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Miami Hurricanes 2018 Position Battles: Offensive Line (Interior)

Finding the answers to who will man the starting guard spots will hopefully lead to stability along the offensive line for UM.

Georgia Tech v Miami Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

State of the U continues our series looking at some of the intriguing storylines entering training camp this August for the University of Miami Hurricanes football team. As most fans should know, a good offense can only be as good as the players who create time for the play to happen.

It’s been a mixed bag of ebb and flow for the play from the offensive line. Some games are average, others are meh and then there’s atrocious. Grabbing our optimistic shades as we head out the door, the situation along the offensive line is not as dreadful as it seems. With Tyree St. Louis manning left tackle and Navaughn Donaldson now kicking out to right tackle after playing at right guard in his freshman year, the Canes have a promising pair of pillars to protect the quarterback to start the season.

The middle of the offensive line still needs some sorting out based on the calamity that was the revolving door during at practices this past spring. With Donaldson sliding over to right tackle, there are openings on either side of center Tyler Gautier at both left and right guard. While former left guard Trevor Darling looks to work his way into the New Orleans Saints starting rotation, the Hurricanes will work to find his successor in the coming weeks.

Guard Contenders

Jahir Jones

Venzell Boulware

DJ Scaife

Cleveland Reed

Haydon Mahoney

Jahir Jones 247 Sports

To say thay that there’s a leader among this group would be too optimistic for our own tastes. Jahir Jones received the first crack at owning the position. There were glowing compliments around his talent, but the coaching staff have yet to see the best version of the senior.

Not lacking in the experience department, Miami added junior transfer G Venzell Boulware over the summer. The former Tennessee Volunteer was not a feature in Knoxville, but does bring game experience (started 3 games for the Vols), a trait that is uncommon among his competition. Despite being battle-tested in the fires of the SEC, the transfer arrives to the Coral Gables with a clean slate. He’ll have to prove himself to the staff and his teammates to earn a spot in the starting five.

The youth movement across the team will be one of the more fascinating storylines to follow as the season unfolds. Among the new blood at the position is four-star guard Delone Scaife out of Miami Southridge High School. One of the most revered guards in the 2018 recruiting class, Scaife has the measurables — 6’3”, 320 pounds — for serious consideration to win either of the starting guard openings. Scaife got a head start on the orientation process after enrolling early and taking part of spring practices.

Joining Scaife in training camp will be fellow freshman and former four-star G Cleveland Reed. The Fort Meade HS product will look to make good impression when training camp gets underway. The good news for Reed is that the depth chart is only penciled in as opposed to etched in stone to start camp.

Haydon Mahoney 247 Sports

Haydon Mahoney is no stranger to playing under fire. The junior started two games for Miami in 2017 at right guard. Mahoney posses the most game experience in the Canes’ offensive system in comparison to his field of competition who are all scrapping to fill the two openings. Will Mahoney be able to translate that experience and wisdom into consistent on-field production?