Miami Hurricanes

Wait is Over: Hurricanes Officially Land D’Eriq King

After much anticipation, quarterback D’Eriq King is officially a Miami Hurricane.

The Miami Hurricanes have addressed a major issue at quarterback, as D’Eriq King will enroll this week.

Timing was crucial as he had to enroll by Tuesday in order to participate in Spring practice.

 

New offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee has found someone that fits his up-tempo spread offense perfectly.

King sat out all but four games last year after choosing to redshirt to save his last year of eligibility.

In 2018 while with the Houston Cougars, King set the AAC total touchdown mark with 50 scores (36 passing 14 rushing).

Those 36 passing touchdowns came against just six interceptions, and King put up those numbers despite missing nearly three games with a knee injury.

 

His 2018 totals were astounding – 219-of-345 passing (63.5%) for 2982 yards, He added 111 carries for 674 yards (6.1 YPC) on the ground.

King’s dual-threat capabilities will be utilized heavily in Lashlee’s offense.

Miami has once again utilized the transfer portal to their advantage, having also signed kicker Jose Borregales from FIU.

Rumors of King’s arrival swirled after his two day visit to Coral Gables this past weekend but uncertainty still loomed as nothing was made official until Monday.

The Hurricanes have addressed major needs at quarterback and kicker, along with perceived upgrades on the coaching staff.

Manny Diaz has started to right the ship of public perception somewhat, first with the Lashlee hire and now with finding a new dynamic signal caller.

Expectations are once again high after a disastrous ending to the past season.

It will be interesting to see how all of these new additions mesh in what may no longer be perceived as a rebuilding year.

That sure happened fast.

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Photo credit Tony Capobianco.

Miami Heat: Team needs to be wary of De’Aaron Fox on Monday

The Miami Heat are set to play an early-evening game with the Sacramento Kings, and they will certainly have their hands full. Despite the Kings playing with a 15-27 record, they have players that can shoot the ball really well. One of those players is De’Aaron Fox. He has played well over the past couple of games, and Miami needs to be wary of him.

In Sacramento’s most recent game against the Utah Jazz, Fox was a bright spot in defeat. He had 21 points in 31 minutes of play. Shooting 10-16 from the field, he also recorded eight assists.

The loss against the Jazz marked his third game in a row with at least 20 points scored. He had a 27-point effort against the Dallas Mavericks on January 15. This was following a 31-point effort against the Orlando Magic on January 13.

The last time Miami and Sacramento met was on February 8, 2019. Fox struggled a bit in the game. He went five-of-17 in 29:34 of action. Although he was inefficient, his ability to drive to the basket left other shooters open. He was a key player for Sacramento even when struggling.

As has been documented, Miami  has had trouble keeping players out of the paint. Fox is tricky, he has a multi-faceted game. He can  drive or stop on a dime and shoot a jumper. The way he handles the basketball allows him to keep defenders guessing. His speed when driving into the lane also works in his favor. Measuring in at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, his size allows him to maintain consistent speed while also allowing him to be a scoring threat.

The Kings have many weapons at their disposal, and Miami has to be cognizant of that. As the point guard, Fox is the one that makes everything go. He should have a big hand in what Sacramento does on Monday, and the Miami Heat need to be ready for him.

Miami Heat: Bench struggles contribute to loss against Spurs

Sunday, while many were watching the AFC Championship game, Miami Heat lost to the San Antonio Spurs by a 107-102 margin. Although it was a close game throughout, a strong second quarter propelled San Antonio to victory. Outscoring the Heat by a 32-23 margin in the second frame, the bench was a huge reason why San Antonio was able to come away with the victory.

Derrick White had 11 points on five-of-11 shooting. Patrick Mills had 18 points on four-of-10 shooting. He was perfect from the free-throw line, making all four of his shots. Marco Belinelli also got into the action. He scored 12 points on two-of-six shooting. He made all six free throws he attempted.

San Antonio’s plus-minus numbers were impressive. White was a +21 while Mills was a +17. Belinelli and Jakob Poetl were  +11 and  while Lonnie Walker IV was a +10. Each of the players on the San Antonio bench were assets while they were on the floor.

