Entering 2021, Miami has players with the opportunity to take their game to the next level. Whether it’s a player getting jumped in the depth chart or simply someone stepping up after a teammate enters the NFL Draft.
Here are three players with an opportunity to break out in the orange and green this season.
TE Will Mallory
Will Mallory might’ve been one of the most talented backup tight ends in the country over the past two seasons. With now Houston Texan Brevin Jordan in the featured role, Mallory still made the most of his opportunities.
180 Days. #CanesFootball pic.twitter.com/AIiWeJA5Zn— Robby Espin (@robbyespin) March 8, 2021
Last season, Mallory played well when Jordan was out due to injury. He scored 3 of his four touchdowns in the two games that Brevin missed (Pitt, NC State). Mallory totaled 393 yards and four touchdowns in ten games last season.
Mallory compensates for his lack of run-after-catch skills with his bulk and solid hands. Will missed the whole spring football season, but you can lock him into the starting job with no other tight ends participating in spring ball.
WR Keyshawn Smith
Keyshawn Smith may be one of the most exciting young players In Miami’s disposal. Since becoming a Hurricane last year, Canes fans have been buzzing about Keyshawn Smith’s potential.
Keyshawn Smith hauls in a 32-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Rizk pic.twitter.com/8wSGF6XS7C— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) April 17, 2021
He battled with an ankle injury in spring, but returned in time to show the coaches and fans how much he has developed. Smith has moved up to 185 pounds since last season. He has the skills; now we need to see him put it all together on a consistent basis.
Jake Garcia throws an 11-yard touchdown pass to Keyshawn Smith on a play call by D'Eriq King pic.twitter.com/2P75sFowQq— Christopher Stock (@InsideTheU) April 17, 2021
He wasn’t a factor in Miami’s passing game as a true freshman last season, but he flashed his ability when given snaps last year. He hauled in two touchdowns in Miami’s spring game and has an opportunity to feature alongside Mike Harley Jr and transfer wide receiver Charleston Rambo in Miami’s starting lineup.
RB Don Chaney Jr.
Don Chaney’s name could be familiar to all college football fans by the time he leaves Coral Gables. His work ethic has been outstanding, and his physical characteristics and capabilities are among the best that have graced Greentree in a long time. Chaney injured his shoulder soon before Miami’s second scrimmage and had minor surgery to correct it. His status for Miami’s opener against Alabama is unknown, but the injury shouldn’t keep him out of the picture past the first couple weeks of the season.
Chaney ran for 322 yards in his true freshman season while splitting caries with lead back Cam’Ron Harris, and fellow freshman Jaylan Knighton. He found his way into the end zone three times, including two against the Seminoles in Miami’s 52-10 beat down of FSU. Chaney only totaled 6+ carries in six games last year, but averaged 6.02 yards per carry in those games, which would’ve led the team last year. Chaney also led all Miami running backs in receiving yards with 11 catches for 143 yards.
Don Chaney Jr 2020 pic.twitter.com/FQrg3essDr— Arturo (@CaneFilms) January 12, 2021
Each of these players has a great opportunity to succeed this upcoming year. Make sure to keep an eye on them as the season progresses. Who do you think will break out in 2021?