Miami football will be one of ACC’s top 2019 storylines

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 27: N'Kosi Perry #5 of the Miami Hurricanes reacts after a call in the third quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 27: N'Kosi Perry #5 of the Miami Hurricanes reacts after a call in the third quarter of the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against the Wisconsin Badgers at Yankee Stadium on December 27, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program had one of the busiest 2019 offseasons in college football. With 47 days remaining until they kickoff against Florida the newsworthy Hurricanes should continue into fall.

The Miami football program’s whirlwind offseason began when Mark Richt abruptly announced his retirement just three days after the Hurricanes blowout loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27. Manny Diaz was hired11 hours later after Richt’s retirement and 18 days after being hired by Temple.

The offseason was off and running. Diaz fired Richt’s entire offensive staff on New Year’s Eve. The next month became a Hurricane watch as Diaz rebuilt the offensive staff and added players to the Miami football roster through the transfer portal. Diaz kept fans and the media engaged by using social media for cryptic announcements.

The addition of former Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell brought the most attention. That continued into February when Diaz announced a major shakeup of the recruiting staff. The interest in the Miami football program during the 2019 offseason has been the highest its been in over a decade.

The excitement entering 2019 from most close followers of the Miami Hurricanes is cautiously optimistic. Opening against and one of Diaz’s mentors, Dan Mullen adds more salt to the beginning of the 2019 season. The trip to Orlando to face the Gators cannot come soon enough.

Chris Hummer of 247 Sports has Miami as the ACC’s number one storyline entering the 2019 season. Miami will be the favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division by many prognosticators.

"“Manny Diaz’s Miami Reshuffle: No team in the Coastal Division comes with the ceiling of Miami. Yet few teams in that league come with more questions than the Hurricanes. Miami promoted Manny Diaz to head coach, after a bit pit stop at Temple, following Mark Richt’s abrupt retirement.Diaz’s first head coaching job comes in his hometown. Diaz replaced Miami’s entire offensive staff his first week on the job hoping to spark a group that finished 75th nationally in yards per play.Diaz hired Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos to run his offense, a leader with experience coaching Miami’s biggest weakness – quarterbacks.In that vein, Miami is still looking for its lead signal-caller. Ohio State transfer Tate Martell is in contention, but he’s yet to separate from incumbent starter N’Kosi Perry and redshirt freshman Jarren Williams.Quarterback’s been a Hurricane bugaboo for the last two seasons, largely spoiling defenses and skill talent capable of winning championships.Miami has the framework of championship contender, especially after notable transfer portal additions, but the quarterback quandary will dog Miami until a solution is found. Diaz knows that’s priority No. 1 of his tenure.”"

The ceiling for the Miami football team in 2019 depends on two major factors. As Hummer states, the QB play and how well the seven players via the transfer portal who suit up in 2019 will play. Hummer projects Buffalo Graduate Transfer K.J. Osborn as the ACC’s Newcomer of the Year. Osborn stabilizes the Miami receiving corps.

Diaz has spoken about using the transfer portal to not only upgrade the talent for the Miami Hurricanes but provide experience and leadership. Reports throughout the offseason are the Osborn has done both exceptionally well. He had a breakout season in 2018 with the Bulls and that should continue under Enos.

Williams has seemed to fallen behind Martell and Perry. That is despite having the most upside and best game to play in the NFL. College offenses are different. Martell and Perry are better athletes and give the Hurricanes more versatility at the position.

Perry seemed further along with his play this spring, but it’s likely that Enos and his offensive coaching staff would like to see Martell take the mantle and win the job. Martell is a big name QB. He has been observed to have a better grasp of the offense and more mature leadership skills.

The Quarterback play being the number one priority of Diaz’s tenure might be a bit oversimplifying what he has to accomplish as the Miami Hurricanes head coach. Diaz and Enos have Tyler VanDyke committed for 2020 and seem to be in the lead for Jake Garcia at QB for 2021.

Getting the offense solidified in the long term is critical. There were many problems with Richt’s offense in 2018. The offensive line play lacked consistency during Richt’s tenure. The Class of 2020 has good offensive linemen committed to Miami. Offensive line coach Butch Barry needs to develop the players on the roster for 2019.

Miami’s two games against the teams from the Commonwealth of Virginia are Hummer’s two most important games in the ACC Coastal for 2019. The Hurricanes host the Virginia Tech and Virginia in back to back weeks in October. The Hokies visit October 5 and Cavaliers on October 11.

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Diaz and his entire staff have done a great job recruiting and upgrading the talent on the roster. Most of those players will not be on the Miami roster until 2020 or ’21. The focus in the immediate future will be on development.