For the offense for the Miami football team to continue to improve in 2021, the Hurricanes need Cam’Ron Harris to perform with more consistency. Harris ran for 643 yards in 2020 averaging 5.0 yards per carry and added 18 receptions for 131 yards and another touchdown. Harris hit a lull in the middle of the season.
In a loss to Clemson and wins over Pittsburgh and Virginia, Harris finished with 28 carries for 35 yards. Freshmen Don Chaney and Jaylan Knighton earned more carries with Harris struggling. Chaney had 16 carries for 69 yards and one reception for a loss of three yards against the Tigers, Panthers and Cavaliers.
Knighton had 20 carries for 62 yards and seven receptions for 25 in the same three games. Chaney finished his freshman season with 322 yards, a 4.7 yards per carry average and three TDs and added 11 receptions for another 143 yards. Knighton finished with 209 rushing yards on 4.0 YPC.
Knighton added 11 receptions for 135 yards and another TD. Over half of the receiving yards for Knighton came on an electrifying 75 yard TD reception in the 47-35 Miami win at Louisville in September. Knighton is elusive in open space. The Hurricanes need to get him more involved in the passing game in 2021.
Harris began the season on fire. The junior opened the season with 17 carries for 134 yards and two touchdowns and four receptions for 10 yards in a 31-14 Miami win over UAB. Miami ran for 337 yards in the victory over the Blazers. Knighton had nine carries for 52 yards and Chaney eight for 52 in their Miami football debuts.
The Miami offense put on a show the following week at Louisville. Harris ran for 134 yards on nine carries. In the Miami possession before the Knighton TD, Harris ran 75 yards for a TD. Chaney had just seven carries for 10 yards. D’Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three TDs as the Miami offense looked unstoppable.
In addition to Harris, the Miami football team needs to run the ball more consistently throughout the season as a team. In regular-season losses to Clemson and North Carolina, Miami ran 52 times for 14 yards and two TDs. Miami ran for 152 yards on 30 carries in the Cheez-it Bowl 37-34 loss to Oklahoma State.
The bulk of the rushing yards against Oklahoma State came after the first quarter when the Cowboys had a 21-0 lead. Miami ran for 11 yards on five carries in the first quarter. Harris had two carries for seven yards. D’Eriq King helped the Miami running game in 2020 with 538 yards and 4.1 YPC and four TDs.
Harris needs to be more consistent in 2021. Following the midseason slump, Harris was frustrated and went to Twitter to question the loyalty to him. Chaney and Knighton will likely have more carries in 2021 than they did in 2020. Another slump like the one he had in 2020 and Harris could be demoted to second-team.