Miami is off to a scorching start for #Storm18 with the additions of WR Mark Pope and S Gurvan Hall this week to add to what was already the #1 class in America. Often times you will hear people say that you can not fully judge a recruiting class for a couple of years after it is signed....
I decided to do that and look back at the 2016 class the kids who will be sophomores this season. In the class Miami took 19 kids and ended ranked #21 on 247 composite rankings. There has been some attrition from that class. 2 of the players — WR Sam Bruce and S Cedrick Wright — have been released from the team for various reasons. For the purpose of this we will just look at who is here and who is ready to make an impact going into their sophomore year.
Here we go...
Jack Allison, Quarterback (6-5 200lbs)
Jack Allison was an early enrollee so this is his second Spring. Allison did not play last season but it fully entrenched in a battle for the starting quarterback spot this Spring. Allison has all of the tools and certainly the arm to win the job. For now we will just sit back and watch how it turns out.
Shaquille Quarterman, ILB (6-0, 233lbs)
What can we say about him that hasnt already been said? Shaq came in last Spring and hit the ground running. He was taking first team reps from what seemed like day 1 rep 1. He played in all 13 games a year ago and recorded 84 tackles 10 of those were TFL, 3 sacks and even a fumble recovery touchdown. We got a chance to talk to Shaq after practice last week and he said he feels he is stronger and ready to take more of a leadership role this season.
Michael Pickney OLB (6-1, 215)
Pickney is also in his second Spring and another LBer Miami was able to pull out of Jacksonville for the 2016 class. Like his LBer teammate he also played in all 13 games on the Canes schedule. He finished the season with 61 tackles 7.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks and an interception. Pickney will again be a starter and continue to grow under the tuteledge of Manny Diaz.
Zach McCloud OLB (6-2,218)
We round out the LBer recruiting for 2016 with yet another guy that played in all 13 games a year ago and made a huge impact as a freshman. McCloud finished his freshman campaign with 37 tackles 3.5 for loss and a punt block. I would say that the 2016 class gave us our starting LBers for at least the next 2 years.
Ahmonn Richards WR (6-1, 192)
I would go out on a limb and say that looking back this was a pretty good pick up for Mark Richt’s first class. Ahmonn was a freshman All-American on multiple lists. Ahmonn racked up 934 yards on 49 catches and hit the end zone 3 times for his freshman campaign. With guys such as Stacy Coley and David Njoku leaving for the NFL Ahmonn will have more pressure to produce in his sophomore season. He told us at practice last week that he has worked hard in the off season to get bigger and not get tacled by the first man. He went onto say that last year was a good season but he had bigger expectations. “I would like to get in the end zone more.”
Dionte Mullins WR (5-11, 174)
There has been a lot of talk about Mullins in the first 2 weeks of the Spring Practice. Richt has already said that Dionte kind of stuck out to him after the first practice. Thomas Brown was quoted saying that Mullins has great ball skills and a great feel for the position. He also said that Mullins was his own worst enemy last season. It is hard when you do not enroll until August to make an impact as a freshman. We all know he can play and if he can get the game mentally then I expect him to have a big year and help take some of the pressure off of Richards and Cager on the outisde.
Travis Homer RB (5-11, 195)
Travis Homer fumbled in his first game as a Cane. It happens. He wasn’t afforded too many carries last season with Mark Walton, Joe Yearby and Gus Edwards all getting carries in front of him. He did not let it bother him instead he went out and was one of the best special teams players we had. Now that the depth chart in front of him has thinned out a little Homer will look to take hold of the RB2 spot and flourish. For my money Homer is the best in-state RB recruit in the last 2 years and I expect him to take off as a ball carrier year 2 in the offense.
Romeo Finley, S (6-1, 200)
Like Homer, Finley also had some upperclassmen in front of him in Jenkins and Carter. He played well on Special teams and is looking to take the safety spot opposite of Jaquan Johnson this Spring.
Malek Young CB (5-10, 185)
With Corn Elder going to the NFL and Redwine moving to safety there will be plenty of opportunity for Young to make a big impact his sophomore year. Young really came into his own in the latter part of last season. Dee Delaney, Trajan Bandy and Jhavonte Dean will challenge him when for starting CB spot when they get on campus but I think that one of those spots in Young’s to lose.
Pat Bethel DE (6-3, 250)
I list Bethel as a DE because that is what we recruited him as but all signs are pointing to him moving to the inside. In his second Spring Bethel will look to make an impact on the defense in the trenches. I saw him a lot in highschool and know his talent and athelticism is special. Kool has a good one to mold into whatever type of player he wants. I like Bethel to be in 2-deep in the fall and have a great season.
Joe Jackson DE (6-5, 250)
I think I saved the best for last. Joe is an absolute freak and will have a huge sophomore season, barring anything unexpected I wont use the “I” word. Jackson ended the season with 8.5 sacks and a TD. I do not think that predicting well into the double digit for his 2017 sack total is a stretch. Jackson will have a claim for best pass rusher in the ACC when this season is over. You don’t believe me just watch.
I would venture out and say that the 2016 recruiting class was and will continue to be a success. There are a lot of guys on that list that will be counted on in the 2017 season. We are in good hands.