Miami Hurricanes Football: Three Freshmen Who Have Made A Big Impact This Season


Al Golden and the University of Miami were informed in October of 2013 that the NCAA cloud looming over the football program was no more. This allowed Golden and his staff to have their best recruiting class since Golden arrived on campus. It was expected that the 2014 class of freshman was going to have an impact on the field, and there are a few freshman who have succeeded in doing that.

Courtel Jenkins

For the past two seasons, the Miami Hurricanes defensive line has been their achilles heel. It seemed like opposing quarterbacks had hours to throw from the pocket without any real pressure getting to them. This year is a different story. Courtel Jenkins has been the steal of the 2014 recruiting class. It seems like I haven’t been the only one noticing his impact:

Splitting time with junior college transfer Calvin Heurtelou, Jenkins has already accounted for 9 tackles on the season, but most importantly, he has created holes in opposing offensive lines allowing linebackers to get through and put pressure on the QB. His first play of the season against Louisville, he split the center and left guard and put a tackle on running back Dominique Brown. A dominant force has been needed on the defensive line, and Jenkins is looking to be that in the future.

Braxton Berrios

I think the young Wes Welker or Julian Edelman comparisons are looking to be very true (and not only because he’s a short white receiver.) Coming out of the slot, Berrios has been Brad Kaaya’s security blanket on third downs. This is much needed due to the fact that the Canes rank 125th out of 128 teams on third-down conversions. Berrios has already hauled in 10 receptions for 106 yards and a TD in his first three games at the college level.

He also filled in nicely for Stacy Coley at punt returner last game against Arkansas State. He is so elusive when running routes, it seems like whoever is guarding him always gets beat off the line or looses track of him. I expected Braxton to have an impact in the receiving game, but not to this extent. Even he himself said he didn’t expect this much playing time:

Expect to see plenty more this season from Berrios.

Brad Kaaya

What can be said about Kaaya that hasn’t been said already? The freshman jitters seemed to have disappeared completely in the Arkansas State game and Kaaya came through with his best performance of the season. Kaaya set a Miami true freshman QB record, throwing for 342 yards with 201 of those yards going to Phillip Dorsett. What I always wanted to see from Kaaya was the long ball. The first two games of the season we didn’t see it because the playbook was really condensed for him:

Well, against Arkansas State the playbook was more like a chapter book and Kaaya took complete advantage of that. One of the prettiest deep ball throws I’ve seen, hitting Dorsett multiple times in stride allowing him to run after the catch. Looking forward to see how Kaaya, and the rest of the freshmen react as the Miami Hurricanes play yet another game against a top-25 opponent in Nebraska.