One of the most interesting members of the Miami Hurricanes’ 2021 recruiting class is Malik Curtis.
Curtis, a Southwest Florida native, did most of his damage for Fort Myers-Bishop Verot on offense in high school as he compiled 1,406 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns in two seasons playing mostly wide receiver for the Vikings.
But the 5-foot-11, 170 pounder will begin his Hurricane career at cornerback this season, filling a need after Miami failed to sign another high school cornerback in the class of 2021.
Whether Curtis ends up playing offense or defense long term at Miami, he is most likely to make an impact on special teams in 2021 for the Hurricanes. He had seven (four punt return, three kick return) kicks returned for a touchdown during his high school career and averaged 33 yards per kick return and 17.8 yards per punt return in three varsity seasons as a returner.
As we all likely remember, the Hurricanes struggled mightily in the return game, particularly on punt return, during the 2020 season.
“He’s a guy that can immediately make an impact in our return game returning kicks,” Miami head coach Manny Diaz said of Curtis when he signed his letter of intent. “He’s got a great knack for that.
“We project him to be a great defensive back here and bring an influx of speed into our corner room.”
After the offseason transfer portal pickup of former Georgia cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, there are quite a few cornerbacks in front of Curtis on the depth chart this season on defense. DJ Ivey, Te’Cory Couch and Stevenson all project to be ahead of Curtis on the depth chart for fall camp as does Al Blades Jr. if he comes back healthy.
Curtis will likely be competing with Isaiah Dunson and Marcus Clarke for backup reps while focusing on special teams in 2021.
Curtis’ speed and vision make him an asset in the return game, as evidenced by the below highlight video.
Don’t expect Curtis to be on the field too often on defense this season but don’t be surprised at all if Miami gives the speedy true freshman an opportunity on kick return and punt return this season.