At the beginning of this off-season, what was your greatest position of worry, and has it changed with everything that’s happened since?
Immediately following the bowl game loss to Louisiana Tech, my biggest concern had to be either the quarterback or offensive line. Granted, this was before we hired Rhett Lashlee as our new offensive coordinator. But to answer your question, now that Miami landed D’Eriq King at quarterback, as well as brought in Jarrid Williams on the OL and also OL coach Garin Justice, on top of hiring Lashlee, my greatest position of worry has changed.
So D'Eriq King announces he will transfer to Miami. Immediately eligible. Difficult to overstate significance of this move. Pro Football Focus' 2nd rated QB in 2018, behind Kyler Murray. A true impact player at the position.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) January 20, 2020
Grad Transfer Jarrid Williams commit your UM.. offensive line gets better— Caneville (@caneville305) June 8, 2020
Though, I must say, there’s not one specific position group that keeps me up at night. I’m not worried about our offensive line, more excited than anything.
I think Canes fans are under the impression that we're going to see the same offensive line in 2020 as we did in 2019.— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) February 26, 2020
If I had to pick one group, I'd probably have to say cornerbacks or linebackers, but again, they don’t reallyyyyy worry me. Losing Trajan Bandy was a huge blow to Miami’s secondary, and the Canes will need a big jump from DJ Ivey, as well as Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams. I’ve said before, I think Al Blades Jr. puts together a fantastic season.
DJ Ivey with 3 interceptions in the last 3 games pic.twitter.com/eaZfxHxZmz— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) November 20, 2019
Then at linebacker, I'm very confident in the ability of fifth-year senior Zach McCloud, but it’ll be up to the other LB’s on the roster, mainly guys like Avery Huff and Sam Brooks Jr. Can these two youngsters develop quickly in 2020 and keep Miami’s defense elite?
Those numbers on Brooks shed some light on a potential issue for the Canes. Brooks and Avery Huff are terrific athletes with sideline to sideline speed, but can they bring the same physicality that Shaq/Pinckney did? That's a big question for an otherwise very good defense.— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) May 28, 2020
Since depth at cb might become an issue this year what candidates from safety do you see making the transition?
Sticking with the cornerbacks, I like it. If you’re already saying that depth at CB might become an issue this year, it’s already an issue. I love the players we have at corner now, we just don't have enough of them. That being said, and I’ve been saying this for a while, don't be surprised to see true freshman Avantae Williams get some reps at the nickel. He has good coverage skills for a first-year player, and I think he makes an impact on defense in 2020.
This is uncommitted safety Avantae Williams in coverage. He’s looking at Ole Miss, Miami and Florida. The Adam Sandler film “The Waterboy” was partially filmed in Williams’ hometown of DeLand Fla. pic.twitter.com/y3yNvNOlI4— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) December 30, 2019
Other than that, I'm not really sure who else at safety could make that transition to CB. I wish Amari Carter made the transition to striker or even linebacker, not cornerback though.
Blades Jr and Ivey improved a lot over the year. Plus Williams and Couch are talented kids. Bandy leaving sucks, but I’m not stressing about our corners— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) December 28, 2019
Is our Interior DL as fierce as our edge rushers?
Fierce? Not sure how to determine that quality, so I'm not sure. They’re not at the level of our edge rushers, I will say that. It’s hard to compare our interior DL to guys like Gregory Rousseau, Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips, three players who very well could all go in the first round in the draft.
My pick for breakout player for 2020 season will be Nesta Silvera.. he’s gonna have a great season for the Canes.— Caneville (@caneville305) June 9, 2020
Let me say this however, I think if Nesta Jade Silvera can stay healthy all of 2020, he’ll turn into the star defensive tackle we all thought he’d become. Senior Jon Ford is a solid player at tackle and I think he’ll have a productive season. Jordan Miller has the potential to become a really good DT for Miami, but we have to actually see it.
Look at big Jon Ford power through two UVA lineman and get the sack. #96 is a beat y’all pic.twitter.com/Nuh64IE4BC— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) October 14, 2019
Who’s your starting 5 on the o line?
