Miami football picked first in coastal by national expert

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 /

North Carolina was picked to win the ACC Coastal Division in 2021 with 979 points and 109 first-place votes by conference beat reporters. The Miami football program is picked second with 881 points and 28 first-place votes. In his ACC predictions, Brandon Marcello of 247 Sports picked the Hurricanes to win the Coastal.

The Miami football team returns 10 starters on offense and nine on defense. North Carolina has eight returning starters on offense and 10 on defense. Miami has an edge on UNC with 95 percent of its production returning on offense to rank first nationally and 86 percent returning on defense which is 12th in FBS.

North Carolina returns 77 percent of its offensive production with is 42nd nationally and 81 percent on defense to rank 28th. Overall Miami has an edge of 91 percent of its production returning which is third nationally to 79 percent for North Carolina which ranks 32nd. UNC lost far more key players.

Football Outsiders ranked Miami first in the ACC in Returning Talent Index while North Carolina ranks third in the conference. North Carolina lost star running backs Michael Carter and Javonte Wiliams plus wide receiver Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome following the 2020 season.

Miami only lost starting tight end Brevin Jordan on offense. Jordan was frequently injured throughout his Miami career. Will Mallory returns for his fourth season with the Hurricanes and should reach or even exceed the numbers Jordan put up annually during his three seasons with Miami. Marcello previewed Miami.

"Coastal Division1. MIAMIMiami is poised to be a contender this season because of its offense, but the defense could hold the Hurricanes back from being a threat against Clemson in the ACC Championship. Quarterback D’Eriq King has made waves… in the offseason…the biggest news is his seemingly quick recovery from ACL surgery.He appears ready to return to form, and as one of the oldest and most mature quarterbacks in the conference, the expectation is Miami challenges Clemson and North Carolina to lay claim as the best offense.The gigantic issue is on defense, where pass rushers Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche are gone, and the secondary makes you wonder if the ‘Canes will be able to slow the pass-heavy Tar Heels when they meet.The secondary will have a heavier workload without an elite pass rush to help, but adding Georgia transfer Tyrique Stevenson should help. The addition of Oklahoma transfer Charleston Rambo should buoy an already-dangerous passing offense, but he needs to be more consistent after an up-and-down 2020 with the Sooners.However Miami’s long list of transfers perform, so goes the season. Concerns aside, this is the year for the Hurricanes to win the division.Record: 10-2Confidence: 4"

In addition to Rambo and Stevenson, Miami added Tennessee transfer DeAndre Johnson to bolster the pass rush and offensive lineman Justice Olawaseun from UNLV to provide depth as transfers during the 2021 offseason. Several other transfers from recent seasons on the Miami football roster will make an impact for Miami in 2021.

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King on offense and safety Bubba Bolden joined the Miami football program as transfers from Houston and USC in 2020 and 2019. Both will have major impacts on the outcome of the 2021 Miami football season. Bolden needs to be more consistent, particularly in pass coverage for the defense to improve in 2021.