This past year, Miami has experienced a much needed overhaul amongst its coaching staff featured with head coach Mario Cristobal, offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. However, the positional coach pieces have been just as valuable as the top line of the regime. One of the most notable names in this category is the new Secondary Coach and 2021 University of Georgia Secondary Coach, Jahmile Addae.
As you may recall, Georgia’s stout defense sealed a national championship this past January when defensive back, Kelee Ringo, intercepted Alabama’s Bryce Young and took it back the distance. While the Bulldogs’ front seven was the talk of this year’s NFL Draft, Georgia also had two defensive backs drafted in 2022 - Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick. The man who coached the above cohort to a national championship and now joins Miami? Jahmile Addae.
Experience at a Glance:
Addae hails from the sunshine state albeit away from South Florida. Addae is a Valrico, Florida native and played his college ball at West Virginia where he was an all-conference safety. He also tied the Mountaineers’ record for most pass breakups in a game with five and was a two-time captain. Despite going undrafted in 2006, Addae signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and ended that season on the Indianapolis Colts’ roster.
Addae then pursued his coaching career starting as a graduate assistant in the football video department at West Virginia. He then moved onto become a defensive graduate assistant at Michigan. Addae also worked with scout team offensive in Ann Arbor prior to becoming a running backs coach at Cincinnati. With the Bearcats, Addae was recognized as a top-10 recruiter in the Big East. Addae also was the Director of Player Development.
From 2013-2017, Addae moved onto Arizona and shifted his focus to defensive back where he served as an analyst his first three years and then a defensive backs coach. Addae also had a short stint with Minnesota serving as defensive backs coach and assisting with special teams’. Addae then returned to his alma mater at West Virginia in 2019 where he served as defensive backs coach. Addae then landed with the Bulldogs and coached a secondary that ranked No. 13 in the nation in pass defense en route to the national championship.
Mario Cristobal’s staff just got another huge addition: Georgia’s DB coach Jahmile Addae— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) February 8, 2022
Addae was 247 Sports #2 ranked recruiter in the class of 2022 for Georgia. Huge pick up for Miami! pic.twitter.com/I9YaLO5KEZ
During his career, Addae has been responsible for coaching and grooming a number of quality defensive backs and players with varying degrees of NFL success: Antoine Winfield Jr., Jace Whittaker, Dane Cruikshank, Will Parks, and most recently Lewis Cine and Derion Kendrick in this past year’s draft. Ringo and Tykee Smith, and potentially others, are also projected to be drafted as soon as next year.
As far as results on the field, Addae has now been responsible for three immense turnarounds for the defensive back units for West Virginia, Minnesota and Georgia. Addae only coached Minnesota for one year but moved them up from 51st in passing defense in the nation allowing 212.4 yards per game to ninth in the nation where the Golden Gophers allowed just 184.2 yard per game in 2019.
Addae then took over a Mountaineers’ passing defense that allowed 258.7 yards per game (ranking 107th in the nation) the year prior to his joining the staff and molded them into the number one passing defense in 2020 that allowed only 159.6 yards per game. That West Virginia defense also ranked fourth in the nation in total team defense.
Similarly, at Georgia, Addae only spent one year with the Bulldogs but assisted with delivering the 12th best passing defense in the nation at 189.7 yards per game, which was a stark contrast to the 88th ranked Bulldog defensive back passing defense that allowed 248.7 yards per game prior to Addae’s arrival. Georgia also had 16 interceptions, which ranked eight in the country.
Addae has a tall task to turnaround a Miami passing defense that ranked 103rd in the nation in passing defense by allowing 250.6 yards per game.
RECRUITING TRAIL SUCCESS
Not only has Addae thrived in team development and individual player success, but also has a litany recruits he was responsible for according to 247Sports. He has recruited four five star recruits (Malaki Starks, Marvin Jones Jr., Jaheim Singletary, and Daylen Everette), high end four stars (Julian Humphrey, David Vincent-Okoli, and Jacorey Thomas), and a laundry list of three stars including Miami transfers Daryl Porter and Ahkeem Mesidor.
Speaking of Porter and Mesidor, Addae most certainly played a role in hauling them to the U this past offseason via the NCAA Transfer Portal as he was responsible for recruiting and coaching them at West Virginia. This upcoming season, Addae will have the opportunity to work directly with Porter at defensive back.
COACHING PHILOSOPHY AND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT
Coach Addae really values developing the young men at the collegiate level and finding passion in player development. His mentality and coaching style prioritizes competitive spirit and getting the best out of players. As a 37-year old coach, Addae is a players’ coach and is right there working in the trenches with his DBs. To that end, he describes his coaching style as “informative.”
A former honor roll student himself, Addae employs a Belichickian type of defensive ideology called “one-11”.
“On defense, we call it one-11, which means each guy of the 11, do your job,” Addae said in an interview previewing the Mountaineers 24-21 Liberty Bowl win over Army.
Imagine being a freshman, thinking you're going to redshirt and you're called on to make your first start...— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) February 23, 2022
Against the 2001 Hurricanes.@Coach_Addae says that game was a "springboard" for his career -- a career that now has him coaching DBs at The U.https://t.co/xK8rJY1OSu
Further, the Canes will go from a defensive backs coach, Travaris Robinson, who employed a physical, aggressive mentality with his corners and safeties to a slightly more technical and diagnostic coach in Addae. To that end, Addae has said “it’s all about the passive aggressiveness,” when referring to his defensive philosophy. Namely, Addae prefers his defenders play passive until they can diagnose where the ball is and that’s when the aggressive piece comes into play. For a Canes’ defense that has been criticized for its lack of discipline and senseless penalties, this patience is a welcomed addition.