Miami Heat bench struggles in loss

Miami’s bench had a tougher time getting things going. All five players recorded a minus rating while they were on the floor. Goran Dragic was the big bench scorer for Miami with 19 points in 24 minutes of play. Dragic was a -13 on the floor in this game. Derrick Jones Junior was a -21 in this contest. He finished with six points on the evening.

Kelly Olynyk and Tyler Herro each had zero points in this game. Olynyk played seven minutes while Herro played nine. Both players missed the two shots they attempted. Olynuk and Herro were both -13 respectively. This was Herro’s first game back from injury. He missed the past two contests with a knee bruise. And he appeared rusty.

Miami is going to have to have a better contributions from their bench, particularly as fatigue starts to set in during the remainder of the season. This was a rough night for the bench all-around. Up next, Miami plays host to the Sacramento Kings Monday evening. Tipoff is at 5:00 PM.

Miami Hurricanes: Receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield bolts to Penn State

The Miami Hurricanes receivers coach is off to Happy Valley.

A Miami Hurricanes coach is headed to the Big Ten. Wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield is headed to Penn State to serve the same position.

Stubblefield played football for a number of years, beginning at Purdue in 2001. A consensus All-American in 2004, he began his professional career in 2005. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers in April of that year.

After bouncing around for a couple of teams throughout the 2000’s, he began his coaching career. He came to Miami in January 2019, following two years coaching the same position at the Air Force Academy.

Taking stock of the Miami Hurricanes receiver room

Miami’s receiving group was led by K.J. Osborn and Brevin Jordan statistically. Osborn recorded 50 catches for 547 yards and five touchdowns to lead the team. He averaged 10.9 yards per reception. Jordan caught 35 passes for 495 yards and two touchdowns. Averaging 14.1 yards per reception, he was able to give Miami production out of the tight end position.

Jeff Thomas was also a big producer for the offense in 2019. He was second on the team in touchdowns with four. Catching 20 passes for 335 yards, Thomas averaged 16.8 yards per reception. Nevertheless, there were concerns that the Miami wide receivers did not develop enough in the 2019 season.

Stubblefield also did some work off the field in recruiting. He was able to get four-star wide receiver Romello Brinson to commit to the program. A four-star recruit, Brinson had promise for Miami. However, he decommitted from the program on November 24.

The coaching turnover for the Miami Hurricanes continues, and this is just yet another move and change for the program in what has been a very busy offseason. Now, it will be interesting to see who fills the vacancy left by Stubblefield’s departure. One has to wonder if they will find a coach before spring ball begins, and whether it will be an in-house hire or from somewhere else.

King Me: Report indicates former Houston QB picks Miami

After making headlines this past week about his decision to enter the transfer portal, former Houston QB D’Eriq King has elected to transfer to Miami for his final year of eligibility, according to a report from The Athletic’s Manny Navarro. 

 

 

 

Despite the report, there is another conflicting report from Fox26’s Mark Berman in Houston has indicated that King has not made a final decision and he is still talking to Arkansas, LSU, and Maryland. 

 

 

King’s decision is on a slight time crunch because the last day to enroll in classes at UM is this Tuesday, January 21st. 

 

If true, this would be the second consecutive season in which Miami’s been able to bring in a quarterback via the transfer portal, and while much hype followed Tate Martell’s decision to come to Coral Gables, they have not gotten much from the former Ohio State gunslinger in 2019.

 

King’s marquee season came in 2018 where he threw for just under 3,000 yards to go along with 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. On top of that, he added 674 rushing yards for 15 touchdowns. To give you a comparison, all of Miami’s quarterbacks and running backs combined for 16 rushing touchdowns in 2019.

 

D’Eriq previously decided to redshirt in 2019 to preserve his final year of eligibility after Houston started the season 1-3. He originally intended to return to Houston in 2020 but rumors quickly spread about his intentions to transfer soon after.

 

Things could get a lot more interesting in that QB room should the 5’11, 194 pound King come to Coral Gables. King would likely be the presumed starter and that puts more pressure on 2019 co-starters Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, who may or may not elect to seek opportunities at other schools. 

 

Above all, this would be a huge get for head coach Manny Diaz and most importantly new OC Rhett Lashlee he would have  his guy to run and execute the spread offense that he’d implement this season.

