Navaughn Donaldson is the kind of homegrown talent the State of Miami is all about. The 4-star recruit out of Miami Central High School had the size that top programs line up for, but Donaldson spurned offers from Florida, Florida State and Georgia to stay home and play for the Canes. As you can see in the highlights below, its hard to miss the 6’6” 340 lb lineman when he steps on the field:
Donaldson possesses legit talent, which is why he immediately found himself on the field as a true freshman in 2017. He would start 10 out of the 13 games that season at right guard en route to Freshman All-America and All-ACC Honorable Mention honors. His early success pegged him as a stalwart on the line for seasons to come, and the coaching staff moved him to right tackle for the 2018 season to hopefully anchor the line and set the edge. That move didn’t yield the same level of success, however, as Donaldson was moved back inside after 6 games. The Miami offensive line has done yeoman’s work in the running game the past 2 seasons, but they definitely have room for improvement in protecting the passer. While not completely to blame for the less than desirable QB play, the o-line will definitely need to step up in that area to allow the offense and all its weapons to flourish.
There is still plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to the o-line and Donaldson specifically. With the start of the Manny Diaz era, there is a new head of the table in the position room in assistant coach Butch Barry. Donaldson has shown plenty of potential for dominance at the collegiate level, as well as the football IQ to take his play to the next level. The new coaching staff has taken a liking to him already, spending time preparing him to play any position across the line, including center, as the junior spoke about after a spring practice in the video below:
Navaughn Donaldson should benefit from a fresh offensive scheme, fresh coaching and more experience under his belt. Canes fans will be hoping for a season resembling his freshman campaign versus his sophomore season.