#8 Miami (FL) 2018 Football Preview

Miami Hurricanes
Overall Rank: #8
#2 ACC
 Miami Logo
Miami took another step forward towards the elite of college football during the first ten games of the 2017 season. The Hurricanes brought back some swagger to the program with the Turnover Chain on defense. They also brought an edge back to Hard Rock Stadium on a couple of occasions when Miami hammered Virginia Tech and Notre Dame on consecutive weekends. However, the 2017 season ended with a three-game losing streak showing that there is still some work to do for the Hurricanes if they are going to make the College Football Playoff this season.
2017 Record: 10-3, 7-1
2017 Bowl: Orange Bowl vs. Wisconsin (24-34 L)
Coach: Mark Richt (19-7 at Miami, 166-58 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Thomas Brown
Defensive Coordinator: Manny Diaz
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Travis Homer, RB, 966 yards
Passing: Malik Rosier, QB, 3,120 yards
Receiving: Ahmmon Richards, WR, 439 yards
Tackles: Jaquan Johnson, S, 96
Sacks: Joe Jackson, DE, 6.5
Interceptions: Two players with 4
Other Key Returnees: LT Tyler St. Louis, C Tyler Gauthier, RG Navaughn Donaldson, DE Jonathan Garvin, WR Jeff Thomas, WR Mike Harley, TE Michael Irvin II, MLB Shaq Quarterman, SLB Zach McCloud, WLB Michael Pickney, CB Michael Jackson, S Sheldrick Redwine
Key Losses: DL Chad Thomas, TE Christopher Herndon, RB Mark Walton, DL RJ McIntosh, WR Braxton Barrios, DL Kendrick Norton, K Michael Bagley
Malik Rosier heads into the 2018 season as the starting quarterback but that is something that could change quickly if Rosier doesn’t improve in the passing game. Travis Homer and Deejay Dallas will form a strong combination at running back in 2018. Homer rushed for 966 yards and eight touchdowns last season and Dallas can make guys miss, which opens the chance of game breaking runs. Ahmmon Richards has the potential to be one of the next great wide receivers for the Hurricanes if he is healthy after recovering from surgery on his knee. Jeff Thomas is another rising sophomore at wide receiver that should make some big-time contributions in 2018. Offensive line is a bit of concern as it is a bit young with just two seniors. Thus, patience will be needed with this group in the first month of the season.
Shaq Quarterman leads a linebacker unit that should be one of the best in all of college football. Quarterman is a strong leader that always finds a way to make plays for the Hurricanes. The defensive line should be solid, with the potential to be great, if Miami can get significant contributions from Gerald Willis to compliment Joe Jackson and Jonathan Garvin out on the edge. Jaquan Johnson and Michael Jackson came up with several key plays on defense in the secondary last season as they each intercepted four passes. Their experience should be able to elevate the younger players around them in a quick and timely fashion this season. Kicker is a bit of a question mark with the graduation of Michael Bagley who did a nice job in 2017. Freshman Bubba Baxka will be his replacement and it will be interesting to watch how that unfolds for the Hurricanes.
The Bottom Line:
LSU will be the season opener for Miami in Arlington, Texas in what will be a defacto road game for the Hurricanes as the Tigers should have the bulk of the fans in attendance. It will be important for Miami to start fast and put the pressure on the LSU offense that has a lot to prove this fall. A trip to Toledo on September 15th is a bit tricky as the Rockets are usually an explosive offense and did score 30 on the Hurricanes last season in Miami. Florida State visits on October 6th and, with the Seminoles in a transition with a new coach in Willie Taggart, this provides Miami with a great opportunity to pick up a quality win. Two other road trips that could be potential landmines for the Hurricanes will be on October 26th at Boston College and on November 17th at Virginia Tech. Splitting those two games should be enough to win the ACC Coastal and set up a rematch with Clemson in the ACC Championship game. Miami should win 10 or 11 games if they continue to improve on offense as the defense is going to keep them in just about every game.
Projected Bowl: Peach Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 160.8 (71st in nation, 10th in Conference)
Passing Offense: 242.5 (54, 6)
Total Offense: 403.3 (60, 7)
Scoring Offense: 29.1 (59, 5)
Rushing Defense: 145.8 (43, 6)
Pass Defense: 217.1 (56, 8)
Total Defense: 362.8 (38, 6)
Scoring Defense: 21.0 (28, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.00 (5, 1)
Sacks: 3.38 (1, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 2.23 (75, 7)
Madness 2019 NFL Draft Rankings:
#25 Joe Jackson
#36 Ahmmon Richards
#61 Jaquan Johnson
#74 Travis Homer
Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#27 Lorenzo Lingard
#29 Brevin Jordan
#58 Al Blades Jr
#60 Nesta Silvera
#70 Mark Pope
#87 Jarren Williams
#126 Delone Scaife
#146 Cameron Davis
#198 Brian Hightower
#200 Cleveland Reed