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Tate Martell working at wide receiver

First, we find out who was named the starting quarterback, then two players who would have seen significant playing time (CB Nigel Bethel, Jr. is the latest) decide to enter the transfer portal. What’s next, Tate Martell moving to wide receiver? 

Well, yes.

When the Canes’ announced Jarren Williams as the starting quarterback on Monday, the first thought for a lot of fans wasn’t to say congratulations to Williams on winning the battle. It was, “so what does Tate do now?” On the College Football Daily podcast, 247 Director of Scouting Barton Simmons said Martell should give take a shot at wide receiver. 

It seems as though the idea may have been on Martell’s mind as well. 

The New Wide-Out in Town

W.G. Ramirez, a Las Vegas-based sports writer sent out a tweet on Thursday that said Martell “former Gorman QB and three-time national HS champion Tate Martell is expected to try his hand at wide receiver.”  

Nothing was confirmed at that point until yesterday evening when The Athletic columnist and Miami Hurricanes beat writer Manny Navarro sent out a tweet that said: “Have been told by a #UM source today was the first day Tate Martell experimented with playing wide receiver at Miami.” Thursday’s practice was completely closed to media by Miami.

Minutes after the Navarro tweet, Miami Herald columnist Barry Jackson tweeted this, “Martell taking WR snaps in tonight’s scrimmage, am told.” The Canes’ held a scrimmage last night at Hard Rock Stadium (pray for no injuries).

None of us know yet if the move is permanent or if it is just an experiment, but this could be a great move. 

He Looks the Part

Martell has posted some pretty fast 20-yard shuttle times in the past and is very athletic. He has even been seen in the past running routes and catching passes from other quarterbacks. 

I can see Coach Enos drawing up some special packages with Martell playing both quarterback and wide receiver. 

It’s almost like Ryan Tannehill is back again. But not really.

Although, guys seem to have a bit more success switching from quarterback to receiver. Some notable names: Julian Edelman, Antwaan Randle-El, and more recently guys like Josh Cribbs and Terrelle Pryor. Could Tate Martell be next?

In just 7 days on August 24th, Miami opens up its season against the Florida Gators at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. It’s showtime! 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

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Go Canes!

Canes Junior, Derrick Smith enters transfer portal.

Surprise News: Smith Enters the Portal! Depth at Safety Not a Concern.

The portal strikes again. Yet this time, this one was a bit of a surprise. With just 11 days away before the week 0 game against that team up in Gainesville, junior safety Derrick Smith tweeted yesterday that he is no longer a member of the Canes football program and has decided to enter his name in the transfer portal. Smith was thought of as a significant contributor this season in the secondary.

Smith was Showing Out!

Smith started his career at safety and then made the move to striker last season. With Romeo Finley’s return and the emergence of Gil Frierson, Smith made the move back to safety. He showed tons of promise in camp and was on track to get plenty of playing time. That looked even more apparent after a strong showing in the Canes first scrimmage. 

 In a recent article by Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald, safeties coach Ephraim banda was quoted as saying “You know, I think he did a really good job in the off season of spending a lot of time in the meeting room and just getting extra work”. Coach Banda also went on by saying “I think he improved in the weight room and really dedicated himself in that area and really bought into [strength and conditioning] Coach Feeley.” 

 Why the Sudden Change?

With all that being said, Smith was going to have a hard time unseating Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall as the starter. Those two have had really good training camps and have solidified their starting roles. That ultimately may have been the deciding factor in Smith leaving. 

 The other factor may have been the recent arrival of USC transfer Bubba Bolden. The highly touted transfer and former high school teammate of Tate Martell and Brevin Jordan, comes in late, but with high expectations. It seems as though Bolden has been able to come in and catch on quickly. 

My final theory could be, the strong push this fall by the infamous Robert Knowles. Could he have been threatening Smith for his playing time? I have a feeling we will be seeing him on the field a lot (biting my nails as I write that). 

 The Future Looks Bright!

Although the transfer comes as a surprise to all of us, especially the timing of it, many do not seem to be too concerned. With guys like Bolden and even freshman Keontra Smith, the depth at safety looks promising. Look for Keontra to now play a bigger role as a backup and on special teams. 

