Heading into the 2015 season the expectations for this Miami Hurricanes squad aren’t too high according to most. In fact, the Canes were unranked in the initial coaches poll. With that said, there are some very bright spots on this team heading into the season. One of those bright spots come from the safety position. The Canes are loaded at safety this year, and I’ll tell you one thing, I wouldn’t want to be the one to choose the starters!
Deon Bush – Senior – 6’1 205 lbs
It’s no secret that Deon Bush is an extremely talented safety and he undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him. Now that Bush is a senior, the expectations for him are through the roof. He finished his junior campaign with 53 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 pass break-ups and 2 picks. Word around Canes camp is that Bush will play cornerback in certain packages this year which I believe is a good thing because with his play-making ability, he needs to see the field as much as possible. In what was a surprise, Bush wasn’t listed a starter on the pre-camp depth chart, however, I expect that to change as the depth charts are usually very fluid during camps. I expect to see even more forced fumbles from Bush this year and hopefully a few more picks as well.
Dallas Crawford – Redshirt Senior – 5’10 200 lbs
Dallas Crawford is one of the most versatile athletes on this Miami Hurricanes squad. As we all know, he made the switch from running back to safety prior to the 2014 season. He had his ups and downs in 2014, finishing with 35 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and 2 pass break-ups. On the pre-camp depth chart Crawford was listed as a starter. I am not sure he’ll be a starter once the first game rolls around, but I do think he’ll see a decent amount of playing time this year.
Rayshawn Jenkins – Redshirt Junior – 6’1 209 lbs
Unfortunately, Rayshawn Jenkins was injured before the season started last year. He then underwent surgery on his back which ultimately ended his season before it even began. Fortunately, he was redshirted and now has an extra year of eligibility. Jenkins had an impressive sophomore season in which he had 46 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 pass break-ups and 3 picks. It will be an uphill battle for Jenkins to become a starter, however, with Bush rumored to be playing cornerback at times this season, Jenkins could be the go-to guy to play safety in those packages.
Jamal Carter – Junior – 6’1 209 lbs
Jamal Carter was listed as a starter on the pre-camp depth chart along with Dallas Crawford. The kid definitely has the talent to retain that starting spot come Game 1. Carter displayed his talent in the time that he did get to play in 2014, totaling 26 tackles, 5 pass break-ups and 1 pick. The expectations for Carter are very high this season, however, if he doesn’t perform, there are plenty of other safeties that could take away playing time from him. No pressure, right?!?!
Jaquan Johnson – Freshman – 5’10 188 lbs
Jaquan Johnson was one of the Canes prized recruits from the 2015 recruiting class. He was rated a consensus 4* prospect by 247Sports, ESPN and Scout.com. A crazy fact about Johnson is that he was selected as a four-time (4!!!) All-Dade First Team selection by the Miami Herald from 2011-2013. The kid’s talent level is through the roof! At the ACC media day, linebacker Raphael Kirby named Johnson as one of the standout newcomers on defense. With all of the praise mentioned, it’s highly unlikely that Johnson will be named a starter this season(which is good because it shows depth). Make no mistake though, he will see the field this year but it will likely be on special teams and in garbage time. I am positive that Johnson will showcase his skills when given the opportunity this season. Get your popcorn ready!
Robert Knowles – Freshman – 6’0 180 lbs
Robert Knowles comes in from Miami Edison High School. He was ranked a 4* prospect by ESPN, while Rivals and 247Sports ranked him a 3* prospect. The word is that Knowles was underrated and is an elite talent. My guess is that Knowles may redshirt this season, however, when a prospect comes in with his talent, there is no telling what may happen. One thing is for sure, the Canes have a bright future at the safety position.