ESPN projects Miami Hurricanes DE Jahfari Harvey as 2021 breakout player

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

ESPN projects Miami Hurricanes redshirt freshman defensive end Jahfari Harvey to become a breakout player in 2021.

The loss of Miami Hurricanes defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche to the 2021 NFL Draft creates an opportunity for the edge rushers taking their place to make an impact. Redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey was named by ESPN on Wednesday morning as the Hurricanes breakout player in 2021.

Miami is ranked 25th by ESPN in their 2021 early preseason rankings. Harvey was named the Hurricanes breakout player as part of an ESPN article “College football’s 2021 breakout players for each Top 25 team.” Harvey will be favored to start at DE for Miami with recently added Tennessee transfer De Andre Johnson.

Harvey played 243 snaps in 2020 recording 16 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Replacing the production left by the departures of Phillips and Harvey will be critical for the Miami defense in 2021. Miami was fourth averaging 8.64 tackles for loss but was an uncharacteristic 32nd averaging 2.73 sacks per game in 2020.

The ESPN article was published on Wednesday, but their projection that Miami might go to the transfer portal like the Hurricanes did with Phillips and Roche left out Johnson who announced his transfer to Coral Gables on Sunday. Johnson had 28 tackles, six TFLs and 4.5 sacks in a part-time role with Tennessee in 2020.

"No. 25 Miami: DL Jahfari HarveyPerhaps the biggest vacancy on Miami’s roster entering 2021 is at defensive end, where coach Manny Diaz must replace both starters, Quincy Roche and Jaelan Phillips.Diaz nabbed both of those guys through the transfer portal, and it’s entirely possible the Canes will go that direction again this offseason, but they might also have their next big star already in house in Harvey.In backup duty in 2020, Harvey had 13 pressures and five tackles for loss. His pressure rate of 9.6% was just a tick behind Roche’s, and with another offseason of strength training, the athletic Harvey could easily blossom into an exceptional edge rusher in 2021. — Hale"

Harvey had one of the best games of his Miami career in his first start with three tackles and 1.5 TFLs in the 37-34 loss to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-it Bowl. Harvey matched the three tackles and had two TFLs in the 42-17 loss to Clemson in October. Harvey will be part of a young group of Miami edge rushers in 2021.

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Johnson adds much-needed experience to the Miami Hurricanes defensive end room in 2021. Redshirt freshman Cameron Williams and true freshman Chantz Williams are expected to backup Harvey and Johnson in 2021. Miami will be hiring a new defensive line coach for 2021 with Todd Stroud leaving due to health reasons.