Scouting the Miami Hurricanes: The 2016 Signing Class

Jan 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Highlight
Jan 2, 2016; Orlando, FL, USA; Team Highlight /

Every year the national sites rank every player and every signing class to come up with very basic and generalized class rankings. While these rankings have a correlation with success of teams and players, they have no impact on the individuals. And while rankings thousands of players is very impressive, there is no way to have a correct thorough evaluations of every one of these players. The following is how I individually rate the players (out of 10), including reports on what type of players I think they will be as Miami Hurricanes. An explanation of what the individual ratings is below.

QB – B+

Jack Allison (8) – Great height at 6-5 but very lanky. Not a running threat but has functional athleticism and can escape the pocket when necessary. Very quick, tight throwing motion and comfortbale throwing from different arm angles when necessary. Great arm strength and changes velocities when necessary. Very effective deep ball. Handles the pass rush very well and keeps his eyes downfield while navigating dirty pockets. Excels playing outside the constraints of the offense. Puts a great arc on passes and knows when to float it over underneath defenders and when to throw strikes. Extreme confidence in his arm, sometimes to a fault. Needs to anticipate throws better, sometimes waiting for the receiver to get open before throwing. Can over torque his body when he thinks he needs to throw a harder pass. Footwork is a mess and causes inaccurate passes. Needs to improve finding his hot read when there is a free rusher. Under Armour All American. Long time Miami commit. Threw for 1565 yards, 12 TDs and 4 INTs as a senior while struggling with an ankle injury. Early enrollee who will likely redshirt. Projects as a high variance pocket passer who will compete to start in the future.

RB – B+

Travis Homer (8) – Good size at 5-11 195 with the frame to get to 210. Explosive athlete with tremendous top end speed. Great acceleration and balance. Decisive runner and doesn’t waste movement in the backfield when the hole is there. Does a great job of getting skinny and bursting through holes. Makes effective small changes of direction without losing speed. Gives great effort to maximize every carry. Smooth pass catcher and dangerous on the edges and in the screen game if he can get a head of steam. Plays with a good base in pass protection and gives good effort but needs to improve hand placement and patience. Runs hard but doesn’t have the strength to consistently win on contact. Lateral agility is fairly average. Struggles against early penetration and muddled holes. Committed to Miami over offers from FSU, UF and Bama. Put up over 1300 yards rushing at over 6 yards per his senior year. Game breaking running back that will perform best if used in combination with a power back.

WR – A

Ahmmon Richards (9) – Good height at 6-2 but a slim 175. Long strider with great deep speed. Tracks deep balls very well, regularly making difficult catches over his outside shoulder. Closes distance against off coverage quickly, forcing DBs to constantly be prepared for vertical routes. Solid after the catch when he catches the ball in stride but not a huge threat to make people miss. Not overly quick. Struggles at getting off the line against press. Doesn’t win at the catch point and needs to improve using his body to shield defenders. Limited route exposure in HS. Good range as a deep safety. Smooth back pedal and opens up and turns well. Subpar tackler. Army All American. Extremely productive HS career, totaling 126 catches, 2461 yards and 35 TDs his last 2 years. Played both WR and DB. Recommitted to Miami on signing day over Alabama and Auburn. Potential All American receiver who should contribute in a big way immediately as a big play threat.

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Sam Bruce (8) – Very short at 5-8 but not small with a muscular build. Electric athlete with an elite first step. Gets to top speed immediately. Devastating quickness. Great hands and snatches the ball out of the air. Very tough after the catch and hard to bring down in the open field. Not a deep threat but can win on vertical routes from the slot. Team leader and a huge competitor. Under Armour All American. Nephew of Isaac Bruce. Stuck with Miami over Ohio State. Limited ceiling due to his height but should be an elite receiver underneath as well as a great punt returner.

Dionte Mullins (7) – Not great height at 5-11 but a good frame. Great acceleration and can run away from people. Great feet and has plenty of quickness out of breaks. Fluid movement and can shift weight quickly. Good hands and comfortable making catches away from his body. Effective after the catch due to combination of quickness and strength. Very good vision as a return man. Tracks the ball very well in the air. Solid tackler. Aggressive blocker. Played WR and DB in HS. Missed senior season due to academics. Under Armour All American. HS teammate of Joseph Jackson and Cedrick Wright. Some potential as an outside receiver but fits best as a slot receiver or cornerback and return man after some physical development.

TE – B

Jovani Haskins (7) – Great size at 6-4 230 and looks like he could easily carry over 250. Build up speed with good feet. Showed natural hands in limited opportunities. Played everywhere in HS but spent most of his time at QB. One of only two out of state players in this class. Late target by the new staff that chose Miami over West Virginia. Jumbo athlete that can excel as an all-around tight end if he can learn the position.

