In the first part of the safeties recap, we looked at the MVP, MIP and ROY of the group. Now we will focus on some Highlights, Lowlights, and overall grade of the group in part 2.
Highlight: Jaquan Johnson Making Big Plays
The Miami safeties spent all year making huge plays for Miami, but none was bigger than the interception Jaquan Johnson made against Virginia at home. Following an emotional win against Notre Dame the weekend before, Miami came out asleep against a very poor Virginia squad who should have given Miami no trouble at all. Miami was down at halftime 21-14, and then gave up a touchdown early in the second half leaving Miami down 28-14. Miami came back on offense and put up a touchdown on Virginia, but the moment really changed when Miami got back on defense. Johnson read a short route by Virginia and made an interception for a touchdown. This was a big time play made by one of the leaders on this Miami team, and at the time saved the Hurricane’s perfect season. Plays like this defined Johnson’s season and he’ll look to build off of that for the 2018 season.
Honorable Mention: Amari Carter’s versatility.
Lowlight: Giving up Big Plays/Out of Position.
While the safeties for Miami made a habit of making big plays, this lead to them giving up some big plays as well. With the DL being so dominant for the Hurricanes, the safeties were able to play aggressively and take chances on interceptions and forcing fumbles. When the DL wasn’t getting to the QB, the safeties and DBs in general were getting picked apart. There were moments when the safeties missed a tackle trying to jar the ball loose, or were out of position after an aggressive blitz. There were times when playing it safe and wrapping up or knocking the ball down would have been the better choice, but turnovers were the name of the game all season, and you have to live with giving up big plays.
Dishonorable mention: Sloppy tackling/Bad Angles.
Overall the safeties had a good season for the Hurricanes making some of the biggest plays of the season. Jaquan Johnson really emerged as a leader for the defense and Sheldrick Redwine really stepped up after a position change. Amari Carter showed he can play from Day 1, and Derrick Smith made an impact on special teams. With continued improvements and new additions, this can be a dangerous group in 2018.