Miami Hurricanes newcomers pace spring game defense

Oct 19, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 19, 2019; Athens, GA, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Newcomers on the Miami Hurricanes defense were impressive in the spring game on Saturday. Safety Kamren Kinchens, a 2021 signee, defensive end DeAndre Johnson and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson all made impacts in the spring game. Johnson and Stevenson add experience to the Miami defense.

Kinchens led all Miami defensive players with six tackles and added an interception. Johnson had a sack for a safety and 2.5 tackles for loss. Stevenson had a pass breakup down on third down against wide receiver Keyshawn Smith and another later in the game that came in the end zone. Stevenson should be Miami’s best CB.

Johnson and Stevenson are near sure starters for the Miami Hurricanes. Kinchens will have a hard time breaking the rotation on defense. Miami has a deep safety unit with veterans Amari Carter, Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall returning in 2021. The Miami coaching staff is expected to try and get all three on the field this season.

Bolden and freshman safety Brian Balom were out with injuries on Saturday which gave Kinchens a chance to perform. If Kinchens continues to make plays he will at least earn himself a chance to play on special teams. Avantae Williams has played well this spring at safety after sitting out as a freshman in 2020.

Williams was not allowed to play in 2020 due to an unspecified medical condition. Williams had two pass breakups on Saturday including one against fellow 2020 signee Xavier Restrepo on the goal line. Keshawn Washington and 2021 signee James Williams give Manny Diaz a lot of options at safety in 2021.

James Williams at 6’5, 218 pounds could lineup almost everywhere on defense except maybe defensive tackle. Williams will arrive later this summer. The top-ranked safety in the Class of 2021 will have time to make up during training camp in August. It will be tough to keep a talent like Williams off the field.

Johnson will help stabilize a young Miami group of DEs besides himself and Zach McCloud. McCloud has the challenge of learning a new position while Johnson will be an edge rusher in a 4-3 instead of being one as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 at Tennessee before transferring to Miami.

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In four seasons at Tennessee, Johnson recorded 58 tackles, 15.5 TFLs, 10.0 sacks and five forced fumbles. Johnson only played two games for the Volunteers as a freshman in 2017. Miami needed Stevenson to add to what was a thin CB unit in 2020. Stevenson also has the potential to be a shutdown CB for Miami in 2021.