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The ‘Canes Are Tasked with Reloading a Thin Linebacking Corp for 2020

While Miami’s defense is stacked for this upcoming season, the future holds some serious questions.

NCAA Football: Florida State at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Miami’s 2020 recruiting class is currently ranked 4th in the nation, but it only contains 1 linebacker commit — the most crucial position group for the ‘Canes.

The ‘Canes added a great, talented duo to the corps in 2019’s class, but Manny Diaz and co. will have to replace a trio of 4-year starters following this upcoming season. While the defensive line and secondary have seen multiple new faces over the last few seasons, seeing Michael Pinckney, Zach McCloud, and Shaquille Quarterman lined up together is a sight we’ve grown very used to.

This situation puts pressure on development and coaching due to the unproven players behind their starters at the position.

The gifted freshman duo of Avery Huff and Samuel Brooks may not see much action in 2019, but can easily be starters in 2020. Looking (way) ahead here, the competition will most likely be between De’Andre Wilder, Waynmon Steed, Patrick Joyner Jr., Bradley Jennings Jr., Huff, Brooks, recent commit Alvin Mathis, and other possible commits in the 2020 class.

Jennings Jr., a redshirt sophomore heading into the 2019 season, will have the most experience amongst starting candidates. Jennings has seen action in 16 total games in his career at Miami, totaling 15 tackles, and 1 fumble recovery.

Jaelan Phillips will also be eligible in 2020 — a flip from defensive end to linebacker is plausible.

Of course, injuries, transfers, and new recruits can all occur — but adding numbers at the linebacker position should be a top priority for Miami’s staff.