What does concern me, however, is that more and more kids are transferring at the first sight of adversity. Sure, the Canes have benefitted from the transfer portal, but it has also hurt them. One thing is for certain, entering the portal does not guarantee you a starting job anywhere. Chances are, you will have to fight for your spot anywhere else you go. What the portal giveth, it can also taketh away. 

 

Follow us on Twitter @jazzsantana and @5ReasonsSports for all your Miami Hurricanes news.

 

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive insider content.

 

Go Canes! Read more

Manny Diaz leading the culture change

On December 30, 2018 the Hurricane program was flipped on top of its head.

The head coach, Mark Richt, retired abruptly after 3 seasons and a 26-13 record. The 2018 season of his tenure was very dark, coming off a 10-3 season the previous year.

The Hurricanes had high expectations that they could not meet. Many factors went into this such as; bad QB play, the offensive coordinator’s play calling was terrible, and the team stopped believing in Mark Richt.

Miami then turned to Manny Diaz 18 days after he had taken a head coach job at Temple. The job Diaz has done is already exceeding expectations. He’s bringing back the Miami culture and has rejuvenated it.

The main reason why is because Manny Diaz understands what it takes to coach the Hurricanes. It is by far one the hardest jobs. It comes with many expectations, as well as distractions for the players who go to the University Of Miami. Diaz has brought new energy, swagger, and belief in the program, hence his hashtag in recruiting #TNM ( The New Miami) .

Players committing left and right shows that they believe in the Diaz culture in Miami. This is a real turnaround that brings back the Miami Hurricanes every fan loved in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. I think Miami has the right guy, a young coach with energy.

Most importantly he understands the Miami culture, because he’s born and raised here. He also went to the U so it’s  a match made in heaven in my opinion. Hurricane fans gear up and watch Manny Diaz culture change. Let him work his magic through the good and bad during his coaching tenure.

Miami Hurricanes – Is Offensive Line Biggest Question Mark?

It has been an exciting and clarifying week for the Miami Hurricanes football team.

Thankfully the clarification has kept Hurricanes social media, especially Twitter, in mid-season form.

 

Manny Diaz named Jarren Williams the starting quarterback on Monday to much celebration and debate.

Now that QB1 is finally out of the way, the focus shifts back to other position battles.

Hopefully offensive line coach Butch Barry can find the right formula before August 24th. Barry is in his first year in Miami after being on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff last year.

With the regular season set to open in less than two weeks, an important group is still coming into focus.

 

The once dominant offensive line at Miami has been mired with inconsistency for several years it seems.

Plenty of talent has been available, but cohesiveness and stability in the group has been an issue.

Corey Gaynor will be the starting center and developing chemistry with Williams will be crucial.

Gaynor improved as last year progressed and hopefully the redshirt sophomore can continue to grow and anchor the line.

Donaldson Moving Left?

Navaughn Donaldson impressed in 2018 and was asked to do a lot by the previous coaching staff.

He showed versatility as he started multiple games at both right guard and right tackle.

Standing at 6-foot-6 and listed at 345 pounds, he helped lead many massive gains on the ground last year.

His strong work continued in pass protection as well and Miami was better in the six games he started at right tackle to start the campaign.

Donaldson’s ability and willingness to shift along the line gave him valuable experience and he will need to be a force inside again this season.

He may end up at left guard which will be important since the blind side spot is still a question mark. The former freshman All-American is perhaps the most talented of the group.

Shuffling Deck Continues

Left tackle is an interesting spot to predict to say the least.

Freshman Zion Nelson from Sumter, SC has put himself in the mix for a starting role.

After putting on over 50 pounds, Nelson has transformed from a low rated prospect to a contender for the most important spot on the line.

His path to the Miami Hurricanes program was not direct, only a last minute de-commit from Appalachian State sent him to Coral Gables.

The fact he is in consideration for starting left tackle shows his dedication and ability.

Nelson will have to hold off Tommy Kennedy, Jr., a redshirt senior grad transfer from Butler University.

Kennedy signed with the Hurricanes in December, 2018 and was at the time projected to be the future starter at left tackle.