Well, now that Navaughn Donaldson will be redshirting in 2020, that changes a lot of things on the Canes offensive line. As of right now, here’s my starting 5 for the o-line. Jarrid Williams at left tackle, Ousman Traore at left guard, Corey Gaynor at center, DJ Scaife Jr. at right guard, and then John Campbell Jr. at right tackle.
#Canes senior starting OL Navaughn Donaldson elects to take a redshirt year in 2020 as his recovery from a right knee injury continues. Has made 34 starts at both tackle and guard for UM over the past three seasons https://t.co/ip067F0Dt9— Stefan Adams (@stefan_adams305) June 24, 2020
But also, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Canes put Gaynor at right guard, and start Jakai Clark at center. Clark showed a lot of promise in 2019, and he’s my pick to replace Gaynor at center once he’s gone. In addition, I also wouldn't be shocked if Scaife is starting at right tackle, a position where he’s started 19 games at over the last two seasons.
Happy Birthday, Jakai Clark! pic.twitter.com/QKaEusvIB1— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) December 21, 2019
Who’s the can’t miss recruit in 2022?
I’m no recruiting whiz, and I definitely don’t act like I am. I don't know about “can’t miss recruits” but there are several who I know Miami is after. I know Rhett Lashlee is fond of 3-star quarterback Braedyn Locke out of Texas, a player who Lashlee offered when he was at SMU. Other quarterback names to know is 4-star Jacurri Brown from Georgia, and also Zion Turner from St.Thomas Aquinas in Broward County. I am a HUGE fan of Turner, as he led his school to a 15-0 record in 2019 and the high school national championship as a sophomore. Though, I’ve heard big time schools like Alabama are pressing hard for him.
— SportsDayHS (@SportsDayHS) May 5, 2020
Rockwall's Braedyn Locke topped 4,000 yards passing in 2019.
He's No. 1 on The Dallas Morning News' returning 6A passing leaders for the 2020 #txhsfb season.
More leaders: https://t.co/rgsYGXiiFE pic.twitter.com/GTJHjAX57v
Few more names to remember is 4-star linebacker Wesley Bissainthe out of Miami Central, 4-star safety Kamari Wilson from Fort Pierce, and also 4-star cornerback Earl Little Jr. out of American Heritage in Broward County.
Most talented quarterback Miami has had in your time as a fan (not necessarily the best or greatest)?
This is a difficult question, because since I became a fan of the Canes in the early-to-mid 2000’s, Miami hasn’t exactly had a plethora of great quarterbacks. If you were to ask me who the best was, it’s Brad Kaaya, no question about it.
Classic Cane of the day: Brad Kaaya. Miami’s all time leader in passing pic.twitter.com/l4eclv5gGX— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) April 21, 2020
Though, when it comes to who the most talented was......I’ll probably have to say Kyle Wright. I know, I’m clearly not the biggest fan of Wright, as I suffered through my childhood years having to watch him and the Canes lose. Coming out of high school though, Wright was a 5-star recruit, and probably the biggest commit that Miami has ever had at the position. So the talent was obviously there, but due to many issues, Wright never became that guy for the Hurricanes. I also would throw Stephen Morris in the mix as well.
Kyle Wright (Vista HS (CA), 2003 ish i believe) ended up going to Miami but did not live up to hype— QB Film Room (@QBFilmRoom) December 1, 2019
Most underrated player on the roster you think will exceed expectations?
In 2020? I honestly think it could be running back Cam’Ron Harris. So many people are talking about the freshman duo at RB with Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney, that many forget how effective Harris was in 2019. As the backup to Deejay Dallas, Harris rushed for 576 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry. And plus, Harris had two or three long runs that were called back because of a penalty.
