The extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA has created opportunities for thousands of athletes that would not be playing during the 2021-22 school year. Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz stated at the ACC Kickoff that he expects the amount of returning players to be one of the stories of the year in college football.
Miami was represented by quarterback D’Eriq King, safety Bubba Bolden and wide receiver Mike Harley in Charlotte with Manny Diaz. Harley and King would not be playing for Miami without the extra they received for the 2021 college football season.
Miami returns 19 starters in 2021. Manny Diaz was asked how competitive balance will be affected in the ACC Coastal Divison with many teams returning a high amount of starters for the 2021 season. A follow-up by the reporter stated that “people” are waiting for the Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State stranglehold to be broken.
Miami has lost its last three games against Clemson by a combined score of 138-20 under three different head coaches. Miami opens against Alabama on September 4 against Alabama in Atlanta. A good performance against the Crimson Tide can set a tone for the entire Hurricanes 2021 season.
“I think that will be one of the storylines of the 2021 season because so many people return so much experience, at the end of the day does it really cancel out? What’s been great from Miami’s standpoint is having such an experienced team, some of the guys we brought with us here today for Media Day, is the off-season.
How do we go through spring practice, through the workouts. Guys that are experienced but they came back for the right reasons, they want to see Miami win, and they want to set an example for the younger guys coming into our program which to me at Miami we’ve not always had.
We’ve not always had really strong, veteran leadership that’s been around long enough to influence or recruiting classes. I think with the senior class, the super senior class that we have, they can help not just transform Miami wins and losses this year but actually going forward.”
King, Bolden and Harley will be three of the leaders for Miami in 2021. Alabama lost a lot on offense and made several replacements on their coaching staff. Miami is going to need to use their experience against Alabama. Miami will have other games against teams who have players using their extra season.
Florida State adding former Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton as a transfer. The return of multiple players for an extra season and others who could have turned pro provides Miami with the experience they have been lacking in recent seasons. The experience should help Miami handle adversity this season.