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Diaz: Blades medically cleared, two key juniors out this spring

Miami will be working in a trio of freshman at tight end this spring

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Miami
Head coach Manny Diaz coaches the Miami Hurricanes during the first half of the Cheez-It Bowl in December 2020.
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz met with the media on Friday ahead of spring football practice beginning on Saturday.

One of the more newsworthy items that Diaz shared was the status of three important juniors on the roster.

Cornerback Al Blades Jr. has been cleared after being sidelined with a medical issue late in the 2020 season. That’s the good news.

The subpar news is that defensive tackle Nesta Silvera and tight end Will Mallory will miss spring practice because of shoulder issues.

While it remains to be seen when exactly Blades Jr. returns to the practice field, we now know Silvera and Mallory won’t practice again until fall camp.

At defensive tackle, expect senior Jon Ford and redshirt freshman Jared Harrison-Hunte to work with the first team defensive line often. Each player has started games in the past for Miami. Redshirt sophomore Jordan Miller will also likely see an increased role as 2021 5-star recruit Leonard Taylor will not be on campus until this summer.

Miami is not as deep with experienced talent at tight end to replace Mallory this spring. 2021 recruit Elijah Arroyo did enroll early and joins a tight end room that now only features redshirt freshman Larry Hodges and freshman Dominic Mammarelli as healthy players on scholarship. 2021 recruit Kahlil Brantley will join the room this summer.

Miami’s tight end room now looks a lot like its quarterback room this spring: young, inexperienced, but talented. Getting these reps this spring will only help this trio moving forward.