Ready for #23 to be RB1 in 2020. People sleeping on Cam, think he’s gonna have a big year pic.twitter.com/CqycbVUVOf— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) January 24, 2020
Now that Dallas has moved on to the NFL, it’s Harris’ turn to carry the load. No doubt guys like Knighton and Chaney will get reps, but I think Harris breaks out for 800-1,000 rushing yards. He’s not loud on social media like other players, he’s just your prototypical blue-collar kind of football player, which are my favorite kind of football players.
Cam Harris quickly becoming my favorite player— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) January 18, 2020
If we don’t win the Coastal and have another disappointing season with all the talent we have...is Diaz out?
Well, here’s the thing. What if Miami wins 9 games in the regular season, but fails to win the ACC Coastal, but then the Canes win their bowl game to finish 10-3? Could you really fire Manny Diaz after a season like that? Coastal or not, 9 wins is the floor for me, maybe 8 but I'm not buying it. Anything less than that, he’s got to go. The schedule is too soft, the talent is there, the offensive system is there, how can you not win 9 games?
I need to see this redemption Manny all year. no excuses pic.twitter.com/3uSKMX2lTv— Tua Time (@305FLAman) June 29, 2020
Which of the redshirt interior d-lineman makes the biggest impact?
Great question. I’ve been very high on the three defensive tackles that redshirted in 2019, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Jalar Holley and Jason Blissett Jr. I’ll never forget when I was interviewing defensive line coach Todd Stroud last fall camp, and he kept going on about these three guys, saying they were the most talented freshman DT’s he's ever seen.
DL coach Todd Stroud talks about the defensive tackles for Miami. Notes Jon Ford and Jordan Miller making plays. pic.twitter.com/klXEQGUNF1— Marsh Thomas (@hurricanesmarsh) August 6, 2019
Out of those three players, I see Holley making the biggest impact in 2020. Holley has a high-motor as well as the athletic traits you need from a defensive tackle, and even in the first and only week of spring practice, Holley was getting reps with the first-team defense. The duo of Holley and Nesta Silvera could be deadly for opposing offenses. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Holley snags the other starting DT spot from Ford or Miller.
For Defense: Same first team as yesterday with exceptions of Christian Williams over Al Blades at corner, and Jalar Holley working at DT over Jon Ford— Stefan Adams (@stefan_adams305) March 3, 2020
However, don’t sleep on Blissett or Harrison-Hunte either. Harrison-Hunte has tremendous lower body strength, and is an effective pass-rusher just like Blissett. Keep an eye on all three of these players the next couple years for Miami.
DJ Scaife on some of the interior D-linemen that are pushing him as he lines up at guard.— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) March 5, 2020
He said Jon Ford @ford__9 will give him “the work” if he starts slacking and also mentions Jalar Holley and Jared Harrison-Hunte. pic.twitter.com/N7fxJ1pu59
What offensive AND defensive players do you all think will have a breakout 2020? Players that no one is really talking about.
I’ve answered this question probably a hundred times over the past few months, so excuse me if my answers change each time. Today, I'm going to say DJ Scaife on offense, and then on defense I'm going to go with Gilbert Frierson at the striker position.
Scaife has been a pretty consistent starter (20 starts last 2 years) on the Canes o-line throughout his first two seasons, and they’ve thrown him at nearly every position possible on the line. In 2020, I expect Scaife to start at right guard, though I’d confident with him at either guard or tackle, that’s how versatile he is. Because of how horrendous Miami’s o-line was in 2019, many people automatically think that Scaife isn’t any good, which is completely false. In 2019, Scaife was named MVP for the Canes offense. Here’s a stat for you, UM’s o-line surrendered 3.5 sacks per game in 2019, but Scaife gave up only 3 sacks all season. Kind of strange to peg an offensive lineman as a breakout player, but I'm sticking by it.
I talked about Frierson a few weeks ago, saying I could see him as a potential breakout player, and I still believe it. Frierson is taking over at striker for Romeo Finley, and with his great athletic abilities and superb instincts, I think he’ll fill Finley’s role nicely. With 4.5 speed, Frierson has the quickness that Finley didn’t have, and I wouldn't be that surprised if he ends up leading the Canes in interceptions in 2020.