 

FIU Quarterback James Morgan shines in Shrine Bowl

The East-West Shrine Bowl turned out to be a stupendous showcase of offensive fireworks.

Starting with FIU quarterback James Morgan, who began the game by leading the East team to two touchdown drives en route to a 31-27 win over the West team on Saturday at Tropicana Field.

Morgan started the weekend being honored with the Pat Tillman Award, which is presented to a player, “Who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service. The award is about a student-athlete’s achievements and conduct, both on and off the field.”

“It was really a nice week,” said Morgan. “I just wanted to come in, work as hard I could, learn as much as possible and go out and compete. It was quite an experience.”

Morgan completed 9-of-14 passes for a game high 116 yards and a touchdown while splitting time with Princeton’s Kevin Davidson and Mississippi State’s Tommy Stevens. It’s an impressive stat line considering he only had a week to mesh with a seemingly random collection of college seniors.

Morgan said before the game that the experience gained from playing in these collegiate all-star games is “extremely valuable” in terms of preparing him for the NFL Draft because he’s coming from a small program and got to throw to and against players from big name programs.

Morgan emphasized work ethic and leadership as qualities that make him a quarterback worth choosing in the draft. There are other quarterback prospects with bigger names and better tangibles with higher upside but NFL teams have approached him with the mindset that he is a prospect that can come into a huddle and lead like a field general.

“I’m absolutely in love with the game of football.” Morgan said. “I have been ever since I was a little kid. I’m going to work my tail off and as much as I can to help an organization win games. And when I come in, I’m going to lead by example.”

While it sounds like he’s angling to be the next Tom Brady, the NFL quarterback that served as his greatest source of inspiration was Brett Favre because he grew up in Wisconsin during the Hall of Fame’s career as a Green Bay Packer.

Morgan split his collegiate career between Bowling Green and FIU. Two of the Panthers’ three straight bowl seasons came with Morgan as the starting quarterback. His senior year and career may be forever defined by when he led FIU to their first ever win over the Miami Hurricanes at the site of the old iconic Orange Bowl.

”I just really believed in myself,” Morgan said. “The NFL was always a dream and this is one step closer.”

Morgan said he will have his pro day on April 1 at FIU.

Inter Miami Target $15m Striker in Early MLS Show of Strength

The day of reckoning is closing in.

Very soon South Florida will finally have the MLS soccer side it has been craving.

There have been firm plans in place for a soccer team in Miami since early 2012 when MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league’s interest in placing an expansion franchise in the city. David Beckham coming on board certainly helped smooth the process and as recently as December a new manager has been selected for the team.

CNN reported that former Uruguayan international Diego Alonso will take charge for their opening fixtures, the first of which comes away against Los Angeles FC. Beckham’s former club LA Galaxy is the first opponents at the Lockhart Stadium on March 14th.

Miami’s name takes inspiration from that of Italian side Inter Milan. Their full title is Football Club Internazionale Milano, whereas Miami’s full title is Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, but the similarity between the names by which their known is recognizable. Like the major teams in Europe, Miami are now involved in transfer rumors and speculation.

With the squad already firmly in place, they are now looking to add a marquee signing to their ranks to help further boost their profile. They have already added two exciting young players via the first draft; with one, Robbie Robinson, having scored 24 goals in 47 appearances for Clemson Tigers. He represents real potential for the future of the U.S. National side.

Drafts are not something Europe is familiar with, but transfer speculation is, and this winter Inter Miami are involved in their fair share of chatter. Across in Europe, several major players are looking to move with Inter Milan keenly involved in a transfer tussle; bwin reported how the Italian giants are favorites to sign Danish star Christian Eriksen as they challenge for the title in Italy. The fee is thought to be around the €15m mark ($13m), the sort of fee that Miami are also being linked with spending.

They’re not likely to attract top European talent like Eriksen, yet, but it is suggested they might loan Celtic youngster Lewis Morgan. As well as that, they’re also being touted as a possible destination for Roger Martinez. MLS Soccer reports that he could be the subject of a $15m swoop ahead of the new season.

The 25-year-old is currently playing in Mexico with Club América where he’s hit 12 goals in 56 games, coming off the back of a loan spell in Spain with Villarreal. He’s a Colombian international too, having played 18 times for his country. He’s scored twice, once against Haiti but also getting the winner in a famous 1-0 victory against Argentina in this year’s Copa America.

