Miami Hurricanes OL deepest during Manny Diaz tenure

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Florida.(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 24: (L-R) Florida.(Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes offensive line has been one of their biggest weaknesses over the past few seasons. Head coach Manny Diaz expects Miami to have the most depth they have had on the OL in his six seasons as a Hurricanes coach. Diaz was the Miami defensive coordinator from 2016-18.

In the spring game on Saturday, Miami started sophomores, Zion Nelson, at left tackle and Jakai Clark at left guard, redshirt junior Corey Gaynor at center, senior Navaughn Donaldson at right guard and junior D.J. Scaife at right tackle. Jarrid Williams who started 10 games at RT in 2020 did not participate in the Spring Game.

In addition to the five mentioned OL, Miami also returns redshirt sophomore John Campbell and freshmen Jalen Rivers who has challenged Clark this spring and Issiah Walker. Campbell, Rivers and Walker provide Miami with versatility by their ability to play guard and tackle. Clark is a natural center.

The eight mentioned linemen will form the rotation for the Hurricanes big uglies in 2021. Behind them, Miami has a mix of experience and potential. Kai-Leon Herbert and Zalon’Tae Hillery opted out of the 2020 season and are back in their fifth year with the Miami Hurricanes to provide experience.

Cleveland Reed Jr. played seven games as a backup guard last season and provides insurance with Ousmane Traore behind Campbell, Clark, Donaldson and Rivers. Offensive tackle Chris Washington played two games in 2020 and is a good long-term project for Miami OL Garin Justice. Miami signed three OL in 2021.

Michael McLaughlin was the 25th ranked OT, Ryan Rodriguez the seventh-ranked center and Laurence Seymore the 11th ranked guard in the Class of 2021. Miami has upgraded the OL depth and talent in the two full signing classes since Manny Diaz was elevated to head coach before the 2019 season.

Next. Manny Diaz expects more consistency from WRs. dark

Having depth on the OL in 2021 will create competition and should develop the players more efficiently. Nelson is the projected first OL to selected in the 2022 NFL Draft. The development by Nelson in his two seasons with the Miami Hurricanes football program shows the ability for Justice to tutor the OL.