Miami Hurricanes expect Leonard Taylor in defensive tackle rotation

Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2020; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports /

Five-star 2021 freshman defensive tackle Leonard Taylor is expected to be a big part of the rotation on the interior line according to the director of recruiting David Cooney. Taylor was the highest-rated 2021 Miami Hurricanes signee and best since Seantrel Henderson in 2010.

Taylor was the 10th ranked player, fourth-ranked defensive lineman and third-ranked 2021 signee from Florida. Defensive tackle will be the strength of the Miami Hurricanes DL in 2020 after edge rushers Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche were arguably the two best players on the Miami defense in 2020.

The Hurricanes return primary starting DTs Jon Ford and Nesta Silvera and main backup Jared Harrison-Hunte in 2021. Miami had a pass rush and ability that remained strong in 2020, but the Hurricanes need to improve against the run in 2021. If Taylor can acclimate to the college game quickly he can make a difference.

Taylor will work with strength and conditioning coach David Feeley to get ready for the 2021 season. Getting in shape to play college football is vastly different from high school. If Taylor gets himself in shape and ready to contribute on defense he can be a significant situational player for Miami initially.

"“We’re expecting him to be a pretty [integral] part. Once he learns the defense, gets in the weight room and gets nutrition, our expectation is we don’t bring kids in here to sit. We want you to come in here and contribute, be it on special teams or the offensive or defensive side of the ball…And the most you can do for our program is be a good kid, be a good student and I think that’s what we’ve got in this class, especially with Leonard. He’s always smiling. You can’t tell if he’s having a bad day or not.”"

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald transcribed the interview Cooley did with play-by-play announcer Joe Zagacki last month on Hurricanes Weekly on WQAM. Taylor is one of two 2021 five-star signees for Miami. Safety James Williams has the potential to play multiple positions at 6’5, 218 pounds.

Next. Miami latest preseason top 25 national media ranking. dark

Taylor and Williams should anchor the Miami defense over the next few seasons. The talent Taylor and Williams add to the Miami football roster should allow them to challenge for playing time as freshmen in 2021. Miami needs more playmakers on defense for a unit that appeared overmatched in big games in 2020.