The Biggest Question Mark on Defense for the Miami Hurricanes
The Miami Hurricanes’ defense is facing a major challenge heading into the spring season. With several key departures, there are question marks across the board, except for the defensive end position. Rueben Bain, Akheem Mesidor, Nyjalik Kelly, and Marshall transfer Elijah Alston provide stability at defensive end. However, the rest of the defense is in need of players who can step up and fill the void left by the departures.
The defensive tackle position is particularly concerning, as both Leonard Taylor and Branson Deen have moved on. The safety and cornerback positions have also been impacted, with James Williams, Kam Kinchens, Jaden Davis, and Te’Cory Couch no longer on the team. Additionally, the linebacker position, aside from Francisco Mauigoa, lacked standout performances last season, indicating a potential depth and quality issue.
Despite these challenges, the Miami defense performed well last year, ranking 24th in total defense and 42nd in scoring defense. The team was particularly strong against the run, ranking 11th. The upcoming spring season will provide insight into how the coaching staff plans to address the gaps in the defense.
One possible solution for the defensive tackle position is utilizing Rueben Bain and Akheem Mesidor, who can also play inside. The addition of NC State transfer CJ Clark is expected to bolster the defensive line. Jared Harrison-Hunte, who gained valuable experience last year, could also contribute, along with transfer Marley Cook from Middle Tennessee.
At linebacker, Wesley Bissainthe played alongside Mauigoa but had inconsistent performances. With KJ Cloyd gone, the only other returning linebacker is Chase Smith, who has been plagued by injuries. This raises concerns about the depth at this position.
In the secondary, transfers Mishael Powell from Washington and Savion Riley from Vanderbilt could potentially start at safety. Daryl Porter, Jr. is the only returning starter at corner, but Damari Brown showed promise as a freshman. However, there are still uncertainties regarding the depth and talent at cornerback, and it remains to be seen if Riley will be a reliable option at safety.
The upcoming spring season will be crucial for the Miami coaching staff to assess the state of the defense and identify potential replacements for the departed players. If necessary, they can explore the transfer portal again during the second transfer window after the spring season.
In conclusion, the Miami Hurricanes’ defense faces significant