Miami football ranked 16th in Phil Steele rankings

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

National experts are projecting the 2021 Miami football season on the return to health of quarterback D’Eriq King. King has smashed his milestones during rehabilitation from a torn ACL suffered in the 37-33 Miami loss to Oklahoma State in the Cheeze-It Bowl in December. King will be ready for Alabama on September 4.

Entering their third season under Manny Diaz, the Miami football team is returning 19 starters. King leads a Hurricanes offense that returns 10 starters on offense. Only tight end Brevin Jordan departed for the NFL. Miami added significant talent in the 2021 signing class and transfer wide receiver, Charleston Rambo, from Oklahoma.

In an analysis of the 2021 Miami football season, the health of King leads what Steele expects to be the best Miami team under Diaz. Steele was quoted by 247 Sports who also provided their own analysis. DeAndre Johnson and Zach McCloud as the new edge rushers for Miami is the biggest question mark entering 2021.

With Diaz regaining play calling for the Miami defense, improvement is expected for the Hurricanes. Miami is projected to return to playing more aggressively on defense with Diaz in charge. Diaz assuming control of the defense and essentially being the coordinator and head coach is another question mark.

"16. MIAMI HURRICANES“What Steele says: “D’Eriq King should be 100% and Miami should have its best team yet under Manny Diaz.”Our take: Miami did not play with a full deck this spring, but gets its best player, quarterback D’Eriq King, in back in time for fall practice in prep for a title run in the ACC Coastal this season. For now, the Hurricanes are playing second fiddle in the preseason to North Carolina and that’s  just fine with Manny Diaz.The most important factor for this year’s success after the quarterback spot is along the defensive front and finding pass rushers to replace Gregory Rousseau and Jaelan Phillips. No team in college football has a bigger opportunity than the Hurricanes during Week 1 against Alabama in Atlanta.”"

Diaz overseeing the defense and being the head coach is unusual. Mark Richt was the play-caller for his three seasons as the Miami head coach. Richt did have Thomas Brown as the offensive coordinator. Miami does not have a coach with the title of defensive coordinator. Diaz is essentially the defacto DC.

Diaz hired former South Carolina DC Travaris Robinson as the defensive backs coach during the offseason. Miami returns nine starters on defense. Only Phillips and Quincy Roche depart as the edge rushers from 2020. Rousseau was a first-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2021 NFL Draft but did not play for Miami in 2020.

Miami compared to ACC schools with third-year head coaches. dark. Next

The mention by 247 that Miami has to replace Rousseau is misleading. Phillips and Roche played well for the Hurricanes in 2020 with Rousseau choosing to opt-out because of COVID-19. Miami has a consensus top 25 ranking as recorded by 247 in April. Opening against Alabama will have an early impact on Miami’s Top 25 ranking.