One of the largest indicators of Miami’s success in 2018 will be the play of quarterback Malik Rosier. Rosier’s inconsistency was one of the many reasons Miami dropped their last three games of the season last year.
2018 in many ways could present Rosier with an even more difficult task, with returning starters coming back for several of their ACC foe. Today, I'll be looking at some of the top secondaries Miami will face in 2018.
Though its not a guarantee Miami will face off against the Tigers again, both teams meeting again in the ACC Championship Game is obviously a possibility.
Coming off a 38-3 thrashing of the Canes last season, the Tigers defense is still loaded, especially their defense. Cornerbacks Trayvon Mullen, Mark Fields and A.J. Terrell are all coming back to Clemson.
5. Boston College (10/26 @BC)
If you read one of my past articles, I put Boston College as one of my teams that could potentially be disastrous for Miami, and their secondary is a huge reason for that.
The Eagles come into 2018 and have one of the ACC’s best all-around defense. In the secondary, they do lost standout cornerback Isaac Yiadom.
Though its the safeties that will cause problems. Lukas Dennis was a second-team All-ACC in 2017, intercepting seven passes, and will be back this fall. Then Will Harris will accompany him at the other safety spot, and is expected to compliment Dennis well.
Mark my words, watch out for BC.
4. Virginia (10/13 @ UVA)
Virginia gave Miami a scare last season, and also played Rosier well, intercepting two of his passes.
The Cavaliers did lose a star at safety in Quin Blanding, though they replace him with experience. Sophomore Bryce Hall is back, and safeties Juan Thornhill and Brenton Nelson are pre-season All-ACC predictions. Thornhill was one of the Cavs that picked off Rosier during Miami’s 44-28 win last season.
The Cavaliers will be riled up to play Miami in October when the Canes come to Virginia, in a hostile environment where Rosier will have to make smart decisions.
3. Virginia Tech (11/17 @ VT)
This game will most likely determine the ACC Coastal division, and the Hokies will again be stacked in the secondary.
Bud Foster’s defense picked off Rosier three times even in a Miami win in 2017. This year, Va Tech loses their best safety Terrell Edmunds, as well as their two cornerbacks Greg Stroman and Brandon Facyson, but you know very well, the Hokies always have experience players to step in.
The leading returning tacklers Reggie Floyd and Mook Reynolds are back at the safety position, and Floyd is expected to have a breakout season. Highly touted redshirt freshman Caleb Farley is also making the switch from receiver to defensive back.
2. FSU (10/6 @ MIA)
Ah yes, the team up north. Miami squeaked out the win last season, and Rosier didn’t play all that bad.
Thankfully Derwin James and Tarvarus McFadden are gone from the secondary up in Tallahassee, but did you really think FSU doesn't some studs ready to take their place?
Levonta Taylor was very solid in his first season as a starter for the Noles and is a pre-season first-team All-ACC selection. Stanford Samuels III is another player who Athlon Sports predicted as a potential All-ACC cornerback. Samuels father was the one who almost killed Roscoe Parrish in 2003.
1. LSU (9/2 @ DALLAS)
The opening game of the season will prove as the stepping stone for either success or failure in 2018.
LSU it seems like, always has a stellar defense, and this year is no different. Greedy Williams is a cornerback who has serious NFL potential, notching six interceptions in 2017. Grant Delpit at safety is a head hunter, totaling 60 tackles.
Jontre Kirklin at the other corner spot is fairly new, so expect Miami to exploit him early and throughout the game.
Miami will definitely have its hand full against the Tigers secondary, and is definitely a make-or-break game for Rosier.