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Marsh’s Mailbag: Can Miami Flip Jake Garcia? Who Will Lead The Canes In Receiving?

Can UM flip Jake Garcia? Who will start for Miami at wide receiver? Those questions and more!

Louisville v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

What are the chances Miami can flip Jake Garcia?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few days, or you’re somewhere like Tallahassee, you’re well aware that Jake Garcia is trending on twitter. The 4-star quarterback out of California is committed to USC currently, but some think that could change, as the Trojans also added Miller Moss, another 2021 QB to their class.

Garcia has been recruited by Miami for some time now, and visited Coral Gables last summer. In January, new OC Rhett Lashlee went out to Southern California to visit with Garcia. At this point, I really wouldn’t be surprised if the Hurricanes pulled this off.

Who will lead the team in receiving yards, and do the Canes have a leader in that group?

For the first part of the question, I think Dee Wiggins will lead Miami in receiving yards in 2020. I’ve been pretty vocal about how I believe Wiggins is going to have a breakout year, after he started to come along nicely at the end of the 2019 season. He has size, incredible speed, and especially in the new Lashlee offense, I really see him excelling. I’m predicting between 800-1,000 yards for Wiggins.

For the second part, I’d have to go with Mike Harley. The veteran in the wide receiver room, Harley has been one of the best examples on this team over the past few seasons. What impresses me most about Harley however, is that he’s a workhorse, and that he’s not one to boast about his training. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Harley have a senior season similar to what Braxton Berrios did in 2017.

Do you think with us losing our Lbs we will have the same, less or more production? I know we will be faster but just wanna know maybe if you thought it was a blessing for youth and speed to be in?

Yes and no. Yes, because I think with the dominant defensive line we’re supposed to have, it’ll allow our linebackers to run wild and get to the ball. I think having redshirt senior Zach McCloud as one of the starters is going to help tremendously, and I see him having a big season.

On the other hand, I do think we’re going to see some bumps at the position, especially early on in the season. I’m very excited to see how Avery Huff and Sam Brooks Jr. develop as the year and their careers go on, but it’s going to take some time.

Who’s one player on offense and defense who isn’t talked about enough?

On offense, I really think tight end Will Mallory is flying under the radar in the eyes of fans. Ever since he struggled at the beginning of the 2019 season, many people automatically wrote off Mallory. However, when Brevin Jordan went down in November, Mallory stepped up in a big way, flashing signs of the potential that we’ve seen in him. In 2020, expect to see Rhett Lashlee use both Jordan and Mallory heavily.

Defensively, I honestly think a lot of people aren’t talking about striker Gilbert Frierson enough. He averaged around 15 snaps per game in 2019, as Romeo Finley was grooming him to eventually become the starter at striker. As a former cornerback, Frierson has impressive skills in pass coverage, and has good speed for the position. I really think Frierson is set to surprise a lot of people in 2020, and could develop into a star in the future.

If the young DT are as good as some of the coaches are saying, could we see a vast pass defense improvement if the DT are able to consistently collapse the middle of the pocket.

No question about it. If you look back at the 2017 season, the defense was able to force plenty of turnovers and ill-advised throws because of the pressure that came from DT’s R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton, along with the defensive ends. Then in 2018, with Gerald Willis tearing through opposing offensive lines and getting to the QB, Miami’s pass-defense was the best in the nation.

That’s why I think the play of Nesta Silvera will be one of the most important aspects for the Hurricanes in 2020, along with fellow DT’s like Jon Ford and Jordan Miller. The Canes can’t just rely on Gregory Rousseau and Quincy Roche to get to the quarterback every play, the tackles need to get back there as well.

When will the Miami dynasty return?

That’s a great question, and one that all of college football has been trying to figure out since the mid-2000’s. I will say this, I do think Manny Diaz is building something special in Coral Gables, especially when you look at the recent coaching hires he’s made, and also with the success in recruiting.

With Knighton having a few practices under his belt before Covid and being more of the Scat Back complimentary next to Cam Harris, what kind of effect/opportunity do you see Chaney getting on offense this year?

When it comes to Miami’s running backs, true freshmen Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney should have all Hurricanes fans excited for the next several years. As far as 2020 goes, I think Knighton will ultimately become the #2 RB for Miami. That’s not to say Chaney won’t see the field this year, because when you think about it, the Canes depth at the RB position could change very quickly if someone is injured.

I'll definitely be able to answer this question more convincingly once fall camp gets started, and we see how quickly Chaney adapts to the offense.

Jaelan Phillips is an absolute monster. Are you sold on the Striker position or would you like to see us implement that DE/OLB hybrid like a Jadaveon Clowney type position. You have to find a way to get and keep your playmakers on the field in my opinion.

After hearing incredible things during the week of spring practice, I'm very excited to see what Jaelan Phillips can do in 2020. Yes, I am sold on the striker position, because you need that type of player in this age of college football and type of offenses that teams run. Something that a lot of people need to understand, is that even if Phillips isn’t starting at defensive end, he’s still going to be on the field plenty. On passing downs, I wouldn’t be opposed to lining Phillips up on the inside at defensive tackle, and have him, Gregory Rousseau and Quincy Roche all on the same line. Phillips is a monster, and trust me, Miami coaches know that.

Who is pushing to be QB2?

I think we can all agree that all of the Hurricanes quarterbacks are pushing to backup D’Eriq King. Whoever it is at QB2, I won't be surprised. N’Kosi Perry is probably the favorite, and I think he has a real shot to have a big season if he’s the Canes starter in 2021, and the Rhett Lashlee system suits him perfectly. Along with that, I think Tate Martell vastly improves now that he’s in a spread offense more suited to his skills. True freshman Tyler Van Dyke has high expectations, and don’t sleep on redshirt freshman Peyton Matocha either. At the end of the day, I think it’ll ultimately be Perry.

Projected line up for our WRs?

I’m very flip-floppy when it comes to which wide receivers will start, but today, I'm going to go with Dee Wiggins, Mike Harley and Mark Pope. Wiggins has the speed and length that can burn defensive backs, Harley has incredible speed and is great after the catch, and Pope has all-around playmaking potential.

I know a lot of people want to say Jeremiah Payton, and I think he may start as the season goes along, but I think Lashlee will start the more experienced receivers in week-one. Like I said earlier though, just because a guy like Payton isn’t starting, doesn’t mean he won’t get plenty of snaps.