As we all know, all good things must come to an end at some-point. With the Hurricanes, this fact of life relates to them and football too. For Miami, 2019 will be the last season with their trio of linebackers, Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud.
All three players came to Miami as part of the 2016 recruiting class, started as freshman, and haven’t looked back since. Their consistency of production at the LB position has been a blessing to the UM program, and will go down as one of the best ever trios to play for the Hurricanes.
While you may be wondering, and frankly worrying about how Miami will move on once they’re gone following their senior season in 2019, no need to fear. The Canes are already stacking up the next great linebackers with their latest commits.
They’ll return players like Bradley Jennings Jr., Patrick Joyner Jr., Waynmon Steed, among others, but today I wanted to focus on those linebackers Miami is adding through recruiting this year.
Prior to May of this year, Miami had zero linebackers committed for the 2020 class. Though, as we’ve seen him do with several lacking positions with recruits, Manny Diaz went on the attack, and the Hurricanes now have four LB’s who have pledged to UM.
First, there’s three-star (they’re all three-stars) Alvin “AJ” Mathis out of Largo (FL), who committed in early May. As an outside linebacker, Mathis presents lightning-quick speed for someone at his position, and shows no hesitation when on the field. In 2018, he logged 86 tackles, two sacks, nine TFLs and five fumble recoveries. He’s a playmaker at LB, and is a two-time First-Team All-District selection.
Next, we have three-star Corey Flagg Jr. who’s from North Shore (TX) in Houston. Standing at 5-10, Flagg is the shortest of the LB commits, but he may end up being the next great linebacker at Miami. One of my favorite players in the entire 2020 class for the Canes, Flagg is just a pure football player, simple as that. As a junior, Flagg totaled an astounding 144 tackles, 33 TFLs and four sacks while earning all-district. Not the fastest player on the field (4.92-40), but the kid just makes plays, what more can you ask for?
Got to see one of my favorites in Corey Flagg today. Pound for pound one of the best defenders I've seen in state. pic.twitter.com/k3TGx40Ni4— Mike Roach (@MikeRoach247) May 14, 2019
Coming in at third is Romello Height, heralding from Dublin (GA), who committed to Miami on July 1st. Standing at 6-5 as an OLB, Height will be used in a multiple of ways, but especially as an edge-rusher/viper in Blake Baker’s defense. Showcasing his versatility, Height has drawn comparisons to Gregory Rousseau. Last season, Height finished with 53 tackles, six TFLs and four sacks, earning second team all-region.
2020 Edge rusher Romello Height is an intriguing raw prospect. Great frame (6-5), upfield burst, agile, really uses his length out in space here pic.twitter.com/FRSYny1f5E— Clint Brewster (@clintbrew247) February 18, 2019
Finally, committing to Miami on the Fourth of July, we have Tirek Austin-Cave out of Camden (NJ). Just like Flagg, Cave is a tackling machine, with 162 last year (averaging 13.5 a game) to go along with an impressive football IQ. Cave also possesses a freakish 6.57 time in the 55-yard dash. Still looking to gain 15-20 pounds, coach Feeley will have Cave filling in that jersey in no time.
Flagg and Tirek Austin-Cave combined for 306 tackles last year....— MarshThomas (@hurricanesmarsh) July 11, 2019
If there’s one thing that Miami has done, and Manny Diaz has done at Miami, it’s develop linebackers. Doesn't matter if they’re undersized, under-recruited, UM continues to churn out LB’s, and I expect big things from these 2020 backers.