When you look at a college football team, you need everybody on that roster playing up to their potential if you want to be one of the best programs in the nation. Then again, every team has several certain players, those who you simply can’t win without, players who determine the entire outcome of the season. For Miami, they’ve had players like that in the past, when you look at guys like Ed Reed or Michael Irvin, individuals who were so crucial when it came to those classic Hurricanes teams and winning.
In 2020, I think there are four players, who are the most important to Miami for this season, and who I think the Canes need in order to achieve what they’re trying to reach.
- D’Eriq King
I think putting your starting quarterback at the top of most important players is a no brainer, especially when you’re talking about a team like Miami. It’s no secret that the Hurricanes have had some QB problems the last few years, as Miami has seen promising seasons go up in flames because of inconsistency at the most important position. Great solution to this problem is D’Eriq King.
In three years at Houston, King established himself as one of the most dynamic threats in college football. In 2018, King threw for nearly 3,000 yards with 36 touchdowns, and also ran for 674 yards with 14 scores on the ground. He’s a proven star at the college level, and he's being paired up with offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee, to try and breathe new life into this Miami offense.
Florida FBS QB Series— QB Spotlight (@QBspotlight) May 3, 2020
*D’Eriq King (transfer from UH to Miami)
*50tot TD’s in 2018 at UH. Potential to be a big addition. Much better thrower than ppl who haven’t watched him think (36pass tds to 6ints in 2018) & an elite athlete⬇️⬇️@_Canecast @CanesWarningFS pic.twitter.com/ojK5tAxnBJ
Make no question about it, the Hurricanes will go as far in 2020 as King will take them. King is the type of talent that can take a team like Miami, and all of a sudden have your expectations change, from going 7-5 in 2020 to winning 9-10 games and capturing the ACC Coastal. If King is able to duplicate some of the magic he had at Houston, the Hurricanes will be a completely different team and most likely find themselves in Charlotte.
D’Eriq King: Best quarterback in the state pic.twitter.com/LI7CXNE5lA— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) March 23, 2020
2. Brevin Jordan
Now I was debating with myself whether I should put Jordan on this top list, but I decided to go with my gut. When healthy, Brevin Jordan is the best tight end in all of college football. I’ve stood by that claim for some time now, and I fully believe it. Miami has receivers like Dee Wiggins and Mark Pope, as well as a talented running back in Cam’Ron Harris, but Jordan is a game changer for the Hurricanes, one that can completely elevate the offense.
161 days until Canes Football.— Canes Legacy (@CanesLegacy) March 28, 2020
Brevin Jordan posted 161 receiving yards through the first two games of 2019, leading all Tight Ends across the nation. Jordan’s electric play last year is one of the main reasons why he goes into 2020 as the nation’s best TE.#CanesCountdown pic.twitter.com/LRllxPF6RP
When you watch his film, Jordan’s talent jumps out at you immediately. As far as pass-catching targets, the junior out of Las Vegas is the biggest nightmare for defenses to matchup against. He’s too big for a defensive back, and he’s too athletic for a linebacker. Jordan finished 2019 with 495 yards and 2 touchdowns, and while he didn’t even play the final four games of the season, he was still named a finalist for the John Mackey Award.
Contrary to the lists floating around, Brevin Jordan is the best TE in the country pic.twitter.com/FBfXFZQqsV— CanesCutUps (@canescutups) March 22, 2020
OC Rhett Lashlee understands Jordan’s talent and what he brings to the Hurricanes. If Jordan is healthy, he can be the difference in Miami being a solid offense, to Miami being a top-tier offense. Adding on to that, Jordan is one of the leaders of this team, and has been ever since arriving on campus in 2018. If the Hurricanes want to take that next step as an offense and as a program, Jordan has to be a big part of it.
Now imagine what Lashlee will do with a first-round guy like Brevin Jordan. https://t.co/pJbh2ILeuC— Mamba Marsh (@hurricanesmarsh) January 8, 2020
3. Gregory Rousseau
Ah yes, the Hurricanes much-talked about stud at defensive end. You're right, Miami fans, especially me, talk way too much about Gregory Rousseau, but we have good reason. With 15.5 sacks, 19.5 TFLs and 54 total tackles as a redshirt freshman in 2019, we can talk about him all we want.
After collecting 15.5 sacks and winning ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year, Miami EDGE rusher Greg Rousseau (@Greg_R5) enters 2020 as the top defensive player in the nation.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) May 21, 2020
Enjoyed getting to know him over the past few days. We talked heightened expectations and the next step: pic.twitter.com/oH4yVuZKkE
Now in 2020, Rousseau is the most important player on the Hurricanes defense. We can talk about Quincy Roche or Bubba Bolden, but nobody has a bigger impact on Miami’s defense than Rousseau. Just look at his tape in 2019, he absolutely took over games. With Rousseau playing up to his potential, Miami has perhaps the best pass rush in all of college football, but also one of the top defenses.
Mel Kiper Jr. just listed Miami DE Greg Rousseau among his early Top 2021 NFL Draft prospects on ESPN— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) April 25, 2020
I mean, there’s a reason why Rousseau is already in the top-10 for 2021 mock drafts, his talent but also his impact. Whether it’s him getting to the quarterback, or him picking up double or sometimes triple teams, it’ll benefit Miami’s defense.
15.5 sacks ✔️— ACC Football (@ACCFootball) March 30, 2020
2019 ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year ✔️
2019 Freshman All-America ✔️
Gregory Rousseau delivered one of most dominant seasons by a defensive lineman in Miami history. pic.twitter.com/rrrMVynb91
4. Zach McCloud
My last pick for most important players on the 2020 Hurricanes is their fifth-year senior at linebacker, Zach McCloud. Opting to redshirt last season, the impact of McCloud coming back to the Canes for 2020 cannot be underestimated. While he didn’t start over Michael Pinckney or Shaquille Quarterman the last couple years, there’s many that believe McCloud will have a better senior season than either of those two players, due to his great athleticism at LB.
His presence as a leader and team veteran will play a huge role for the Hurricanes as well. McCloud knows what a Manny Diaz defense is supposed to look like, he was there for the run in 2017, he knows what it takes to win. Along with that, he’s going to be that voice and example to the younger players on that side of the ball.
Don’t forget, Zach McCloud coming back might be our biggest get for the 2020 season.— Kevin (@TheCanesHype) January 21, 2020
Also, if you haven’t noticed, Miami’s linebacker depth isn’t necessarily a strong point. With Quarterman and Pinckney gone, that leaves McCloud, sophomore Sam Brooks Jr. and redshirt freshman Avery Huff. After that, you have several LB’s who have battled injuries throughout their UM careers, and also two true freshman. The Hurricanes defense has the potential to be one of the best in 2020, but McCloud is going to have to deliver a big season, not just statistically, but as a leader as well.