However after a lackluster spring his role is uncertain.

The step up in competition may be a factor for Kennedy.

Need the Right fit for Right Side

On the right side of the line the tackle spot there is also a question. Kai-Leon Herbert and John Campbell have both been getting reps with the ones.

Campbell, a redshirt freshman, was a highly rated recruit from Orlando and is listed at 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds. He appeared in four games last year for the Hurricanes.

Herbert is a redshirt sophomore who played at American Heritage in Plantation. A consensus four-star prospect out of high school, the former Michigan commit changed course. He could slot in as a swing tackle or backup at the guard spot as well.

Cleveland Reed is another to watch in the guard race, the 6-foot-3, 313 pound bruiser was another highly coveted prospect out of Fort Meade, Florida. He had offers from top programs such as Clemson and Ohio State.

Scaife Adds More Versatility

Rounding out the candidates on the right side is sophomore DJ Scaife. Like Donaldson, Scaife played extensively at both guard and tackle in the 2018 season as a freshman. He projects more as a natural tackle which would allow Reed or Herbert to drop inside to guard.

Scaife was the starting right tackle in the Pinstripe Bowl and is the frontrunner to hold down that spot again this season. Given the lack of experience at other interior positions his versatility may be needed as the season wears on.

 

Predicted Week Zero Offensive Line

LT: Nelson

LG: Donaldson

C: Gaynor

RG: Reed

RT: Scaife

 

The Hurricanes really struggled to score points last year.

It will be imperative that Barry and OC Dan Enos get this talented group to be a cohesive unit. Especially with an inexperienced quarterback under center.

Follow us on Twitter @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports for more great Miami Hurricanes news.

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It’s all about The U!!!

 

Miami Hurricanes name Jarren Williams QB1

Is Williams the Best Choice as Canes’ QB1?

The dust has settled, just a bit. We all know by now that Jarren Williams has won the starting quarterback position for the Canes. He beat out the once thought to be the next big-time quarterback in N’Kosi Perry and the highly anticipated Ohio State transfer Tate Martell.

“We believe we can win with all three guys, however, we feel like Jarren has the greatest upside due to his passing ability, his instincts and his determination.” – Coach Manny Diaz on new Canes QB1, Jarren Williams.

Williams will see his first real action as a college quarterback on August 24th in Orlando against the top ten ranked Florida Gators. That’s a tall order for the redshirt freshman out of Central Gwinnett High School in Georgia.

Coming out of high school, Jarren Williams was a standout quarterback ranked as the 77th overall prospect and #5 Pro-Style Quarterback in the country. He improved every year at the high school level as a passer, culminating in a senior year that saw him throw for over 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns. He also ran for over 500 yards.

Under the Radar?

So why was it such a surprise to many that he got the nod? Maybe it was all the hype surrounding Tate Martell that made people forget about Williams? Maybe it was some saying that Perry has the most experience and needs to start? Was it the bad taste he left in everyone’s mouth when there were rumors swirling of him wanting to transfer? Either way, make no mistake about it, Jarren Williams, in terms of pure passing ability and skillset, is the best quarterback on this roster. He can make all the throws with precision and is very accurate on the deep ball.

Personally, I believe it was always a two-quarterback race: Williams and Martell. I think Williams ultimately won out because of his accuracy and because he took care of the football a little better than Martell. My conspiracy theory is that people closest to the program may have seen N’Kosi as part of the problem regarding last year’s team. Too many antics on and off the field may have cost him a legitimate shot at QB1. Oh, and don’t count Martell out just yet. I still expect to see him on the field in some role this year.

At the end of the day, the question still remains. Did the Miami Hurricanes make the right decision at QB1? Will we find out in 12 days? Maybe. But when the dust clears and those pads get crackin’ on August 24th, I don’t care who is behind center, just win!

Regarding the backup situation, Coach Manny Diaz said the competition is still going on to see who serves as QB2 behind Williams. Now all that’s left is for Jarren Williams to show them why they chose him as the starter.

Jarren Williams named QB1

Jarren Williams is the Hurricanes’ QB1

Well, that was suspenseful.

