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Miami’s offensive line won’t be a weakness much longer

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New offensive line coach Garin Justice has greatly improved his unit since arriving

Miami v Florida International
Miami Hurricanes offensive linemen DJ Scaife Jr. (51) and Jakai Clark (53) line up for a play against Florida International in November 2019.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

New Miami Hurricanes offensive line coach Garin Justice is taking the right steps to ensure that Miami’s subpar offensive line play is a thing of the past.

Justice has been extremely active this spring and summer and his work has translated into the Miami Hurricanes greatly improving their offensive line, at least on paper.

In May, Justice helped the Hurricanes bring Miami Norland High graduate Issiah Walker back home. Walker left the University of Florida after just a few months on campus.

On Sunday night, Houston transfer Jarrid Williams announced he would be transferring to Miami. Williams, a sixth-year senior, blocked for D’Eriq King previously at Houston and brings much needed older leadership to a generally young group.

How exactly the offensive line will look during the 2020 season remains to be seen.

Williams figures to be penciled in to start at one of the tackle positions as he likely is not coming to Miami to play guard or play off the bench.

DJ Scaife Jr. and Corey Gaynor were Miami’s bright spots on an otherwise poor 2019 unit. Each will likely have a spot amongst the 2020 starters, Gaynor likely returning to play center.

Past that, Scaife’s ability to play both guard and tackle means a lot of things are up in the air for Miami with the offensive line heading into fall camp.

Zion Nelson started at left tackle as a true freshman last season. With the addition of Williams, Walker and true freshman Jalen Rivers, Nelson will have a lot more competition for the starting left tackle spot in 2020 fall camp. Rivers was a four-star prospect who was rated the No.12 offensive tackle in the class of 2020 by 247sports.com.

Jakai Clark started 12 of Miami’s 13 games as a true freshman in 2019 at guard. Clark leads the group competing for Miami’s guard positions that consists of senior Navaughn Donaldson, redshirt sophomore Cleveland Reed Jr., redshirt sophomore John Campbell and redshirt sophomore Ousman Traore.

Campbell could also figure into the offensive tackle competition, as could redshirt freshman Adam ElGammal, redshirt junior Kai-Leon Herbert and redshirt junior Zalon’tae Hillery. True freshman Chris Washington is also expected to play his future snaps at offensive tackle for Miami but will likely redshirt as ElGammal did last year.

Next on the docket for Justice will be molding this 2020 group the way he wants it and ensuring that Miami does not repeat its 2019 performance of allowing 51 sacks, third worst in the FBS.