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Jaelen Phillips

Dolphins bringing LB Jaelen Phillips back gradually

When the Miami Dolphins drafted Jaelen Phillips with the 18th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft, it was with the understanding they were taking a chance with his health. Phillips has suffered wrist injuries, ankle injuries, and numerous concussions in his college career. Now, Phillips is dealing with another injury, one that’s either kept him limited in practice, or not practicing at all. Needless to say, it’s been a slow start for the Miami Hurricane standout.

Before the start of Miami’s first preseason game, Jaelen Phillips was among the players sitting out. This is in spite of the fact that Phillips practiced against the Bears during their joint sessions. Lately the Dolphins have been tight-lipped regarding player injuries. If they can help it, they won’t disclose the details. But one thing head coach Brian Flores was willing to admit was that their plan is to bring Jaelen Phillips along slowly.

“Again, when we are trying to work guys back, we just want to take our time and not have any setbacks.” Flores said on Tuesday. “We plan on working him in against Atlanta whether it is both days, the first day. We will talk through that. Again, he’s doing everything he can possibly do to get out there. As a young guy, he needs reps but at the same time, we want to be smart with our plan to bring him back. We are working him back in.”

The brief time he practiced against Chicago, reports circulated that he was playing with the starting unit as a buck linebacker. This means he was responsible for rushing the passer as well as dropping into pass coverage when needed.

One of the biggest things Jaelen Phillips has going for him is his versatility. Just nine days earlier, Dolphins defensive coordinator Josh Boyer talked about how Phillips’s flexibility opens up endless possibilities for the defense to play with.

“I think there are a number of things I think he can do for us.” Boyer said on August 9. “Obviously we’d like to get him out there and see as many things as we can. I think it’s not just unique to him, it’s all players; and we try to make them as multiple as possible. I think the more that guys can do from a position flexibility standpoint, it makes you a little bit more multiple as a defense and it gives them more value as a player. If he can do a couple things that are end-type responsibility and do a couple things that are backer-type responsibility – the other thing is it allows us to be multiple. You don’t necessarily know where guys are gong to line up play after play after play.”

Phillips’s fellow linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel was also asked about the rookie out of Miami, and he had plenty of praise to offer as well.

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“He’s very quick and fast. His first step is explosive.” Van Ginkel said on Tuesday. “He’s also strong at the top, so he’s got many different moves he can work with. I love how he comes in and works every day. His will to get better and all of that is there on a day-to-day basis. You love to see that.”

In the grand scheme of things, the NFL is a marathon, not a sprint. It makes sense for the Dolphins to use caution with Jaelen Phillips. Especially if they intend to have him available during the regular season.

As Miami plays host to Atlanta, it will be worth keeping a close eye on Phillips. He definitely has some catching up to do on the field. With any luck, he’ll get up to speed faster to make up for the extra recovery time.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

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Miami Hurricanes: Markeith Willams adds to loaded safety position

The Miami Hurricanes got another big commitment at the safety position on Wednesday night. 2022 four-star safety Markeith Williams committed to the program.

Williams is the 17th overall safety in the 2022 class, and the 28th overall player in his class from the state of Florida per the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

In addition to Miami, he was being pursued heavily by Ohio State and Alabama. He was recruited to the Hurricanes by Ishmael Aristide and Travaris Robinson.

What can he bring to the table?

Measuring in at six-foot-one, 170 pounds, Williams has a little bit of everything in terms of a skill set. It sounds cliché to say, but quite frankly it’s true. He has tremendous length, and plays well on the outside. As soon as the ball is thrown, he is able to track it and go up and get it. Those coverage skills will come in handy, especially considering the level of quarterback talent in the ACC.

In addition to his coverage skills, he is also able to disrupt plays and make tackles if need be. He is very aggressive as soon as he finds the football, and can come down quickly and make a play. This could certainly help with the run defense of the Miami Hurricanes. Athleticism is key at the safety position, especially in this day and age.

With this commitment, the 2022 Miami Hurricanes recruiting class is shaping up nicely. The class itself ranks 47th overall nationally, and 10th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports Team Rankings.

After the 2022 class was slow to develop initially, the Miami Hurricanes have done a good job in landing  several impact recruits for the class. Furthermore, this commitment just goes to show that they know how to recruit the safety position. They are absolutely loaded in this area, and it has become a trademark of theirs in recruiting. Hopefully, the good times will continue to roll.

