In this installment of The Recruit Notebook, we meet a big, versatile defender who will help shepherd Miami’s DL into the next decade: DE Elijah Roberts.
Miami’s quest for multiple high level defensive linemen in the 2020 recruiting class was well known. Luckily for the Canes, there was a high level talent right in there back yard: Miami (FL) Columbus DE Elijah Roberts.
Like many local players, Roberts wanted to play for The U. He played well and camped at Miami, and elsewhere, many times to get on the Canes’ radar and get an offer. And, while that offer came early, Roberts was not thought to be super high on Miami’s recruiting board for a while.
In June 2019, Roberts named a Top 5 of Miami, Florida, Florida State, Georgia Tech and South Carolina. And, with that done, he began taking visits, unofficial and official. Roberts took one of his myriad unofficial visits to Miami just days after releasing the aforementioned top 5, and then he took the first trip of serious note: an official visit to South Carolina. Things went well, but still, his heart was home in Miami. And with visits underway, the game was afoot.
After traveling to South Carolina for his official visit, Roberts visited Miami a week later and committed to the Canes on the spot. Following that visit, Roberts has visited Miami at least 3 other times, an easy task since he’s a local prospect.
Roberts stayed committed to Miami through an up-and-down 6-6 season, and was one of the key players helping Columbus to their first ever State Championship, won just days ago.
In the end, it took a bit of back and forth, and some serious leg work by the staff, but Miami adds a big, physical, talented player to the DL group. And that, my friends, is a good thing.
On the 247sports composite, Roberts is a 4-star prospect, the #14 SDE nationally in this class, #55 in the State of Florida, and #324 recruit overall.
Roberts committed to Miami over offers from South Carolina, Florida, Florida State, and Georgia Tech from his list of 18 scholarship offers.
As a player
Roberts is the kind of player that could find a home in multiple places along Miami’s DL. The 6’3” 267lb lineman could stay at DE, where he’s played in HS. He would be a bigger player there, but his size would allow him to continue to be a very good run defender, something he excelled at in HS.
The way most people see Roberts going in college is the route that RJ McIntosh previously took: big DE in HS with good athleticism who added a bit of weight and moved inside. There, his quickness would become a major weapon, and his ability to play against the run and get upfield to rush the passer would be at a premium.
Roberts uses his size well, and plays with good leverage. He’s able to take on and shed blocks to get after the ball and make plays. His weight (good, not sloppy at his size) gives him a good foundation to build upon, and should give him the base to add weight and strength moving forward. Roberts was timed at 5.01 in the 40 yard dash last spring, so he’s not the fastest player in the world, but you don’t really need long speed from your DLinemen. He’s quick and uses his hands well, and those traits will be the ones he uses most moving forward into the college level.
- Holds edge vs run
- Physically strong
- Versatility — could be big DE or move inside as athletic DT
- No defined position
- Pretty slow (matters if he stays at DE)
Miami has done a great job recently at recruiting and developing defensive linemen. A player like Roberts is the perfect fit here; he can test his abilities at DE and DT and see which fits best. But, to use those skills to their best ability, Roberts will probably need a year to reshape his body in the way the best fits his future position, and refine his skills at that spot, too.
Chances for a Redshirt: 8/10
Miami has several players on the roster and in this recruiting class who are more game-ready at this point in time. This is especially true at DT, where the 2019 signees are a year into their college experiences and ready to make plays. Roberts will be a player here, just in the future, not 2020.
That’s it for this installment of the Recruiting Notebook.