (Muscle Shoals, AL) - UA game, White team - DLiner is a freak athlete who can rush the passer effectively from inside or outside. He's quick, powerful and savvy in his pursuit of the QB. He's scheme-versatile and has tons of upside and room to grow physically. He will visit Miami this month, but his heavy recruiting for Auburn signifies that Miami's chances are extremely low.

5. Artie Burns (Miami, Florida) - UA game, Black team - Burns is a solid Miami commit who's earned praise this week for his solid play. I've always been impressed by his size, speed and physicality as a defensive back. Miami coaches will have their hands full deciding to use him as a roaming safety or press corner. He can excel at either.

6. QB Kevin Olsen (Wayne, NJ) - UA game, White team - Olsen, a solid Miami commit, has all of the intangibles you want in a QB. He's smart, mature and a great leader. His body has matured of late and he has enough arm to make all the throws in Jedd Fisch's offense. It's tough for QBs to play well in all-star settings but Olsen has the mental makeup to manage the game effectively, so I expect him to do well

7. DE Alquadin Muhammad (Ramsey, NJ) - AAA bowl, East team - Muhammad plans to announce Saturday and the hot rumor is that the Canes will be his choice. "Quan" gets my nod as a pure football player because he does so many things well. He has great hands to stay off blocks, he can drop back in coverage and he has a wide base to anchor against the run. Those traits combined with his college-ready body will make him an instant-impact player.

8. OL Denver Kirkland (Miami, FL) - UA game, Black team - Kirkland has consistently performed well in 1-on-1s as an OT throughout the camp and all-star circuit. That success should translate this evening because the big-bodied Kirkland has the base strength to anchor against bullrushers and the quickness to disrupt speed rushers. He will likely slide inside to OG at the next level, but that could be at Miami or FSU. Both schools are battling ‘til the end for him.

9. WR Stacy Coley (Oakland Park, FL) - UA game, White team - The UA game is an opportunity to see Coley run routes for Kevin Olsen in what could be foreshadowing. Coley remains a Miami-FSU battle, however. He's a quick-twitch athlete with excellent ball skills who can run a full route tree. When he's motivated and on his game, Coley is impossible to cover 1-on-1.

10. FS Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, CA) - AAA bowl, West team - Goodman recently stated in an interview that he'd like to set up a visit to Miami. He likely only wants a free trip to South Beach, plus Miami's coaches would prefer to sign a CB rather than a S. Goodman is worth a look, however, because he has excellent range, footwork and coverage ability as a deep safety. His instincts are so-so but he's a willing hitter with good size. He's essentially a better version of Cane commit Jamal Carter.

11. OLB Yannick Ngakoue (Washington, DC) - UA game, White team - Ngakoue is a stand-up pass rusher with a thick build and great quickness. He's a great fit for Miami because he fits Al Golden's core values and scheme. Miami is in his top 4 but his interest level is unclear until he visits.

12. WR Jordan Cunningham (Fort Lauderdale, FL) - UA game, Black team - Cunningham lacks the quickness and speed of Stacy Coley but makes up for it in other ways. He has great footwork and he uses his body to shield defenders and attack the ball. He has great character and grades which explains why Stanford is pursuing him heavily. Miami's interest in him has cooled and that's unlikely to change. Unfortunately he might have to sit out the game with a knee injury.

13. DT Keith Bryant (Delray Beach, FL) - AAA bowl, East team - Bryant, a former Miami commitment, had somewhat of a disappointing Senior Season after a dominating Junior campaign. He's put on some bad weight and lost some of the quickness that made him a disruptive player. Miami still wants him (and rightfully so) but FSU is constantly in his ear and it's working. Bryant changes his mind frequently so it would be foolish to predict his destination.

14. LB Jermaine Grace (Miramar, FL) - Semper Fi bowl, East team - Grace has long been rumored to be a Miami lock and that remains the case. He has a small frame but he's been working hard in the weight room to add bulk and improve at taking on blocks. He's one of the best ‘backers in the country in space and in coverage, due to his range, footwork, speed and quickness.

15. OLB Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL) - UA game, Black team - Powell has mentioned in interviews that he plans to visit Miami in the coming weeks, despite having no contact with the coaching staff. Powell is extremely quick and flexible as an edge rusher, but he's smaller than other Cane targets at his position. I don't think there's much mutual interest here, but Powell is a good backup plan.

16. DE Tim Williams (Baton Rouge, LA) - UA game, White team - Williams continues to name Miami as his leader publicly but he hasn't visited campus yet. It's unsafe to pencil him in as a Cane until his status with LSU is settled: he's scheduled to visit LSU before National Signing Day. Williams is small for a down lineman but he has good quickness and flexibility to get upfield and bend as a pass rusher.

17. WR/KR Levonte Whitfield (Orlando, FL) - Semper Fi bowl, East team - "Kermit" is a former Miami commitment who remains committed to FSU. He has elite gamebreaking speed but he's small and lacks polish as a route runner. He's still interested in Miami and may visit in the coming weeks. I'm not sure the interest is mutual, however, as Miami will only take 1 WR in this class.

18. RB/S Ray Lewis III (Lake Mary, FL) - Semper Fi bowl, East team - Lewis is a solid Miami commitment. His size and speed leave a lot to be desired, but he's a productive football player who has some quickness, toughness and intangibles. He will add depth to the offensive or defensive backfield at Miami and contribute on special teams.

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