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Hyundai Sun Bowl Player Spotlight: Freshman Defensive Tackle Kendrick Norton

During this series, State of the U will showcase underclassmen that'll have a considerable role in the Hyundai Sun Bowl game, and for the Hurricanes in the coming years.

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

With the announcement that defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins has been ruled academically ineligible for the Hyundai Sun Bowl, his absence may offer more playing time for an up-and-coming freshman. Kendrick Norton was coming on strong towards the end of the season for the Hurricanes and is making a push for playing time.

Courtel Jenkins, a 6-foot-1, 311 pounds, sophomore, appeared in all 12 games for the Miami Hurricanes and made seven starts. Jenkins registered 29 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. His presence on the defensive line will be missed. In Miami's season finale against the Pittsburgh Panthers, Jenkins earned a starting role and recorded three tackles and one quarterback hurry.

Kendrick Norton, a former three-star recruit out of Jacksonville's Trinity Christian Academy, arrived in Coral Gables for Miami's first summer session in June. As a true freshman, Norton made his debut for the Hurricanes in their season opener against Bethune-Cookman and registered his first tackle, a seven-yard sack. Kendrick appeared in 11 games for the Canes, and totaled 18 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one sack.

With defensive tackle Michael Wyche no longer with the team and Courted Jenkins being ruled academically ineligible for the bowl game, Kendrick Norton's likely to see an increased role on the defense. Alongside fellow defensive tackles Ufomba Kamalu, Calvin Heurtelou, Anthony Moten, and Jelani Hamilton, Norton will make his push for playing time. As the youngest of the group, however, he faces the greatest challenge.

The Miami Hurricanes square off with the Washington State Cougars on Saturday, December 26 at 2:00 p.m. ET in the 82nd Hyundai Sun Bowl.