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Devy Spotlight: RB Jaylan Knighton

Jaylan Knighton looks to build off of a strong 2021 season. With a new Head Coach, and the excitement building around Tyler Van Dyke, Knighton is in line to break out in his third year at Miami (FL).

The Profile:

  • Position: Running Back
  • School: Miami (FL)
  • Year: Third Year Sophmore
  • Height: 5’10”
  • Weight: 190


Before deciding to commit to Miami, Knighton was exploring his many options. Before narrowing his decision down to Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, and Miami (FL), he had several visits. Even after having 4-star RB Donald Chaney Jr. already committed, Knighton was still intrigued by Miami’s offer.

Knighton’s initial commitment was to Florida State after attending their camp. However, Miami stayed persistent in recruiting the 4-Star RB out of Deerfield Beach, FL. After the 2019 season faltered for the Seminoles and coach Willie Taggart was fired, Knighton decommitted from FSU. He moved down to Coral Gables, FL, and became a Miami Hurricane.

Recruitment Ranking

Knighton was ranked as a 4-star prospect, the #10 RB nationally in the class, #19 in the State of Florida, and the #104 recruit overall. Knighton chose to ultimately commit to the University of Miami out of the other 30 scholarship offers he received.

Who is Jaylan Knighton?

Courtesy of

What made Knighton special during the recruitment process was his speed. At Nike’s “The Opening” event, he was clocked at 4.49 in the 40-yard dash. His quickness also stood out, as evidenced by his 4.26-second short shuttle time. In 2020, Knighton surpassed the 5,000 career rushing mark and became the second All-Time leading rusher in Broward County history.

The backfield in Miami was a muddled mess constructed of talented players heading into 2021. The incumbent starter, Cam’Ron Harris, was expected to carry the load for the Canes. Knighton and Chaney were expected to push for expanded roles as the season progressed. The Hurricanes also pried 4-star freshman Cody Brown from Tennessee and added him to the mix. After Chaney’s season ended with an injury, Harris also underwent season-ending surgery. This opened up the door for Knighton to jump in and take control of this backfield.

Courtesy of CFB

In 2021, Knighton rushed for 561 yards and eight touchdowns in eight games. He also added 280 receiving yards with three receiving touchdowns.

What to Expect in 2022?

The one true question mark for Knighton heading into this year is the durability and whether he will be able to be the true bell-cow back for the Hurricanes this season.

Courtesy of

Knighton’s usage was second on the team, only trailing Tyler Van Dyke as shown in the chart above. That faith in the younger runningback leaves a lot of optimism for the upcoming season.

The Canes don’t seem to find his small stature an issue, which was evident when they increased his workload last season. Knighton possesses explosiveness in the backfield that is truly, game-breaking. He finished top-10 in the ACC in rushing attempts, rushing touchdowns, and touchdowns from scrimmage.

Knighton could flash impressive performances in the Canes backfield when called upon. He also can be a playmaker in the passing game, which should benefit him going forward. New Head Coach, Mario Cristobal, has been talking up his new 4-star recruit from Louisiana, TreVonte Citizen, and has many questioning whether he will cut into Knighton’s snaps this season. Chaney is also returning from his ACL surgery, and we will have to see where he is at in his recovery as we approach the start of the season on September 3rd against Bethune Cookman.

While he took a bit of a pounding in Lashlee’s inside zone running scheme, he could take the next step this upcoming season, serving as a strong side one-two punch with one of the bigger backs in that backfield in Thad Franklin, Cody Brown, or Don Chaney Jr.

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