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2013 Fierce-40 Previews: #27

by DJ Boyer on Jul. 20, 2013

2013 Fierce 40 Previews

 

#27 Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes

 

2012 Recap:

Miami (Fla.) has yet to return to prominence as the once vaunted “U”.  Al Golden is 31-11 in his two seasons at the helm and he is slowly turning around the culture and winning the recruiting wars you need to in the hotbead of talent that Miami is located within. After more NCAA scrutiny, Miami imposed a ban and removed themselves for ACC title game convention, finishing the year 7-5 and 5-3 within the ACC.

Coaching:

Golden is turning around the culture and after two seasons opposing coaches, prospects, and parents are starting to notice. Miami has a wealth of talent that they are recruiting and the level of prospects they are recruiting is getting better and better. Golden needs to stay the course with the improvement because the results look as if they are about to show.

 

Offense

Quarterbacks/Running Backs:

Duke Johnson didn’t start the season as the Hurricanes tailback but he finished the season there and with authority. Johnson ended the year with 492 yards in his last four contests and had over 100 yards in three of those games finishing with 947 yards on the year. Johnson is now just a sophomore and he may be the best running back in his class. I have Johnson listed as one of my top rated running backs and as a dark horse for the Heisman. Johnson is still young and not a seasoned vet, something the Hurricanes do have in senior quarterback Stephen Morris.

Morris is a prospect who figures to be taken in the middle rounds of the 2014 draft but his stock is rising quickly. Morris threw for over 3,300 yards in 2012 with 21 touchdowns and just 7 interceptions. Morris was one the breakout stars at the Manning quarterback camp and he had no shortage of targets to distribute the football to.

Best Draft Prospect: Duke Johnson RB 1st Round 2016 (Likely 2015 early entry).

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

Phillip Dorsett highlights a group that had at least 7 players that caught 20 or more passes a season ago with Dorsett’s 58 setting the bar. Dorsett has the speed that so many Miami skill players have been known for over the years, but at 5’9” he lacks the ideal height for a big time receiver. Herb Waters 6’1”, Allen Hurns 6’2”, and Rashawn Scott 6’2” are all over 6 feet tall and with Dorsett it wouldn’t be the first time a shorter receiver has success at Miami and can move onto the NFL (Roscoe Parrish, Santana Moss), since he has taller targets around him it will help Dorsett tremendously.

Miami is not only deep at receiver, they have a pair of very capable tight ends in Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland. The key here is ensuring Stephen Morris continues with his growth and spreads the ball around. Morris could be a 4,000 yard passer this year and there will be enough balls to go around and keep everyone happy on offense.

Best Draft Prospect: Phillip Dorsett 4th Round 2015.

 

Offensive Line:

While the quarterback and running back position are both very strong it is the offensive line that should be the strongest point of this offense in 2014. The Hurricanes will be returning all five starters from 2012 and all five will have a chance at an NFL camp, while 3 will not only stick but become very productive. I really like what the Hurricanes have done with Seantrel Henderson. Henderson made the right choice returning for his senior season because at 6’7” 345 pounds, many NFL teams were going to try and make Henderson a left tackle due to his sheer mass. He is gifted and has stayed healthy but he does lose focus and can disappear from games at times. He has played left guard and both tackle spots and the Hurricanes realize he is a natural right tackle. He should dominate this year and be a solid 2nd round selection. If there is a team late in the 1st round with a nice left tackle looking for a right tackle compliment he could sneak into round 1. I think Henderson knows his style and doesn’t try to do too much and this will help him at the next level. Malcolm Bunche and Brandon Linder are both guys that should hear their names called by the 4th round. With Ereck Flowers and Hunter Wells, the Hurricanes have some players waiting in the wings that can step in, make plays, and offer top quality protection when called upon.

Best Draft Prospect: Seantrel Henderson OT 2nd Round 2014.

