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Takeaways from Miami’s Final Spring Scrimmage

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I share my observations from Miami’s scrimmage this past Saturday. Fans and recruits are excited about the future.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Saturday’s scrimmage at Boca High that concluded spring practice for the Hurricanes. I appreciate the opportunity and was thankful I was able to see this team in person before the long summer doldrums ahead. 2017 has the potential to be a special season. Here are my takeaways on some players or topics that jumped out to me this weekend.

N’Kosi Perry - Everyone is anxiously awaiting his arrival on campus. While Miami’s quarterbacks had some nice moments on Saturday, none of them reminded fans of Brad Kaaya. Mark Richt has clearly left the door open for Perry to emerge as the starter if he impresses right away in August.

Malik Rosier - He threw a few interceptions, but I thought he looked the best out of the group at the scrimmage. Rosier was the most comfortable and his leadership was evident from the stands. He threw a nice touchdown to Chris Herndon and also showed off his legs on a few running plays. Shirreffs was solid, but I would be surprised if he beats out Rosier in the fall, especially with a trip to Florida State looming in Week 3. In my opinion, if Perry doesn’t take over the position in the first few weeks of camp, the starting job will go to Rosier.

Mark Walton - On nearly every Walton run, I was holding my breath for two reasons: First, Miami cannot afford an injury given the limited depth at RB. Second, because you never know when Walton will break a tackle unexpectedly and create a big run out of nowhere. He is poised to have a monster year. As a sophomore, Walton ranked 4th in the ACC in rushing yards among running backs in 2016 and is the only one of the top five returning this season. I expect another 1000 yard season and an early entry to the NFL in 2018.

Darrell Langham - Miami’s coaches have been raving about Langham all spring and he jumped out on the field on Saturday. He had two touchdowns and should be a factor this season in the red zone. His size at 6’4” is impressive and he came down with multiple catches in coverage.

Dionte Mullins - With Stacy Coley gone, Miami fans were eager to see if Mullins would be ready to contribute this season. He certainly looked ready in Boca. Mullins was smooth in his route-running and made numerous catches and showed awareness with his footwork on the sideline.

Ahmmon Richards - After an incredible freshman season, Richards didn’t have much to prove this spring, but he still gave the crowd a jolt of energy with a 72-yard touchdown in the second half of the scrimmage. He should be one of the best wide receivers in the nation.

Chris Herndon - Herndon had 28 catches for 334 yards and 2 TD last season, but Miami will be relying on him to have a bigger role in 2017 to replace David Njoku. Everything coming out of the spring indicates that Herndon is poised for a huge year. He made an impressive adjustment in the air on a touchdown catch in the end zone and has a nice combo of size, speed, and experience.

Malek Young - After earning a starting spot at the end of last season, Young enters 2017 with high expectations and the pressure to replace Corn Elder as a playmaker in the secondary. He was dominant on Saturday at the scrimmage, intercepting two passes and returning one for a touchdown. Young plays more physical than many of Miami’s recent corners and is a good tackler in space.

Miami’s Front 7 on Defense - The Canes made a significant jump under Manny Diaz in 2016 and should be a Top-10 defense in 2017. Miami’s defensive line looked dominant on Saturday and repeatedly knocked down passes at the line of scrimmage. R.J. McIntosh showed his quickness and Chad Thomas seems to be coming into his own as a player. Joe Jackson returns as a sophomore after leading the team in sacks and TFL in 2016. Miami’s three star freshman linebackers proved their talents last season and should be even better in 2017. Quarterman and Pinckney were all over the field in Boca and Perry, Smith, and Owens are improving and will provide quality depth.