Miami Football: Highlighting the Recruits Hurricanes Have Signed Ahead of NSD
Lost in the talk following the Miami Hurricanes' road to signing day are the eight signees and six enrollees already at the university.
In the 2014 cycle—Al Golden's best recruiting class to date—the 'Canes are finally adding some program-changing recruits, and a handful are on campus for the spring semester.
Learning playbooks and calls and taking part in weight-room sessions and conditioning are critical, and instead of only thinking about situations, the new Hurricanes get to learn on the field.
From Kc McDermott and Joseph Yearby on offense to Juwon Young on defense, the early enrollees have an excellent opportunity to become much more than special teams contributors for Miami next season.
As of this writing, there has been no official announcement about 4-star linebacker Darrion Owens enrolling at the university. Though his enrollment may happen shortly after publication, Owens will not be included.
Kc McDermott, Offensive Lineman
Height/Weight: 6'6", 300 lbs.
Ranking: 4-star, No. 3 OT
McDermott is an absolute force as a run-blocker; he has good footwork and superb balance, allowing himself to properly impact a defender rather than bouncing off and ceding leverage.
In pass protection, McDermott gets depth, uses his hands to gain position and, ultimately, is flat-out strong.
The brother of current starting center Shane, Kc is the future at the offensive tackle position for Miami.
Joseph Yearby, Running Back
Height/Weight: 5'9", 180 lbs.
Ranking: 4-star, No. 7 RB
Though currently recovering from a broken leg, Joseph Yearby will make an impact as a freshman.
Behind Duke Johnson, Dallas Crawford and Gus Edwards are battling for the second-string job, but Yearby has the physical tools to jump the latter two.
He runs hard between the tackles, finds a crease and explodes through it. Yearby's vision and quick feet are his two best assets. The biggest test will be seeing if, after healing his leg, Yearby is completely comfortable and able to keep his elite cutting ability.
If the shifty back is ready for spring ball, those practice reps will help Yearby both adjust to the speed of the college game and overcome the mental side of recovery.
Trevor Darling, Offensive Lineman
Height/Weight: 6'4", 327 lbs.
Ranking: 4-star, No. 9 OT
A high school teammate of Yearby, Trevor Darling is part of the Hurricanes' impressive haul on the offensive line.
Initially, Darling projects as a guard because his footwork needs to be refined before he can move outside.
He must kick the habit of standing too tall and simply reaching for defenders, relying on his physical strength to overpower his competition. If Darling did this in college, more talented defensive ends would make him look silly, and he isn't quick enough to regain position.
Overall, with some improvement in his fundamentals, Darling will be a nasty blocker for a couple years.
Trent Harris, Defensive End
Height/Weight: 6'2", 226 lbs.
Ranking: 4-star, No. 14 WDE
Out of the five committed high school D-linemen, Trent Harris is the only one who enrolled early.
His frame leaves much to be desired at defensive end, so moving the undersized Harris to linebacker is certainly an option.
However, Harris explodes off the line of scrimmage and finds ways to get off bigger blockers, typically utilizing a combination of quickness and fast hands.
If the Miami coaching staff can get Harris to gain some weight but keep his initial burst, he will be a valuable reserve on the line.
Braxton Berrios, Wide Receiver
Height/Weight: 5'8", 170 lbs.
Ranking: 3-star, No. 52 WR
Braxton Berrios is one of the most exciting recruits in the 2014 class, and expectations are soaring for the slot receiver. The shifty prospect caught a touchdown at the Under Armour All-America Game, and that six-pointer nearly earned him the ever-elusive sixth star.
Slow down, everyone.
Berrios, undoubtedly, is an entertaining player whose ability to change direction is elite. During the 2013 summer at The Opening, Berrios posted a ridiculous and camp-best 3.81-second 20-yard shuttle run.
Durability will always be a question surrounding Berrios, and once he rehabs an ACL injury, he will constantly be tested against bigger defenders. Tim Stevens of the The News & Observer notes the receiver's high school coach anticipates Berrios being ready for fall practice.
If all goes well, he may earn some playing time in the slot as a true freshman. Otherwise, Berrios will be a versatile threat moving forward because he—like Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers—can line up in the backfield as well.
Juwon Young, Linebacker
Height/Weight: 6'2", 228 lbs.
Ranking: 3-star, No. 57 OLB
The Hurricanes are in need of serious depth at linebacker, so Juwon Young put himself in a perfect situation to receive early playing time.
Effort and toughness are never questions with Young, who, for better or worse, flies to the ball with reckless abandon. Plus, he already has decent size and will quickly bulk up for spring ball.
That said, Young is far from a polished product, but enrolling early gives him a fantastic chance to improve his play-recognition and decision-making traits.
As a freshman, Miami can definitely use Young on one of the nation's top kick-coverage units, allowing him to unleash some brutal hits to move blockers.
Calvin Heurtelou, Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6'3", 304 lbs.
Ranking: 3-star, No. 9 DT (JuCo)
But Calvin Heurtelou provides a needed upgrade at a position in dire need of many improvements.
Dieter Kurtenbach of the South Florida Sun Sentinel says Heurtelou "isn't a game-changer...but he can make an immediate impact at Miami," calling him a "hard worker."
And Hurricanes fans aren't asking for an NFL-caliber tackle; they just want someone who won't get pushed backward at the line of scrimmage.
Michael Wyche, Defensive Tackle
Height/Weight: 6'4", 315 lbs.
Ranking: 3-star, No. 12 DT (JuCo)
Similar to Heurtelou, Michael Wyche helps boost a lackluster position for the 'Canes.
Per Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, Wyche was drawn to Miami because of proximity and the chance to play right away.
Wyche gets a decent jump off the ball, but he will occasionally stand up and allow smaller blockers to gain leverage—something recent Miami D-tackles have done quite often.
Mike Piellucci of Sports on Earth wrote a remarkable piece about Wyche, and if you read one more thing today, please make it this one.