 

Defense

 

Defensive Line:

The good part about last year's defense is the depth they had and utilized. The younger players were getting valuable playing time to prepare for 2014, and even 2015 when they would assume larger roles. The bad part is that is was one of the, if not the, worst defense ever assembled at Miami (Fla.). The defense allowed 366 points which was a school record. The defensive line failed to get pressure on the quarterback as evidenced by the Hurricanes 13 total sacks of the quarterback, their lowest output in over 40 years. Anthony Chickillo led the team with 4 sacks and was the most active player along the line, even though he endured a slump in comparison to his freshman campaign. Chickillo is the highest prospect, but the player who could turn out to be the real steal is defensive tackle Curtis Porter. Porter is a true nose tackle and missed 9 games last year due to injury and an appendectomy. Pairing Porter together with fellow starter Olsen Pierre gives Miami one of the most athletically gifted starting tackle combos at the FBS level as Pierre is a junior that projects in 2015.

Best Draft Prospect: Anthony Chickillo DE 2015 3rd Round.

                       

Linebackers:

Denzel Perryman is the only returning starter to a linebacking corps that is young and fast. Perryman was second on the team with 64 tackles in 2012 with 6 coming for loss. Perryman has started in the middle and along the outside and is famous for making bone-jarring and highlight reel type hits. Consistency is what Perryman needs to develop, and playing on the outside and having one primary position should help him. Raphael Kirby saw action in seven games as a freshman and it looks like he won the middle linebacker spot in the spring. Tyriq McCord and Alex Figueroa will man the other linebacker position. It looks like both will see considerable time and act as a 1a and 1b player at the position, as it doesn’t look like we have a clear cut starter. Jimmy Gaines was a starter last season but will be the primary backup to Perryman on the weak side. Games has had over 50 tackles the last two seasons for the Hurricanes and is also one of the special teams aces on the roster.

Best Draft Prospect: Denzel Perryman LB 2015 3rd Round.

 

Secondary:

The loss of Brandon McGee is one that will take some time to get over for Miami as he was the only player on the team with more than 1 interception and led the team with 7 passes defensed. Ladarius Gunter started five games last season although he was largely ineffective. In most highlights he is giving up a long play or missing a tackle. Sophomore Antonio Crawford will be the other starter and this has to be the biggest area of concern for this football team. Miami may have to rely on their two young and talented safeties more in the pass game providing extra pressure for the linebackers in the ways of run support. I have no doubt the defense will be better than a season ago (it can’t get much worse), but the question as to how much they improve could come down to how many big plays they allow in the secondary. This is a glaring weakness that many teams will try to expose. The Hurricanes have a pair of sophomore safeties and while both are still a little green and rough around the edges, they are dripping with NFL potential. Deon Bush is a player that could be a future first round pick. He seems to be the one player in the secondary that has a knack for being around the ball and has those play recognition instincts you just can’t coach. Rayshawn Jenkins has a ton of talent and is one of the fastest players on the roster. The range the safeties have on this team is unbelievable, but I just hope the cornerbacks on this team don’t need them to show it off on a consistent basis.

Best Draft Prospect: Deon Bush s 1st/2nd Round 2016 (Possible 2015 early entrant).

 

Special Teams:

Pat O’ Donnell has one season left in Miami as he comes over from Cincinnati where he has already graduated. O’ Donnell has the ability to be the top kicker in FBS this season and looks to be one of a handful of kickers that could be drafted. Matt Goudis will handle the punting duties this season and take over as a the kicker for his junior and senior seasons when O’ Donnell moves on. I would like to see how often the Hurricanes use star Duke Johnson as the kickoff return man. It is apparent he will still be returning kicks but as the season drags on and his workload increases we should see some other players returning kicks. The same can be said for Phillip Dorsett who is the primary punt return man.

Best Draft Prospect: Pat O’ Donnell K 6th/7th Round 2014.

 

Schedule:

The schedule is definitely more favorable than a season ago with the second game against Florida coming at home. Road games at North Carolina and Florida State look to be the stiffest road tests and Miami will get Virginia Tech at home immediately after Florida State in early November. Miami does not have Clemson on their schedule and and they closing with Virginia, Duke and Pittsburgh, which seems to showcase a possible run at the end of the season and momentum towards a bowl game.

 

Draft Outlook:

Most of the big time prospects look to be a year or two away. Miami is not quite back to the prominence they showed in the 1990's and 2000 where they always had the most players drafted every year or were near the top of the list, seeing that they only had 1 draftee a season ago. Yet Al Golden has the program headed in the right direction and hopefully all improprieties and NCAA investigations is behind the school and they can focus on a year where they should contend for an ACC crown.

 

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