Manny Diaz, the new coach of the Miami Hurricanes, hadn’t revealed much about the quarterback competition between holdovers Jarren Williams and N’Kosi Perry, and transfer Tate Martell.

But a day before Media Day, Diaz spilled the goods.

The winner is Williams, who nearly left the program last season, a couple of times.

This wasn’t a total surprise, since the chatter has been trending that way of late. Word was that Williams has been most consistent in practices, and he has the most pure arm talent of the trio.

Reaction on Twitter was mostly positive.

Here’s some context…

Now we wait to see how he plays against Florida.

Can’t be worse than Malik Rosier, right?

3 Things We Want to Know After Tonight’s Canes Scrimmage

With just 14 days remaining before the Canes head up to Orlando to face Florida, many questions still surround this team’s roster. I break down what I feel are 3 major roster questions we want to be answered by the time tonight’s scrimmage is over with. 

Question #1: The Big Uglies

Let’s start with one of the biggest surprises in camp so far. Offensive lineman Zion Nelson was once thought of as a redshirt project with good skills that would need a few years to develop, especially at a very thin 240 pounds. Fast forward a few months and that 240-pound project is now weighing 290 pounds(reported by Nelson himself) and starting at LEFT TACKLE! Yes, you heard that right, LEFT TACKLE. I said to myself, Coach Barry(Offensive Line Coach) must be challenging his guys and we will see the real starting left tackle after the first scrimmage. But I was wrong. Nelson kept his job as LT1 and it seems as though it may stay that way. That means one of two things to me – this kid is really special – or we are incredibly screwed. 

Two other guys to keep your eye on that could possibly get some playing time if Nelson can’t hold it down: Kai-Leon Herbert and John Campbell. Herbert was getting a lot of first-team reps at right tackle along with Campbell, who ended up starting on the right side during the first scrimmage. Look for one of those two to get the nod August 24th at right tackle. 

Question #2: It’s the Muddy Badger and who?

We all know that Trajan Bandy is the leader in the Canes secondary. Bandy has the opportunity to be one of the best cornerbacks in the ACC. The question is, who will emerge as the other starting cornerback? Al Blades Jr. seems to be the front runner right now to start. He took first-team reps during last week’s scrimmage and has been atop the depth chart for some time now. However, I would not put sophomore DJ Ivey too far behind. Look for today’s scrimmage to be the one that helps solidify that spot. 

The concern what’s behind those three. Young players like Nigel Bethel, Jr., Te’Cory Couch and Christian Williams will have to step up and be ready to play when their name is called. The key to this group being successful is health.

The safeties seem to be shaping up nicely. Yesterday was the first day of practice for USC transfer Bubba Bolden. The addition solidifies what is already looking like a strong group. Right now it looks like the Canes will start with Amari Carter and Gurvan Hall. Don’t be surprised if you see Junior, Derrick Smith get a lot of playing time after moving back to safety from the striker position. I’m tempted to mention Robert Knowles…nevermind.

Question #3: Who’s My Quarterback?

Who will be the Miami Hurricanes starting quarterback? I am just going to get right into it. Offensive Coordinator Dan Enos is installing a brand new offense. None of the three have played in this system before and have all had growing pains. Some days Tate Martell does a few things better than the rest. Another day N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams make some really nice throws and Tate can’t hit water if he fell off a boat. All three are doing good things and not so good things. Let’s take one thing off the table right away, experience. Those making the argument that one should get the start over the other because of experience need to stop. None of them have experience! This is a new scheme, that none have played in before. And honestly, why do fans care so much about experience? Let me know how that worked out for Tua and Sunshine. I know these guys are not Tua or Lawrence, but there are plenty of young quarterbacks in college football that help their team win. 

 

3 Canes QB's vying for the starting role.

Who wins the battle at QB? (Left to Right) Jarren Williams, Tate Martell, N’Kosi Perry.

Jarren Williams is the most accurate according to many and throws with great touch. His knock was that he wasn’t very quick on his feet until Coach Manny Diaz said he was one of the guys that ran 20 mph in testing. Can he read and dissect plays quickly? 

