Miami Hurricanes striker Gilbert Frierson becoming elite defender

Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 24, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes striker Gilbert Frierson is becoming one of the best defensive players in college football after an outstanding start to the 2020 season.

Miami Hurricanes striker Gilbert Frierson is ranked as the 20th best linebacker in college football this season by Pro Football Focus. Frierson is third on Miami with 18 tackles, leads the Hurricanes with six tackles for loss, has two pass breakups and added a fumble recovery against Clemson on Saturday.

A cornerback when he signed with Miami in the Class of 2018. Frierson has become one of the key players on the Hurricanes defense. After playing behind Romeo Finley at striker in his first two seasons, Frierson has elevated to the first-team striker this year. Frierson ranks 10th nationally and sixth in the ACC in TFLs.

Frierson has grasped the position of a striker being a hybrid of a safety and linebacker. Special teams coordinator and LB Jonathan Patke praised Frierson for putting in the hard work in the film room to be able to recognize a play before it happens. Frierson has gotten better in each game in 2020.

Frierson had the best game of his career on Saturday against Clemson. The junior set career highs with six tackles, three TFLs and one pass breakup and the previously mentioned fumble recovery. During a zoom meeting with reporters on Tuesday, Patke discussed the progress and hard work Frierson has put in.

"“(Frierson) makes a lot of plays…is because he knows the play before the play. That’s all film study. The questions he asks. He wants to know everything about the defense. He came here as a corner, knows the safety position and plays striker. He can get the corners aligned, safeties aligned, linebackers aligned, call the front.It’s preparation second to none. Just his intelligence … and the way he’s tackling. I’m just so proud.’’"

Frierson also spoke to reporters on Tuesday and said he and his teammates have put the loss to Clemson behind them and are focused on Pittsburgh. The Hurricanes have the goals they set at the beginning of the season in front of them. Miami can still earn an ACC Championship game berth and play in a New Years Six Bowl.

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Frierson can make a strong push for All-ACC if he continues to put up the numbers he has through the first four games. Miami had four All-ACC defenders in 2019. Defensive End Greg Rousseau and LB Shaq Quarterback were first-team, LB Michael Pinckney was second-team and CB Trajan Bandy was honorable mention.