Jaelan Phillips declaring for NFL Draft, signing with agent gives young DEs experience

Oct 10, 2020; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 10, 2020; Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports /

The decision by defensive end Jaelan Phillips to enter the NFL Draft will give the young edge rushers for the Miami football team a chance to gain experience in the Hurricanes bowl game.

The Miami football team lost its best defensive player when Matt Zenitz of AL.Com reported late on Friday night that defensive end Jaelan Phillips will enter the 2021 NFL Draft. Losing Phillips for the bowl game is a significant loss for Miami in their bowl game, but the Hurricanes’ young edge rushers can gain experience.

Jaelan Phillips is tied for the Miami lead among defensive linemen with Quincy Roche with 45 tackles and has the most tackles for loss on the Hurricanes with 15.5 and sacks with 8.5. Roche is expected to leave for the NFL Draft as well after the season but currently seems to be on pace to play in the Miami bowl game.

Roche, like all 2020 fall sports athletes has been granted an extra season of eligibility. Roche has 14.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. Phillips, Roche and Greg Rousseau opted out for the 2020 season all project to be a first or second-day pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Several young Miami DEs will have significant increases in snaps in the bowl game.

Redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey is the player most likely to start in place of Philips in the bowl game. Harvey has been productive in limited playing time this season with 13 tackles and three TFLs in nine games in 2020. Cameron Williams and Chantz Williams backup Roche and should also see an increase in playing time.

Cameron Williams has three tackles, 0.5 TFL and a pass breakup this season, Chantz Williams has four tackles. With Phillips and Roche beginning their NFL careers next season Miami will have to enter the transfer portal again to sign an experience edge rusher. Phillips transferred to Miami in 2019, Roche in 2020

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Who Miami is able to sign in the transfer portal in 2021 could depend on what decision King makes for next season. King signing with Miami for the 2020 season greatly influenced Roche signing with Miami. If King returns for a second season with Miami the outlook for the 2021 Hurricanes is far more positive.