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2019 SOTU Awards: Worst Unit/Offensive Line

Miami’s O-Line was abysmal in 2019, and needs an influx of new talent.

Florida v Miami

There is no doubt that one of the biggest needs in the off-season for the Miami Hurricanes is to fix the offensive line. Miami had arguably their worst output from a unit that was a big catalyst for the offensive struggles at The U. When we dissect the 2019 season, the offensive line was voted as the “Worst Unit” of the year. Miami started the season with an embarrassing performance vs. Florida, ended the year with ZERO points against La Tech, and in between generally was ineffective in run blocking and in pass protection.

Miami was abysmal running the football averaging only 3.8 yards per carry on the season, and if you take the Bethune Cookman game out of the equation, the Canes averaged a horrible 3.46 yards per carry. A huge part of the run game struggles was the scheme of Dan Enos, but another huge factor was the lack of push from the offensive line. The Canes also couldn’t protect the QB at all which limited their offensive efficiency throughout the season. Miami was 127th out of 130 teams allowing 3.97 sacks per game and 51 total. This was High School level inefficiency and a big reason Dan Enos and Butch Barry were fired.

Here is a position by position recap:

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 24 Camping World Kickoff - Florida v Miami Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Zion Nelson – A Former 2 star recruit, who played like a freshman 2 star recruit. Zion won the LT job, which is an indictment of the other guys who competed for the job. Nelson looked overmatched at times, and could’ve used a redshirt year.

Louisville at Miami Al Diaz/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Corey Gaynor – Started all 13 games for The U in 2019, and played pretty decent at center. Will be a RS Junior in 2020 and should have the job going into spring.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Bethune-Cookman at Miami Photo by Doug Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Navaughn Donaldson – A much ballyhooed recruit who has regressed in his 3 years on campus. Donaldson started 12 games in 2019, but missed the Bowl game with a leg injury. Navaughn probably needs to lose about 30lbs and get in better shape before his senior year, but that could be an issue as he rehabs his injury.

Miami v Pittsburgh Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Jakai Clark – Clark took over at RG in the 2nd game of the season and generally played well as a true freshman. He could use to add some strength and weight during the off-season, but was one of the surprises in 2019.

Florida v Miami

DJ Scaife Jr – Started all 13 games for the Canes, with one being at guard vs. Florida in the opener, and the rest at RT. Scaife was Miami’s best O-Lineman in 2019 which isn’t saying much. Pro Football Focus had him as the highest graded Hurricane at 68.0 which was good enough for 135th in the country. Scaife may, or should be given a look at LT in 2020, and at worst be the starting RT for the duration of his career.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 24 Camping World Kickoff - Florida v Miami Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

John Campbell Jr – Made 2 starts and played in 11 games as the Canes 6th man on the line. Looked completely overmatched at RT vs. Florida, but seemed to get more acclimated at guard as the season went along. Needs to clean up his technique and gain some much needed strength in the off-season.

Kai-Leon Herbert – Played a bunch in the regular season finale vs. Duke, and looked lost and overmatched. Must improve greatly or will just become roster filler.

Zalon’Tae Hillery – Much like Herbert, Hillery didn’t look like an ACC caliber lineman in his limited action. 2020 could be a make or break year for the former 3 star recruit.

Ousman Traore, Zach Dykstra, Tommy Kennedy and Adam ElGammal either couldn’t crack the rotation, or were redshirted during the 2019 season. Kennedy was a huge disappointment after much fanfare during his commitment. Traore and ElGammal were on the practice squad, and Dykstra looks like he isn’t good enough to play at this level. Miami must improve recruiting and stop having guys like this taking up space on the roster if they can’t contribute.

Miami has incoming freshman Jalen Rivers and Chris Washington, and judging by 2019 alone both of these kids should have a shot to get some early playing time. Miami needs to add at minimum 2 transfers from the portal in my opinion, and cut some of the dead weight off the roster. Rhett Lashlee and new offensive line coach Garin Justice have their work cut out for them in 2020, as they will be coaching SOTU’s worst unit for 2019.


Who was the Canes best O-Lineman in 2019?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    DJ Scaife
    (87 votes)
  • 9%
    Navaughn Donaldson
    (18 votes)
  • 30%
    Corey Gaynor
    (55 votes)
  • 8%
    Jakai Clark
    (15 votes)
  • 3%
    Zion Nelson
    (7 votes)
182 votes total Vote Now