Miami football finishes with four top 25 2021 Florida signees

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program signed four of the top 25 players in Florida and has the best class among in-state teams in 2021. Miami also has the most blue-chip players in 2021 with five two-star signees in the class of 2021 and nine four-star signees in 2021. Alabama was second with six 2021 four-star signees.

Defensive tackle Leonard Taylor and safety James Williams are the five-star signees in the 2021 Miami class and wide receivers Romello Brinson and Jacolby George were four-star signees who also finished in the top 25 players in Florida. All four signees were profiled by 247 Sports as they examined the 2021 top 25 in Florida.

George is the 24th ranked player in Florida for 2021 and Brinson 2nd. The 21st through 25th players in Florida were listed with the top 20 analyzed. The signings of Taylor and Williams gave the Miami football program their first pair of five-star signees in the same class since the NCAA restricted teams to 25 players per class.

Taylor is the top-ranked DT and Williams the top-ranked safety in the Class of 2021. The examination of the top 25 players in Florida was profiled by 247 in Where the top 25 players in Florida have signed” by Garret Septien. Taylor and Williams both have a chance to make an impact for the Miami football team freshmen.

"4.) JAMES WILLIAMSMeasurables: 6-foot-5, 218 poundsHigh school: Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage247Sports Composite: Five-star | 0.9922 | No. 14 overall | No. 1 safetyRecruitment status: Signed with MiamiEvaluation: “A unicorn of a prospect. Has been mistaken in the past for a defensive end instead of a defensive back given lengthy frame that’s pushing 6-foot-5, 215 pounds. Isn’t bulky, however. Could add mass and transition into more of an in-the-box defender once in college or try to remain on the leaner side.A ballhawk of a safety that has shown the ability to get from sideline to sideline. Smooth in the backpedal for someone of his stature. Fluid enough to cover a tight end out of the slot. Has a ‘my ball’ mentality which results in plenty of takeaways. Comes downhill in a hurry.Some concerns about physicality did arise during junior season, but flipped a switch as a senior and started seeking out contact when asked to blitz and run the alleys. Will need to learn how to stack and shed if he’s going to be more of a front seven player at the next level. Must also improve tackling technique.Has maintained throughout the recruiting process that he’s a safety, but it wouldn’t be all that surprising to eventually get snaps in a hybrid linebacker type of role. Rare combination of size and skill set suggest he’s a future NFL Draft pick.” — 247Sports Southeast recruiting analyst Andrew IvinsPlayer comparison: Seattle Seahawks linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong."

Armstrong had 134 tackles, 5.0 tackles for loss, four interceptions and six pass breakups for the Miami football team from 2009-11. In eight seasons in the NFL, Armstrong has 156 tackles. Armstong played two games with the Seattle Seahawks in 2020. Armstrong was the 12th ranked player in Florida in the Class of 2009.

Williams had 74 tackles, four forced fumbles, three sacks and two interceptions in 2021 as a senior. Miami is extremely deep at safety entering the 2021 season but a talent as exceptional as Williams will likely find a way to get on the field. Miami also signed safety Kamren Kinchens who is the 52nd ranked player in 2021.

"3.) LEONARD TAYLORMeasurables: 6-foot-4, 265 poundsHigh school: Miami Palmetto247Sports Composite: Five-star | 0.9940 | No. 10 overall | No. 1 defensive tackleRecruitment status: Signed with MiamiEvaluation: “Athletic, well-built frame with room to add 20 pounds or more in college. Adequate length in the arms. Highly disruptive player with good traits to play multiple positions and alignments. Uses explosive first step to shoot through gaps and wreck havoc in the backfield. Always looking to get home and finish.Can drop his hips and bull-rush with good quickness, but might be at his best when he’s working off the outside shoulder of a blocker. Slick spin move and an aggressive rip often times leads to sacks.Good eye discipline allows him to get his hands up into throwing lanes. Spent much of youth running up and down the basketball court, which is reflected in his movement patterns as he’s always maneuvering his lower half to find leverage.Produced on a consistent basis throughout his high school career despite offenses trying to scheme around him week in and week out. Will need to add some strength and keep learning, but should develop into an all-conference type player at the Power Five level. Feedback from the next level suggests that he has the makeup of a future early-round NFL Draft pick.” — 247Sports Southeast recruiting analyst Andrew IvinsPlayer comparison: Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson"

Taylor and Williams will anchor the Miami defense in the future. With a deep rotation at DT and Bubba Bolden, Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall returning at safety, Taylor and Williams will not have pressure to perform as freshmen. With Taylor and Williams, talent, expect Manny Diaz and his defensive staff to include them in the rotation.

Next. Diaz able to delegate to new defensive coaches. dark

Brinson and George will have a tougher time breaking into the rotation with Miami 12 deep at WR. Brinson is a playmaker that has a bright future for Miami. The 2021 signees makeup the best class for the Miami football program since 2018. If Miami is going to continue to improve the 2021 signees need to make an impact.