Without a doubt, no position for the Miami Hurricanes has drawn more attention, and is expected more from than the defensive ends, and for good reason.
Over the last several seasons, Miami has seen great production from this position, from guys like Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin. In 2020, however, there’s reason to believe this could be even a bigger year from the DE’s.
Rousseau, Roche and Phillips. Three headed monster like Miami has never seen before. pic.twitter.com/CX3NmPIy2y— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) July 20, 2020
When you’re talking about the Hurricanes defensive ends, you have to start with redshirt sophomore Gregory Rousseau. As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Rousseau established himself as one of the best ends in all of college football, racking up 15.5 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss, and 54 total tackles, earning All-American honors. Rousseau did all of this, even though he didn’t crack the starting lineup until week-six.
#Canes DL Gregory Rousseau with the speed swipe.@Greg_R5 attacks the hands of the lunging blocker & swipes them. Ends up with one of his 15.5 sacks. If you beat the hands, you beat the man! #PassRush— DLineVids (@dlinevids1) March 30, 2020
Rousseau earned All-American honors as a freshman last season for #TheU pic.twitter.com/LsizBH5xj3
Heading into 2020, Rousseau is regarded as the best DE in the nation, and is viewed as a potential top-10 draft pick in 2021. Rousseau has collected tons of preseason accolades, and most recently, was named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watchlist.
Which of Gregory Rousseau's FOUR sacks vs. FSU gets you most pumped? #ItsAllAboutTheU | @CanesFootball @Greg_R5 pic.twitter.com/SgmEgr4yBl— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) July 8, 2020
On the opposite side of the ball, you have Quincy Roche, who came to Miami from Temple via the transfer portal earlier this year. Roche’s stats are just as impressive as Rousseau’s, and in 2019, Roche totaled 13 sacks and 19 TFLs, as he was named American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Quincy Roche had 13 sacks for Temple last season and now transferred to Miami to play opposite of Gregory Rousseau.— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) June 25, 2020
Could be a late first/early 2nd guy in 2021 pic.twitter.com/cZfwHSQKJ9
With both Roche and Rousseau, Miami has perhaps the best pass-rushing duo in all of college football, and maybe the best DE duo in school history, as they combined for 28.5 sacks in 2019. Roche was also named to the Bednarik Award watchlist.
Nice hand removal by Quincy Roche.— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 6, 2020
If you are on @CanesFootball schedule best have some tackles that can protect. He & Gregory Rousseau are going to be a handful. The ceiling with Rousseau is obvious but Roche may be a step ahead technically & fundamentally. pic.twitter.com/jezyq84c0p
And what makes Miami so dangerous at the edge, is that there’s more players to name. Jaelan Phillips, the former number-1 recruit coming out of high school, sat out last season after transferring from UCLA, and is expected to terrorize the opposing backfield in 2020.
Jaelan Phillips Days Until Canes Football is Back! pic.twitter.com/iAIBoPYmXV— #56toTheU (@CanesAccess) June 2, 2020
In Miami’s one week of spring practice, there was perhaps more talk and excitement surrounding Phillips than any other player on the Canes roster. Bulking up from 225 to 265 pounds, Phillips quickness and size gives Miami a trio of pass-rushers like they’ve never seen before.
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
While Roche and Rousseau will most likely be the two starters at end, Miami coaches realize the impact that a guy like Phillips can have, so expect to see the California native playing plenty.
The Miami Hurricanes DL is expected to terrorize opposing quarterbacks in 2020. Led by the nations No. 1 overall player from the 2017 recruiting class Jaelan Phillips, Gregory Rousseau, and Quincy Roche. Add in the rest of The DL rotation and this unit is down right scary. #DLU pic.twitter.com/8EKhT9a2Wr— Miami Hurricanes Warning (@MHWarning) June 24, 2020
There’s also a redshirt freshman at DE that many are thrilled to watch, and that’s Jahfari Harvey, who added 30 pounds of muscle during his redshirt season. Harvey is a player who has many fans excited, and who is seen as the next star on the Hurricanes defensive line. Having 4.5 40-yard dash speed, Harvey is the secret weapon in 2020 that nobody outside of Coral Gables is talking about, but who could potentially make a name for himself this year.
Jahfari Harvey is the best defensive lineman in the state not named Rousseau.— Stephan_Urkel (@pbcorbust) July 18, 2020
Outside of the big four, there’s other names to know as well. Redshirt freshman Cameron Williams could potentially see playing time, depending on the package. Then, there’s a plethora of true freshman at DE, Chantz Williams, Quentin Williams and Elijah Roberts, though I expect them to take a redshirt in 2020.
#2020ClassOverview— Canescorner (@canescorner_) May 14, 2020
DL Chantz Williams —
The Hurricanes were able to sign one of the best pass-rushers in the 2020 class in Chantz Williams. At 6’4” 240 lbs, Williams is already one of Miami’s best athletes as a true freshman, he was clocked at a 4.56 40 with a 36 inch vertical. pic.twitter.com/wJYCJHZoTk
In my opinion, the defensive ends will determine if Miami can get back to being a top-10 defense, and will be crucial to the Hurricanes winning more games in 2020. With question marks in the secondary and at linebacker, Miami will be relying on their edge rushers to get to the quarterback, and if they can do that, the Hurricanes will have one of the best defenses in college football.