The Miami Hurricanes need improvement out of their cornerbacks in 2021. All five of the Hurricanes scholarship CBs on the roster in 2020 return this fall. The addition of Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson significantly upgrades the competition at CB this spring and in training camp in August.
The Miami Hurricanes have to be ready immediately with the season opener against defending National Champion Alabama. DeMarcus Van Dyke has been promoted from the assistant director of recruiting to cornerbacks coach for the 2021 season. Van Dyke appeared on Hurricane Hotline on WQAM this week.
Van Dyke discussed his promotion, the addition of Stevenson and the entire CB unit for the Miami Hurricanes. Miami finished 65th in pass defense in 2020 after leading the nation just two years prior in 2018. The addition of Stevenson and maturation of the five returning CBs on the roster will hopefully improve those numbers in 2021.
Juniors Al Blades Jr. and D.J. Ivey, sophomore Te’Cory Couch and Stevenson will likely receive most of the snaps at CB backed by freshmen Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson. Van Dyke likes the skills that the returning CBs bring and he mentioned that Stevenson brings a new dimension to Miami play-by-play announcer Joe Zagacki.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald transcribed the interview with VanDyke. VanDyke discussed Couch, Blades and Ivey separately and the experience that Clarke and Dunson have gained over the past year. They each bring different skill sets to the Hurricanes secondary. Speed, leadership and toughness were all mentioned.
Miami Hurricanes cornerback evaluations
Sophomore Te’Cory Couch
“T.C. is a good player. I call him, ‘Little pitbull.’ He’s very fast, quick. He’s good at the line, has good ball skills. I’m excited about him and his next step in his development as a cornerback in his junior season.”
Couch started the final four games of the season for Miami. The sophomore led Miami CBs with 37 tackles and was second to Blades with six pass breakups. Couch took a big step forward in 2020 after playing all 13 games in 2019 as a freshman, but mostly on special teams. Couch will be a key player for Miami in 2021.
Junior Al Blades Jr.
“I saw a huge growth in Al Blades. Al Blades is a tremendous leader. He’s a good warrior on the field. He’s got everything you need from a cornerback. He’s going to do good things for us. I’m excited to have him back whenever he comes back because he’s an excellent player.
We need him down the stretch and he’s going to lead this pack for us.”
Blades missed the final three games of the regular season for Miami with myocarditis suffered from COVID-19 side effect. Blades started seven of the eight games he played in 2020 and made the same amount of starts in 13 games in 2019. There were always big expectations of Blades as a Miami legacy.
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Junior D.J. Ivey
“I think DJ Ivey is a great player. He’s going to go out there and compete. He’s a good kid. He has all of the attributes, all of the measurables. He’s going to do good things this year. He has got to keep playing with confidence, keep playing how he’s playing. He’s going to be OK.”
Ivey was second among the Miami CBs with 36 tackles and finished third on the Hurricanes with four pass breakups without an interception. Ivey started all 11 games for Miami in 2020 after making six starts in 12 games in 2020. Blades and Ivey give Miami much-needed experience at CB in 2021.
Freshmen Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson
“Those guys gained a lot of valuable experience. It also started on the practice field with those guys going against our receivers and our tight ends, Brevin Jordan, and it kind of translated to the field during the game. I’m excited for those two guys. They had a good freshman year.
Marcus came in the Duke game and made a play on the ball and Isaiah made some good plays with him locking his guys down, also on special teams.”
None of the Miami CBs including Stevenson were among the top 200 nationally in 2020. The Hurricanes need drastic improvement in 2021. Miami needs better play from the four upperclassmen this fall. Clarke and Dunson add depth and are the future for Miami at CB.
Van Dyke can bring a different perspective than his predecessor Mike Rumph and is a stronger recruiter. The Hurricanes have lost out on far too many CBs in recent seasons. Alabama started South Florida natives Patrick Surtain and Josh Jobe this season. Upgrading the CB unit is critical for Miami’s future.