Miami football getting Navaughn Donaldson back big boost to offensive line

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 26: (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The expectation that the Miami football team will get senior Navaughn Donaldson back for their next game on December 5 at Wake Forest will be a huge boost for the Hurricanes offensive line.

The offensive line for the Miami football team is improved but still inconsistent this season. An expected return from OL Navaughn Donaldson who has missed the entire season after suffering a serious knee injury in the 2019 season finale against Duke will be a big boost for the Hurricanes.

Donaldson was available when Miami defeated Virginia Tech earlier this month. Donaldson was a full-time starter since he was a true freshman on the 2017 Miami Coastal Division Champion. A versatile offensive lineman, Donaldson has 15 career starts at right guard, 12 at left guard and six at right tackle in his career.

Donaldson started 12 games exclusively at left guard in 2020. The starting OL for Miami in their last game against Virginia Tech was Jarrid Williams at RT, D.J. Scaife at RG, Corey Gaynor at center, Jakai Clark at LG and Zion Nelson at left tackle. Clark would seem to be the most likely OL that Donaldson would replace.

Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee was quoted by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald discussing the availability of Donaldson the rest of the season and praising his versatility. Donaldson will also bring experience to the Miami offensive line as a senior. Donaldson could decide to return in 2021 to solidify the Miami OL.

"“(Donaldson is available for ) the rest of the year (and) good enough to play center, right tackle.”"

Williams and Nelson have been by far the highest-rated OL for Miami this season. Everyone but Gaynor has rated well pass blocking with Williams the only semi-high rated OL in run blocking. As a team, the Miami OL has been far been in pass protection that they have been run blocking.

Gaynor is the leader of the offensive line. Even though he has graded out mediocre this season he doesn’t seem likely to be replaced with Donaldson ready to return. Clark has graded out the lowest among the starters listed above, plus John Campbell who have received significant playing time this season.

Next. Miami would have been without 17 players, Manny Diaz vs. GA Tech. dark

Ousmane Traore who started the season opener for Miami at left guard versus UAB is the lowest rated OL for Miami overall. The Miami OL has improved a lot under first-year OL coach Garin Justice. Miami finished 127th out of 130 FBS teams in 2019 allowing 3.92 sacks per game. Miami is 107th allowing 3.13 in 2020.