Canes football recruits promising in-state talent

Miami Hurricanes football has long drawn upon the vast amount of talent in South Florida to grow its team. Of the 2015 recruits, 13 of 20 are from Florida.Three in particular show promise at the university.

Jaquan Johnson

Johnson is the special kind of athlete that South Florida is known for producing. This dynamic offensive, defensive and special teams athlete played safety for Killian High School, leading one of the best defenses in all of Dade County.

Johnson routinely displayed his great natural instincts, accumulating more than 200 tackles and 10 interceptions in his four years at Killian. Standing at a little less than six feet and weighing around 190 pounds, Johnson already has the size to compete with the receivers of the ACC.

Similar to Ed Reed, Johnson is a great at returning punts and kickoffs with the vision to spot a hole opening up and the explosiveness to burst straight through it. With the tools and the work ethic, he could one day find himself in the same conversation as a game-changing safety, like Reed and Sean Taylor did before him.

Richard McIntosh

McIntosh is hard to miss. At 6 foot, 5 inches and 270 pounds, with enormous arms at his sides, he has the physique of an NFL defensive lineman at just 18. This does not mean the Cardinal Gibbons product is ready to step in right away and contribute for the Hurricanes. Though McIntosh punished offenses with 70 tackles, 12 sacks and two forced fumbles last season alone, he still needs work in the pass-rush department.

When double-teamed, he struggles, gets hung up on blocks and does not have the speed to chase down fast quarterbacks.

McIntosh shines in the run game where he bottles up opposing rushers.

After a season when the defense gave up over 300 rushing yards in one game, a run stopper like McIntosh will provide huge dividends for the Canes.

Mark Walton

As the highest rated prospect joining the team this year, Walton is the prize of the 2015 class for the Hurricanes and for good reason. Walton has good size for a running back at 5 feet, 10 inches and 185 pounds of pure muscle.

Regularly using his physicality to maul over opposing linebackers, he is not afraid of taking a hit and often meets a defender with a shoulder to the chest.

In the 2014-15 season, Walton racked up 1,470 yards and 22 touchdowns. Career-wise, he totaled 2,734 yards and 45 touchdowns in his high school.

Walton doesn’t have the speed of a Duke Johnson, but he is still fast enough to get to the edge and take off down the sideline when there isn’t a hole to run through. With the agility to cut instantaneously and turn the defense around as he bolts for extra yards, he is dangerous.

As far as improvements go, Walton should work on catching passes out of the backfield, though second-year quarterback Brad Kaaya should have no problem working with him. Kaaya will also enjoy his eagerness to level crushing blocks on blitzing defenders.

Coming out of Miami’s Booker T. Washington High School, which currently holds the Miami-Dade County record for longest winning streak at 41 games, Walton is a polished running back that will keep Miami’s running game afloat after the departure of Johnson.