Miami Hurricanes ranked 16th in USA Today Coaches Poll

As the hype continues to build around the 2021 Miami Hurricanes football season, that was reflected in a preseason poll on Tuesday. The Hurricanes were ranked 16th the in the country in the USA Today Coaches Poll. They finished the 2020 season 22nd overall.

Several of Miami’s opponents were also in the polls. If anything, that just reflects the difficult schedule Miami has ahead of them. Alabama was ranked as the top team, while North Carolina was ranked ninth overall.

Miami Hurricanes deep  on both sides of the football

The Miami Hurricanes return a deep group offensively , led by quarterback D’Eriq King. A loaded wide receiver group led by Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo should help Miami put together a strong season offensively.

A deep safety group highlighted by Bubba Bolden will be one to watch this season. With key returners on both sides of the football, the Miami Hurricanes look to make some noise in the ACC.

They will be tested immediately as they face a talented Alabama team in the opening week of the season. the Alabama Crimson times lost several starters to the NFL draft last season. Even still, quarterback Bryce Young and wide receiver John Metchie III should provide a challenge to the Miami secondary.

,in any event, Miami has the talent to increase that ranking. The Hurricanes just need to execute. That was a problem last season. Hopefully, they will have ironed things out for 2021. In what is a year filled with high expectations, the Miami Hurricanes have a chance to put themselves firmly back in the national spotlight.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: Trequon Fegans commitment adds to ’22 secondary

Friday, the good momentum continued on the recruiting trail for the Miami Hurricanes. 2022 four-star cornerback Trequon Fegans committed to Miami.

Feagans the 11th overall corner in his class, and the fourth overall player in his class from the state of Alabama per the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He was recruited by Demarcus Van Dyke and Travaris Robinson. Van Dyke has been on a roll in recruiting over the past couple of weeks, and this was another big get for him and the rest of the staff.

Feagans also had offers on the table from South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia. Most recently, he took an official visit to South Carolina on June 18. Luckily, Miami was able to snag him.

What can he bring to Miami Hurricanes?

This is a huge get for Miami. Measuring in at six-foot-two, he brings another lengthy corner to the position. In terms of what he brings on the field, he is a very solid cover corner. In addition, he has very good vision. As soon as the play develops, he is able to track where the ball is with relative ease. The combination of those two things could give Miami the ability to take away one side of the field defensively.

In the passing game, he matches up well with outside wide receivers. As soon as the ball is snapped, he stays stride-for-stride with his man, and is able to find the ball and make a play. He has versatility in the sense that he can come down and defend the run as well as the pass. Those instincts that he has in the passing game translate well to the running game.

Miami has a solid group of corners for the 2022 class. This class is absolutely stacked. In past years, corner was a position that got ignored in recruiting. That is not the case with the 2022 class. Now, the trick is going to be development. Can Miami get the job done in that area? Only time will tell.

With this commitment, the Hurricanes class ranks 58th overall nationally and 12th in the ACC per the 247sports Team Rankings. This class is getting deeper by the day.

The Miami Hurricanes now have an embarrassment of riches in the secondary. It will be intriguing to see how much of an impact Feagans makes. He could be a staple of Miami’s future defense in the coming years.

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes continue to roll with commitment of Isaiah Horton

The Miami Hurricanes have been on a recruiting tear the past couple of weeks. That continued on Wednesday as wide receiver Isaiah Horton committed to the program. A member of the class of 2022, he is a four-star receiver. He is the ninth overall wide receiver in the  2022 class, and the eighth overall player in his class from the state of Tennessee per the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

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In addition to Miami, he also had offers from the likes of Jackson State, Kentucky, Louisville, and LSU. Most recently, he took an unofficial visit to Tennessee.

As I watch his film, I see a wide receiver that has tremendous athletic ability. He plays best on the outside, and is able to use his athleticism to jump up and catch passes. In addition, he is very good at running after the catch. As soon as he gets the football, he turns up quickly and accelerates.

He is not the type of wide receiver that is going to beat you consistently with his speed. He will however be able to make contested catches with ease.

Horton was a key part of the Oakland  high school offensive attack. In 2020, he recorded 34 catches for 643 yards and seven touchdowns. His playmaking ability is on full display, and that is what I suspect he will bring to Miami.

With the types of quarterbacks that Miami is bringing in as well as the talented playmakers they are trying to surround the quarterbacks with, Horton is a good fit in that regard. He will definitely add to the 2022 class that is growing quickly with talent.

