In 2017, the Miami Hurricanes looked to be a team on the rise, and started out with a 10-game winning streak. This led to the Hurricanes being ranked second in the nation at one point during the season. Unfortunately, Miami suffered a loss to the unranked Pittsburgh Panthers, which sparked a collapse of three straight losses, finishing the season 10-3.
The Hurricanes finished ranked thirteenth with an Orange Bowl loss against Wisconsin, and went into the offseason hungry for another shot at a top-four ranking. Their defense looked elite for most of the season, and the offense looked vastly improved in years past, led by red-shirt junior QB Malik Rosier who took over for Brad Kaaya.
Here is a preview of the 2018 Miami Hurricanes:
The Miami Hurricanes had three offensive players drafted in the 2018 NFL Draft in TE Christian Herndon, RB Mark Walton and WR Braxton Berrios. They all provided a substantial amount of influence to this Miami offense, but I do think that they recruited nicely to replace these players and have the depth to build around Rosier.
In their recruiting class offensively, the Hurricanes enrolled a five-star running back in Lorenzo Lingard, who is challenging for a top depth chart spot early on. In addition, the team is also bringing in two four-star tight ends and five total wide receivers. With development, this team could be top-tier university for seasons to come, they would need to finish just as strong as they started. In their final games last season, Miami only put up 51 total points, including only putting up a field goal against Clemson in the ACC Championship.
If the offense can remain consistent, and Malik Rosier keeps a strong pace, we could see Miami ranked as a top team in the nation.
The strength of the Miami Hurricanes last year was the defense. Last season, Miami racked up a total of 30 turnovers, and only gave up roughly 21 points per game. In the draft, Miami lost DE Chad Thomas, DL RJ McIntosh, DL Kendrick Norton, and even more in undrafted free agents and just simple graduation.
In recruiting, Miami had a total of ten commitments, including eight four-star recruits. This team shouldn’t miss a step, even with the losses in the NFL Draft. Miami retained CB Michael Jackson, who accounted for 4 interceptions, and kept LB Shaq Quarterman, who has anchored this defense since his freshman season.
Overall, Miami’s defense is just as solid as last season and will look to have a extremely impressive 2018 campaign. The defense will be the catalyst of whether the Hurricanes will be elite or not.
The Hurricanes could have very well saw themselves in the 2017 College Football Playoff if they didn’t finish on their three-game skid at the end of the season. This year, their schedule lines up as followed:
- Sept 2nd : VS LSU
- Sept 8th : VS Savannah State
- Sept 15th : @ Toledo
- Sept 22nd : VS FIU
- Sept 27th : VS North Carolina
- Oct 6th : VS Florida State
- Oct 13th : @ Virigina
- Oct 26th : @ Boston College
- Nov 3rd : VS Duke
- Nov 10th : @ Georgia Tech
- Nov 17th : @ Virginia Tech
- Nov 24th : VS Pitt
I would argue that this schedule should not be a major problem for Miami to an undefeated campaign. There are tough games, such as LSU, Florida State and Virginia Tech, but those are the only major games that could be an immediate thorn in the Hurricane’s side. In addition, there is the always spoiler alert game against Pitt, who sparked their three-game losing streak last year. Other than these concerns, I see the Hurricanes being a top-tier team again this season, and placed as one of the top two teams in the ACC.
The Miami Hurricanes have the pieces to compete this year. Head Coach Mark Richt has been impressive since he began with the Miami Hurricanes football program in 2016, bringing three consecutive bowl seasons.
The offense hopes to see continued development from QB Malik Rosier and breakout candidate junior WR Ahmmon Richards, who had an impressive campaign last season with a stat-line of 24 receptions, 439 yards and 3 touchdowns.
As for the defense, they will look to carry the momentum of the turnover chain and be just as explosive as last season. Miami has top defensive players across the board in ILB Shaquille Quarterman, DB’s Jaquan Johnson and Michael Jackson, as well as DL Joe Jackson. The pieces are still there to have a great season, and I expect nothing but the best out of the Hurricanes this season.
Prediction : 11-1, ACC Champions
Photo Source : Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports