#21 Miami (FL) Football 2017 Preview


Miami Hurricanes


Overall Rank: #21

#4 ACC

A tough four game stretch in October that resulted in consecutive losses to Florida State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame put Miami off the national radar last season. However, the Hurricanes won their four games before that and the four regular season contests following that stretch. And then they topped it off with a 31-14 victory over West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl. That was not a bad debut season for Coach Mark Richt with the Hurricanes.
2016 Record: 9-4, 5-3
2016 Bowl: Russell Athletic Bowl vs. West Virginia (W 31-14)
Coach: Mark Richt (9-4 at Miami, 154-55 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Thomas Brown
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Mark Walton, RB, 1,117 yards
Passing: Malik Rosier, QB, 32 yards
Receiving: Ahmmon Richards, WR, 934 yards
Tackles: Shaquille Quarterman, LB, 84
Sacks: Joe Jackson, DE, 8.5
Interceptions: Four tied with 1
Other Key Returnees: TE Christopher Herndon, LB Michael Pinckney, DT R.J. McIntosh, DT Kendrick Norton, S Jaquan Johnson, K Michael Badgley
Key Losses: QB Brad Kaaya, RB Joseph Yearby, WR Stacy Coley, WR David Njoku, OL Daniel Isidora, S Rayshawn Jenkins, CB Corn Elder, S Jamal Carter, P Justin Vogel
Miami may spend a lot of time wondering what could have been during the 2017 season. Quarterback Brad Kaaya left early for the NFL after throwing for 3,532 yards and 27 touchdowns with just seven interceptions. Junior Malik Rosier started one game in his Hurricanes career and has the edge in experience to take over the starting job. Incoming freshman N’Kosi Perry is a great talent though and those two will battle it out well into fall camp, and possibly beyond. Whoever is playing quarterback will have plenty of weapons surrounding them. Running back Mark Walton, who rushed for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2016, can carry the offense. Wide receiver Ahmmon Richards is a star in the making. He caught 49 passes for 934 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman, breaking Michael Irvin’s program record for receiving yards by a freshman. There are some other very talented young receivers who should give Miami plenty of options to help replace Stacy Coley. 
Miami’s defense was stellar in 2016, ranking second in the conference in scoring defense allowing just 18.5 points per game. The front seven not only returns every starter, but much of their depth too. Ends Joe Jackson and Chad Thomas are both coming off great junior campaigns. Jackson tallied 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss, while Thomas added 4.5 sacks and 11.0 tackles-for-loss. With tackles R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton also threats to get to the quarterback, this is a Miami team that will again be among the best pass rushing teams in the country. At linebacker Zach McCloud, Shaquille Quarterman and Michael Pinckney are back after inconsistent freshmen campaigns. All three are very talented and should improve with that year of experience under their belt. The improving front seven is nice, but the unit could take a step back this year if the secondary cannot rebuild quickly. It will be a young group after losing four senior starters from a year ago. The addition of Dee Delaney from The Citadel will help. He is an experienced cornerback who was an FCS All-American.
The Bottom Line:
Obviously the big questions are at quarterback and in the secondary. As long as the secondary is decent, this is a Miami team that can win the ACC Coastal Division with great defense and enough offense to get the job done. If the Hurricanes can survive early road games against Florida State and Duke with a 1-1 record and a few questions answered about their quarterback situation, they will be in good shape. Five of their last seven games are at home, including a big homecoming game against Virginia Tech on November 4th. That game could decide the ACC Coastal Division.
Projected Bowl: Sun Bowl
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 151.8 (93rd in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 274.2 (27, 5)
Total Offense: 425.9 (57, 8)
Scoring Offense: 34.3 (37, 6)
Rushing Defense: 131.8 (26, 7)
Pass Defense: 213.8 (47, 6)
Total Defense: 345.5 (20, 5)
Scoring Defense: 18.5 (12, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.69 (14, 1)
Sacks: 2.85 (22, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 1.92 (52, 6)
Madness 2017 Recruit Rankings:
#41 Jeff Thomas
#60 Navaughn Donaldson
#104 Deonte Johnson
#123 N'Kosi Perry
#141 Kai-Leon Herbert
#161 Trajan Bandy
#174 Mike Harley
#236 Deejay Dallas