The first four practices are in the books for the Miami Hurricanes, and with it so is the first week of spring ball. Now obviously there was a lot to take in from Greentree, even if it was just four practices. Here are the five things that caught my eye and my biggest takeaways from week one in Miami.
- D’Eriq King is Miami’s quarterback
The biggest on-field addition for the Hurricanes this off-season, quarterback D’Eriq King entered spring practice with all eyes on the former Houston star. And from what we’ve read, seen and heard, so far so good with King. He’s already proven that he should be the starting QB, and it certainly hasn’t taken long.
It’s been 1.5 days of spring ball, but D’Eriq King throws a nice ball.— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) March 3, 2020
King’s highlight of the week probably came on Tuesday, when he connected with receiver Dee Wiggins for an 80-yard touchdown. Reporters said King ran faster than anyone else to go celebrate with Wiggins in the end zone. You can tell very early that King is a leader, and his teammates are responding to it.
D’Eriq King just hit Dee Wiggins deep with Christian Williams in coverage. King then ran down the field faster than any other player — at least 80 yards — and met Wiggins in the end zone— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 3, 2020
2. Jaelan Phillips. Jaelan Phillips. Jaelan Phillips.
I’m honestly surprised that I didn’t talk about Phillips first on this list, because every person I’ve chatted with has been raving about his play in week one. Reading reports the past few days, you would’ve never guessed that Phillips hasn’t played football since 2018. He announced this week that he’s put on 40 pounds.
Blake Baker says Jaelan Phillips got to Miami last year at 225 lbs and is now up to 264 lbs. That’s 40 pounds of muscle— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 5, 2020
As far as his pass-rushing ability, those at practice called Phillips “unblockable.” Now clearly we can’t get too hyped about Jaelan’s first four days, but I’d say it’s an incredible start to him being back out on the field.
Miami DC Blake Baker on Jaelan Phillips: “He’s a special dude.”— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) March 5, 2020
He expands on what he’s doing well as he’s now about 6-6, 260. pic.twitter.com/65o6FaJ1Cn
3. Keyshawn Smith and Jaylan Knighton are for real
I was very high on Knighton coming into spring practice, and I've made it clear that I think he’ll be contributing right away. Him and fellow true freshman early-enrollee Keyshawn Smith have stood out perhaps more than any other first year player thus far. Smith was a late addition to the 2020 signing class, but the receiver from San Diego is already making people notice.
Keyshawn Smith just beat Al Blades on a slant in 1-on-1’s. Been a big day for the freshman receiver— Stefan Adams (@stefan_adams305) March 3, 2020
As far as Knighton goes, he hasn’t been looking like a true freshman in the slightest, jumping right into situations in practice with no hesitation. That speed that made him such a highly-touted recruit is being shown, and I’ll say it again, he’s my pick to back up Cam’Ron Harris and be that number two guy.
4. Rhett Lashlee’s offense is fast, fast, fast
The up-tempo style that Lashlee’s offense runs at is something we all knew going into spring, but now that it’s actually being carried out at Miami in practice, it’s like everyone is just in shock. The Canes are literally going from a slow-moving lethargic type of offense, to the complete opposite.
Pace, pace, and pace. The Canes, on both offense and defense, are moving quickly all the time— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 3, 2020
Obviously it’s going to take a little to get everyone on the same page, but it seems that certain players are already getting the hang of it. Will Mallory told reporters that it took him 15 minutes to learn formations of Lashlee’s offense.
Will Mallory said the playbook isn’t even close to how big it was last year. Says he could learn all the formations in 15 minutes. Talks about the benefits of not thinking so much— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 5, 2020
5. Offensive line already showing improvements
Maybe it’s from the pace of the offense, perhaps it’s certain guys just developing, but after Friday’s practice, several people were saying how pleased Manny Diaz was with the offensive line. After last seasons debacle with the line, this was one of the most reassuring things Canes fans could’ve heard.
By no means is the o-line where they need to be, that’ll take months and months of practice. The starting rotation has looked a few different ways, but a player who I was really happy to see get first team reps often this week was guard Ousman Traore, who came to Miami from a junior college last summer.
Ousman Traore and Kai-Leon Herbert getting work with the first team OL. Left to right has been John Campbell, Traore, Corey Gaynor, DJ Scaife, Herbert— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) March 6, 2020