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Gilbert Frierson Exceeding Expectations At The Striker Position

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Frierson has done a tremendous job at replacing Romeo Finley at the striker position

247 Sports

One of the more unsung heroes for the Miami defense this season, redshirt sophomore Gilbert Frierson is quietly putting together an elite year at the striker position. Frierson is 4th on the Canes in tackles, and he’s 2nd in TFLs. He also has totaled 2 pass deflections and a fumble recovery.

Back in 2018, Frierson came to Miami as a four-star recruit out of Coral Gables High School, a product of Dade County. Fun fact, he’s also cousins with UM legend, running back Frank Gore.

However, Frierson was recruited as a cornerback, but made the switch to striker after his freshman year. During the 2019 season, he was able to sit behind former Miami striker Romeo Finley, and learn from one of the more professional and instinctive players that UM has had in recent years.

“Romeo helped me a lot,” Frierson told the media last week. “That’s the reason why I’m doing what I’m doing today.” Frierson went on to say how last year was a learning experience, as he tried to figure out a new position, but this season he knows the defense a lot better.

Frierson entered the 2020 season, faced with the task of replacing Finley at striker, who had moved on to the NFL. A position battle waged on during the off-season and fall camp, with Frierson competing against Keontra Smith for the starting job. Frierson ultimately won, and hasn’t disappointed at all.

With his physical attributes, combined with an increasing football I.Q., Frierson is becoming a force of a player, and one of the best that Miami has on its defense. He has experience at cornerback and knowledge of the safety position, which has helped him be dependable in coverage and passing situations. Then, he’s physical enough and uses great technique when it comes to tackling.

No game has Frierson flashed his skills and potential more, than against #1 Clemson two weeks ago. In that humbling loss, Frierson was perhaps the most productive player on Miami’s defense, and received the 2nd highest grade game for a Miami player by PFF. Frierson ended the night with 6 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 pass deflection and 1 fumble recovery.

What also stood out to me, was what Frierson said to the media following the Clemson game.

“We trust each other. Even the Clemson game, things weren’t going good, but we stayed positive,” Frierson told reporters. “We were trying to play the next play...We’re always moving forward.”

You’re always trying to find new leaders on your team, and Frierson left an impression when he made those comments. His work ethic off the field has people taking notice as well.

Special teams/strikers coach Jonathan Patke has been very pleased with Frierson, and notes how preparation is one of the biggest factors in his success.

“The reason he makes a lot of the plays he makes is because he knows the play before the play,” Patke told reporters last week. “That’s all film study. He wants to know everything about the defense.”

Prior to Clemson, Frierson turned in another great performance against rival FSU, finishing with 5 tackles, 2 TFLs and a pass break-up, and he didn’t miss a single tackle. In coverage, Frierson gave up two catches……for -3 yards. With the way he’s been playing and improving each week, don’t be surprised if you see Frierson’s name on some All-ACC teams after the season.