Win, win, win. It’s a broad summary of what DT Nesta Jade Silvera has accomplished in his young football career, yet the mantra cuts to the point. As a star at American Heritage (Plantation) High School, Silvera worked to become one of the most highly regarded prospects at the position in the 2018 recruiting class. The DT was a key member of a very talented roster that would go on to win back-to-back Class 5A State National Championships. It was apparent that Silvera was destined for a huge career, based on his size (6’2”, 280 pounds in high school) and his penchant to make the big play in crucial moments.
With offers from a wide swath of Power Five schools, the Pembroke Pines, Florida, native decided to stay close to home, signing a letter of intent to play for the University of Miami. It can’t be overstated how significant it was for head coach Mark Richt to land Silvera as part of the ‘18 Recruiting Class. Although the Hurricanes would bring on two other players at DT, the four-star recruit — according to 247 Sports — represented the highest upside perhaps of any commit in the class. The Hurricanes lost both of their starting DTs from the 2017 season, and it was widely assumed that Silvera would pick up some time as a plug-and-play candidate at the position. As it turns out, senior DT Gerald Willis III was pretty damn good and Silvera’s peers along the defensive interior weren’t too shabby, either, so he didn’t see as much time as we thought he would. But the man called Jade was not going to be denied an opportunity to announce his presence to the CFB world.
Wearing the No.1 jersey, Silvera worked in the defensive line rotation throughout the season. His most productive game of 2018 to date was a five-tackle performance where Silvera ragdolled the Savannah State offense in a lopsided performance. Silvera’s end stat line of 10 total tackles and 1.5 tackles-for-loss won’t jump out at you, especially given that he worked as Gerald Willis’ backup in this season. With the potential to be as good as his predecessor somewhere down the road, Silvera received a valuable lesson in his freshman year. Yet, that apprenticeship with an All-American ahead of him may be what leads to a breakout campaign in 2019.
Nesta is currently listed on the team’s website at 6’2”, 305 pounds, with the size and frame to be a dominant DT moving forward. There’s no doubt that, with more game experience, spectators will see vast improvement from the young man. We knew that Silvera is a tremendous talent.He took part in numerous high school all-star events that he took part in. From Nike’s The Opening to the Army All-American Game, players don’t get invited if they’re not sought after.
Nesta Silvera’s skill set is the reason why Miami fans should be excited to see him on the roster. Possessing the power to walk blockers backwards, enough speed to elude offensive guards and his ability to employ either speed or a power rush makes Silvera a versatile defender. It’s one thing to be blessed with those physical traits; it’s another to know what situation to use each to your team’s benefit. Silvera posses the vision to see the play developing, avoiding false steps and misdirection in keeping gap integrity. Can you remember another defensive tackle in the country that bowls over punt protectors like Nesta Silvera has throughout the year?
With Gerald Willis III set to miss the game with a hand injury, the time of Silvera is upon us. The freshman DT will face a stiff challenge from a pair of standout offensive guards for Wisconsin, All-American guard Beau Benzschawel and fellow First-Team All-Big Ten G Michael Deiter. The matchup represents a fascinating final exam for Silvera. Having been elevated to a feature role, can a man known for his nasty streak maintain that aggression throughout an entire game? It’s going to be war in the outfield of Yankee Stadium. Let’s hope that Silvera can add one more big win to close out the year.
Silvera has come up huge in big games at the high school level, and starting against Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl, we’ll see if that trend continues into college.
IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE U!