With most of the roster movement seemingly in the past, we can take our first early and educated guess for Miami’s 2018 depth chart. In the first installment of a two-part series, we will predict the offensive two-deep for game one of the 2018 campaign against LSU.
QB - N’Kosi Perry (6’4 185) RFr.
Malik Rosier (6’1 215) RSr.
This spot will be up for debate for months but here is where I stand now. I appreciate what Rosier did last year but it is hard to imagine that Perry, with a year in the system and the weight room under his belt, isn’t going to be the better option. True-freshman QB Jarren Williams will be in the conversation but he is likely to end up redshirting. He will be a major player moving forward in 2019 and beyond. Redshirt freshman Cade Weldon will get a fair shot as well but at this point, he is a solid depth player.
RB - Deejay Dallas (5’10 200) So.
Travis Homer (5’11 195) Jr.
Lorenzo Lingard (6’0 200) Fr.
It is looking like Miami will be able to go with a solid three RB rotation in 2018 and one could reasonably argue that any of the three could start. Travis Homer had a terrific season last year after being thrust into the starting spot after Mark Walton’s injury but Deejay Dallas looked just as good, if not even better during the final five or so games. Lingard is the most highly touted player in the 2018 class and he is ready to roll. He may not start in the first game of 2018, but he will get plenty of snaps. By the end of the year, I wouldn’t be shocked if he was the feature back of the talented trio. I wouldn’t put it past true-freshman Camron Davis to break into the rotation as the #4 RB. For now, though, these three will balance off each other to kick-off 2018. This is a young and dangerous group.
WR - Ahmmon Richards (6’1 190) Jr.
Darrell Langham (6’4 220) RSr.
This spot on the outside is locked for Ahmmon Richards. He had a disappointing and injury-plagued 2017 as he was trying to improve on his record-setting rookie year. If he stays healthy this year, he should be an All-American and could bolt off to the 2019 NFL Draft. Fifth-year Darrell Langham is a capable back-up who will see his fair share of snaps. With so much influx of talent for this year, the WR corps could look very different week-to-week, but of the bunch, Richards is the best bet to get the LSU start.
WR - Jeff Thomas (5’10 175) So.
Mike Harley (5’9 160) So.
Every time I watch Jeff Thomas play, I see a guy that could really thrive in the slot. Due to the make-up of the WR room at current, him playing in the slot is setting up nicely. Fellow sophomore and speed demon Mike Harley will be right there with him in the pecking order. Thomas could have a big year, but if he doesn’t show it early, Harley is right there to take snaps.
LT - Navaughn Donaldson (6’6 335) So.
George Brown (6’7 300) RJr.
LG - Venzell Boulware (6’3 305) RJr.
Corey Gaynor (6’4 285) So.
The new edition of Tennessee-transfer Venzell Boulware should allow Navaughn Donaldson to move outside to his more natural tackle position. Donaldson says he is continuing to drop weight and refers to himself as a tackle. Boulware will have to really work to win this early start, but I’m confident that he’ll at least start the year as more than a depth player, as the younger guys adjust to the college game.
C - Tyler Gauthier (6’5 305) Sr.
Hayden Mahoney (6’5 295) RJr.
Tyler Gauthier wasn’t anything special last year, but he was solid. I like him as a player and with only a few other realistic options at center (Gaynor, Mahoney, maybe Scaife), he should retain his starting designation. I think he will impress people this year and improve after spending an entire season starting at center.
RG - Delone Scaife (6’3 325) Fr.
Jahair Jones (6’4 315) RSr.
RT - Tyree St. Louis (6’5 305) Sr.
Kai-Leon Herbert (6’5 300) RFr.
This is Tyree St. Louis’ last chance to prove he’s a top-notch lineman. Barring any developments with the young guys, he should be a near-lock to start the year at RT. For the second straight year, I think the Canes start a true-freshman at RG. Delone Scaife was one of the top OL in the 2018 recruiting class and he continually proved that in games and at camps. He has a golden opportunity with the departure of Trevor Darling and I see him taking full advantage and starting the entire year.
TE - Brevin Jordan (6’3 250) Fr.
Michael Irvin (6’3 250) Jr.
Brevin Jordan would have started in the 2017 Orange Bowl if he could have. The real question is who will back him up. True-freshman Will Mallory is extremely talented but very thin right now. I don’t think that he will end up redshirting this year as he will still be valuable as a pass-catcher and the TE depth is not ideal. Michael Irvin, after the injury to Christopher Herndon, filled in well. He wasn’t spectacular but he was better than I would have thought. If he keeps his weight under control, he’ll be a nice depth piece for the final two years of his career. Jordan should be a three/four-year starter before becoming a top-tier NFL TE.
WR - Lawrence Cager (6’5 220) RJr.
Mark Pope (6’1 175) Fr.
Lawrence Cager performed admirably in his comeback campaign. Yes, he dropped some balls and disappeared for times during the season, but he’s a big body WR who can go up and get most balls thrown to him. He’s a terrific asset in the red zone. Behind him, to start the year, should be the top WR in Miami’s 2018 recruiting class. Mark Pope is starting caliber right now but with the talent Miami has at WR, Mark Richt and Ron Dugans can ease him into the rotation. I would not be shocked if he’s the starter by week four or five...or two.
Let me know what you think about this predicted two-deep in the comments below!
We’ll be back with part two of the series and a look at what the defense should look like, soon.