Miami Hurricanes make two position switches


A six pack of Miami Hurricanes‘ notes on a Monday:

â–ª The canes move ahead with two position switches – Keontra Smith to the linebacker of the weak and Amari Carter to the striker – and both make a lot of sense.

Smith, the No. 2 striker behind Gilbert Frierson, was impressive in the spring game at Linebacker and could be the best option at this point if Sam Brooks continues to struggle with durability. Brooks missed spring with a toe injury.

UM’s top five linebackers might, in no particular order, be Corey Flagg Jr. in the middle, Brooks, Smith, Bradley Jennings Jr., and either Avery Huff or Waymon Steed, with Tirek Austin-Cave and freshman Tyler Johnson also pushing for game time .

Carter’s move to the forward – where he wants to share the time with Frierson – could ease the stalemate in safety.

Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall are clear front-runners to start the Alabama opener safely, but the way is paved for at least two talented young players to join the security rotation of Avantae Williams, James Williams, Keshawn Washington, Kamren Kinchens and Brian Balom.

Manny Diaz said Carter – who started nine games safely last season – could still be used in that position, adding that “it will depend on what our depth looks like at the beginning” at the August camp.

Jalen Harrell – replaced by the cornerback – and the promising newcomer Chase Smith also play as strikers.

â–ª Diaz was optimistic that Don Chaney Jr., now recovering from a shoulder injury, will be ready for the season opener in Alabama. “The news was encouraging considering Don and his availability for the opener,” said Diaz. “We are going in a good direction with Don Chaney.”

Of the three running backs competing for the main job (Chaney, Cam’Ron Harris, and Jaylon Knighton), Chaney is possibly the most complete and has the highest cap. This will be a hard-fought battle in August.

Meanwhile, quarterback D’Eriq King remains on track to face Alabama. He wore nothing on his surgically repaired knee during Paradise Camp and walked without a limp.

But left guard Jakai Clark doesn’t seem ready for the game in Alabama after his car accident in April. When asked about Clark and Chaney, Diaz said, “Jakai may have a little more to do” than Chaney. Jalen Rivers is the top candidate who starts on the left guard in the beginning.

â–ª Former UM offensive lineman Joaquin Gonzalez, a two-time first-team All-American, gave a blunt rating of the program after serving as a visiting coach at Paradise Camp.

“This is a big year for the program to step up and grow,” he said. “You have completed a lot of talented recruiting courses here. Development has been a question here for many years. If you can bring it all together ..

“It’s very simple: win the games we’re supposed to win. Attend those we know will have a hard time. We don’t have to win it.

“Lose by to Alabama [expletive] 10, not from [expletive] 35. And compete against each other and show that you belong in playing against such an opponent. We didn’t see that. We have a first test in Alabama. Let’s be realists. I want you to win. I expect them to win. But I feel more important right now, given the status of the program, how it has been for the past couple of years, how it has been for the past few years, I want them to show progress, show a few balls and [expletive] compete. We have the talent. “

â–ª Has the coaching staff been upgraded?

“Be with [offensive line] Trainer [Garin Justice], I’ve had a lot of time to spend with him, I’m really excited [about] the O-line group. I think he has a great group. You look great. You are way better than us when I was here … I think we will be fine. But now the kids have to do the work. If not, it will be a different story. “

Is player development getting back to the point of UM’s glory years?

“It’s too early to say,” he said. “Greg Rousseau was here. Jaelan Phillips was here for a cupcake and [an expletive] Diet Coke. I think it’s too early to tell the progress of some of these children. This year will be a good measure. “

Gonzalez said the coaching at Paradise Camp was “great…. It’s an incredible recruiting tool that really demonstrates the program. Really can see the local talent. I was surprised how many children from abroad are here. There are very few programs that have so much talent going through their doors to run something like a Paradise Camp. You can name a few of them. That is unreal. “

â–ª Ed Reed was noticeably absent from Paradise Camp – and didn’t travel much in June – but Diaz said he would remain chief of staff. The canes believe Reed has real value during the season, and they don’t rush him to be there during the off-season.

â–ª The canes emerged from the last official weekend in June with no further 2022 commitments, but very much in the mix for multiple players.

Devon Jackson – the four-star linebacker from Omaha, Nebraska – liked the weekend in UM and told Canesport that it was “50-50” between the Canes and the state of Arizona.

Demario Tolan, the four-star outdoor linebacker / striker from Orlando, left his visit with a positive impression of UM and a final five from Miami, LSU, FSU Tennessee, and Clemson. He will announce July 8th.

Miami Central’s three-star offensive tackle Daughtry Richardson said visiting Miami improved UM’s chances. It will announce July 26th and will select from UM, FSU, Arizona State and Kentucky.

Jacob Hood, the four-star offensive tackle from Nashville, emerged from his official visit and heavily considered UM as well as Georgia and others.

And Orlando four-star defensive tackle Zane Durant tweeted that he enjoyed his UM visit and told Canesport that he would be choosing between Canes, Penn State and Indiana on July 4th.

â–ª UM presented a new fundraising program that aims to finance a renovated soccer dressing room and a new baseball scoreboard, among other things.

Donors who commit to donate at least $ 50,000 (payable over five years) will join a new exclusive group called the Athletic Director’s Society. There are multiple levels of donation that are over $ 1 million.

Members of the new group are entitled to Tier 1 priority for post-season and away game tickets, invitations to exclusive events, the opportunity to request an exclusive travel experience for away teams and much more.

“If you love baseball, maybe you can come down to the dugout before the games and say hello to Gino [DiMare] and the team, â€said Chris Cohen, UM’s senior associate athletic director of development. “May be [participating] in canewalk [for football players entering Hard Rock Stadium]. We want to customize the experience. ”

UM hopes to raise at least $ 10.5 million with this new initiative.

Among the planned upgrades, improving the football locker room is “very important,” Cohen said. “We want our facilities to match our brand. Recruits and student athletes talk and we want to modernize the changing room. The lockers themselves are nice and functional, but they are made of wood. “

Some of the new lockers in more modern facilities “sit back like a premium seat for kids to nap in,” Cohen said. “We drive a 2012 car and need a 2022 model. Outlets for iPads were not widespread in 2012. “

And Cohen said that replacing the baseball scoreboard will “vastly improve the overall game day viewing experience by providing improved in-game graphics, promotions and reruns to provide a premium stadium experience for fans, student athletes and coaches.”

Other planned upgrades include the team locker room and player lounge at Mark Light Field and the expansion of the weight room at the Hecht Athletic Center, improvements to swimming and diving program facilities and the replacement of the field at Cobb Stadium.

The start of renovations “depends on what we increase,” said Cohen. “We plan to do this this academic year [by May 31, 2022]. The earlier we collect money, the sooner we can get started. “

UM looked at how other schools, including Georgia, were running a similar advanced donation program before revealing this one.

For more information, visit or contact Parker Poliakoff at the Hurricane Club at 305-407-5794.

Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.


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