In an effort to keep even the most hardcore Miami fan up to date on their favorite players, SOTU will be running a Player Profile series. In these posts, our writers will profile two players from each position that they think should get more face time. They will recap their previous year, or in some cases, preview what may be to come. That way, when the season gets here, you hopefully will have a new found love for the team on the field.
Tyriq McCord - Sophomore - 6'3" 236 lbs - Tampa, Florida
A lot of Cane's fans miss the "good ole days" when Miami would seal off South Florida and hand pick recruits from around the state as well as the nation. When Al Golden took to the stage for his first press conference he said that getting back to that gold standard was one of his top priorities. During the Army All American Game on January 7th, 2012 Tyriq McCord was one of the first highly touted and sought after recruits in the local area to give his verbal commitment to the Canes which really set the pace for a fine recruiting class by Golden and the rest of the Coaching staff.
As mentioned in the title above, McCord is from the local area. Although not technically from South Florida, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa and was a blue chip recruit. Many of the recruiting services had him ranked coming out as a 4 star defensive and even ranked in the top 150 players in the country. What many scouts saw from him was a great motor and great agility when coming off the edge of the defensive line. However, the one knock on him coming out of high school and up to the college ranks was that he was very lean and had a wiry build (he was listed as 6'3" 220-225lbs).
When McCord set foot on campus it took him a little time to get acclimated . The video in the link reminds us all what it's like to be a freshmen in a new place but it also highlighted the early season struggles that he had to overcome. Although McCord played in the early part of the season, he often only contributed sparingly on pass rush situations. Towards the end of the season he started to realize that he couldn't "run by" opposing offensive linemen with his god given ability, he had to work on his approach and physique.
Even with the above mentioned struggles, McCord actually played pretty well as a true freshman. He recorded 15 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery and 1 pass break up. The 3.5 sacks actually was second on the team (Chick' had 4.0) and towards the end of the year he did start to see more playing time at right defensive end.
The Hybrid Player Moving Forward
As the season progressed McCord planned to get heavier and stronger in the offseason to combat the punishment he was taking from the normal rigors that occur during a football season as well as the highly skilled linemen he faced on a weekly basis. However, an interesting thing happened that, to be honest, not many people saw coming. Coach Golden and the defensive staff made a number of changes to the defense and McCord was no exception. He was asked to "take his hand off the ground" and play up as an outside linebacker (OLB). With the position change many asked Golden if that meant anything to how McCord's role would be affected when it came to playing and Golden said "not really."
Even with the position change, McCord has kept his goals clear, to gain weight and to get better at the pass rush. Currently he has gained approximately 15 pounds and he's looking to eventually pad on 10 more (that would put him at 245). Also, it's important to note, he's currently ranked 2nd as an OLB behind the freshman phenom Alex Figueroa.
Although he has been moved it is expected that he will rush off the edge on passing downs when the situation arises. Playing as a freshmen was definitely a great learning experience for McCord, now it's his turn to dole at the punishment and "lay the wood" to the oppositions quarterbacks.