N’Kosi Perry can spin it. He has great arm strength, can run and escape the pocket and does like to chuck it down the field. His aggressiveness has also gotten him in some trouble before. He tends to take too many risks and makes dumb throws. Has he learned the playbook? 

Tate Martell is a leader. His leadership and moxie, I think, are what make Martell stand out. He doesn’t throw the prettiest ball but can get it there. In my mind, he is the best runner of the three. His lack of accuracy at times could be a cause for concern. However, his rapport with former Bishop Gorman teammate Brevin Jordan and Buffalo transfer KJ Osborn are definitely a good thing. 

I have a feeling Coach Diaz already knows who his guy is at quarterback. If he doesn’t, he will know tonight. The question is, will he tell the rest of us? 

 

My picks: 

Tackle   

LT- Zion Nelson

RT- John Campbell

Cornerback

Al blades, Jr. or DJ Ivey (They will split reps)

2 Deep Safety

FS- Gurvan Hall, Bubba Bolden

SS- Amari Carter or Derrick Smith (Let’s see how tonight plays out)

Quarterback

1- Tate Martell or Jarren Williams or N’Kosi Perry 

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: Jordan and Mallory Heirs to “TE U”?

The Miami Hurricanes continue Fall camp this week.

Head coach Manny Diaz and the Hurricanes program opened practice to the public again Monday.

 

One group that the fans will want to pay attention to is the tight end corps.

A name you will recognize from the past is hoping to continue their family legacy after a tough start.

While others will look to make their own name at “Tight End U”.

 

No Sophomore Slump in Sight for Jordan

Brevin Jordan leads the tight end group entering after a outstanding campaign as a true freshman. The 6-foot-3, 245 pound Jordan earned second-team All-ACC honors in 2018 and once again is on that watch list going into this season.

Jordan finished the year with 11 starts and was second on the team in both receptions (32) and touchdowns (4).

One of those touchdowns put the spear in FSU.

His size and athleticism are a nightmare for opposing defenses, and if he can build chemistry with whoever starts at quarterback, he could be special.

He is coming off a knee injury but all indications are he should be at full speed once the games count.

 

Another Playmaker in the Wings?

Some names are practically impossible to live up to, no matter how great you may be.

Michael Irvin is one of those names.

His son Michael Irvin, Jr. has been at Miami since 2016, but has struggled to leave his own mark on the program yet.

After little playing time as a freshman, mostly on special teams, he saw action in 12 of 13 games in his sophomore season.  He finished that year with nine receptions for 78 yards but was poised for a larger role as an upperclassman.

A knee injury completely derailed his 2018 regular season but he did manage a return in the Pinstripe Bowl to end the year.

Right now he is inline to be the backup to Jordan based on tenure, however he should be looking over his shoulder.

Irvin, Jr. may be in the mix some as the season rolls on, but does not have the same upside as Jordan or Will Mallory.

If he can stay healthy and continue to contribute on special teams, he may earn more reps on offense along the way.

 

Don’t be Shocked When Mallory Awes

Will Mallory looks the part.

Standing at 6-foot-5 he has the stature to feast in the red zone.

With the skills to finish plays and the size to get in position, Dan Enos has to be excited to let him loose.

 

Enos’s offense is known to be tight-end friendly based on his previous tenures, and Mallory compliments Jordan well as they each bring something different to the table.

Mallory could be seen as more of a deep threat up the seams, with Jordan a bit quicker over the middle and crossing.

He could be a great safety valve for the quarterback as well, with the ability to move the chains and make something happen after the catch.

If Mallory can get ahead of Irvin, Jr. on the depth chart his potential is immense.

Next up will be the wide receivers then we’ll wrap up the offense with the offensive line later in the week.

Follow us on Twitter for more Miami Hurricanes news @SportsWaveDave and @5ReasonsSports.

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Related:

 

 

 

 

Miami Hurricanes – QB’s in Spotlight as Camp Nears

The 2019 Miami Hurricanes football team will kick off Fall Camp this Friday, and one group in particular is in the spotlight.

It’s no secret there is open competition in the quarterback room, with three main contenders.

N’Kosi Perry, Tate Martell, and Jarren Williams are the three to watch, each has their own intriguing storyline.

