Miami Hurricanes 20th in Sports Illustrated Top 25

ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28:. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - DECEMBER 28:. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Sports Illustrated is the latest media outlet to come out with their top 25 for 2017. The Miami Hurricanes came in ranked 20th in their poll.

The Miami Hurricanes enter the 2017 season with strength on the front seven defensively and in a few of the skills positions on offense. Their hole at quarterback has been documented continually.

They also have to rebuild their secondary and have concerns with depth at running back and tight end. Miami has a talented but mostly inexperienced wide receiver core.

Miami finished 9-4 in Mark Richt’s first season. They won their first bowl game in ten years with a 31-14 victory over West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

The MVP of the game was Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya. Kaaya left a year early for the NFL and is now with the Detroit Lions. Junior Malik Rosier, Sophomore Evan Sheriffs and Freshmen N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon are battling in training camp to replace Kaaya as the starting quarterback.

Earlier this summer Sports Illustrated ranked the top 100 players in college football. The only Miami player in the top 100 was wide receiver, Ahmmon Richards.

It’s questionable that running back Mark Walton and linebacker Shaq Quarterman were not ranked in their top 100.  A case could also be made for some of Miami’s defensive lineman and offensive lineman K.C. McDermott.

Sports Illustrated’s outlook on Miami’s season is below:

"20. Miami HurricanesLast Year: 9–4 (5–3 ACC); Beat West Virginia in Russell Athletic BowlSI Top 100 players: One (WR Ahmmon Richards)Player you need to know: Two-time FCS All-America cornerback Dee Delaney announced his transfer to Miami from The Citadel in late February. He has the size (6′ 1″, 193 pounds), athleticism and instincts to lock down wide receivers and make QBs pay for throwing the ball in his direction (six interceptions, eight pass break-ups in 2016).The Hurricanes’ front seven should rank among the ACC’s best this season, but their secondary could be a weak spot. If the line can bring the heat, it will buy Delaney some time to adjust in a tougher conference with bigger, faster players. Once he gets comfortable, he should elevate Miami’s D from great to outstanding.Path to the playoff: Miami’s toughest test comes early, when it meets rival Florida State in Tallahassee (Sept. 16). The Hurricanes can lose to the Seminoles and still win the ACC Coastal. Beating Notre Dame at home (Nov. 11) could give them a marquee win heading toward the conference championship game."

The rebuilt secondary is going to be the most watched part of the defense this season. It might be a stretch to call it a weak spot. Miami has enough depth and talent with the returnees and newcomers in the secondary for them to perform well.

The secondary will take a back seat to the front seven defensively. They should be able to hold up well enough for the entire defense to be dominant.

The key game on the schedule is not likely to be either Florida State or Notre Dame. Virginia Tech has won six of the 12 ACC Coastal Division titles. Last season was their first Coastal title in five years.

Next: For Miami Hurricanes Football Legacies Are Important

The Hokies throttled Miami 37-16. Miami is going to have to defeat the Hokies at Hard Rock Stadium this season if they want to advance to their first ACC Championship game.