Miami football continually producing DEs under Manny Diaz

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 09: (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Miami football program has continually produced defensive ends under Manny Diaz as defensive coordinator from 2016-2018 and as head coach since 2019. Miami enters the 2021 season with the least experience they have had at DE in the five years since Diaz has overseen the Hurricanes defense.

Miami lost DEs, All-American Jaelan Phillips and All-ACC Quincy Roche after the 2020 season. All-All-American Greg Rousseau opted out before the 2020 season. All three are expected to be selected during the first two days of the NFL Draft next week. Phillips led Miami with 15.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks in 2020.

Phillips and Roche tied for the lead among Miami defensive lineman with 45 tackles. Roche had 14.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks. Rousseau had a breakout season for Miami in 2019 as a redshirt freshman. Playing all 13 games with seven starts, Rousseau was fourth on Miami with 54 tackles and led with 19.5 TFLs and 15.5 sacks.

Prior to the above trio, the Miami football program had edge rushers who played for them for multiple years. The 2018 Miami defense was elite that was let down by an anemic offense. Jonathan Garvin and Joe Jackson complimented All-American defensive tackle Gerald Willis putting in outstanding seasons at DE.

Rousseau was part of a rotation of edge rushers in 2019 that included Garvin and Trevon Hill. Hill had 27 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks and a pass breakup in one season for Miami after transferring from Virginia Tech. Garvin regressed to 37 tackles, 9.0 TFLs, 5.0 sacks and to forced fumbles in 2019 after an elite 2018 season.

Garvin led Miami defensive linemen in 2018 with 60 tackles and was second with 17.0 TFLs, 5.5 sacks and five pass breakups. Jackson contributed 14.5 TFLs, led the Miami football team with 8.5 sacks, had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown against North Carolina, had three PBUs and two forced fumbles.

The 2017 season was the only one Miami has had since 2004 with 10 wins. Miami was carried by the defense as they won the ACC Coastal Divison and played in their only conference championship game. Miami used an elite five-man rotation at DE in 2017. Chad Thomas and Trent Harris set the edge as the starting DEs.

Thomas was a five-star signee with Miami in 2013 and had 41 tackles, 12.5 TFLs and 4.5 sacks in 2017. Harris had 37 tackles, 10.5 TFLs and led Miami with 8.5 sacks in 2017. Garvin, Demetrius Jackson and Joe Jackson were behind Harris and Thomas in an elite rotation that allowed Diaz to keep his edge rushers fresh.

After a freshman season with 32 tackles, 10.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2016, Joe Jackson had 50, 10.5 and 6.5 in 2017. Jackson is seventh on the Miami all-time list with 22.5 sacks. Demetrius Jackson had 18 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks in 2017. Garvin had nine, three and two plus two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

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In 2021, Miami will likely start Tennessee transfer DeAndre Johnson and converted linebacker Zach McCloud at DE. Behind them are primarily the inexperienced troica of Jahfari Harvey, Chantz Williams and Cameron Williams. Diaz has proven the ability to develop edge rushers. That should remain the same in 2021.