Welcome to the Recruit Notebook. If you’ve read the first volume of this series (posted on another Canes site) then welcome back. If not, get ready for a great ride. In this series of posts, I take a look at High School football (and eventually, basketball) recruits, break them down on a number of levels, and see how they would fit on any team, including our beloved Miami Hurricanes.
In today’s installment of the Recruit Notebook, the first for the 2014 recruiting cycle, we look at a player who is a top national talent, and due to make his decision within the next week: Palm Beach Central Offensive Tackle Kc McDermott
Part 1: Kc McDermott, the player
Kc McDermott is a prototypical Offensive Tackle who has both length and size, standing 6’6" and weighing 290lbs. McDermott has grown between each of the previous 2 seasons, and figures to at least fill out as he continues to mature. McDermott has the frame to easily support 310-315lbs without sacrificing quickness.
McDermott isn’t a burner in the 40, but what Offensive Lineman is? Watching game film, you can see he excels in short area quickness, and showcases very good acceleration from the point of attack. McDermott shows good strength on the field, and I’m sure he does just fine in the weight room as well. His combination of size, athleticism, and functional strength and technique are the foundation for McDermott being one of the top recruits at his position for this cycle.
McDermott has very good athleticism for a player his size. He has quick feet, a trait which lends itself very positively to run blocking, pass blocking, and pulling situations. McDermott is also very light on his feet and not a plodding type lineman. As a sophomore, McDermott played Offensive Guard and was frequently used to pull on power plays and trap on counter plays. Obviously, as an Offensive Tackle (his best and future position) McDermott wasn’t asked to do this much as a Junior, and that doesn’t figure to change either this season or in the future. But if he is, he definitely has the athleticism, balance, and acceleration to be an impact player in this deployment.
Unlike most OL Prospects, who hone their skills in the offseason by wrestling, McDermott plays basketball for Palm Beach Central. While he’s not the most nimble player on the hardwood, McDermott does very well with his lateral movement and shows decent quickness in short areas. The ability to play basketball, and play well, is a testament to McDermott’s physical prowess.
Here is an area in which McDermott excels. He plays with good leverage, and has a very easy time directing any defender away from the point of attack. McDermott is rarely beaten or stood up at the line. He’s frequently found impacting 2 or 3 defenders on a given play.
McDermott takes good angles towards his assigned defenders, and his footwork is good: he doesn’t overstride or get off balance. McDermott plays with good leverage, and is rarely, if ever, stood up or pushed backwards in run blocking situations. McDermott also seems to show a nasty streak in run blocking, which is a high compliment for any Offensive Lineman. He finishes his blocks well, and can often be found chasing the play downfield after finishing his initial block.
More impressive than his run blocking, McDermott showcases elite level skills as a pass blocker. He gets good depth and can cut off the speed rush, and his strength and leverage allow him to effectively deflect bull rush and other power moves.
The experience of having played both inside at Guard and outside at Tackle has allowed McDermott to face a variety of pass blocking situations. He uses his knowledge and experience to counter the tactics used against him when faced with a pass blocking assignment.
While McDermott is a very, very talented run blocker, I believe his elite skills in pass blocking are what make him such a desired and highly touted prospect.
As previously mentioned, McDermott has played, and excelled at, both the Guard and Tackle positions. Most elite tackle prospects either step right in and start at Left Tackle from day 1 in College (Matt Kalil at USC, Jake Long at Michigan, Andre Smith at Alabama, D’Brickashaw Ferguson at Virginia) or start at Right Tackle then move over after an entrenched starter departs. Usually, you don’t see players switch between interior line positions and tackle, with Barrett Jones at Alabama being the obvious outlier to this statement.
With his physical skills and technical prowess, I believe McDermott could be successful at either Guard or Tackle. However, his future is definitely at Left Tackle, and that is where he will line up to play both his Senior season in HS and his Freshman season in College.
The McDermotts are to Offensive Line recruits as the Clausens were to Quarterback recruits. The first 2 Clausens, Rick and Casey, were serviceable and moderately talented players, who did well with the talents they had. The youngest Clausen, Jimmy, was the best of the 3, and made a National name for himself with both his play on the field and his recruiting saga.
