Miami Hurricanes two-deep defensive depth chart vs. Alabama surprises

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

The Miami Hurricanes two-deep depth chart that was released on Monday has some surprises on it. Based on training camp the starters are as expected. Several players are first-team based on their performances during training camp. Other players projected to start a few months ago are second-team.

"DEFENSIVE END53 Zach McCloud (6-2, 254, R-Sr.)33 Chantz Williams (6-4, 252, Fr.)DEFENSIVE END12 Jahfari Harvey (6-4, 255, R-Fr.)13 Deandre Johnson (6-3, 252, R-Sr.)"

After playing linebacker for most of his first five seasons with the Miami Hurricanes McCloud moved to defensive end for the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma State last season. McCloud and third-year player Harvey who is listed as a redshirt freshman are the starters. Miami has to replace Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche.

Johnson not starting is somewhat of a surprise after transferring from Tennessee during the offseason. Williams gets his opportunity after playing only three games as a redshirt freshman in 2020. Johnson and McCloud provide Miami with much-needed experience at edge-rusher. All four will be a key part of the rotation.

"DEFENSIVE TACKLE96 Jonathan Ford (6-5, 318, Sr.) -OR1 Nesta Jade Silvera (6-2, 308, Jr.)91 Jordan Miller (6-4, 305, R-So.)DEFENSIVE TACKLE81 Jared Harrison-Hunte (6-4, 285, R-Fr.) -OR1 Nesta Jade Silvera (6-2, 308, Jr.)91 Jordan Miller (6-4, 305, R-So.)"

Ford, Harrison-Hunte and Silvera provide Miami with experience at defensive tackle. Ford is entering his fifth season, Harrison-Hunte his third and Silvera his fourth in the Miami Hurricanes program. Silvera leads the returning Miami defensive linemen and is second overall with eight tackles for loss in 2020.

Harrison-Hunte had a breakout season in 2020 as a redshirt freshman. Playing eight games, Harrison-Hunte had 17 tackles, six TFLs and three sacks last season. Silvera added one sack. Harrison-Hunte and Silvera have the chance to provide Miami with a potent interior pass rush. Ford is more of a run stuffer.

"STRIKER5 Amari Carter (6-0, 202, Sr.)3 Gilbert Frierson (6-1, 208, R-So.)"

Carter beating out Frierson as the starting striker is the biggest surprise on the Miami defense. Converted from safety during the spring, Carter struggled with targeting penalties the last two seasons. Frierson leads the Miami returnees with nine TFLs in 2020. Carter and Frierson tied for third on Miami in 2020 with 53 tackles.

"MIDDLE LINEBACKER11 Corey Flagg, Jr. (5-11, 234, Fr.)44 Bradley Jennings, Jr. (6-1, 228, R-Jr.)"

Flagg is part of an all-new Miami starting linebacker corps. Frierson and Jennings both started all 11 games last season. After only playing 206 snaps last season, Flagg was elevated. Flagg had 15 tackles and one fumble recovery in the limited playing time in 2020. Jennings had 39 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and three sacks in 2020.

"WEAKSIDE LINEBACKER4 Keontra Smith (5-11, 212, So.)17 Waynmon Steed (5-11, 220, R-Jr.)"

Flagg and Smith earned the starting spots because of the playmaking ability and speed they provide at LB. Smith signed with Miami as a safety was moved to striker and now LB. Smith is undersized at 5’11, 212 but his other attributes should make up for that. Smith had 22 tackles, two TFLs and one pass breakup in 2020.

"CORNERBACK8 DJ Ivey (6-1, 195, Jr.) -OR2 Tyrique Stevenson (6-0, 215, So.)7 Al Blades, Jr. (6-1, 194, Jr.)CORNERBACK23 Te’Cory Couch (5-10, 170, So.) -OR2 Tyrique Stevenson (6-0, 215, So.)7 Al Blades, Jr. (6-1, 194, Jr.)"

Couch, Ivey and Stevenson are listed as the co-starters. The likelihood as that all three will start with most teams lining up with three wide receivers. Blades is listed as the backup but should receive close to the number of snaps as Couch, Ivey and Stevenson. Miami needs more consistent play at CB in 2021.

"SAFETY21 Bubba Bolden (6-3, 200, R-Jr.)0 James Williams (6-5, 224, Fr.)SAFETY26 Gurvan Hall, Jr. (6-0, 194, Jr.)24 Kam Kinchens (5-11, 200, Fr.)"

Safety should be the deepest position for the Miami Hurricanes defense in 2021. Bolden was named preseason All-ACC. Hall brings experience to the Miami defense in his fourth season with 14 career starts. In 2020 Hall was fourth among the Miami returnees with 43 tackles and added 1.5 TFLs and three pass breakups.

Kinchens and Williams are talented freshmen with bright futures. Williams’ athleticism and skill set at his size will be too great to keep off the field in 2021. Williams is the prototype modern defensive player who can play multiple positions. Former Clemson All-American LB Isiah Simmons is often Williams’ comparison.

dark. Next. MIami LB Keontra Smith training camp standout

During his weekly press conference on Monday, head coach Manny Diaz reported that second-year safety Brian Balom who was a key backup last season and true freshman Thomas Davis are out for the 2021 season with injuries. Third-year LB Sam Brooks will miss the Alabama game with a toe injury.