There’s little doubt both targets are a real show of strength from Miami. Lewis Morgan is a hot prospect in Scotland and plays for arguably one of the biggest clubs in Europe in Celtic. If they could attract him, an exciting young prospect with international ambitions, it would send a signal to the rest of the MLS.

Not quite as much as a swoop for Martinez would. He’s a player that would undoubtedly be one of their key men and who could give them hope of some level of success in their inaugural MLS season.

Miami Heat: Justise Winslow suffers another injury setback

The Miami Heat will be without Justise Winslow for two weeks.

Another day, another status update on Justise Winslow. According to a tweet from Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald, coach Eric Spolestra indicated Friday that Winslow will be out for the next two weeks. This is stemming from his back injury. Once the two weeks are up, he will be re-evaluated at that point.

This is another setback in what has been a difficult process for Justise Winslow. He was back on the court January 8 against Indiana, but he has not returned sense. In that game, he missed both shots he took. Recording two rebounds, an assist, and a steal, he made a noticeable impact.

Winslow has just not been healthy enough to get on the court consistently this season. Duncan Robinson has filled in for him in his absence. Robinson has averaged 11.8 points in 40 games this season. One of his best games of the year came against Atlanta on December 10. In that contest, he scored 34 points on 12-of-16 shooting. He went 10-of-14 from beyond the arc.

It will be interesting to see what occurs after the two weeks are up. Are the Heat going to trade Winslow at the deadline? The date for the trade deadline is February 6 at 3 PM EST. Five Reasons Sports noted on the Five on the Floor podcast that they don’t think Winslow suits up for the Heat this season. With the trade deadline being so close to that two-week timeframe, that is certainly believable.

Winslow needs to get healthy, and maybe have a fresh start somewhere else. Right now, he is just taking up space for Miami. Obviously, things may be different when he is healthy, but we have yet to see it. A healthy Winslow is great. And oft-injured Winslow is not ideal. We’ll have to see how this plays out.

Canes welcome 13 early enrollees, expect big recruiting weekend

This week, 13 of the players who signed on the dotted line in the Early Signing Period have officially moved to Coral Gables and started classes. A lot of them are expected to be important contributors in the 2020 season and one big benefit players are getting is the opportunity to start strength training early as well as to get a head start on learning the playbook. Here’s a list of the players who have moved in and began classes this past week:

 

QB Tyler Van Dyke – Don’t be surprised if he makes the QB competition a little interesting, especially with a new system.

 

RB Don Chaney – With the loss of Deejay Dallas (NFL Draft) and Lorenzo Lingard (transfer), it wouldn’t be surprising to see Chaney get a decent amount of carries this season. 

 

RB Jaylan Knighton – Same situation as Chaney, Knighton is very quick and dangerous in space. Could be a great change-of-pace back.

 

WR Michael Redding – Excellent size at 6’3”, Redding has a chance to fight for playing time with the loss of KJ Osborn (graduation) and Jeff Thomas (NFL Draft).

 

WR Daz Worsham – Very talented and productive receiver in college, but it could be a similar situation to Christian Williams last season where he may need time adjusting to college level speed.

 

WR Xavier Restrepo – Miami hopes Restrepo can fill the mold of a productive slot receiver with his sneaky speed and stature.

 

TE Dominic Mammerelli – Mammerelli will most likely find himself buried on the depth chart due to talent already at the tight end position so redshirt is highly possible. 

 

OL Jalen Rivers – Rivers was officially measured at 6’5”, 329 pounds when he arrived on campus and should be in the running for playing time this year considering the lack of depth on the line. It would not surprise me if he’s a starter by 2021.

 

OL Chris Washington – Washington fit the mold of what ex-offensive line coach Butch Barry sought in his linemen: a lanky, athletic linemen they can bulk up. Remains unlikely he sees the field this year.

 

DE Chantz Williams – Williams flashes ability that can get him on the field early and should be a rotation player by 2021. 

 

LB Corey Flagg – A big volume tackler in high school, Miami isn’t in a dire spot to start true freshmen at linebacker this year with the return of Zach McCloud and the emergence of Sam Brooks, so Flagg may get some time on special teams.

