OL Kc McDermott | Senior | 6’7 300 Lbs.
Straight out of Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington, FL, McDermott was a blue-chip prospect in the 2014 class from the very beginning. Due to his older brother Shane getting recruited by programs around the country, Kc was well-versed in aspects of recruiting early-on and began getting looks from college coaches at a much younger age than most; it was clear he was a special talent.
As we know, Shane ended up at Miami and was a fixture on the Miami offensive line at center for 3 seasons. But even though his brother had made a name for himself at UM, Kc was even more highly recruited as a consensus top 50 national prospect and the #3 OT in the country, according to the 247 composite, and would have his choice of just about any college he wanted. With a “who’s who” list of national offers from schools like Notre Dame, FSU, Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State and many others, it seemed like Miami wasn’t going to land Kc without a fight.
However, that narrative changed pretty quickly. In the spring of his sophomore year, almost a full 2 years before his Signing Day, McDermott named Miami his leader. Fast forward to spring of his junior year, and he was attending a UM spring practice followed by a recruit barbecue. That’s when he knew. By the next week, Kc McDermott would follow his family legacy and declare his commitment to Al Golden and the Miami Hurricanes.
At Miami So Far
McDermott entered his freshman year at Miami in 2014 excited to play with his brother Shane, who was now a senior at UM, for a season, but found himself behind a very good returning offensive line. With all this experience in front of him, it would have been easy for McDermott to take a redshirt, despite him having the requisite size to compete on the college level. That would not be the case though, as McDermott’s talent level was too much to keep off the field; he earned the coaches trust quickly and saw backup reps against FAMU, Ark. State, and Nebraska. Unfortunately, his rapid progress would be derailed on Sept. 27 against Duke after sustaining a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, which sidelined him for the rest of the season.
2015 was a bit of a weird year for Kc. In the ensuing offseason, the Canes saw Ereck Flowers declare for the NFL Draft a year early, leaving behind a 6’6 325 pound-sized hole at left tackle in his wake. With little returning experience on the line, McDermott was one of the candidates vying to replace Flowers at LT and was sure to end up starting somewhere.
Although he had recovered from his knee injury enough to get back to action, McDermott perhaps still needed some extra time to get fully comfortable on the field again. He lost the left tackle job to fellow classmate Trevor Darling and was not one of the Canes best 5 lineman to start the year, being relegated to backup spot duty on one of the worst lines in Miami history. He was also seen as far behind O-Line classmates Darling and Nick Linder. Eventually, Alex Gall’s ineffectiveness pushed him to the bench and McDermott would take over and make 6 starts at left guard, although he wasn’t much better.
After his down 2015, McDermott really needed a bounce back junior season and that’s exactly what happened. Almost 2 years removed from his knee injury, McDermott was one of the Canes most reliable offensive lineman (behind Danny Isidora) in 2016, helping to provide a bit of a renaissance to a struggling O-Line and spurring Miami to 5 straight victories to close the season after he was moved to left tackle from guard.
2017 and Beyond
Even after McDermott’s turnaround 2016, the coaches decided to have open season on the left tackle job in the spring, with McDermott, Darling, and George Brown the primary contenders in the competition. McDermott’s progress would not be deterred though. Brown began the spring in the drivers seat but by practice 2, McDermott was named first team left tackle. He’s since taken a stranglehold of the position and never let go. McDermott now seems to be entrenched and will likely take the opening snap at Hard Rock Stadium at LT for Miami in 2017.
McDermott has rehabilitated his stock so much that he was named to a pre-season list for the 2018 NFL Draft, coming in at #18 for tackles with a draft range of rounds 5-7 on Walter Football. A far cry from someone that was seen as untouchable after his sophomore season, huh?
As a player, McDermott brings toughness to a Miami O-Line that has been hurting in that department the past 2 years. He can be a devastating run-blocker and had a big hand in Miami’s run game improvement in 2016. While McDermott still struggles at times with elite speed off the edge due to a lack of length, his pass-protection has improved leaps and bounds in his 3 years at Miami.
McDermott has even been taking on a bit of a leadership role, in mentoring Miami’s young stud freshman lineman Navaughn Donaldson. And for the 2017 version of the Miami Hurricanes to be successful, that is something that must continue. Miami is sorely lacking veteran leadership on the team in general, but also on the line. The Canes’ other senior lineman have not been able to be counted on consistently: Darling disappointed this spring, Linder has been injured and his starting job is in jeopardy, and Sunny Odogwu up and transferred from the program.
If McDermott can continue his momentum from the end of 2016 and the spring, he will provide a sorely needed steady hand at the most important position on the line and set up an inexperienced Miami QB for success in the 2017 season.