The second Tuesday of July is around the corner and EA’s NCAA Football series has been on hiatus for five seasons. The 2014 edition of the series was EA’s finest edition and is still playable (especially if you download the updated rosters). When ‘14 came out (for the 2013 season) Miami’s three highest rated players were Duke Johnson, Stephen Morris, and Seantrel Henderson. If EA released NCAA Football ‘19 on July 10th here are the three impact players I would predict for the orange and green.
This is an open debate so let’s talk about ratings, impact players, and how much we miss the EA NCAA Football series.
Impact Player: Shaquille Quarterman
Shaq Quarterman might not have had the sophomore year we had all hoped for but he was second team All-ACC in 2017 and has made 167 tackles in two seasons in Coral Gables. Quarterman has size at at six-foot-one, 240 pounds and is the mouthpiece of the ‘Canes in the media. His media presence and overall ability would make him an impact player in the Miami defense.
Quarterman also adds 17 tackles for loss and six sacks for his career as only a rising-junior. The EA games loved big name players with prolific careers and intimidating postures and Quarterman fills all of those billings. He’s also going to be a captain and a pre-season All-ACC linebacker. He’s also listed in the top 45 for Athlon’s pre-season and that goes a long way with his overall rating.
Impact Player: Jaquan Johnson
The EA crew always liked safeties for Impact player roles, even if they weren’t rated that highly compared to defensive ends or middle linebackers. Johnson is the ‘Canes team captain and logged 96 tackles, three tackles for loss, and four interceptions in 2017.
Johnson is a five-foot-eleven, 190 pound safety at a famous position in Hurricane history. Miami toted the “Safety U” title with NFL legends like Bennie Blades, Ed Reed, and Sean Taylor in the upper echelon and it’s almost expected for the ‘Canes to have an impact playmaking safety roaming deep and causing havoc.
Johnson’s positives to bump his ranking are his sure tackling, ball hawking ability, and football IQ which could give him a nudge over Michael Jackson.
Impact Player: Travis Homer
As much as I believe that 2018 will be Ahmmon Richard’s bounce back season, I think Travis Homer has to be the pre-season impact player on offense for the ‘Canes. Homer took over the starting running back role after Mark Walton went down with injury and an ran for 966 yards on 5.9 yards per carry and eight touchdowns in 2017. The multi-talented Homer also averaged 12.2 yards per catch hauling in a touchdown through the air as well.
The five-foot-eleven, 200 pound Homer is expected to carry the load for Mark Richt’s run-first offensive scheme. That definitely adds to the game’s likelihood of making Homer an impact player. Homer also made the All-ACC second team list which gives him a few extra points towards his overall rating.
On the bubble
Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson, and Ahmmon Richards have to be bubble players for the impact player nod. Defensive end Joe Jackson made 50 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks in 2017 and at six-foot-five, 258 pounds has NFL ability but didn’t make the All-ACC team and isn’t in the Athlon top 100 which will see him slip down the ratings list.
Michael Jackson was All-ACC second team after with four interceptions and four passes defensed but was a liability at times in coverage. He’s a big play guy that is on the bubble but not ready to replace Johnson. At the bottom would be Richards who even while injured still averaged 18.3 yards per reception and has scored six career touchdowns in the passing game. Richards needs to stay healthy before being a pre-season impact player.
Highest Rated Freshman
It has to be Lorenzo Lingard, the five-star freshman running back who led the recruiting efforts for the 8th ranked recruiting class in the country. Lingard, with size at six-foot, 190 pounds and elite track speed is a great power and speed combination. He’ll be asked to carry the ball behind Homer and by arriving on campus as an early enrollee is more of a known commodity than the typical freshman.