Junior - DE/OLB - 6'3 245 - Tampa, FL
Last season the former 4 star recruit recorded 4 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, and 2 INT. Among the 4 sacks was arguably the biggest defensive play of UM's season when he sealed the deal Vs Florida with a HUGE 4th quarter sack, forced fumble and recovery:
Clearly #17 has high impact potential, particularly as a pass rusher.
However, last season he recorded just 13 tackles on the season, and 3 of his 4 sacks were recorded in the first 6 games. He contributed almost nothing over the second half of the season. So what happened?
Against Wake Forest in Week 7, he left the game in the first half with an undisclosed injury. He continued to suit up every game, but there were some where he was nearly invisible (though he did record another sack in the home finale Vs UVA).
It is hard to ignore the drop off and not assume that health had something to do with it. McCord was arguably having the best season of any UM defender prior to getting banged up.
Can he rebound and have a monster junior campaign?
I think so.
The talent, athleticism and speed have always been there. His quickness on the edge and strong hands make him an ideal pass rusher. Last season his role was expanded and he saw some time as an every down player at OLB. He needs to be more of a factor against the run though if he hopes for that to continue.
And this season he has even more competition for both roles.
Al-Quadin Muhammad is a freak of an athlete who brings similar attributes to the table as McCord. And he is no longer a freshman.
And perhaps the most talented incoming freshman in the entire class is another projected DE/OLB in Chad Thomas.
McCord is going to have to hit the ground running this season in order to secure consistent PT as UM suddenly has a multitude of talented options on the edge.
But of the three players he clearly has the most experience.
Summary: Miami's drop off on D was palpable post McCord injury. He is a big play magnet. But like the rest of the unit he needs to be stout on all first and second down as well. It will be interesting to see how Al Golden and Mark D'Onofrio use McCord. Will he earn his was onto the field as more than a situation pass rusher as a consistent 3-4 OLB? Time will tell. But at minimum he will be needed to supply consistent heat on the QB for the 'Canes defense to improve in 2014.
Stay tuned for more player profiles as we count down to Labor Day Vs Louisville.