Miami Senior Scouting
One Miami linebacker lived up to expectations. One didn't.
It should come as no shock that I put a day two grade on the twitchy Shaquille Quarterman, but I'm sure most people don't expect an undrafted grade on his running mate Michael Pinckney. Pinckney is generally considered to be a top 100 prospect at this point, but his tape leaves a lot to be desired. He's an undersized guy with unreliable tackling and question play speed for a 220 pound linebacker. He barely beat out Zach McCloud with his grade.
I watched two underclassmen as well upon the requests of the fine Twitter folks, but I wasn't blown away by either of them. Deejay Dallas has a little bit of shake and bake to him, but he's too slow for the pro game based on what I saw on tape. Edge rusher Jonathan Garvin brought more to the table thanks to an intriguing frame, but he's still very raw at this point. The best underclassman at Miami is probably wide receiver Jeff Thomas, who has a knack for highlight reel catches. I didn't do a deep study on Thomas, but he has popped a ton every time I turn on Miami's tape.
Now allow me to indulge in my Shaq Quarterman love.
Prospects are ranked from best tape grade to worst tape grade.
Shaquille Quarterman Linebacker
Listed at 235 pounds and seems to be in that range. Takes the fight to blockers and sticks his nose in the fan. Has some elusiveness to avoid unnecessary contact when working through traffic. Reaction time is excellent. Comfortable in coverage, and should be able to function in both man and zone situations. Tackle radius isn’t great, but he has the mobility to make up for it. One of the smoother lateral movers to come out at linebacker in a while. More than enough closing speed to get into the backfield as a blitzer.
Great ball tracking ability; won’t get lost in the crowd and lose his bearings. Strong enough to finish once he gets his hands on the ball-carrier. Aggressive style makes him a pain in the ass for blockers to deal with. Frame doesn’t have much room to add more weight as he heads to the pros. Twitched up as it gets. Tackling technique could use work. Short-levered guy without the length to control blocking situations. Can get hung up by technically proficient linemen. 3rd Round Summer Grade.
Trevon Hill Edge Rusher
Listed at 6’3” and 245 pounds, but body looks like it can add more weight than that. Long guy with nice proportions to him. Get off speed isn’t special, but he has enough juice around the edge to win with it. Able to flatten a bit once he gets the corner, but won’t get pushed out around the arc. Can rush with both two point and three point stance, although he seems a bit more natural with his hand in the dirt. Not the easiest open-field mover and shouldn’t be viewed as a coverage piece.
Tends to rush with his chest rather than incorporating his hands, especially on interior stunts. Has the strength to get the job done once he gets his hands on the ball-carrier. Motor is a bit hot/cold, but he can be a monster when he’s on. Counters aren’t refined but he does try to fight off of blocks late. A bit of a one trick pony with the dip and rip. Gets moved off spot in run game. Growing arsenal of moves. 5th Round Summer Grade.
Michael Pinckney Linebacker
Active hands when fighting against blockers. Looks thicker than his listed 220 pounds. Gets walked out of the yard by aggressive blockers due to questionable anchor. Might be able to add more weight if necessary. Has some dip when he tries to get under the pads of linemen. Tackling isn’t a guarantee; too many instances of falling off his target. Can take most running backs up the field in coverage. Speed checks the box but it isn’t great. Decent ball skills; has the hand-eye coordination to make plays. Has a good feel for zone coverage duties.
Gets suckered in by play-action. Doesn’t back down from contact in run defense situations. Movements are choppy and lack precision. Leg drive is there once he wraps up on the runner. Effort is never lacking in his play. Athletic testing will matter a ton for him. Uses his hands to control and measure distance in coverage situations. Low chance of working from mid-field to the sideline faster than an average NFL running back. Has some stiffness with movements. UDFA Summer Grade.
Pat Bethel Defensive Tackle
Looks like his frame is already maxed out, but he is only listed at 6’3” and 285 pounds. Drives his legs and can generate some push against imprecise blockers. Has some decent get off and can beat most linemen to the punch with his quickness off the snap. Gets back into the play even he gets detoured. Balance has too many questionable moments. Not a bad mover but you’d expect him to be faster for his weight. Gets into the chest of blockers immediately and takes the fight to them. Needs more counters if he wants to be a complete pass rusher. Play strength isn’t anything special.
Middling length can make controlling engagements difficult. Fast enough to work stunts. Struggles to detach in the run game. Awareness for where the ball goes is an issue. Spin move comes out too slow and makes him an easy target. Has to hone in his movements; looks too sloppy at the moment. Likely needs to win with penetration in the run game. Used as a rotational guy rather than a full-time starter. UDFA Summer Grade.
Zach McCloud Linebacker
Not the slowest guy but he can beat to the corner by most speedy backs. Won’t fall off once he latches on, but his play strength is middle of the pack. Limited lateral agility is a concern for his game. Able to dodge sloppy blockers but will have trouble against more controlled movers. Assignment sound guy who doesn’t stray away from his duties. Just doesn’t move with any explosiveness to him. Might not be able to hold up in coverage from an athletic standpoint. Willing gang tackler who tries to get involved wherever possible.
Tackling technique isn’t the prettiest. Needs to take a more proactive approach to operating in coverage; not impactful as guys pass by his zone. Split time with Finley and an underclassman in the striker role last year. Needs to take more exacting paths to the football; runs himself out of the play. Frame seems filled out. UDFA Summer Grade.
Romeo Finley Safety
Wore a ton of hats for the Miami defense; worked as a nickel corner and a linebacker. Tweener mold might make it difficult to find a true spot in the pros. Too small for linebacker but might be too big for a traditional safety role. Changes of direction take too long to get through. Not a high level athlete and it shows when he tries to hold up in coverage. Fights hard to get off of blocks but play strength might not be enough to do it in the pros.
Runs himself past the ball due to poor angles and issues making adjustments. Build-up speed isn’t bad, but acceleration doesn’t wow. High effort; hustles to the play rather than taking his foot off the gas. Struggles to find penetration as a blitzer. Makes mistakes as a decision-maker. UDFA Summer Grade.
This Miami team is going to be one of the most interesting cases in all of college football. While the defense is losing a ton of talent, they managed to keep a true star in Quarterman. On the offensive side of the ball they'll be looking for an identity once again. It's a toss-up between Tate Martell and N'Kosi Perry to win the starting job, but I wouldn't be surprised to see both guys take snaps. Perry had some impressive moments in 2018, but he isn't consistent enough yet. If he puts it together I do like the potential.
One last note for this team is the loss of senior receiver Lawrence Cager to the Georgia Bulldogs. Cager jumped out a bunch during the Pittsburgh cutups. He's smooth for a big guy, but was misused in the Hurricanes offense. I'll be keeping an eye out for him when I get to SEC players.
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