Miami Hurricanes named one of the teams on the rise in 2018

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 18: Ahmmon Richards /

A 15 game winning spanning the past two season, their first ACC Coastal Division title and appearance in the ACC Championship game and a top tiered bowl for the first time in 14 years. The Miami Hurricanes appear to be on the rise in College Football.

Athlon Sports who covers college sports extensively named the Miami Hurricanes one of the Top 20 programs on the rise for 2018. Athlon defines teams on the rise as “teams we think are poised to take a step forward next fall in the rankings or by an increase in wins.”

As with many so-called College Football experts, Athlon thought Miami was a year ahead of schedule with what the Hurricanes accomplished this season. Mark Richt and his staff have done an outstanding job with accumulating talent in their two-plus years in Coral Gables.

The incoming recruiting class is the best of the three Richt has signed for the Miami Hurricanes. Miami’s self-titled Storm ’18 Class is currently ranked fifth overall. The Hurricanes had been first over the summer and sixth in late fall.

It’s still exceptionally early for 2019 and a lot can change in the next 11 and 13 months during the signing periods, but Miami has the nation’s second-ranked class for next year. Richt’s former school and the national runner-up for this season Georgia is first. Athlon’s outlook is below.

"Miami“With a young core of talent in place, Miami was perhaps a year early in its quest to reach the CFB Playoff. However, even with three consecutive losses to end the season, 2017 was still a good year for coach Mark Richt’s program.The Hurricanes reached the ACC title game for the first time since joining the league, played in a New Year’s Six Bowl, defeated rival Florida State and knocked off Notre Dame 41-8 in a mid-November showdown. While Clemson is the early favorite to win the ACC next fall, look for Miami to be squarely in the mix for a CFB Playoff spot.Quarterback Malik Rosier returns after throwing for 26 touchdowns in 2017, but the senior will be pushed by redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry. Regardless of which quarterback is in the lineup, the skill positions are loaded with talent.Travis Homer, DeeJay Dallas and incoming freshman Lorenzo Lingard lead the way at running back, with Ahmmon Richards, Jeff Thomas and Mike Harley rounding out the key targets at receiver.The line loses left tackle Kc McDermott and guard Trevor Darling, but Navaughn Donaldson is back after a promising freshman campaign, and right tackle Tyree St. Louis was steady throughout the 2017 season.(Defensive) Coordinator Manny Diaz must replace ends Chad Thomas and Trent Harris and tackles Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh, but the rest of the defense is in good shape. Linebacker Shaquille Quarterman is one of the ACC’s top returning defenders, and safety Jaquan Johnson should be in the mix for All-America honors.Miami has an opportunity to start fast in 2018, as a neutral site matchup against LSU is on tap in the opener, and Florida State visits Hard Rock Stadium on Oct. 6. Another double-digit win total is coming for Richt’s team next fall.”"

Saying the Hurricanes will reach at least ten wins again next season is a bold prediction. It’s often difficult to determine from one year to the next how tough a schedule is. Particularly when it is more than eight months before the season begins. No one could have foreseen Florida State’s record this past season.

Miami loses Notre Dame, Syracuse. Arkansas State and Bethune-Cookman from the 2017 schedule. They will be replaced by LSU, Boston College, Savannah State and Florida International.

Next: Three marquee matchups for Miami Hurricanes in 2018

LSU could be a bigger challenge than anyone Miami played this year. It should be another exciting season with Hurricanes regardless of how their opponents seasons develop.