Defensive end DeAndre Johnson might turn out to be the most important transfer added by the Miami Hurricanes for 2021. Johnson is a much-needed edge rusher following the losses of starters Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche following the 2020 season. Miami lost only three starters total for the 2021 season.
DeAndre Johnson will provide Miami with experience and potentially stability at DE after transferring from Tennessee. In four seasons with the Volunteers, Johnson had 58 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 10.0 sacks. Johnson set career highs in 2020 with 28 tackles, 6.0 TFLs, 4.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.
Jahfari Harvey is expected to start opposite Johnson in 2021. Harvey had 16 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, one sack and one forced fumble in 2020. Behind Johnson and Harvey there is talent, but not much experience. Manny Diaz has proven the ability to develop pass rushers in his five seasons as the Miami head coach and defensive coordinator.
Miami has been near the leaders in TFLs and sacks during the Diaz tenure. For that to continue, Johnson is going to have to produce for Miami in 2020. On the Cover 3 Podcast, 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Bud Elliott praised Johnson and projects he could exceed his rating with Miami this fall.
"Then they get a pass rusher out of Tennessee, and this is going to be a common theme here. Tennessee lost some dudes who I think we gave an 84 grade to, I think that’s probably fair, but he could be a guy who maybe could exceed that for them at defensive end in Manny Diaz’ defense I think.”"
With a good season, Johnson can improve his NFL prospects. Phillips, Roche and Trevon Hill are all edge rushers who have all transferred to Miami in recent seasons that have had success for the Hurricanes. With Diaz resuming controls of the defense in 2021, expect Johnson to play a key role upfront.
Johnson will also have to deal with a position change in 2021. At Tennessee, Johnson was an edge rusher as a linebacker in the 3-4. Diaz plays the more traditional 4-3 defense. Johnson was a three-star signee with a rating of 0.8519 with Tennessee in 2016. Johnson can exceed his rating in 2021.