The Miami Hurricanes are looking to build on their 2017 campaign and the 2016 and 2017 recruiting classes. Al Golden left the cupboard with talent but many holes on the roster in different places. Miami had some star power in Mark Walton, Brad Kaaya and Stacey Coley with a few names that needed development like RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton, and Chad Thomas to name a few. Heading into 2018, here is the top current Hurricane and a 2018 prospect that the Hurricanes can’t live without if they plan to win the ACC Championship over the incumbent Clemson Tigers.
UFamily, Shaq Quarterman heard you and knows you brought it...— Miami Hurricanes (@MiamiHurricanes) October 15, 2017
You gotta keep it up! pic.twitter.com/pneKKl8ISR
Shaquille Quarterman, Middle Linebacker
With the early departures of RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton, the Miami Hurricanes will need a strong performance from their middle linebacker Mr. Shaquille Quarterman. Quarterman, a four-star linebacker from Orange Park, Florida’s Oak Leaf High School, was forced into starting after the suspensions and removals of Juwon Young and Jermaine Grace. Miami wound up starting three freshman in Shaq, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud. It was an up and down year for the trio but they showed raw athleticism as they learned the speed of the college game.
Quarterman has logged 167 tackles with 17 tackles for loss in his two seasons of starting duty for Miami. The trio, dubbed The Bermuda Triangle 2.0 after Jessie Armstead, Mike Barrow, and Darrin Smith aka The Bermuda Triangle. The original trio either started or had major playing time from 1989-1992, which meant two national title rings and another appearance in a national title loss. The current trio of linebackers have brought Miami up to nine and ten wins in the past two seasons. However, now without the protection of McIntosh, Norton and senior role player Anthony Moten- Quarterman will be asked to own the middle and make more plays than ever before.
After Quarterman on the depth chart, the ‘Canes have Mike Smith and Bradley Jennings Jr or possibly a shuffling around when in a 4-3 look. In the 4-2-5 they could shuffle Pinckney and McCloud to be inside and use a defensive back on the outside as a hybrid player.
Lorenzo Lingard, Running Back
The 2018 prospect Miami can’t live without is running back Lorenzo Lingard. Lingard, from Orange City- University High in Florida, is a five-star runner from 247’s composite rankings. Lingard is 6’0 and 190 pounds of explosiveness. Lingard was 247’s second ranked running back and 25th overall player in the 2018 class. Lingard, who enrolled on January 15th of 2018, is expected to bolster a shallow running back pool between Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas. After those two, and Dallas only moved to running back towards the back end of the 2017 season, there are major question marks in Trayone Gray and Robert Burns. Gray, a rising redshirt senior, has totaled 211 yard and 3 touchdowns in three seasons for Miami. Burns redshirted in 2017 coming off of injuries.
Lingard doesn’t just provide depth at a high impact position, or his athletic ability, but also leadership. Miami needs him to pan out as he was the voice behind the #Storm18 recruiting class that has Miami ranked 5th in recruiting for 2018. Lingard is Miami’s highest rated player in that class, the obvious leader of the class, and Miami’s first five-star recruit since Chad Thomas back in the class of 2014. Thomas never amounted to the hype of a blue chip recruit but did improve drastically under Coach Kool, Miami’s elite defensive line coach. Hopefully Lingard can do the same under Thomas Brown.