Addae’s two biggest areas to address will be more sure tackling and keeping pass catchers in front of them (ranked 65th out of 127 in the NCAA in passing yards allowed in 2020). If implemented properly in a disciplined manner (i.e. limit penalties), the patience-oriented system should ideally assist with the team’s improvement in those categories.
This type of mentality is even more important as Miami has a young - but talented - group in the secondary
2022 OUTLOOK FOR THE U SECONDARY
In recent years, the dropoff in decorum of DBs at the U has been marked. Of note, between 2006-2014, Miami produced the most Pro Bowl appearances for defensive backs (15), which easily exceeded the second best college in that same timeframe (Georgia at eight). After 2014? Miami has produced zero Pro Bowl defensive backs.
Miami remains in the conversation of top secondaries of all time but only because of an impressive list from the 2000s led by Sam Shields, Antrel Rolle, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, and Brandon Merriweather, which is not an easy sell due to recent success at programs like Bama, Ohio State, and LSU at the position.
Miami’s Defensive Back Corps Has Slipped Over the Past Decade, But is the Once Lauded Group Headed Back in the Right Direction?— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) June 1, 2021
With T-Rob, Bolden/Stevenson, and Recruiting Success as the Catalysts, Miami’s DB Unit Aims to Re-Enter DBU Relevancy. https://t.co/WW50M91QYq pic.twitter.com/G7Xu4jBBTN
Even more, none of the Miami defensive backs drafted since 2008 have made the Pro Bowl (this excludes Shields who went undrafted in 2010). That is, even though Miami has had some success at recruiting four-star and five-star products, none have really gone on to have a super productive NFL career to date, which is important for sustained success in maintaining a pipeline at the U.
For recent recruiting strategies, the Canes have likely been able to point to recent NFL draftees Artie Burns, Deon Bush, Rayshawn Jenkins, Corn Elder, Adrian Colbert, Sheldrick Redwine, Michael Jackson, and Jaquan Johnson to prospects. However, that list is a hard sell when competing against true recent DBUs.
As far as the depth chart, the secondary has some promising pieces returning. In spite of losing two veterans at the safety position in Bubba Bolden and Amari Carter, the safety position is arguably the most talented position on the defense.
In particular, the U has a safety cohort led by big-bodied 2021 five-star prospect James Williams, heat-seeking missile Avantae Williams, and a ballhawking, rangy option in Kamren Kinchens. These three should rotate at safety, and James Williams could potentially play in the box, but Miami has also been working out Al Blades Jr. at Safety this spring.
I remember creating this edit, back in 2020.— Jasmaine P. ✍ (@Truly_Jas) April 26, 2021
This is legit the future of the Canes Safety room.
Kam Kinchens pic.twitter.com/qpHlW3U5Wa
Blades has predominantly contributed at cornerback during his career but has battled some health/injuries the past couple years. The most promising cornerback on the roster is Tyrique Stevenson who also teetered with five-star recruit status due to his unmatched athleticism, versatility in coverage, and imposing/physical frame (compared to a bigger Antrel Rolle, according to one scout).
Beyond Bolden and Stevenson, there are a number of players who need to take the leap or continue their trajectory. Similar to Stevenson, West Virginia transfer Daryl Porter returns a lot of production as he tallied 46 tackles and an interception last season with the Mountaineers and should occupy the other coveraged corner spot. Miami should utilize Te’Cory Couch mostly at slot corner who also had a solid junior campaign with five passes deflected. Rounding out the group with depth options are DJ Ivey, Marcus Clarke, Malik Curtis, and Isaiah Dunson, all of whom are darkhorses and have the experience to step in where needed.
FUTURE RECRUITING OUTLOOK
Miami has had some spotty success at recruiting and breeding secondary pieces, but the highs have been very high on that front. Miami successfully recruited five-star recruit and Gatorade Player of the Year, James Williams. In addition, in 2020, Miami procured the second ranked 247Sports Composite Safety in Avantae Williams. Initially lost in the shuffle compared these top tier recruits, 2021 recruit, Kamren Kinchens, has brought a lot of talent to the safety room.
Miami’s CB recruitment has not been as enticing in recent years but that should soon change and the quality transfers in Tyrique Stevenson and Daryl Porter. That being said, Miami has landed some quality four-star recruits such as Blades Jr., Dunson, Couch, and even Christian Williams (since transferred), but none have panned out yet. The 2022 recruiting class results could turn that around, especially if the current CB room takes the leap this year.
Miami has procured quality cornerback in 2022 enrollees Khamauri Rogers, Chris Graves, Jaden Harris, and safety Markeith Williams.
Could 2023 Lake Gibson (FL) 5⭐️ CB Cormani McClain end up in Miami by next year?— Spark College Football (@SparkCFB) February 8, 2022
He would be the second highest rated Miami signee of all time. McClain is ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 1 CB, No. player from Florida, and No. 3 overall prospect in the cycle. pic.twitter.com/K9XpDojDzH
For 2023, Miami has no players committed at the defensive back position. However, they have their sights set on the third overall recruit in the nation hailing from Lakeland (FL.), Cormani McClain. The U may not currently be the favorite to land McClain, but if the recent Jaden Rashada commitment is any indication, Cristobal et. al. will make a promising presentation to McClain. Addae will be at the epicenter in attempting to lock down a McClain commitment/signing and his recruiting and coaching development background will certainly increase the Canes’ chances.
Based on the above, there is reason to believe that Miami, which only remains in the top historical DBU conversation due to legacy from over a decade ago, may be able return to DB relevance. Now, by no means am I saying Miami is even remotely close to being in the same area code as top DBUs - or a top ten national unit for that matter. However, Addae is in a good position to help quality recruits within the sunshine state and at the national stage.