The University of Miami has a new offensive line coach in Butch Barry. Barry comes to the ‘Canes from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he served as the assistant offensive line coach. Before his stint in the NFL, Barry coached with Miami offensive coordinator (then head coach) Dan Enos while at Central Michigan.
Coach Barry has been hot on the recruiting trail trying to bolster a weak Miami offensive line. The hardest position to evaluate off of high school tape is the offensive line, and it’s not much easier at camps and combines because they aren’t padded up. It takes a bit of gut instinct and a lot of experience to find the right fit on the O-Line.
That brings us to the trio of linemen that Coach Barry has committed to the 2020 class. Jalen Rivers, Chris Washington and Antonio Smith are three and four star recruits that want to be a part of what Manny Diaz is building in Coral Gables.
In part one, we’ll take a look at Jalen Rivers, the four-star prospect out of North Florida.
Jalen Rivers is a four-star blue chip offensive tackle out of Oakleaf High School in Orange Park, FL. Another Oakleaf alumnus? Current Miami starting linebacker Shaquille Quarterman. Rivers is six-foot-six, 330 pounds and doesn’t look a bit over 300. He’s tall, long, lean and looks like a superb athlete who can move and doesn’t lumber on pulls or in pass protection.
Below- He locks in, fits and finishes his block.
Strengths: Rivers has day one starter size already and looks like he’s in great shape. Unlike some of the other large offensive linemen that are recruited in he doesn’t have 50+ pounds of bad weight to lose before his first fall camp. Rivers looks to use a drive-catch method, which I love, and he works downfield on long runs.
Below- I really like the gather step he uses to lock onto the defensive end.
Weaknesses: At times, Rivers will slap at defenders instead of punch, fit and finish them. At his size and against the competition level that can work in high school. In the ACC he’s going to have to learn to punch and lock in on guys like Jonathan Garvin or get beat by him every week in practice.
Below- There’s no punch, no finish, and if the defensive end isn’t bad he would’ve gone right past Rivers here.
Reasons to be excited: If Dan Enos is going to continue to run dart (read more about dart here) Rivers can pull, get up field, and find a linebacker. He does this really well and runs with nice control, although he could improve on his running form.
Below- a nice pull and gather from Rivers.
Jalen Rivers has the ability to come in and compete right away. Miami has already brought in one highly competitive freshman in Zion Nelson. Nelson is a diamond in the rough but Rivers is more like Navaughn Donaldson or DJ Scaife- he’s expected to be an immediate impact player once he arrives in Coral Gables.
Stay tuned for reports on Chris Washington and Antonio Smith.