As the 2018 season was approaching, one of the biggest question marks on the Miami Hurricanes defense was what depth at Cornerback would look like. We knew Michael Jackson and Trajan Bandy would likely form one of the better duos in the ACC, if not the nation - but who would settle into the all-important third CB role?
Jhavonte Dean, the 6’2”, 185 pound Homestead native was widely expected to step into that role. A JUCO transfer in 2017 and no. 1 junior college CB in the nation, it was uncertain if Dean would be able to step into a bigger role after being largely invisible last season. In 2017, he played in 12 games and only had 11 tackles even while players ahead of him, like Dee Delaney, struggled mightily.
But Dean has surpassed even the toughest critic’s expectations, admirably stepping into his role as one of the team’s rangiest outside corners. He’s also proven more than adequate at both man and zone but has shown to play best when he can sit back in his zone, read the QB’s eyes and make a play on the ball. He’s even tied the team lead this season with three interceptions.
Dean won’t need to face Wisconsin’s first or even second best receivers on a consistent basis - that’s Michael Jackson and Trajan Bandy’s job, but he will be able to lock down that third passing game weapon in nickel and dime sets.
Wisconsin is 118th in the nation in passing this season; their passing attack isn’t going to scare anyone. The Badgers will try to hit the Canes on the ground, with a run game centered around star RB Jonathan Taylor. But, Miami can rest assured that with Dean’s level of play this season, they will be ready to shut down the aerial attack when Wisconsin tries to use it.