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Why Freshman Jaylan Knighton Is The Future Of The Hurricanes At Running Back

Photo Credit: Tim Brogdon / Miami Athletics

One of the top prospects coming out of Broward County, true freshman Jaylan Knighton has the opportunity to become a superstar for the Miami Hurricanes.

Playing at Deerfield Beach (FL.), Knighton was a highly sought out athlete, ranked as the No. 10 running back in the country. The 2020 four-star flipped his commitment from Florida State to Miami in November of 2019 following the firing of Seminoles head coach Willie Taggart.

Jaylan “Rooster” Knighton, the nickname given to him at a young age by his former coach, helped the Bucks total a 10-4 record in 2019, rushing for 1,414 yards and 19 touchdowns. In the passing game, Knighton proved himself as a threat, garnering 267 receiving yards along with 2 touchdown catches.

Knighton completed his high school career with over 2,000 total yards and 26 touchdowns.

Opportunities Heading Forward

Currently in week 3 of fall camp, Knighton has been added to the mix of another deep running back group for the Canes. While junior Cam’Ron Harris is the projected starter, as told by years past, Miami’s system provides good carries for second running back’s. Knighton will compete with freshman Don Chaney Jr. and redshirt junior Robert Burns for the second-string spot.

While the talent Knighton has is clear, many doubted the impact he would have in his first season under Manny Diaz with such a stacked group of players.

However, during the first few practices and scrimmages of fall camp, Knighton has stood out the most among the freshman, giving himself a great chance to receive frequent snaps in the backfield, similar to former Cane Deejay Dallas in 2018, when he sat behind Travis Homer, and also Harris behind Dallas last season.

“They both had a great camp. It was great to see them get out here,” coach Diaz said on Knighton and Chaney Jr following UM’s first fall scrimmage. “Their first couple carries a little bit of okay, but once they got comfortable you could really see them, see their explosion.”

The two running back rotation has been excellent for Miami’s offense in the past few seasons, giving the starter breaks and allowing the backup to get carries while being able to learn from the experienced back.

Potential For Success

While we’ll certainly not see an offense showcasing from Knighton in 2020, what the future holds for the hometown star is exciting and has many thrilled.

Rooster will be able to develop in a deep position group while still seeing the field occasionally, whether on special teams or as a third-down back.

As coach Diaz and his staff insert its depth chart as the season opener approaches, make sure to be on the lookout for the future of Hurricanes football.

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