Early signing day has come and gone, Christmas is right around the corner, and then we will turn the page on 2019. For the Miami Hurricanes, 2019 is a year to forget, but there is one last piece of the season that is left to complete and that’s The Walk-On Independence Bowl against La Tech. While a 6-6 record is less than ideal, and while there are potentially more changes to come to the football program, the bowl game gives Miami a chance to play some of their younger guys and get them ready for 2020.
Who are we looking forward to seeing on December 26th?
Here is my Top 5
Lorenzo Lingard – Lingard is the only consensus 5 star player on the offensive side of the ball, and after over a year on the shelf recovering from a knee injury it’s time to unleash #1. DeeJay Dallas will not play in the game, so carries should be plenty for Cam’Rom Harris, Robert Burns and Lorenzo Lingard. No offense to the other 2, but we’ve seen them take snaps, so to jump start 2020, it would be nice if the most explosive player on the team got some touches. Lingard averaged 8.0 YPC as a true freshman, so it’s time to use him as more than a special team’s player or a lead blocker like he was used vs. Duke.
Tate Martell – Why not? Miami was 6-6 with the QB duo of Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, so things can’t be any worse than giving the former U.S. Army All-American a chance to show what he can do. Miami was brutal on 3rd downs all season long, so maybe the elusive Martell can jump start a dormant offense. Imagine dunning the RPO, where there is a legitimate threat of QB run with Martell. We saw glimpses of what he could do while he was at Ohio St, and since Manny Diaz re-opened the QB competition before the bowl game, now is the chance to take a chance and play Martell.
Jahfari Harvey – The 6’4” freshman is a 4 star player who will finally get his 1st real playing time vs. the Bulldogs. Jonathan Garvin and Trevon Hill will both sit out to get ready for the NFL, so Harvey can get a head start on being the starter opposite Gregory Rousseau next season. Harvey is thought to be an explosive pass rusher, so we will hopefully see what he is able to do against live competition.
Sam Brooks Jr. – Brooks has already appeared in 5 games, so he will not be redshirting, but with Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney leaving, it is time to see what one of our younger LBs can do with some extended playing time. He will have a chance to start 2020 at either LB position, so it would be nice to give him some run. The tough part is both Shaq and Pinck are going to want to be on the field a lot in their last game at The U.
Jason Blissett Jr. – Miami has had very solid play at DT this season, but one of the most talented young players in Blissett should get some time to shine in Shreveport. Miami will lose Chigozie Nnoruka and Pat Bethel, so there will be an opportunity for more playing time in 2020. Blissett has an opportunity to join that rotation one season from now, so Manny Diaz should give him some burn against La Tech.
Miami is not playing in a sexy bowl, but there are things that can be accomplished in Shreveport, and one of them is giving some young guys a chance to play. Give me Martell and Lingard and suddenly this game becomes much more entertaining and must see TV.