In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet yet another blue chip Safety joining the Canes secondary: Miami (FL) Northwestern S Kamren Kinchens.
Miami has had great success recruiting blue chip Safeties in recent years. And even though Miami was pursuing a 5-star S in this class, teams need more than 1 player at that crucial defensive position. So the Canes added yet another blue chip player at the position to the recruiting board: Miami Northwestern S Kamren Kinchens.
Kinchens burst onto the scene, and recruiting radar, with a massive 2018 season as a sophomore for a Bulls team that won a 6A State Championship: 76 tackles, 7 TFL, 4 INT, 1 Sack, and 12 PBUs. When you perform like that, especially for a program such as The West, double especially in a State Championship season, that gets you attention.
And that attention came in hot and heavy for Kinchens. Staring in January of 2019, just a month after Northwestern’s State Championship victory, Kinchens was inundated with scholarship offers. P5 teams from all over wanted to throw their hat in the ring for this dynamic player from one of the preeminent HSFB programs anywhere.
Even with teasm from everywhere getting involved in recruiting Kinchens, Miami was able to get the talented playmaker on campus for multiple unofficial visits and recruiting events in the months following his breakout sophomore season. And though Kinchens wouldn’t end up committing until his senior year, the early work Miami did ended up paying off in a commitment.
But it wasn’t easy. Kinchens had another massive season as a junior — 74 tackles, 9 interceptions, and 3 TFLs — and then all the recruiting heavy weights came calling. Clemson. Ohio State. LSU. Alabama. And for his part, Kinchens entertained the overtures that those teams made for him. He took unofficial visits to several schools, and seemed to be considering all his options.
But, as his season approached, Kinchens came to a point of clarity: he wanted to stay in Miami. And, despite some heavy interest from other major P5 teams, Kinchens made that dream come true when he committed to the Canes on July 11th.
On the 247sports composite, Kinchens is a 4-star prospect, the #23 S nationally in this class, #54 in the State of Florida, and #331 recruit overall.
Kinchens committed to Miami over Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, and Oregon from a list of 28 scholarship offers from around the country.
As A Player
Kinchens is well built for a Safety. At 5’11” 201lbs, he has good size and great physicality for the position. Kinchens could add a bit of weight, but he already comes in with a game-ready physique for his build, and that’s great!
When you watch Kinchens on film, he’s great as an over-the-top zone defender. Whether it’s covering the deep 1⁄2 in cover 2 or ranging from sideline to sideling from the middle of the field in cover 1, Kinchens understands his defensive responsibilities and performs them well.
While Kinchens is very productive and sound in his technique making tackles, his ball skills are what make him special. With 14 interceptions as a HS sophomore and junior, and more adding to that number as a senior, Kinchens has shown impact ability at creating takeaways when the opportunity presents itself.
An area for growth is man-to-man coverage. Kinchens didn’t have to do it much in HS, and though he could be okay in that role, he’ll need reps to develop those skills. Additionally, he’s not the biggest Safety you’ll find, so opposing offenses could find success by creating matchups with taller Tight Ends in the middle of the defensive secondary.
Kinchens is rarely used as a run defender at the point of attack or blitzer, but when he’s given those assignments he performs them well. He’ll need to use leverage to his advantage at the point of attack since he’s not the biggest player in the world.
Here’s another evaluation of Kinchens by 247sports Southeast Recruiting Analyst Andrew Ivins:
Mid-sized frame for a safety, but already up to over 200 pounds. A true ballhawk with some range that picked off nine passes while working over the top as a junior for a program that won a 5A state title. Instincts and ability to quickly diagnose plays allow him to get a head start and crash passing lanes. Quickly finds his balance while in motion and is accurate with sense of angles. Elusive with the ball is in his hands. Described by his coaches as almost a quarterback on defense that knows everyone’s assignments and is able to get his teammates lined up. Will engage in contact, but must get better at finishing off tackles. Also needs to improve overall foot speed. An intriguing defender that could eventually find himself working in the box if he keeps growing. Figures to develop into a contributor and eventual starter for a Top 25 program.
- Ball skills
- Big play ability (creating turnovers/impact plays)
- Physical build
- Football IQ
- Average straight line speed
- Man coverage
- Consistent tackling technique (particularly in Miami’s “rugby tackling” style)
Note: changing this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player.
Kinchens is going to have to earn his way onto the field at Miami by competing against a great group of Safeties. But, he’s a blue chip player with multiple championships to his credit, so he has the performance and pedigree to do just that.
With Safety being the most loaded position group on the roster in my opinion, Kinchens will likely have to begin as a special teams and depth player before working his way up the roster towards the main rotation or starting lineup.
Kinchens has the chance to be a starter, and a good one, for Miami down the road. But, with so many blue chip players on the roster at this position, including 5 in the 3 classes above him, it might take a few years for that to be the situation. Nevertheless, Kinchens will have a role on this team and defense in the years to come, but it will be a couple seasons before he’s a core player for the Canes defense.
That’s it for this installment of The Recruiting Notebook.