Recruiting: Miami Hurricanes’ 2018 defensive early enrollees, including Gilbert Frierson, Gurvan Hall, are fast and skilled

Gurvan Hall, shown running hurdles at Palm Beach Lakes high school in West Palm Beach on April 24, 2017. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Most of Miami’s top-10 freshman class signed early — 19 players so far, with a few more on the way next month — and 10 are expected to enroll by the Jan. 16 start of classes. That will let them compete in early offseason conditioning and spring drills.

What UM coaches told us about the defensive signees expected to enroll early (click on names for our previous profile stories, and click here for a series on the offensive players):

Rousseau

DE Gregory Rousseau is a tall (6-7, 225) prospect who has played all over the defense in high school: at Hialeah-Champagnat, a small school, he was a receiver, tight end, defensive end, linebacker and safety.

He has grown into an end, and could get in the rotation early considering UM’s depth issues on the line. He will start off at the “Viper” position manned by Joe Jackson, Jonathan Garvin (and the graduating Trent Harris).

“Greg has a unique skill set in terms of his ability to come off the edge and rush the passer first and foremost,” said defensive coordinator Manny Diaz, who compares Rousseau to his former North Carolina State pupil Manny Lawson: a rangy defensive end-slash-outside linebacker whose primary skill is getting into the opponent’s backfield.

“You can never have enough guys who can rush the passer and get after the quarterback. Greg does have the ability to drop in coverage and play in space, which gives us a lot of flexibility.”

Frierson

CB Gilbert Frierson earned a rep as an aggressive ball-hawk at Coral Gables High. Diaz touted his “high level of urgency” and called him “very competitive. Knows what it takes to succeed. Has locked down some great players.”

Safeties coach Ephraim Banda, who may wind up coaching him someday, said Frierson (6-2, 185) has “Cane blood” — he is Frank Gore‘s cousin — and name-checked some of the most passionate UM players of recent years when describing the recruit’s love for the game.

“Gilbert’s a freak. We’re super happy to have Gilbert,” Banda said. “His length, his size, his ability to cover people up, his competitive nature is something maybe you don’t see unless you watch him in practices or games. I loved going his practices because he just competed. He had fun. I’m starting to really see it, what makes South Florida different, it’s the competitive spirit the kids play with and he has it. It’s that Mark Walton, that Jaquan Johnson, that Trajan Bandy, something about those kids, Chad Thomas, they just love football and he loves it. … They play the game with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, a lot of fire.”

Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph is a fan of “his demeanor on the field … [he’s a] dominant, physical player.”

Ivey

CB D.J. Ivey, like Frierson, has a chance to work himself into the rotation at corner and is a likely special-teamer.

Diaz said Ivey (6-1, 180) has the length and speed he wants and was impressed with how he was driven to improve as a senior. Ivey was a consensus three-star prospect entering the season, and earned a fourth star according to 247Sports’ rankings. “At times, guys will sort of take the foot off the gas their senior year. D.J. really came on strong this year. You talk to the coaches at South Dade they couldn’t get him off the field. Played on special teams, did it all. Tackling a lot better – a lot more physical at the point of attack. What you want a guy to be in the secondary, D.J. has all the skills and [is] also very intelligent. Outstanding student.”

Rumph liked how Ivey “did everything right,” when he watched him play. “He has a chip on his shoulder and wants to be better than everybody else. I don’t think a lot of people see him but his stats show it. Had six interceptions, led his team to be 9-2. … He’ll get the recognition when he steps on campus.”

Hall

S Gurvan Hall should follow in the footsteps of his friend, sophomore-to-be Amari Carter, as a hard-hitting freshman on special teams. Hall and Carter could be the safety tandem of the future, with starters Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine graduating after this year.

Banda said Carter’s quick rise came as much from his smarts as it did his physical play, and while he matches Carter’s muscle, he’s eager to see if Hall can top Carter in the film room and classroom. Banda considers Hall (6-1, 185) “the best safety in South Florida,” he said. “I can’t wait to get to work with him. … His ability to play both field and boundary safety for us is really intriguing.”

Speaking about Hall last month, Diaz said this: “We have this great group of guys from Palm Beach County. They are the greatest group of guys off the field. On the field, they’re trying to knock the taste out of your mouth.”

Click here for Part I — offensive early enrollees

More Canes over here

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[UM adds standout 2020 player to recruiting class]

[Anticipation building for Miami-LSU, 2018 opening weekend]

[Canes: highest year-end ranking since ’04]

[National title odds for Miami are out]

[Norton, McIntosh say they’re going pro]

[Richt on DTs, ‘alpha dog’ signee, QB]

[How will injury affect Walton’s NFL Draft stock?]

[Ed Reed a 2018 college HOFer; Sapp, Lewis wait]

[Looking back at Georgia’s close calls, final days with Richt]

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