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Miami Hurricanes 2024 Recruiting Notebook: EDGE Marquise Lightfoot

A big, rangy, twitchy All-American to add to the stable of EDGE rushers for the Canes? Yes please.

Plant the flag!
247sports

In this installment of The Recruiting Notebook, we meet yet another talented EDGE rusher to join Jason Taylor’s cadre of long, talented defenders: Chicago (IL) Kenwood Academy 4-star EDGE Marquise Lightfoot.

Bio

In the effort to add elite edge rushing talent to the roster, the Miami Hurricanes turned their attention to and recruiting effort to Chicago (IL) Kenwood Academy EDGE Marquise Lightfoot.

A long and lean 6’5” 220lbs, Lightfoot has a great frame and plenty of athleticism to go along with it. And, early in his HS career, Lightfoot flashed the blue chip talent that he’s continued to cultivate over the past few years.

As a sophomore in 2021, Lightfoot had a respectable 61 tackles, 10 TFLs, 4 sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, and 1 Fumble Recovered (both against Simeon HS in different games, ironically). That performance, along with his then-6’3” frame, got the offer flowing Lightfoot’s way. Teams like Nebraska (1st to offer), Tennessee, Notre Dame, USC , Washington, and Michigan would all offer Lightfoot between the end of his sophomore season and start of his junior season.

It was Lightfoot’s standout junior season that really took things to the next level for his recruitment. Having grown from 6’3” to 6’5”, the talented defender showed that height was not the only development to his game.

With an eye-popping 122 tackles, 15 TFLs, 9 sacks, 4PBUs, 3 fumbles recovered and 1 forced fumble, Lightfoot went from known developmental player to watch to blue chip recruit in the course of a few months. And, with that level of performance and productivity, Lightfoot was selected to the All-American Bowl (formerly the Army All-American game), and the scholarship offers continued rolling in from all over the country. Florida, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Georgia, and Alabama were among the many teams to join Miami in extending Lightfoot a scholarship offer following his junior season.

From there, visits took place. Lightfoot would visit Ohio State, Illinois, and USC, in order, before taking his final OV to Coral Gables in late June. From there, things were trending heavily in Miami’s favor, and Lightfoot committed to Miami on July 3rd. He subsequently made multiple unofficial visits — paid for by him and his family — to Miami through his senior season, all leading up to his signing and submitting his NLI to Miami today.

Recruiting Ranking

On the 247sports composite, Lightfoot is a 4-star prospect, the #5 EDGE nationally, #3 in the State of Illinois, and #58 player overall in this class.

Lightfoot committed to Miami over a robust list of 39 scholarship offers from around the country, which included Illinois, Ohio State, and USC, among many others.

As A Player

The first thing you notice about Lightfoot is his size. At 6’5 with a positive wingspan, he has the physical traits you look for in an edge rusher. He’s got great muscular definition at 225lbs, with room to add more weight to his frame. He’s a little light for the grind of a college season right now, but from his build, that shouldn’t be the case for very long once he hits a college weight program.

Lightfoot is lightning quick, and shows good bend off the edge. He’s a high-motor player, and can be seen chasing down many plays from the back side (since HS offenses routinely run away from his side of the field). He rarely went up against a Tackle of his size and skill level, so it will be interesting to see him handle that when it happens.

Mentality is everything, and Lightfoot has a tough one. He enjoys contact (just wait til you get to him as a lead blocker on a kickoff return on his HUDL video), and doesn’t shy away from contact. He worked through double teams on a regular basis in HS, and brings all of his physicality to the tackle when the time is right.

One thing that I always look for with HS edge rushers is their development as run defenders. While getting after the QB is great, and chasing plays down from the weakside is a valuable skill, there will be times where they’ll be the point of attack defender, and

For another look at Lightfoot, he’s an eval from 247sports National Recruiting Analyst Allen Trieu:

Verified at 6-foot-5 and consistently around 220 pounds. Will not have a difficult time filling in that frame. Can play standing up or with his hand down at the next level. Shows change of direction, agility and ability to beat blockers with quickness and finesse. Starting to understand how to win with more than just a speed rush and will use his speed to make offensive tackles over set and beat them inside. Plays with good motor and will chase down plays. Has come a long way in a year technically, but still is working on polishing his game and adding to his pass-rush repertoire. Has to bulk up and get stronger, but upside is there and can contribute early in his college career as a situational pass rusher while eventually developing into a full time starter, which we see him as on the Power Five level.

Strengths

  • Height/Length
  • High motor
  • Speed/Quickness
  • Productivity

Weaknesses

  • Needs to add size
  • Needs to add strength
  • Can develop more pass rush moves

Miami Outlook

Note: changed this up from just a freshman-season outlook to a career outlook for each player a few years ago and we’re continuing that style this year as well.

Lightfoot is basically a clone of DE coach Jason Taylor, and I’m sure their physical resemblance was a key part of Lightfoot’s decision to choose Miami. Over the past few years, Miami has done very well with recruiting this particular position, but adding Lightfoot is how you keep a good thing going.

Lightfoot’s ability to find the field will be up to him, his development as a run defender, and his development physically. With several top-end players on the roster in front of him, it’s reasonable to expect Lightfoot’s freshman season to be a feeling out process, with more snaps coming later in the year than earlier. After that the focus in subsequent years will be to move up the depth chart to become a foundational player along the Canes’ DL.

With the size, athleticism, and potential that Lightfoot possesses, he should be able to push for All-ACC honors in his career. But, if his career takes a more moderate path, he should be able to add value as a situational pass rusher and rotational defensive end, at a minimum.


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

Go Canes