Miami Hurricanes LB Corey Flagg competing for playing time

Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 29, 2020; Orlando, FL, USA; Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes linebacker Corey Flagg who was impressive in limited playing time in 2020 is preparing for the 2021 season and a great competitor according to his position coach Jonathan Patke on Tuesday. Patke also stated that Flagg and returning starter Bradley Jennings Jr. are sharing middle LB during spring practice.

Playing just 206 snaps on defense and 102 on special teams, Flagg recorded 15 tackles and one fumble recovery. Jennings played 468 snaps in 2020 and recorded 39 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one fumble recovery. Miami likes the speed Flagg brings to the position but is reportedly concerned about him being 5’11.

The Miami Hurricanes are determining who will start at LB with Jennings. Second-year freshman Tirek Austin-Cave who signed with Flagg in the Class of 2020, has also been receiving reps at MLB according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Sam Brooks is the likely preferred outside LB for Miami if he can stay healthy.

The numbers that Flagg put up on the field exceed where most analysts rank him. Flagg was the 830th ranked player, the 35th ranked ILB and the 102nd ranked player in Texas in the Class of 2020. As a junior at North Shore High School in Houston, Flagg recorded144 tackles, 33 tackles for loss and four sacks in 2018.

If Brooks can stay healthy his biggest competition to start as an OLB is likely to come from Huff. Huff has been praised for his athleticism but still needs to continue to develop and grasp the concepts that the Miami Hurricanes want at LB. Austin-Cave and Flagg provide Miami with excellent speed at LB.

Freshman Deshawn Troutman has a future at LB for Miami but is too far down the depth chart to likely gain playing time this fall. Miami has depth at LB, but most of the players are inexperienced. Waynmon Steed is one of the upperclassmen for Miami at LB but more of a player helping depth than who can be expected to start.

The Miami LBs were inconsistent in 2020. If the Hurricanes defense is going to improve in 2021, Miami needs better play from their LBs. Particularly against the run the Miami defense struggled at times in 2020. Manny Diaz taking over as defensive coordinator in addition to head coach should help the Miami defense.

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Prior to being elevated to head coach from defensive coordinator, Diaz also served as the OLB coach. Diaz will be more hands on with the defense in 2021. Flagg should be one of the players to benefit from Diaz being more directly involved with the LBS during the 2021 season.