Compared to previous years, the Miami Hurricanes offensive line performed admirably in 2017. Departing seniors Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling secured the left side of the line, while true freshman Navaughn Donaldson held his own at right guard. Often times, however, either due to Travis Homer’s inexperience or flat out poor O-line play, many runs were stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Plus, Malik Rosier was sacked 27 times, which is around the two-year average for starting QB’s at the U. The 2017 O-line version had several great moments, but needs to improve heading into next fall.
Most Valuable Player: Right Tackle Tyree St. Louis (Jr.)
The most exciting part about Miami’s 2018 O-line has to be Tyree St. Louis. Tyree was the most solid O-lineman for Miami. He allowed just four combined hits on Malik, 2 sacks and 2 QB hits. Plus Tyree gave up only 1 pressure in 8 different games. He could have declared for the draft and garnered a lot of interest, though thankfully for Canes fans he’s returning for a senior season. Tyree began last off season a little over weight. He focused on the issue and per the Sun Sentinal lost 10 pounds last summer, while lowering his body fat to 16%. That effort paid dividends in 2017.
Most Improved Player: Left Tackle Kc McDermott (Sr.)
A lot of us will remember KC’s epic fail at a cut block that lead to a Wisconsin D-lineman intercepting a Malik Rosier pass. But throughout 2017 KC really improved from a year ago. According to Pro Football Focus, Hurricane backs averaged a very solid 6.4 yard per carry when running behind KC. KC also improved his pass protection tremendously and secured Malik’s blind side throughout the season. Where he will be drafted is anyone’s guess at the moment. He obviously needs a great combine and pro day, but online assessments of KC’s draft projection ranged from rounds 5-7.
Rookie of the Year: Right Guard Navaughn Donaldson (Fr.)
My only knock on Navaughn is that he needs to get quicker, which probably means that he will be working on leaning out. He arrived on campus at around 375 pounds (Miami Herald noted that Navaughn lost “a lot of weight” and as of August 2017 is “under 350 pounds”). The off-season conditioning program implemented at the U benefits Navaughn as much as anyone else. That’s not to say his freshman season wasn’t superb; Donaldson was named Freshman All-American. He also showed grit, after missing several games with a foot injury. I’m looking for Navaughn to become Miami’s most improved player after what will be a stellar 2018.