Miami Hurricanes RB depth chart projections entering summer

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - SEPTEMBER 19: (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

The Miami Hurricanes have one of their most talented running back units in recent seasons. Heading into the summer, the depth chart has likely had some shuffling. Don Chaney Jr. did not play in the spring game because of shoulder surgery. Cam Harris and Jaylan Knighton are the likely candidates to be the first-team RB.

Freshmen Cody Brown and Thad Franklin were not early enrollees and missed spring practice. The shoulder surgery is expected to keep Chaney out until just before the Miami Hurricanes play Alabama in the season opener on September 4. Harris and Knighton will compete for most of the first-team snaps in training camp.

Harris led Miami with 643 yards rushing on 5.1 yards per carry and 10 touchdowns. As a receiver, Harris caught another 18 passes for 131 yards and a TD. Knighton ran for 209 yards on 4.0 YPC and a TD and added 11 carries for 135 yards and TD. Knighton showed explosiveness in the open field as a freshman in 2020.

During spring practice offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee stated that he would like to have in his words a bell cow RB. At 5’10, 210 pounds, Harris is more suited to be able to handle a heavy load of carries than Knighton. Harris had 126 carries in 2020, Chaney 68 and Knighton 52. Chaney is likely the best talent of the three.

Chaney showed the ability to run with power between the tackles and the skills to be to break big runs. Chaney ran for 322 yards, averaged 4.7 YPC and scored three TDs last season. With 135 yards receiving, Chaney led the Miami RBs on 11 receptions. Chaney had nine runs of 10 yards or more, three 20 plus and two 30 plus.

Miami needs more explosiveness on runs in 2021. The Miami Hurricanes finished mostly in the middle of the ACC measuring explosive runs. Chaney had appeared to be on the verge of surging ahead of Harris by the end of spring practice was sidelined when with the surgery. Chaney will have to show he’s healthy in training camp.

Brown announced his decision to sign with Miami after originally signing a National Letter of Intent with Tennessee. Brown was released from his NLI with the Volunteers when head coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired. The likelihood is that Brown and Franklin will have a difficult time getting carries behind Chaney, Harris and Knighton.

Next. Miami RB Cam Harris performed better with heavy workload. dark

Entering training camp Harris will likely be the first-team RB with Knighton behind him. Brown and Franklin will be there to add depth. How many carries Chaney receives against Alabama will depend on how healthy he is. Expect Chaney to earn more carries as the season goes on and his shoulder is fully recovered from surgery.