As the Miami Hurricanes prepare for their upcoming 2020 season, one of the biggest reasons for excitement is the addition of new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. With Lashlee’s high-tempo spread offense now in place, several Hurricanes are bound to flourish on that side of the football. Obviously, there are certain players on offense who are expected to have big seasons, such as quarterback D’Eriq King and tight end Brevin Jordan.
The question is, who are the players that will surprise fans and have a breakout season?
- Will Mallory (tight end)
The first guy that I have breaking out in 2020 for the Canes is junior tight end Will Mallory. I’ve been a big fan of Mallory ever since he committed to Miami, and I think all fans have been waiting for the year that the duo of Mallory and Brevin Jordan become a dynamic force. I thought that 2019 would be the breakout year for Mallory, and after watching him in fall camp play exceptionally well, I was certain my prediction was on point.
Will Mallory with the one-handed snag out of the sky. Kids about to break out I’ve been trying to tell you pic.twitter.com/FQdLSxXNnM— Gaboowins (@GabyUrrutia22) July 27, 2019
However, Mallory struggled at the beginning of the season with dropped passes, and combine that with the fail of Dan Enos’ offense, it just wasn’t the right fit. That being said, once Jordan went down with an injury in early November, Mallory filled in for him very nicely, though most fans didn’t notice because they were still upset how he performed earlier in the year.
Will Mallory breakout season is getting closer and closer. TEU is returning with a vengeance pic.twitter.com/mVgPFPziU1— CanesCutUps (@canescutups) June 14, 2020
Rhett Lashlee used his tight ends masterfully last year at SMU, and Mallory’s body-type and athletic abilities make him a perfect candidate to put up big stats in 2020 as Jordan’s back-up. If Lashlee is able to get this duo going at tight end, it could be an absolute game-changer for the Miami offense.
Really happy to see Will Mallory play well these last few games. Him and Brevin Jordan will be lethal in 2020 #TEU pic.twitter.com/zpwg3DAMax— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) December 5, 2019
2. Jaylan Knighton (running back)
The only true freshman to make this list, I have high hopes for the talented running back that goes by the nickname “Rooster.” Coming out of Deerfield Beach, I think Knighton was one of the biggest commits that Miami had in their 2020 recruiting class, and the fact that Don Chaney was also part of the class, UM’s running back room is looking great for the future.
The RB room continues to up! @Donchaney1_fpa | @jaylan_knighton pic.twitter.com/NCXlTTfi8e— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) December 18, 2019
However, I think that it’ll be Knighton that shines the brightest out of the two in their first season in Coral Gables. The way that he runs the football, especially his speed in the open-field, it’s an excellent fit for Lashlee’s high-tempo offense. Whether it’s running the ball or in the passing game, Knighton is a dangerous weapon out there.
Ready to see Rooster run y’all spring ball couldn’t start soon enough pic.twitter.com/gLqClk8ATv— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) January 23, 2020
I definitely think that Cam’Ron Harris will be the starting running back, but when you’re in an offensive system that’s running 80 plays-per-game, you need another guy at that position who can get the job done, and I think it’ll be Knighton that backs him up.
3. Mark Pope (wide receiver)
I’ve changed my mind on my third breakout player about 10 times just while writing this article, and it honestly came down to receivers Mark Pope or Jeremiah Payton, and I decided to go with Pope.
If he can be consistent, Mark Pope could become one of the biggest weapons for the Canes offense this season pic.twitter.com/JfFduYDZeA— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) April 29, 2020
The junior wide receiver is the pick of many to have a strong season in 2020, and was the pick of many to breakout in 2019 as well, though he wasn’t able to meet expectations. I’ve been up and down when it comes to Pope, but I've never questioned his talent. The potential is there for Pope to not just breakout, but to become perhaps the next great wide receiver for the Hurricanes.
Does Mark Pope become the go to guy for the Canes in 2020? pic.twitter.com/Gm82h1BHHY— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) April 29, 2020
I say this about almost every player, but few guys will benefit more from Lashlee’s offense than Pope, and especially with a quarterback like D’Eriq King, expect big things from #6 in 2020.