Our Spring Position Preview series continues with a look at Miami’s Cornerbacks. With several players gone from this position from last year, there will be several new faces who will need to step up into bigger roles for the Canes.
Before we look at who’s back, we need to look at who’s gone. After playing his graduate season at Miami, Dee Delaney is gone from the Canes. He had a starcrossed season, but ended the year well. His combination of size and speed will be missed.
The biggest loss, to me, is Malek Young. Just a sophomore, Young had earned a starting role in 2017. That was the good news. The bad news, however, was the fact that Young sustained a career-ending neck injury in the Orange Bowl against Wisconsin, and by virtue of that his playing career is over. And, just like that, Miami lost one of their fastest and most athletic players. Injuries happen but, man, that’s tough.
Michael Jackson, senior
A 2nd Team All-ACC player in 2017, Jackson was the best cornerback on the team for the Canes. Jackson filled up the stat sheet with 43 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 1.0 sack, 4 interceptions, 4 PBUs, and 1 forced fumble on the year. A 3-star developmental recruit in 2015, Jackson has blossomed into a very nice player. He’ll need to replicate or improve his performance next year, but he comes into spring as the best player at this position.
Jhavonte Dean, senior
A size-speed combo player who was held in high regard coming in from Blinn (TX) JUCO, Dean’s 2017 season was disappointing, to say the least. He was only able to see the field in 7 games, and totaled 11 tackles and a PBU in that time. Simply put, Dean needs to get better, and fast, and a strong spring is going to be essential to his development.
Trajan Bandy, sophomore
Everybody’s favorite native-son, Bandy burst onto the scene as a freshman. Playing in 11 games, Bandy had 25 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 6 PBUs, and a legendary interception-TD against Notre Dame.
Undersized at 5’9”, Bandy will likely stick inside at slot corner. But, as the video says, people have been talking about Bandy as a “future superstar” for years, and the future for him begins now.
Gilbert Frierson, freshman
A player with prototypical height and length (6’2” with LONGGGGG arms), Frierson is a Canes legacy who enrolled early for the spring semester. While some — myself included -- believe Frierson could be a perfect fit at rangy FS, the youngster will start at CB. He’s got all the physical skills to be successful, and he’s a bigger CB like coach Mike Rumph was when he played at The U. If Frierson is able to stick at CB, and he very well might be, then he’ll be a game-changer for Miami, no doubt.
D.J. Ivey, freshman
Another youngster who has been favorably compared to former Canes star CB Artie Burns, Ivey is looking to earn his way onto the field at CB as well. He’s got good height and length, and many local recruiting analysts listed Ivey as the best pure cover corner in South Florida for the 2018 recruiting class. He’s a bit under the radar after sustaining an ankle injury as a HS junior, but Ivey has the build, athleticism, and skill to find plenty of PT for the Canes.
Gurvan Hall, freshman
Just a quick note on Hall; there’s been some talk that the talented Safety could see time at nickel db. He’s shorter than you’d like for a Safety at 5’11”, but that could play into his advantage if he’s deployed in the slot. He’s not a full-time CB like the others I’ve spoken about here, but he could play some CB, so I wanted to drop that note in this piece.
Miami has a top notch CB in Jackson, a developing star in Bandy, and a bunch of talented, if unproven, players to round out the position. This spring is going to be key, for all the players at cornerback to refine their craft, learn the scheme, and show what they can bring to the field.
Hopefully, guys like Dean and Frierson and Ivey really take leaps forward, so the position is a bit more settled heading into the fall, when other players — namely Al Blades Jr. — are added to the roster and will join the battle for playing time in 2018.