Miami football projected to win ACC Coastal by top ESPN analyst Desmond Howard

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 /

On college football live on ESPN Tuesday, 1991 Heisman Trophy Winner and top ESPN College Football Analyst Desmond Howard predicted the Miami football team will win the ACC Coastal Division. Howard was joined by ESPN College Football writer Harry Lyles Jr. in predicting the Hurricanes will win the Coastal.

King was inspired to pick Miami due to the return of star quarterback D’Eriq King and head coach Manny Diaz resuming defensive play-calling in 2021. King is reportedly completely recovered from offseason ACL surgery and will be completely ready for Alabama on September 4. King transformed the Miami offense in 2020.

Before King arrived ahead of the 2020 season, the Miami offense finished 90th nationally in 2019 averaging 25.7 points per game. With King at QB, the Hurricanes improved to 26th and 34.0 PPG in 2020. Miami improved from 98th and 367.2 yards per game in 2019 to 32nd in total offense and 438.2 YPG in 2020.

Miami is expected to be more aggressive defensively. Diaz likes his defense to get up the field and make negative plays. Miami was an uncharacteristic 51st in scoring defense nationally in 2020 allowing 27 PPG. Lyles also chose Miami partly because of the losses North Carolina suffered at skill positions on offense.

"“I’m going to go with the Canes…I’ve got to go with the Canes. Getting D’Eriq King back from the ACL. Reports coming out of Coral Gables is that he is 100%. I think the biggest change is going to be Manny Diaz. Manny Diaz is now going to take over full duties as a defensive coordinator.I think that’s going to be extremely important….Coming out of that game against Alabama, a neutral site game in Atlanta, we’re going to learn a lot about Miami.”"

Lyles agreed with Howard that a healthy King is the key to Miami’s success in 2021. King reaching multiple Name, Image and Likeness deals was also mentioned by Lyles. The leadership ability that King has provided the Miami football program has also been critical in changing the Hurricanes culture on and off the field.

"“Here I’m going with Miami you know D’Eriq King’s finally healthy not just from a physical standpoint from a financial standpoint as well…I think that as long as they’re able to replace some of their pass rushers that they lost to the NFL that Miami should have a pretty good year this year and obviously we’re going to find out early what they’re made of. “"

The Miami football team returns 19 starters in 2021 led by King. Miami lost tight end Brevin Jordan on offense and defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche as referenced by Lyles. Will Mallory enters his fourth season as the replacement for Jordan. Deandre Johnson and Zach McCloud lead the Miami edge rushers.

Next. D'Eriq King could be face of CFB per Kirk Herbstreit. dark

Miami will face a big challenge opening the season against Alabama in Atlanta on September 4. The Hurricanes begin ACC play on September 30 at home against Virginia. Miami travels to North Carolina on October 16 in a game that could be the defacto ACC Coastal Divison Championship Game.