Miami Hurricanes OL Issiah Walker could play in 2020 per Manny Diaz

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The eligibility of Miami Hurricanes freshman offensive lineman Issiah Walker is fluid according to head coach Manny Diaz.

Miami Hurricanes freshman offensive lineman Issiah Walker could regain eligibility at some point this season according to head coach Manny Diaz during his weekly meeting with reporters on Monday. Walker was turned down by the NCAA earlier this month for a waiver allowing him to play this season.

After spending the spring semester at Florida, Walker, a Miami native transferred back home amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical clearance that Diaz mentioned about Walker was not mentioned. Miami is thin on the offensive line. Redshirt juniors Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalon’tae Hillery chose to opt-out for 2020.

The decisions from Hillery and Herbert were not surprising. Herbert was a four-star signee in the class of 2017 who has never developed. Miami primarily went with their five starters on the offensive line throughout the game against UAB. Sophomore Jakai Clark is replacing Ousman Traore at left guard this week.

Clark started the final12 games of 2019 but played only three snaps against UAB. Walker is a big part of the future on the Miami offensive line. Hurricanes offensive line coach Garin Justice projected Walker as the future left tackle for Miami earlier this summer. Redshirt sophomore John Campbell is the current left tackle.

With every player not having eligibility this fall count, it will be interesting to see how the maturation of the Miami offensive line evolves throughout the remainder of the 2020 season and beyond. Diaz outlined what it will take for Walker to become eligible later in the season for the Miami Hurricanes.

"“Really, with Issiah we’re waiting for a medical clearance…the eligibility thing and you’ve got a medical deal. And that’s sort of where he’s at right now. We’ll just sort of go through both procedures and see what happens.’’"

Walker will be a part of the Miami Hurricanes offensive line that should gradually improve from a dismal 2019 season. Freshman Jalen Rivers and Walker are the likely bookends at tackle in the future. The potential is for Rivers to move inside. The upside for Miami is that they will have options they did not have in 2019.

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Diaz did not disclose what medical clearance Miami is waiting for with Walker. If Walker can gain eligibility later in the season it will help the depth on the Hurricanes offensive line. As Miami begins ACC play against Louisville on Saturday, it appears that Miami will go with a six-man rotation on the offensive line.