Michael Irvin Jr (6) – Solid size at 6-3 220 with a frame to add more weight. Fluid athlete with average top end speed. Good hands and catches away from his body. Solid threat after the catch. Shows good effort as a run blocker but needs to improve pad level and overall technique. Needs to get better at using his size to win at the catch point. Playmaker’s son. Committed to Miami at birth. Move tight end prospect that will need to grow into the position.

OL – C

Tre Johnson (5) – Great size at 6-7 280 with great length. Athletic and bends well for his size. Plays with proper leverage and hand positioning in the run game. Shows necessary aggression to play the position. Moves naturally when pulling but needs to bend better at the 2nd level. Extremely raw as a pass protector. Strength is a concern. Overall lack of awareness on the field. Needs to learn proper footwork as a run blocker. Played OL and DL in high school. Late flip from Illinois. Developmental tackle with some long term potential.

Edge Players – A-

Joseph Jackson (9) – Tremendous size at 6-5 245 with great length. Elite athlete with a great burst off the line. Great bend around the edge. Shows good power and can jar blockers back on initial contact. Violent closer that has a knack for dislodging the ball. Extremely raw and will be a huge liability in the run game early. Loses leverage if initial push is negated. Has trouble locating runners. Played everywhere in the front 7 in HS as well as TE and WR on offense. Would be one of the best TE prospects in the country. Also plays basketball in HS. Long time Miami commit. Elite pass rushing prospect that is very far from reaching his potential as a football player.

Patrick Bethel (8) – Good size at 6-3 and a well-built 250. Very solid athlete with a good burst off the snap. Shows good bend off the edge and has an effective speed rush. Aggressive run defender with a good motor. Some position versatility and fluid enough to be an effective flat defender. Comfortable rushing from a 2pt stance. Relies on an outside rush too often needs to develop an inside counter. Can be too high on contact and struggles converting speed to power. Needs to use his hands better to keep blockers off of him. Under Armour All American. Early Enrollee that committed to Richt late in the process over Auburn and Tennessee. Potential starting weakside end that should be an effective pass rusher and a disruptive run defender.

Interior DL – C-

Tyreic Martin (6) – Solid size at 6-3 270 with a frame to get near 300. Decent athlete but won’t blow past anyone. Impressive lateral agility and should excel on slants. Great feel for the positon and knows how to attack blockers. Uses his hands well to keep blockers off of him. Plays with great leverage. Controlled rusher that won’t run himself out of plays. Average first step with adequate snap anticipation. Questionable at the point of attack. Not going to overpower lineman as a pass rusher. Played mostly end in HS. Former Missouri commit that chose Miami over South Carolina. Projects as a rotation 3T who will need to use technique and anticipation to overcome lack of physical skills.

LB – A

Shaquille Quarterman (9) – Average height at 6-1 and a heavy 240. Striking tackler who wins at the contact point. Very smart player who reads blockers well to get to ball carriers. Fluid while dropping back and shows comfort in zone coverage. Runs well in man coverage but will struggle with quicker players underneath. Takes good angles on outside runs. Can get distracted with blockers and lose runners, sometimes dancing with linemen instead of engaging or evading. Army All American. Long time Miami commit who had offers from most of the SEC. Early enrollee. Played with current Cane Darrion Owens in HS. Projects as a starting MLB who should excel as a downhill run defender and perform better than expected in coverage.

Zach McCloud (8) – Good size at 6-2 with a frame to get to 240 while maintaining his high level of athleticism. Tremendous closing speed. Motor constantly runs at 100. Viciously fights through blocks, combing leverage and explosion to knock linemen back. Uses hands well on the edge to control blockers. Does a good job diagnosing plays and avoids falling for play fakes. Comfortable dropping into underneath zones. Some experience rushing with his hand in the ground. Significantly better going forward than back and struggles when having to run with receivers downfield. Can get over aggressive and miss tackles. Early enrollee that decommitted from Miami during the transition before recommitting to the new staff over Auburn. Strongside linebacker with a tremendously high ceiling due to his potential as a pass rusher.

Michael Pinckney (7) – Slightly undersized at 6-0 210 but should be fine for the role he’ll play. Diagnoses plays quickly and gets downhill with a purpose. Good athlete with quick feet. Very good short area burst. Great wrap up tackler that strikes and drives through contact. Can go sideline to sideline. Smooth in his drops and shows good awareness in zone. Can run with backs out of the backfield. Solid blitzer due to quickness but won’t make his money there in college. Will struggle taking on blockers due to his size and will need to use his quickness to work around them. Had a dominant state title game. Enrolled for spring. Weakside linebacker that should grow into a starter and has value has a coverage linebacker early.