 

LB Tirek Austin-Cave – Similar to Flagg, he may see the field on special teams and could be a solid contributor due to his speed. 

 

S Keyshawn Washington – Miami has the option to either keep him in safety or even move him to the striker position. Still, it’s looking Washington still needs to bulk up in order for him to see the field. 

 

RECRUITING

 

The Early Signing Period may have ended last month but now’s the time for teams to fill whatever holes that have formed. The Canes find themselves scrambling for offensive linemen and cornerbacks as both positions are glaring needs. There’s three weekends left until the official National Signing Day, which means three weekends to host recruits and possible transfers. Miami will have three visitors this weekend, starting with:

 

QB D’Eriq King (Transfer from Houston)

 

King’s decision to take an OV is huge for Manny Diaz and the Canes and I’ll leave the link down below to the article by our very own Danny Jaillet on why this visit is important. King decided to take a redshirt in 2019 due to the season looking bleak for Houston and he did so with the intention that he would return in 2020. However, he changed course this week after announcing he would enter the transfer portal. King’s best season came in 2018 under Major Applewhite’s offense, where he was arguably one of the top QBs in the nation. He threw for almost 3,000 yards with 36 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions with a 63.5% completion percentage. If that’s not good enough for you, throw in an extra 674 yards on the ground for 14 touchdowns. Without a clear cut starter at quarterback heading in 2020, he can easily become the frontrunner and will be a star in new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee’s spread offense. 

 

 

S Avantae Williams (Deland High, Deland, FL)

 

The hard-hitting Williams decommitted from Oregon a week before the Early Signing Period and since then, his recruitment has solely been a Miami-Florida battle. The 2nd-best safety in the Class of 2020 will be making his way to Coral Gables this weekend. He was once committed to Miami about two years ago and although the Canes are a legit contender for his services, two big things more so swaying in the Gators’ favor are location and his cousin, former UM RB Lorenzo Lingard. Williams has two kids and may opt to be closer to his family. Lingard recently announced his intentions to transfer to Gainesville, which essentially is another family affair. 

 

CB Isaiah Dunson (Tucker, GA)

The former FSU commitment ranks as the 23rd-best cornerback in the Class of 2020 according to 247Sports, and wow won’t you look at that? Cornerback is a huge need for coach Diaz right now, considering Miami only signed one corner during the Early Signing Period (Marcus Clarke) and junior CB Trajan Bandy has opted to enter the NFL Draft. Dunson essentially has what cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph seeks in recruits, which is a long frame (he’s 6’2”) with good speed (4.22 shuttle.)

 

Miami Hurricanes: D’Eriq King set to visit Coral Gables this weekend

The Miami Hurricanes will have a big-time visitor this weekend. Former Houston quarterback D’Eriq King will take a two-day tour at the University of Miami, beginning Friday.

King would be eligible to play right away and that would be great news for Miami. He is just one of three quarterbacks with 35 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns in a season.

As noted in a report from Andrew Ivins, a recruiting guru who is a regular contributor to the 5 Rings Canes podcast on the Five Reasons Sports Network, the quarterback has been talking with Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee.

King is exactly what the Miami Hurricanes need

This would be a much-needed upgrade for the Miami Hurricanes. Poor quarterback play has plagued them throughout the last couple of seasons. King would have a chance to add stability to the program for at least two seasons. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining.  Perhaps even more exciting, he would be eligible to play right away.

Miami is going to have to compete with other big-time schools for King. LSU, Oregon, Arkansas, and Ole Miss have also been on his radar. The Hurricanes certainly have their work cut out for them when it comes to battling with other teams for King.

This would be a huge get for Miami just in terms of production. The Hurricanes ranked 99th in the country in 2019 with 22.3 points scored per game. They also ranked 103rd in the country with 348.3 yards per game. With 7.2 yards per pass attempt, that ranked 73rd in the country.

King would provide an instant splash to the Miami offense and would electrify a passing game that is struggling at the moment. Not only that, it would be the first big development for Lashlee since joining the staff. It would certainly provide a jolt into the Miami quarterback room, and would make the ACC a lot more interesting come the fall.

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