Kc, the youngest of 3 brothers, is not the first McDermott to play Offensive Line, or go through the recruiting process. The middle McDermott brother, Shane, is a rising Junior Offensive Lineman at the University of Miami. The eldest McDermott brother, Tyler, played Offensive Line at Colorado State, playing in 21 games (starting 5) over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
While Shane is still enrolled in college at the University of Miami, Tyler, a graduate of Colorado State University, has recently taken a position as a Graduate assistant at Notre Dame. It should not, then, come as a surprise that Kc’s 2 finalists are The University of Miami and Notre Dame.
While Shane and Tyler were moderately rated players, and solid workers for their respective teams, Kc is a consensus 5 star recruit. According to the 24/7 composite rankings, McDermott is the #3 Offensive Tackle prospect in the Country, and the #23 player overall. These rankings only further support what you’ve (hopefully) already figured out: Kc McDermott is a really, REALLY good player.
Part 2: How does he fit?
Let’s look at this in 2 parts: 1. how he fits in general for this recruiting cycle and, 2. how he fits the class Miami is building.
In general, Kc McDermott is one of the top High School recruits in the country. He is a consensus 5 star talent, a potential 4 year starter at a high profile position, and he should be considered a high priority target by all schools recruiting him. McDermott figures to be a cornerstone of the 2014 recruiting class regardless of which school he chooses to attend, and having his pledge can only strengthen a staff’s ability to bring in other high level talent.
As far as The U is concerned, McDermott is a must-get player. First of all, he is a legacy (brother Shane is currently on the roster). I know it’s not a generational legacy (i.e. Father then Son) like Ray Lewis and Ray Lewis III, but having a brother currently on the roster should (hopefully) have a positive impact for Miami.
Additionally, Kc is a top player at a high profile position. Adding a player of his talent level can only serve to push the players currently on the roster, and improve the overall depth of the team, both positive outcomes in my opinion. Lastly, after missing out on many top local prospects in the 2013 recruiting cycle (Jay-Nard Bostwick, Keith Bryant, Alex Collins, Denver Kirkland, Rashard Robinson, Matthew Thomas) having the ability to pull in another top local talent to go along with Trevor Darling, Alin Edouard, and Joseph Yearby would give the Canes positive recruiting momentum heading into the summer and early fall.
Part 3: College Projection
Offensive Tackle demands a lot from players. They need to have advanced run blocking and pass blocking technique, great intellect, and very good strength. Offensive tackles also have the additional challenge of playing a position where they have to work with 4 other players as a contiguous group, while still providing standout individual play.
In the right situation, a young player can step in and play at this position very early in their collegiate career. I believe Kc McDermott could be a prime candidate to do just that. He is very advanced in both physical development and blocking technique, and he plans to be an early enrollee. His early matriculation to the college of his choosing will give him an upper hand in the competition for playing time heading into his first collegiate season.
A player who McDermott compares to is Texas A&M Offensive Tackle Jake Matthews. Matthews played plenty of snaps his Freshman year before moving into the starting lineup at Right Tackle for his Sophomore and Junior seasons. The son of NFL legend Bruce Matthews, Jake has been one of the best players in the country at his position. Kc McDermott should be able to replicate that career path, and has the potential to step in and start as a true Freshman.
Athleticism – A+
Football IQ – B+
Run Blocking – A
Pass Blocking – A+
Fundamentals and Technique – A+
Physical development – A
Versatility – A+
Potential – A++
Overall Recruit Grade – A+++++
Kc McDermott is a top 25 national prospect. He is rightfully considered a 5 star talent, and he will be a valued addition to one of 2 schools: Notre Dame or Miami.
McDermott just completed a visit to South Bend this Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with coaches and view spring practice, and will be on campus in Coral Gables tomorrow to do the same.
McDermott and his parents have repeatedly said that his decision will be final due to his decision to graduate in January and be an Early Enrollee. That will remove any recruiting drama from this process, something which Miami fans in particular won’t miss.
Overall, Kc McDermott is one of the top players not only in South Florida, but in the Country. Adding him to this recruiting class will be an early boon for either Miami or Notre Dame. We should know which school he chooses by the end of next week.
None too soon if you root for the Canes or the Irish.