Fall camp starts Saturday for the Hurricanes, and man, its been a long time coming. Its seems like the Wisconsin game was a decade ago.
Today it was announced in the pre-season coaches poll that the Canes came in ranked 8th in the country, their highest pre-season ranking since 2005.
Its no doubt that 2018 is a monumental season for head coach Mark Richt and his squad, so lets dive into five storylines to look for as Miami begins a new season.
Granted, these aren’t in any particular order, and you’ve already heard of these hundreds of times already, but its always good to be prepared going into camp.
1. How is Malik Rosier looking?
Has there been a more discussed topic for the Hurricanes since the end of last season? The senior quarterback shined at times in 2017, including game-winning drives against Florida State and Georgia Tech, helping Miami to a 10-0 start last year.
However, its his inconsistency that worries a lot of people, myself included. Rosier threw 14 interceptions in 2017, was pulled during the Pitt loss, and Miami stumbled to three straight losses to end the year. If Miami is going to repeat as ACC Coastal Division champs and challenge Clemson, the inconsistency has to go away.
However, from the mouth of coach Richt, Malik is the number one guy. There is talent behind him, with N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams challenging for the number one spot, though Rosier still holds it going into camp.
2. Can Ahmmon Richards bounce back from an injury-filled 2017?
When healthy, Richards is undoubtedly one of the most talented wide receivers in the country. In 2016, he was a True Freshman All-American, and broke Hurricanes freshman receiving records.
Though, 2017 was filled with injuries for Richards, and Richards admitted himself he only felt 100% for one game last season. Injuries forced 82 to miss five games last year.
Richards has told reporters however that he’s been cleared to play and is feeling healthy again. If he stays healthy, expect Richards to bounce back in a huge way in 2018, and take the load off of Rosier’s back.
3. How is Miami’s offensive line situation?
Its no surprise that besides the doubts in Rosier, the offensive line is a worrisome topic for the Canes. Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling are both gone to the NFL, and Miami is looking to replace them.
In the spring game, this unit performed possibly worse than any other, giving up countless sacks. Miami returns three o-line starters from 2017, Tyler Gauthier, Navaughn Donaldson and Tyree St.Louis.
The Canes will look to Jahair Jones and Hayden Mahoney at the guard positions to try out their new role as starters.
4. How will Miami’s defensive line look?
The Hurricanes lost three defensive lineman from 2017 to the NFL in RJ McIntosh, Kendrick Norton and Chad Thomas, so is this unit still a threat? Miami will also be dealing with a new coach for the position, with Jess Simpson coming in from the Atlanta Falcons.
Junior-sensation Joe Jackson is back after recording 6.5 sacks in 2017, and Jonathan Garvin will also be in the mix after showing true potential as a true freshman.
A name to remember is redshirt senior Demetrius Jackson who is returning from an injury, who had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in just seven games. More players on the line to keep an eye on are true freshman Greg Rousseau and Nesta Silvera.
5. Who’s going to emerge as starter at tight-end?
Possibly my favorite position battle to watch out for during fall camp, is who is going to replace Chris Herndon.
Michael Irvin II is returning, but didn't show much promise after taking over at the end of last year once Herndon was sideline the last two games. His size should make him the clear-cut starter, though thats far from the truth.
The reason why its far from the truth is because of the two 18 year-olds who are newcomers to Coral Gables. True freshman Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory have arrived as the two-headed monster, and are expected to make some noise early.
Jordan was the number one ranked tight end coming out of high school last year, and Mallory was a recruit who was a top-ten tight end in the 2018 recruiting class. Both have tremendous talent, however both are young.