57 Days to Miami football: OT Kai-Leon Herbert hopes to make impact

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 30: (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - OCTOBER 30: (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images) /

Entering his fourth season in the Miami football program in his redshirt junior season, offensive lineman Kai-Leon Herbert is hoping to make an impact in 2020.

Former four-star offensive line signee Kai-Leon Herbert is entering his fourth season in the Miami football program and redshirt junior year hoping to make an impact. Herbert is on his third offensive line coach in as many seasons with the Hurricanes. Newly hired OL coach Garin Justice is giving everyone a fresh start.

Herbert and fellow 2017 signee, three-star OL Zalon’tae Hillery have failed to live up to expectations while being passed by younger players. Hebert played in a career-high 10 games as a reserve on the Miami OL in 2019. Entering 2020 Herbert is expected to challenge to earn playing time in the Miami OL rotation.

Miami had four practices in March that allowed Justice a chance to observe Herbert and see how his skill set will fit with the new up-tempo, spread offense the Hurricanes will run under new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee. As with any young player, Justice wants to see Herbert continue to develop and gain confidence.

Younger players like 2018 signee Delone Scaife and 2019 signees Jakai Clark and Zion Nelson passed Herbert on the depth chart. The addition of graduate transfer OT Jarrid Williams and freshmen OL Jalen Rivers and Issiah Walker has added more depth to the Miami OL. Justice was quoted by 247Sports.

"“I’m encouraged with Kai…I think Kai just needs to keep going along with the process, keep developing confidence. You referenced that he hasn’t had a lot of the success that he wants to, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a good player. I think he was taking some steps in the right direction.I’m really, really excited about what Kai is doing right now…He’s sending me videos of him doing stuff and you can see a drive and determination in terms of what he wants to do. He’s doing everything in his power to be a really good player.”"

Some players develop later than others, especially on the OL. Herbert might finally have the maturity and competition to propel him to become an important part of the Hurricanes rotation upfront. With five players returning with starting experience on the OL plus Williams, Herbert will have tough competition to become a starter.

Next. 60 Days to Miami Football: OT Zion Nelson could redshirt. dark

Senior Navaughn Donaldson is out for the season after deciding to take a redshirt to focus on rehabilitating a severe knee injury suffered in a loss to Duke in the last regular-season game of 2019. That will open a spot on the OL. If Hebert gave provide versatility and play guard he will have a chance to be in the rotation.