Miami Hurricanes young defensive players shine in scrimmage

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 11: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

According to head coach Manny Diaz, the Miami Hurricanes defense was ahead of the offense early in their second scrimmage held on Friday night at Hard Rock Stadium. Diaz praised the performance of several of the young defensive players in a postgame video on the Miami Athletic department YouTube channel.

The Miami Hurricanes defense returns nine starters for the 2021 season. Miami has to replace elite defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche from the 2020 season. Veterans DeAndre Johnson and Zach McCloud are expected to be the starting DEs in 2021. Miami has several young players ready to contribute in 2021.

Jahfari Harvey, Cameron Williams and Chantz Williams are players to watch in the rotation behind Johnson and McCloud. Linebacker will be one of the most competitive positions for Miami in 2021. Returning starter Bradley Jennings Jr. will be challenged by Tirek Austin-Cave, Sam Brooks, Corey Flagg and Avery Huff.

Safety will be the Miami Hurricanes deepest position in 2021. Veterans Amari Carter, Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall are expected to receive most of the snaps at safety in 2021. Several safeties wait behind Carter, Bolden and Hall with the talent to challenge for snaps and provide a bright future at the position for Miami.

"Added the coach: “It’s fun to see some of the young guys. Cam Williams broke up a pass on a screen, had four tackles overall. Avery Huff had six. Kam Kinchens had five, which was good to see. Overall, we were able to play a lot of people and I didn’t see a big dropoff, especially once the young secondary kind of got their sea legs.I thought the defense in the first half really dominated the line of scrimmage, similar to the first scrimmage…The offensive line did a nice job as the day went on, opening up some holes for the backs in the second half.’’"

Cam Williams had seven tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup playing just 205 defensive snaps in 2020. Williams could be the third DE in the rotation in 2021. Huff had just five assisted tackles last season. Kinchens will have a difficult time breaking into the rotation at safety, but could get playing time on special teams.

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Both lines playing well during the scrimmage is encouraging. Defensive tackle should be a strength for Miami in 2021. The returns of Jon Ford, Jared Harrison-Hunte and Nesta Silvera give Miami a good and experienced rotation on the interior of the defensive line. The depth on defense should be a strong point in 2021.