Who Steps up?

There is no clear favorite one month from the regular season, so whoever emerges first may get the call in week one.

Jarren Williams has all the athletic tools and skills you look for at the position.

A top ranked recruit entering college, the 6-foot-2 red shirt freshman should get equal run in camp with his competitors under a new coaching staff.

Williams has great feet and a strong arm with solid fundamentals and footwork, and may be the most well-rounded of the three.

It remains to be seen where he lands on the depth chart, and that could determine his long term future with the program as well.

Incumbent Perry at no Advantage

N’Kosi Perry comes off of a 2018 season where he showed flashes, yet struggled with consistency.

Accuracy was the real problem for Perry as he completed just 50.8% of his attempts (97 out of 191) as a redshirt freshman.

There were a few highs during the season. In his first sustained game action in week three against FIU, he notched a career high 224 yards to go along with three touchdowns.

Perry and the team were riding high after a 5-0 start, but the wheels fell off for the quarterback in the second half.

Miami dropped three straight in ACC play and Perry managed only two touchdown passes in his final six games.

Perry has had some off field concerns as well which have called his maturity into question.

He did have a solid spring so it will be important for him to show continued poise and leadership, along with improved performance if he wants to secure the starting gig.

Martell the Wildcard

Adding competition and complication to the mix is Ohio State transfer Tate Martell, whose journey to Miami is well known.

Martell joined the Hurricanes via the transfer portal, something that sounds like a time machine.

It was suspenseful leading up to his arrival due to his transfer status, with that behind him he must prove he can take control and be the alpha.

One of the most hyped prospects nationally out of high school, Martell spent two years in Columbus but never took hold of the starting job.

His vocal leadership style and intensity are a breath of fresh air for the quarterback group and his teammates alike.

Martell seems like the type of personality that could galvanize a team. He doesn’t possess the same arm talent as Williams or Perry but has great mobility and excels outside of the pocket, traits that may suit him well under new OC Dan Enos.

 

In one of the more wide open quarterback competitions in recent memory, each player brings his own strengths and weaknesses to the table.

On an even playing field, it may come down to intangibles to determine who wins the starting job.

Chemistry and leadership will be a factor.

It should be an interesting battle, and one that could determine the fate of the 2019 Miami Hurricanes.

Follow us on Twitter @5ReasonsSports and @SportsWaveDave.

Check out the 5 Rings Canes podcast for exclusive Miami Hurricanes content all year long.

 

Pre-Season Watch Lists, All-ACC Mentions for Hurricanes

With the beginning of Fall Camp approaching , the Miami Hurricanes football team continues to grab attention.

Preseason watch lists are a lot of speculation, but recognition at least sets a tone of high expectations.

Miami has had several position groups mentioned in pre-season watch lists for major awards, including multiple players on the Butkus Award list.

 

Seniors Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney lead an impressive linebacker corps for the Hurricanes. Quarterman comes off a stellar 2018 season where he earned first team All-ACC honors with 82 tackles, including 14 TFL.

Not to mention he has started every game in his UM career, a streak which enters the season at 39 games.

Pinckney has also been a solid performer and a mainstay in the middle in his four years on campus. Coming off a season with 74 tackles and 11 TFL, he also earned pre-season All-ACC mentions along with tight end Brevin Jordan.

 

Jordan looks to follow a nice freshman campaign (32 receptions, 287 yards, four TD) and set the tone for a young tight end group on the rise.

Trajan Bandy joins his fellow Hurricanes on the trophy hunt, earning a spot on the Jim Thorpe Award list for best college defensive back.

 

Bandy had a breakout sophomore season in 2018 and looks to continue right where he left off.

Wearing the Turnover Chain.

Bandy led the squad with five such occasions last year.

These lists are a nice indicator of potential but really don’t mean a whole lot once the season starts.

What is shows is that the team seems to be reaching top level talent across multiple positions, on both sides of the ball.

A nice step to building elite depth on a team level.

Now let’s hope they can end the year with even more recognition.

Make sure to check out the 5 Rings Canes Podcast for in-depth Miami Hurricanes football coverage.