Currently, the 2022 Miami Hurricanes recruiting class is shaping up nicely. They have now moved up to 61st in the country, and 12th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports composite rankings. This class is really coming together nicely.

I will be intrigued to see who Miami adds next. Right now, they have a solid base to work with.

Miami Hurricanes: Two ‘Canes named preseason All-ACC selections

Two members of the Miami Hurricanes have been named preseason all-ACC selections. Safety Bubba Bolden and punter Lou Hedley were honored with the distinctions Tuesday.

It has been a busy couple of days for Bolden. Monday, he was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List. He figures to be a major part of the Miami Hurricanes defense after having a solid season last year.

Bolden recorded 74 tackles in for forced fumbles last season. He was a defensive force for Miami, and figures to play the same role in 2021. With several big names no longer in the program, Bolden will have to step up and play at a high level in the fall.

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Hedley had a solid season in his own right and continue to deliver for Miami. He was named a Ray Guy Award finalist, and was also named to the All-ACC Second Team. With 47.2 yards per punt, he was as reliable as they come for Miami. He was a major part of the success of the special teams unit.`

When you look at these two players, a couple of things come to mind. For one, they are going to be crucial for Miami in 2021. Field position and strong defensive play are two things that can either win or lose a ballgame. Hedley and Bolden have done a good job at making their presence known in both areas.

Secondly, these two players are consistent. They have been able to bring consistency to Coral Gables ever since they got here. Now, they will have to continue that consistency for a Miami Hurricanes program looking to take the next step.

It will be interesting to see how these two perform in 2021. They have shown that they can play at a high level, and they will definitely play key roles in the success of the Miami Hurricanes for 2021.

Miami Hurricanes: Bubba Bolden named to Jim Thorpe Award Watch List

Award watch list season continues, and the Miami Hurricanes have another representative on a list released Monday. Safety Bubba Boldin was named to the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, which recognizes the best safety in college football.

This is Bolden’s second appearance on an award list, having been named to the  Bednarik Award Watch List as a candidate for the best defensive player.

Bolden looks to build off strong year

Bolden played well for Miami last season, recording 74 total tackles in 2020. He had several games in which he recorded multiple tackles, including a 13-tackle performance against UNC. He also recorded a sack on the year, and was one of the most physical defensive players for the Hurricanes. Perhaps most impressive out of all his statistics last season was the four forced fumbles on the year.

Now, he looks to be an integral part of the Miami defensive unit once again. He certainly brings a physical edge to the Miami defense. That physical edge is certainly welcome, and will be tested early. With the Miami Hurricanes opening against Alabama in Week 1 this will certainly be a test defensively. Despite Alabama losing several key players from last year, they should still be a relatively tough test

Bolden headlines a safety position that is talented but unproven. Names like James Williams will certainly have their time to shine. For now, it is going to be up to Bolden to lead the defense at the safety spot.

He certainly has as good a shot as anybody to win this award. For Bolden., it’s going to be more about consistency. If he can play consistent throughout the course of the season, he could be in line for some of these awards at the end of the year. His experience and play style will lend itself to playmaking opportunities. We have seen it throughout his Miami career, and 2021 should be no different.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes depth takes hit with Jalar Holley entering portal

Late Sunday night, a member of the Miami Hurricanes entered the transfer portal. Defensive tackle Jalar Holley entered the portal according to a report from 247Sports.

Holley played sparingly last season, appearing in three games. He tallied six tackles. The 2020 season was his first action of his collegiate career.

His best game last season came in the season finale against UNC. In that contest, he recorded three tackles.

Holley was a member of the class of 2019 and was a three-star prospect. A Georgia native, he was recruited by defensive line coach Jess Simpson. At the time, Holley was also recruited by the likes of Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, Colorado, Nebraska, and Tennessee among others.

What does this mean for Miami? In terms of overall production, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. Holley was on the lower rungs of the depth chart last season. It would have been interesting to see where he ended up following camp this year.  This piece of news does mean Miami loses depth at the defensive tackle position. Depth is always important, especially at a position with as much physicality as defensive tackle.

The one big name the Miami Hurricanes lost at the defensive tackle spot at the end of last season was Jonathan Ford. Ford recorded 19 tackles and a sack and a half for Miami last season. All things considered, Miami made out pretty well at the defensive tackle position in terms of losses on that side of the ball the end of last year. The big loss was on the defensive end. Quincy Roche , Jaelan Phillips, and Gregory Rousseau were all  major hits for Miami.

