Spring football is just a week away for the Miami Hurricanes. An exciting offseason is finally turning to the shoulder pads as new head coach Manny Diaz leads his team to the practice field for the first time in 2019.
On the offensive side of the ball, new coordinator Dan Enos is going to have several positions where determining the starter will be tougher than others. Several starters from the previous season are now gone, and younger players have progressed enough to challenge for a bigger role.
Let’s take a look at some of those position battles on offense.
The biggest question and controversy on the field for the Hurricanes is at the quarterback position, and Miami has several options here. N’Kosi Perry started six games for the Canes in 2018 and showed promise, though immaturity and inconsistent play has raised doubts on the redshirt sophomore. Jarren Williams is a redshirt freshman who many people are excited about, but also has much to prove after nearly transferring after 2018.
Jarren Williams. The U.#SpreadCoast | #ItsAllAboutTheU pic.twitter.com/Zd4u4Gn9Oo— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) February 12, 2019
Finally we have Tate Martell, the transfer from Ohio State who’s still waiting from the NCAA regarding his eligibility to play in 2019. If he is cleared to play immediately, a majority of the fanbase expect that he will be the starter for Miami, and while talented as Martell is, it’ll be interesting to see how he does with so much expectation.
Though it doesn’t mean that Williams and Perry are automatically ruled out for being the starter. Perry has experience, and there’s a reason why people are still so high on Williams.
3rd Wide Receiver:
Right now we can confidently say that Jeff Thomas will be the number-one receiver for Miami’s offense, and it looks as if newcomer K.J. Osborn will be the number-two. Now, the quest is to find the guy who comes behind Osborn and Thomas. As stated in the past, the Hurricanes have a plethora of young receivers that can step up to the plate.
Mike Harley and Brian Hightower are the two that are most intriguing. Harley is a speedster like Thomas, who has shown at times that he can be Mr.Reliable, especially when Perry was in at quarterback. Though, he seems to disappear at times during the season, and being more consistent could help him secure the third spot.
Brevin selling the wham on this play action. You have the sense brevin is open on this in practice.— rOmaN (@romancane) September 30, 2018
Mike does a good job following to the play and then redirecting on brevin
The defender over Harley does not. He looks like he blew his assignment Harley out and up.
Big play pic.twitter.com/Dg6xSbjyW2
Hightower on the other hand had several moments during his freshman year in 2018 that got people excited. Though, injuries and other factors limited his production for the duration of the season. Hightower’s combination of size and athleticism is a huge plus in his favor.
Under recently hired OL coach Butch Barry, the entire offensive line needs a big fixing, and at left guard is where the battle for the starter is going to be very interesting. The ability to develop talent is going to be critical at left guard, with Miami most likely having to dig into their younger players. Right now, it looks like redshirt freshmen Cleveland Reed and Zach Dykstra will duke it out at LG. Dykstra appeared in just one game last season, while Reed played in only two.
Cleveland Reed https://t.co/vqlJ6WHRDY— StateOfTheU.com (@TheStateOfTheU) January 18, 2019
With Navaughn Donaldson expected to make the move back to his natural position of right guard, the starter at right tackle is vacant again. D.J. Scaife, John Campbell, Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalon’tae Hillery are all up for the role. Scaife has the experience, playing the position in 2018, and Campbell is developing slower than people had expected.