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Miami Hurricanes 2021 Recruiting Notebook: TE Elijah Arroyo

Meet the next dynamic, game-breaking Tight End to continue the Tight End U legacy for the Miami Hurricanes

State of the U illustration by Mike Meredith

In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet a versatile and explosive player who is the next in line to carry on the tradition of Tight End U: Frisco (TX) Independence TE Elijah Arroyo.

Bio

Everybody knows Miami is Tight End U. Those who say it’s not are liars. Or idiots. Just wanted to put that out there. ANYWAYS.....

In the effort to find the next generation of great Miami Tight Ends, the Canes scoured the country for top prospects. And, in that search, Miami began to build a relationship with Arroyo, a talented player from out of State.

Though he lives elsewhere, Arroyo was actually born in South Florida. His family moved around a bit when he was a young child, even living in Mexico for a time. But, the seed was planted when he was a young kid here in South Florida: Arroyo’s favorite team was The U.

As a junior in 2019, Arroyo helped lead Frisco (TX) Independence to the 3rd round of the Texas 5A Division I State playoffs for the first time in school history. An All-District performer, Arroyo was integral to his team’s success, and his performance caught the attention of college coaches around the country.

In the winter and spring following his junior season, Arroyo’s recruitment blew up. He started getting scholarship offers from teams everywhere. But, everything changed on January 10th, 2020; that’s when Arroyo got offered a scholarship by his dream school, Miami.

There were visits to other schools. There were offers from other schools. Big name schools. Alabama offered. Michigan offered. Texas A&M offered. Georgia offered. Auburn offered. Southern Cal offered. Arroyo took unofficial visits to Auburn and Alabama and others. But after that Miami offer, nothing was the same.

And, after a solid and consistent recruitment, Arroyo committed to Miami on May 3rd. Sorry for the rest of the teams that lost out on him, because this kid is GOOD.

Recruiting Ranking

On the 247sports composite, Arroyo is a 4-star prospect, the #9 TE nationally in this class, #35 in the State of Texas, and #233 recruit overall.

Arroyo committed to Miami over Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Texas A&M, and USC from a list of 24 offers from around the country.

As a Player

Arroyo has good size for a TE at 6’4” 210lbs. He can fill out his frame more to be in the 235-240 range and keep his athleticism.

The main reason Arroyo is rated as a blue chip recruit is his pass catching ability. He has mainly been used from the slot in HS, a position that allows him to create mismatches with LBs who are too slow to cover him, or DBs, who are too small to cover him. Arroyo mainly does his damage on vertical routes up the seam or fading toward the sideline. There are a couple instances of him finding space in the 2nd level of the opposing defense, but that will be an area for growth at the college level.

Arroyo has good speed for a Tight End, and will run away from most LBs that will cover him. That should continue to be the case in college, and we’ve seen that from multiple TEs at Miami over the course of nearly 30 years, including the ones on the roster presently, so just sub Arroyo in for that next.

Arroyo is also very athletic. He can be seen in many instances in games (or on his highlights, embedded below) jumping up and over defenders to make acrobatic and/or contested catches. There’s even a couple one-handed catches on various throws. Suffice it to say that Arroyo’s biggest strength, the one that is taking him to Miami and that garnered all the top level P5 scholarship offers listed above, is his dynamic pass catching and run-after-catch ability.

Like many HS Tight Ends, Arroyo has the physicality to be a good blocker, but he hasn’t really been used in that way. He’s far more valuable as a pass catcher, and better at it as well. But, to be an effective college TE, Arroyo will need to develop as a blocker. The good thing for Arroyo is the fact that this same thing was said about Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, and you see how they’ve grown in that area.

Here’s another evaluation of Arroyo by 247sports Midlands Region Recruiting Analyst Gabe Brooks:

Possesses good height and frame potential to add needed bulk as a tight end, especially in in-line alignments. Frame includes large catch radius. Shows encouraging dexterity in ball skills. Promising hands-catching ability. Owns a 6-2 mark in the high jump. Uses that in contested situations and maximizes catch radius with leaping ability. High ceiling as red-zone ball-winner. Not afraid to elevate and extend in traffic. Flashes good run-after-catch ability relative to size. Solid production as a junior for high-powered offense at Texas 5A level in the Dallas area. Can show more consistent explosion off the line. Overall suddenness can improve, particularly in route-running snap. Can improve ability to consistently leverage DB’s into breaks. Needs more bulk to fulfill in-line duties, particularly in the run game. Talented tight end prospect with high ceiling moving forward. Projects to Power Five level with long-term NFL Draft potential.

Strengths

  • Pass catching
  • Overall athleticism
  • Speed relative to position
  • Height/length

Weaknesses

  • Blocking
  • Limited route tree
  • Can add weight to his frame

Miami Outlook

Note: changing this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player.

One thing is clear: Arroyo is coming to Miami to carry the mantle of Tight End U into the future. He’s as talented a prospect as Miami has gotten at this position since.....the blue chip TE they signed last year. But in an offense that uses multiple TEs to great success, there’s no reason Arroyo can’t contribute early and often in a Canes uniform.

Depending on what the starting TEs (Jordan and Mallory) do following this season, Arroyo could be in the starting lineup, or close to it, right away. But, the more likely scenario is that Arroyo will see spot duty as he continues to develop physically, with designs on a starting/starring role in Miami’s offense a bit further down the line.

Miami has been the best team in the country in developing and using Tight Ends for more than 20 years. That trend should continue with a talented player such as Arroyo on campus, and the only ceiling on his potential is how serious he goes about the work of being great. And if he approaches it like others have, Miami will be in a very good place at Tight End for the foreseeable future.


That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.

Go Canes