The transfer portal is taking over the college football, and that is not a good thing. Fortunately, the Miami Hurricanes have enough depth on both sides of the football to not be as affected by it.

 

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Miami Hurricanes: Will Mallory named to John Mackey Award Watch List

Miami Hurricanes tight end Will Mallory was named to the 2021 John Mackey Award Watch List on Friday.

Mallory filled in a nice secondary role for Miami last season, as he formed a tandem with Brevin Jordan. He recorded 22 catches for 329 yards and four touchdowns last season. Mallory had many productive games last fall. He had some really good, productive games. One of those games included a two-catch 51-yard performance against Pittsburgh. Both those catches went for touchdowns.

He also played well against North Carolina State on November 6. In that contest, he recorded eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.

With Jordan out of the picture, Mallory may figure to play a bigger role for the Miami Hurricanes in the fall. I touched on it a little bit earlier in the week. Mallory has size and ability to run after the catch. That should bode well for him as D’Eriq King looks to play even better than he did in 2020. Instead of playing  the backup role, he will now take center stage.

There are some big-time names on this watch list, and Mallory will certainly have a chance to stand out from the rest of the pack. With how open the Miami Hurricanes want to make their offense, Mallory should be able to have plenty of balls thrown his way. Mallory should figure to be a key part of the Miami hurricanes offense, and it will be interesting to see how he takes over the starting role.

He has as good a shot as anybody to win this award. If he can continue to be a dependable target like he was last season, he has a very good shot. Consistent production from the tight end spot will be key for Miami if they want to contend with the elite of college football.

Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes land Justin Medlock as recruiting continues to roll

The recruiting momentum continues for the Miami Hurricanes, as Friday they landed a commitment from three-star linebacker Justin Medlock.

Medlock is the 48th overall linebacker and his class, and the 67th overall player in his class from the state of Texas per the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He was recruited to Miami by special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach Jonathan Patke.

Medlock and other schools on his radar as well. LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma were all vying for him. In the end, Miami won out.

This is a huge get for Miami at a position of need as well. The Miami Hurricanes need to continue stocking the linebacker position as that is one of need. They have struggled to develop the position itself, as well as get physical athletes . Medlock checks both boxes.

Medlock brings multiple things to Miami Hurricanes

What could he bring to the table for Miami in terms of play? He is a very physical player who is not afraid to do whatever it takes to win. That sounds cliché, but he can drop back in coverage as well as come up and stop the run. More and more, we are seeing players with versatility in college football. Medlock is certainly versatile.

He is also very strong in terms of pursuit. As soon as he identifies the ball carrier, he can come up and make a play with ease. He takes very good angles to the ball carrier, and that allows him to continue to be involved in the play. in terms of the Miami defense itself, I could see him excelling in stopping the run.

Miami ranked ninth in the ACC with 180.6 yards allowed per contest in 2020. That is certainly not the worst number, but it’s one that can be improved upon. Medlock should be able to help Miami build a strong run defense for the future. A key to success is continuing to build depth. That’s what Miami is doing here at the linebacker position

Currently Miami’s 2022 class ranks 75th overall nationally and 13th overall in the ACC per the 247Sports Team Rankings. This class has been on an upswing over the past couple of weeks, and I would expect more additions sooner rather than later.

This is another big get for the Miami Hurricanes. After a slow start to the 2022 class, this summer has been anything but slow.

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Miami Hurricanes

Miami Hurricanes: 2021 Fall Camp Positional Preview

By Jazz Santana

Fall Camp is finally here! This is arguably the most anticipated Canes football season we have had in quite some time. There is so much excitement surrounding the 2021 Miami Hurricanes football program. However, there are still many questions that need to be answered. Is D’Eriq King ready? Who can replace Phillips, Roche, Rousseau? Do we have enough at Linebacker? Can Gurvan Hall cement his spot at Safety? Who starts opposite of Tyrique Stevenson and is the OL finally ready to dominate? That and so much more still remains to be answered.

Now is the time for those questions to be answered. Can the Miami Hurricanes live up to expectations?  Will there be an epic “UNC” meltdown again?

Head Coach Manny Diaz seems to have all his guys now ready to go! This is potentially the best staff Miami has had in almost 20 years. The Canes will field the best offense they have had in many years and now with Coach Diaz calling the shots once again on Defense, that side of the ball should take a step up as well. This is what is so exciting about this years team…the potential to be great!

