Our third issue of the Player Profile series is all about the electric Jaylan Knighton. The former four-star recruit out of Deerfield Beach high committed to the Miami Hurricanes last November, after decomitting from Florida State once head coach Willie Taggart was fired.
Knighton brings the kind of explosiveness and homerun ability not currently present in the running back room and something the Hurricanes haven’t seen since Mark Walton or even Duke Johnson.
Knighton is a bit undersized at 5-foot-9, 194-pounds, but plays much bigger than his measurables suggest. His career in high school is one of the best the state of Florida has ever seen. He became the second all-time leading rusher in Broward County history with 5,174 rushing yards.
Knighton also possesses elite pass-catching ability, as he added 13 receptions for 267 yards and two touchdowns on top of his already monstrous rushing load his senior year. Knighton was a consensus 4-star recruit and ranked as the No. 10 running back in the country per 247Sports Composite rankings.
Knighton impressed the Miami staff at the start of spring ball with his speed and vision. They were also considerably impressed with his development at such a young age. Though Miami only got through 4 spring practices, Knighton was already working as Harris’s backup as well as getting reps on special teams as a kick/punt returner.
His versatility and early development are why he is my pick to make the biggest impact among all other freshmen this season. I don’t think there’s any other incoming player that fits better in this offense than Knighton. Whether he is bouncing runs to the outside with his speed, catching passes on screens or slants, or returning the ball, Knighton possesses a unique and elite skillset with everything he does.
Knighton has the ability to be a do it all at running back for the Hurricanes. Though his production may be limited since he is only a freshman, his impact will be felt through the locker-room and into the stands.
His combination of speed, power, and elusiveness make him a player that defenses have to game plan for. Knighton is the perfect back to pair with Don Chaney Jr., and the perfect back to lead the Hurricanes into the new era of Miami football.