Miami football in good position with NCAA extra year of eligibility

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: . (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - APRIL 13: . (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

With only nine scholarship seniors on their 2020 roster, the Miami football program is in a good position with the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility on Friday.

The decision by the NCAA to grant an extra year of eligibility to all 2020 fall athletes on Friday was a generous move. The issue going forward will be what the NCAA chooses to do with roster exemptions in the 2021-2025 football seasons. The Miami football program is in a good position with their roster.

Only nine senior scholarship players are on the 2020 Miami football roster. Offensive lineman Navaughn Donaldson who is one of those nine was going to take a redshirt season in 2020. Donaldson can now presumably return when he is healthy rehabbing from a knee injury and play in more than four games.

The NCAA began allowing players to play in up to four games in a given season in 2018 and maintain a redshirt. That rule helped redshirt seniors, Zach McCloud return to Miami for the 2020 season and graduate transfers D’Eriq King and Jarrid Williams, both from Houston, play four games in 2019 and maintain their eligibility.

The ruling by the NCAA on Friday could have a big impact on the Miami freshmen. Running backs Jaylan Knighton and Don Chaney Jr. were expected to play this season with or without the extra year of eligibility being granted. Chaney and Knighton will now have five seasons of college eligibility.

Freshmen who were going to compete for playing time like wide receivers Michael Redding III and Xavier Restrepo will be able to play beyond the four-game limitations and maintain a year of eligibility. Other freshmen who will benefit are offensive linemen Jalen Rivers and Issiah Walker and defensive lineman Chantz Williams.

The other scholarship seniors on the Miami football team in 2020 are graduate transfers DE Quincy Roche from Temple and kicker Jose Borregales from FIU, defensive tackle Jon Ford, safety Amari Carter and WR Mike Harley. Any number of those players could return with an extra season of eligibility.

Roche as a first-team preseason All-American would seem to be the most likely to leave for the NFL among the seniors and draft-eligible juniors for Miami after the 2020 season. Redshirt junior Jaelan Phillips who now will have three years of eligibility remaining instead of two might be more likely to return in 2021.

The ruling by the NCAA will benefit multiple players throughout the Miami roster. Several players who have not lived up to their potential or were sidelined by injuries have been granted an extra season to develop. How the NCAA decides to deal with the extra year of eligibility and roster management bears watching.

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Another development to watch with the extra year is that it is likely to precipitate more entries into the transfer portal. With the success Miami has had in the portal over the last few seasons the Hurricanes should benefit adding more players over the next four seasons. This ruling will continue to evolve.