Let’s answer so if those questions and break down this years Miami Hurricanes:

OFFENSE

QB

This is D’Eriq King’s team! Make no mistake about it. The question is, will he be ready? King injured his knee in the lost in last years Bowl game against Oklahoma State. Since then he quickly had surgery and began his rehab. His rehabilitation has gone so well, that Manny Diaz himself has said that King will be a full go and ready for the September  4th opener against defending national Champion Alabama. If he stays healthy this can be an absolutely lethal offense.

So who’s his backup? Is it Tyler Van Dyke or highly touted freshman Jake Garcia? The good news is, both has shown to have the skills to be QB2. Right now it’s too close to call and that’s exciting! We haven’t had this level of talent in our backup quarterback since, well, put it this way…Mark Richt was playing! If I had to give one the edge right now, in my opinion, it’s TVD. He has shown high IQ, has one year under Rhett Lashlee’s offense and has shown the arm strength and accuracy to compete at this level. However, Jake Garcia is the heir apparent for the Canes and is the more talented skill wise. There is very little separation of any between the two, if any. Chances are we will see them both on the field this year.

QB1: D’Eriq King

QB2: TVD/Garcia

RB

Too many injuries for any one running back to really take over as the lead back. Cam Harris comes in as the starter, but not necessarily the best back on this team. For me, that guy is Don Chaney, Jr. Chaney’s first year was slowed down by injuries that kept him off the field a bunch, but when he was on it, he was the clear cut lead back. Jaylan Knighton, better known as “Rooster” also showed explosiveness and great hands out of the back field. With the addition of Thad Franklin and Cody Brown, this looks to be one of the deepest and best running back cores in the ACC.

RB1: Don Chaney, Jr.

RB2: Cam Harris/Rooster

Sleeper: Cody Brown

WR

At the top, this one is easy…

Mike Harley, coming off his best year, is poised to have an All-ACC type season. The transfer portal was good to us again, with the addition of former Oklahoma Sooner, Charleston Rambo. He has cemented himself as WR2 and could challenge Harley for WR1. WR3 was up in the air for quite some time, but the emergence of Keyshawn Smith has been absolutely exciting! His ability to take the top off defenses and create separation has been impressive. He can play inside or outside. Equally as impressive, has been the play of the X Man, Xavier Restrepo. He is a smaller guy, prototypical slot receiver that can get lost in the defense and create big plays. His is quick, strong and has very good hands. Those are my top 4 guys. There are a bunch of guys that can emerge as that 4th or 5th WR and push for playing time. But lookout for the incoming freshmen class of Brashard Smith, Romello Brinson and Jacolby George.  This is an exciting and talented group.

WR1: Mike Harley

WR2: Charleston Rambo

WR3: Keyshawn Smith

WR4: Xavier Restrepo

Sleeper: Romello Brinson

TE

Will Mallory may be the biggest weapon and game changer for this Hurricanes offense. Last year he was able to show what he could do in this offense when Brevin Jordan went down with an injury. Mallory is an All-ACC/All-NCAA caliber TE. The biggest battle is for TE2. Larry Hodges comes back as the guy with the most experience and Dominic Mammarelli can also come in and get some playing time. But for me, Elijah Arroyo is the next man up. The scary and exciting thing is, he may be the most talented TE of all. I can even see him pushing Mallory for significant playing time. This one will be fun to watch.

TE1: Will Mallory

TE2: Elijah Arroyo

Sleeper: Mammarelli

OL

I’ll keep this one short. Depth is the name of the game here and the Canes finally have it! This biggest battle I believe is on the right side. This is where quality depth comes in to play. It will be interesting to see who gets the nod to start at both Right Guard and Right Tackle. Here’s how I see it:

LT: Zion Nelson

LG: Navaughn Donaldson

C: Corey Gaynor

RG: Jalen Rivers

RT: Jarrid Williams

Depth: DJ Scaife, Jakai Clark, John Campbell, Jr., Issaih Walker

Sleeper: Zalontae Hillery

DEFENSE

DL

The biggest question remains: who replaces the production from Jaelan Phillips, Quincy Roche, and Greg Rousseau? It will have to be a true team effort. The addition of transfer portal newcomer Deandre Johnson(via Tennessee) looks to have solidified his spot on one side. Jahfari Harvey is the player all Canes fans thought would be the next big time DE. The jury is still out. But if there is a time for him to breakout, it’s now! Zach McCloud in my opinion is a very nice addition to the Edge position. I truly believe this may be his best opportunity to be productive and make a big impact. His ability to rush the QB I think will earn him significant playing time. After that, Coach Jess Simpson will have to do what he does best and develop these kids. It’s not to say the talent is not there, but u believe with Simpson coming back, players like Cam Williams, Jabari Ishmael, Elijah Roberts, Chantz Williams and others.

