In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet an elite RB talent who will further bolster the skill position talent for the Hurricanes: RB Donald Chaney Jr.
Donald Chaney Jr. is the perfect case scenario for Miami Hurricanes recruiting. A local standout who has been known in football circles since he dominated at the youth/optimist level, Chaney Jr. became an elite prospect and committed to the hometown Hurricanes, shutting down any visits elsewhere once he did. WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!
Though he played at Belen Jesuit, a smaller school with limited talent on the roster, Chaney Jr. burst onto the scene early and often in his prep career. He stood out among his peers, and opponents, and teams all over the country took notice. With 19 offers to his credit (and it would be more if he were someone who “enjoyed the recruiting process” more), Chaney began being courted by the nation’s elite teams as an underclassman.
Like most of the skill players in South Florida, when Football season ended, Track season began for Chaney. He’s an accomplished track athlete, a 3-time State Championship in High Jump, as well as showing very good speed in sprint events. That athleticism gets put to good use on the football field as well, where Chaney Jr. has twice been named the Miami Herald Miami-Dade Athlete of the Year.
As the recruiting calendar turned from 2019 to 2020, it seemed as though Georgia, and to a lesser extent Florida, were Miami’s biggest competition for Chaney Jr’s commitment. South Carolina started to try to get a foothold in this recruitment as well, as former Canes RB coach Thomas Brown — who initially offered Chaney Jr. a scholarship at Miami — found a new home on the Gamecocks’ staff.
Despite all that — and more — contact from other teams, Chaney Jr. committed to Miami on February 3rd, 2019. Since that time, he’s been a mainstay at practices for unofficial visits, games, and just generally around the program. As I said up top, Chaney Jr. has neither entertained conversation from nor taken any visits to any other school since he committed to Miami.
Make no mistake about it: Donald Chaney Jr. could go almost anywhere in America he wanted to play football. He could have easily taken all his official visits, played the bagman game, flipped his commitment 2 or 3 times the way that so many other SoFLA players do.
Instead, he went with his heart, committed to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, and never wavered on that decision. That’s a big win for the Canes, and man, it would be GREAT if more local players did the same.
On the 247sports composite, Chaney Jr. is a 4-star prospect, the #5 RB nationally in this class, #6 in the State of Florida, and #34 recruit overall. Elite. Elite. Elite.
Chaney Jr. committed to Miami over offers from Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, and South Carolina from his list of 19 scholarship offers.
As a player
When it comes to playing RB, Chaney Jr. can literally do it all. At 5’11” 203lbs, he’s well built and muscular, but with the room to add 10-15lbs and still maintain his athleticism. Chaney Jr. has very good speed, having been timed in the 4.4’s in the 40 yard dash at offseason recruiting events, 4.16 in the short shuttle, 10.8 in the 100 meter dash on the track, with a 39 inch vertical. So he’s fast in medium and long distances, quick in short areas, with explosive burst. That’ll work.
At Belen, Chaney Jr. was able to showcase a diversity of skills running the ball. An undersized, Wing-T offense, Belen gave the ball to Chaney Jr. both inside and outside the tackle and largely put the onus upon the player to make things happen. And boy, did he! With more than 3,200 yards and 39 TDs rushing in 3 seasons (Chaney Jr. missed some time with ankle injuries), Chaney Jr. created highlights on a weekly basis on the field.
A 1-cut-and-go player, Chaney Jr. has incredible balance, great vision, above-average speed, and good power. Chaney Jr. can squat more than 500 pounds, so his legs aren’t just muscular for nothing; there’s functional strength there that goes into his runs on the field (and jumps on the track, too).
Chaney Jr. is equally adept as an inside and outside runner. He’s got a bit of wiggle to his game, but he’s best when he’s decisive in making his cuts and getting north-and-south as opposed to dancing laterally on the field. Chaney Jr. rarely fumbles, having done so only 5 times in his prep career. Almost as infrequent as his fumbles are his receptions, as Belen isn’t known for their passing game. But, with hands like his and great athleticism, Chaney Jr. has the ability to impact the passing game as an outlet/checkdown or screen receiver, as you can see from this acrobatic and athletic TD he scored at Nike’s The Opening in a 7v7 game. Start the video at 40 seconds for the catch (or watch it all for the moooooves).
- Physical development
- Ability to run both inside and outside
- Pass protection (never really did it in HS but has the build to do it with proper technique)
- Limited game-reps as a receiver (due to Belen being, uh, sparsely talented and bad at throwing the ball)
- Injury history (all ankle injuries, but still....)
Donald Chaney Jr. is one of the most talent and athletically gifted players in America. He will immediately become one of the most talented and athletically gifted players on Miami’s roster the day he sets foot on campus in Coral Gables. It’s not a matter of “if” he sees the field as a freshman, it’s “when”.
Chances for a Redshirt: 1/10
Yes there are other talented backs on the roster, but Chaney Jr. is simply too good to sit. You don’t get a player of this caliber and keep him on the sideline. He’s gonna play.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruiting Notebook.