What to Like:
Elder is a tremendous football player. His production numbers on the field over the last couple seasons were incredible. Elder finished his junior season with over 2,000 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns. He then finished his senior season with over 2,600 yards rushing and 39 touchdowns. It's hard to find those production numbers anywhere in the entire country. He also played both ways at Ensworth High in Tennessee. He picked off several passes the last couple seasons. He also plays in the return game, and is just the type of player who never leaves the field.
Elder is used to winning and competing at the highest level. He was part of three state championship teams in Tennessee. Because of that, you have to believe that he knows how to win. He knows what it takes during the offseason. He's been where a lot of current Hurricanes never were in high school -- at the top. That should help him come here with a winning and competitive mindset.
Elder is an absolute game-changer when he has his hands on the football. He can make people miss inside a phone booth. When he gets into the open field, good luck. He can make you miss. He has tremendous speed and quickness in the open field. He's a talented pass-catcher out of the backfield. He can just do so many things for an offense, and also be an asset in the return game.
Sometimes when you sign players late, they were lightly recruited for a variety of reasons. That's not the case here. Recruited like one of the top running backs in the South, Elder was wanted by a lot of premier programs including Ohio State, Auburn, and UCLA.
What may concern you:
At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, Elder lacks ideal size to be a running back at the major college level. He won't get a whole lot of his yards between the tackles. He's not the type of player who will break a lot of tackles for you. That's not his game.
The state of Tennessee doesn't play the quality of football like they do in Florida. And so while his production numbers were outstanding, he wasn't playing against the best competition around. And when you throw in the fact that Miami's other running back, Augustus Edwards, played against some lesser competition in New York, it's a possible cause for concern.
This is a huge commitment for the Hurricanes. They came real close to landing five-star Alex Collins, who picked Arkansas at the very end of the recruiting process. The Hurricanes really needed two running backs in this class. Elder, who is also a very good player on defense and could ultimately play on that side of the ball in college, gives them that second back.
Elder is now the closest thing Miami has on its roster to Duke Johnson. New offensive coordinator James Coley said on NSD that he'd like to have running backs who can move the chains and he'd like to have running backs who can change the scoreboard. Edwards isn't a home run threat. He's an inside runner who will do a great job moving the chains over the next few years. Elder, on the otherhand, will change the scoreboard quite often. Like Johnson, he's a threat to score every time he touches the football.
The Hurricanes now appear to be set with their running backs heading into the 2013 season. The 2014 group will be very important, as a pair of five-star caliber players have a lot of early interest in the Canes -- Sony Michel and Dalvin Cook.