Miami football 2021 recruiting class has ACC top two players

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program has a bright future with the top two players in the ACC in their 2021 recruiting class.

Five-star commits defensive tackle Leonard Taylor and athlete James Williams who plays safety at American Heritage are the top two commits in the ACC in the Class of 2021. The future of the Miami football program is bright. Miami has not signed two five-star players in the same class since 2008.

The top 10 recruits in the ACC were profiled by 247Sports on Thursday. The Miami football program holds the Top 10 two commits in the ACC is huge for Manny Diaz and his staff. Taylor and Williams will anchor the Miami defense for years to come beginning in 2021. Taylor and Williams are both having dominant seasons.

Taylor has 18 tackles, six tackles for loss and an interception in three games for Palmetto this season according to Max Preps. Williams has 37 tackles, five TFLs, two sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery this season. The Miami defense has not been as stout in 2020 as they have been over the previous four seasons.

Miami is 40th in scoring defense and 48th in total defense this season. Taylor and Williams were both profiled by 247 Sports. The potential for Taylor and Williams is that they can become the first pair of Miami teammates to be taken in the first round of the NFL Draft on defense since Jon Beason and Brandon Meriweather in 2007.

"JAMES WILLIAMS – ATH – MIAMI, NO. 12 OVERALLWilliams committed to Miami back in July and joins Taylor as the top two prospects coming into the ACC next season. In addition to being ranked the No. 1 athlete in the class, he is the No. 143 all-time prospect according to the 247Sports composite rankings, despite being ranked behind Taylor in the class overall.Barton Simmons: “Active ripping at the football and forcing the issue as a disruptor. Despite overwhelming physical tools, more of a finesse defender. Needs to develop a killer instinct as a tackler. Unique size and athleticism combination gives him versatility…Will be an impact Power Five starter that projects as a first-round NFL Draft pick that offers versatility that we don’t see every year."

The Miami football team has struggled at linebacker this season. Williams projects as either a safety or striker at the next level.

Gilbert Frierson

has played well at striker ranking second on Miami with 40 tackles, third with nine TFLs, second with three pass breakups and contributing two sacks and one fumble recovery.

Diaz will figure out where Williams fits best and is needed most. Players like Williams and Taylor will get on the field. Miami should be loaded at DT in 2021 with starters Jared Harrison-Hunte and Nesta Silvera returning next season. Miami also has Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley and Jordan Miller back at DT.

"LEONARD TAYLOR – DT – MIAMI, NO. 9 OVERALLTaylor is a five-star prospect and the No. 1 defensive tackle prospect in the country. It certainly seems like Taylor could fit in right away along the Miami defensive line. He also fielded offers from Alabama and Auburn before committing to the Hurricanes in August.Charles Power: “Looks like one of the top overall prospects nationally in the 2021 cycle and among the better defensive linemen to come out of South Florida in years. Projects as a multi-year starter at the Power Five level with all-league and All-American potential and the upside of developing into a first-round draft pick.”"

Taylor is likely to be the most dominant DT Miami has had since at least Gerald Willis was named a second-team All-American in 2018. Miami should be able to build around Taylor and Williams with their 2022 and 2023 recruiting classes. Being able to build recruiting classes accumulatively is important to become a contender in the ACC.

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The 2022 Miami recruiting classes rankings, 18th, but the only two commits are on the defensive line. Four-star DT Brandon Cleveland and three-star DE Jamaal Johnson will continue to give Miami a strong defensive line rotation in the future. The 2021 and 2022 Miami signing classes should both finish strong.