DB – C+

Cedrick Wright (7) – Decent build but only 5-9. Super quick feet with good speed. Very smart, aggressive playmaker. Great timing as a blitzer. Smart in zone coverage and has a good feel for routes. Reads quarterbacks well and does a great job of breaking on underneath routes. Shown the ability to turn and run vertically with receivers. Misses tackles due to lack of size. Will over pursue plays and lose contain, trying to win plays by himself. Needs to show he can overcome his size and win at the catch point. Played everywhere in the back 7 on defense. Projects early as a nickel defender with the potential to grow into a starting safety.

Romeo Finley (6) – Good size at 6-1 200. Solid all-around athlete with decent long speed. Big hitter and punishes receivers. Does a good job of redirecting receivers at the line of scrimmage. Good hands and adjusts well to the ball in the air. Effective blitzer. Very raw. Should be better as a run defender. Not a good open field tackler. Lack of urgency in the run game. Struggles diagnosing plays and takes poor angles. Can be exposed in man coverage. Played WR and DB in high school. Committed to Miami over Clemson and Georgia Tech. Very raw box safety that could start in a specific role.

Malek Young (5) – Undersized corner at 5-10 180 which likely limits him to playing in the slot. Extremely quick and shifty. Smooth backpedal and transitions well. Mirrors receivers well off the line. Fairly good hand eye coordination and hands. Willing tackler when he is engaged. Showed poor awareness and effort as a deep safety. Raw in coverage and doesn’t show much in terms of route recognition. Played all over the field in HS, excelling as a slot receiver and return man. Army All American. Flipped from Georgia to Miami when the new staff was hired. Some upside as a slot corner but will make most of his impact on special teams.

Jeff James (5) – Listed at 6-1, 185. Very quick athlete with good range but lacks a top gear. Shows very good awareness as a deep safety. Closes on the ball and has the body control to get between the receiver and the ball. Good ball skills but needs to do a better job at attacking the ball in the air. Subpar tackler who will struggle taking down bigger targets. Very quiet recruitment. Only one year of playing experience after breaking his collarbone as a junior. Productive senior season with 9 INTs. Edgerrin James’ nephew. Has upside as a deep safety but a while away from contributing.

Overall Grade – B

Despite clearly being on the hot seat, the previous coaching staff did a fairly good job of building a solid signing class. There were a significant amount of reaches on the commit list when Mark Richt was hired, but there were also some very highly talent players in the class. Richt and the staff held onto almost all of the top tier talent while moving on from the players who should have never been extended scholarship offers. The new staff focused on closing the class out primarily with Florida players, ending up with 16 of the 18 signees coming from Florida.

On offense Allison is the cornerstone of the class, giving Richt a future signal caller to compete to replace Kaaya. Homer is a homerun threat at running back and the best RB from Florida in the class. The WR class brings talent and versatility, with Richards being an elite deep threat, Bruce excelling in the slot and Mullins bringing an intermediate threat to the group. Haskins and Irvin are a while from contributing but are both solid TE prospects. With the current young talent on the roster at OL the focus was bringing in one tackle this year, with Johnson filling the role. Richards is the elite player in the class on offense, with Allison, Homer and Bruce all being key pieces.

The LB group is very talented and fits together extremely well. All three are already on campus and could play as freshman, with Pinckney at WLB, Quarterman at MLB and McCloud at SLB. Jackson has the highest potential of anyone in the class and is a terrific pass rushing prospect combining great size and length with elite athleticism. Bethel is a disruptive player who could contribute early. Martin is the only interior player in the class, and could be a solid contributor down the line. The DB class has numbers but overall is a low ceiling group. Wright has potential has a playmaking safety but is limited. Finley may not have a real fit at safety or linebacker. Young projects as a career special teamer but could grow into a solid nickel corner. James is a bit of a wildcard due to his inexperience and could out play his projection.

Considering the disadvantage the new staff had, having only a month to recruit during the transition, the class is much better than it could have been. The overall numbers weren’t there but the top talent brought in is needed to build Miami into a conference championship team and eventually a national championship contender. The 2017 class will have to hit big on defensive backs and defensive tackles. A large OL group as well as another QB and a bigger running back are also needed. The 2016 team will be able to compete for the ACC championship with the addition of the 2016 class. If Richt can bring in an elite group in 2017, Miami will be able to start competing for National Championships again.


I prefer ranking players in tiers, with the scores going from 10 down. A 10 is equivalent to a 5* player, or someone I project to be an All-American and immediate impact player. A 9 would be an upper tier 4*, an All ACC type. 8 is a mid-tier 4*, an impactful multi-year starter without the ceiling of the higher ratings. 7 is on the lower end of 4* players, a solid starter but not the type of player you build the team around. 6 is a high 3*, someone with a role but has physical limitations that prevent him from being a full time starter. A 5 is a mid 3*, someone who is likely a project or special teamer. Anything below this is not someone I would rate as worthy of a Miami Hurricanes scholarship.