The interior line is undoubtedly our strength. As the interior goes, the whole defensive line goes. It starts with Nesta Jade Silvera. He will anchor that interior along with guys like Jared Harrison-Hunte, Jon Ford and 5 Star Freshman Leonard Taylor. This will be an exciting group to watch!

DE: Deandre Johnson & Jahfari Harvey

DL: Nesta Jade Silvera & Jon Ford/Harrison-Hunte

Sleeper: Jordan Miller

LB

The biggest question mark on this defense remains, what are we doing at Linebacker? Simple answer is, everything and anything!

Corey Flagg has been the biggest and brightest spot at linebacker and will continue to anchor this group. Last year was rough, to say the least. Good news is, everyone is back! There will be a ton of competition and the addition of Keontra Smith moving over to WLB I believe will start to solidify this position even more. This is an ever-changing and developing story and the most important one to watch throughout fall camp. Look for guys like Sam Brooks, Jr., Avery Huff, Bradley Jennings, Jr., Waynmon Steed and others to make some noise. Here’s how I see it:

MLB: Corey Flagg/Sam Brooks/Bradley Jennings, Jr.

WLB: Keontra Smith/Avery Huff/Waynmon Steed

Sleeper: Tirek Austin-Cave & Tyler Johnson

DB/Striker

The secondary could arguably be the most talented group on the Canes defense. But that doesn’t come without it’s questions…

The Safety position may be the best in the ACC, as it returns on e of the top players in the nation, Bubba Bolden. Bolden has shown he can be potentially a 1st Round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, the talent does not fall off much from there. We have seen glimpse of what Gurvan Hall has been able to do along side Bolden at the safety, although he has had his bouts with inconsistency along the way. Can he win the starting role against the likes of very talented players like Keyshawn Washington, Brian Balom and Amari Carter, who will most likely play both the Safety and Striker position?

In my opinion his biggest competition will not be from those guys, but from the two young bucks. 5 Star incoming superstar Freshman James Williams and stud Kamren Kinchens are the future at Safety for the Canes…and the future might be now! Look for those two to be a force and make some noise early on.

CB

The transfer portal strikes again! This time bringing in big time help from Georgia. South Florida native Tyrique Stevenson transfers back home and immediately takes a hold of one starting cornerback spot. The other is still up fro grabs. Will it be DJ Ivey? Can he bounce back and play like the corner we all thought he would be? Is Al Blades, Jr. healthy enough to contribute? Should we give Te’Cory Couch a shot outside? For me, if Blades is healthy, he may be the most talented of the group. But if not, the emergence of Isaiah Dunson could be one to keep a close eye on. This will be a great battle all throughout camp.

I have to admit, early on I was not sold on Gil Frierson at Striker, but he has proven me wrong time and time again, to the point where I believe he may be the best player on this defense. He has developed into one of the nations best Outside LB/Strikers and I am very excited to see him play this year. He will be pushed for playing time by the aforementioned Amari Carter and legacy Chase Smith. Smith has already made some noise this year during Spring football. Ultimately Smith’s future is at Linebacker in my opinion but he will make his mark early on at Striker.

CB: Tyrique Stevenson & Isaiah Dunson(if Blades can’t start)

Safety: Bubba Bolden & Gurvan Hall

Striker: Gil Frierson

CB Sleeper: Malik Curtis

Safety Sleeper: Kamren Kinchens

Striker Sleeper: Chase Smith

Special Teams

Doesn’t get easier than this. The best punter in the land, Lou Hedley comes back for more. The Aussie has a chance to be one of the best to wear Orange and Green.

Lose one Borregales, no problem, get another. Andres Borregales replaces his brother, who is off kicking field goals for Tom Brady in Tampa Bay!

The returner competition is another to follow. Lots of players in the mix.

P: Lou Hedley

K: Andrés Borregales

KR: Xavier  Restrepo & Malik Curtis

PR: Xavier Restrepo

Returner Sleeper:  Brashard Smith

Stay tuned for updates throughout Fall Camp.