Miami Hurricanes RB Jaylan Knighton one of college football’s most explosive players

Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2021; Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA; Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The return of running back Jaylan Knighton provided the Miami Hurricanes with an added dimension on offense. Knighton is already among the leaders in the ACC in explosive plays. Season-ending injuries to first-team RB Cam’Ron Harris and second-team Don Chaney Jr. have elevated Knighton to the starter.

Miami has not had their full complement of RBs this season. Knighton was suspended for the first four games this season. Chaney suffered a torn ACL in the second game of the season against Appalachian State. Harris and Knighton played together for just over a game and a half. Harris was injured against North Carolina.

After a 22-yard run on the first play of the second half, Harris suffered a season-ending knee injury. Following the Harris injury, Knighton had 13 carries for 77 yards and a TD and had two receptions for 73 yards. Knighton had 17 carries for 92 yards and two TDs rushing and two receptions for 73 and another TD.

Knighton is the only player in the ACC top 50 with runs of 10 yards or more who have played two games or less. Knighton has five runs of 10 yards or more against Virginia and North Carolina. Prorated over the six games Miami has played this season, Knighton would be tied for fifth in running plays of 10 yards or more.

Miami has been inconsistent but somewhat explosive running this season. The Hurricanes are 30th nationally with 39 runs of 10 yards or more. Miami will be challenged in their next three games with North Carolina State, Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech ranked third through fifth in the ACC limiting big running plays.

The Wolfpack, Panthers and Yellow Jackets have each played six games. North Carolina State is fifth in the ACC having allowed 21 running plays of 10 yards or more, Pittsburgh 20 and Georgia Tech 19. Miami Hurricanes offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will have to get creative to get the ball to Knighton in space.

Knighton has been a good receiver in his two Miami Hurricanes seasons. The explosiveness as a receiver showed with a 60-yard TD against North Carolina on Saturday and a 75-yard TD reception against Louisville last season. Knighton has 13 receptions for 208 yards and two TDs in two seasons.

With Chaney and Harris out for the season, Knighton will receive the majority of carries. True freshmen Coby Brown and Thad Franklin will back up Knighton. Brown had two carries for three yards and a TD against North Carolina. Brown and Franklin provide a more physical style of running for Miami.

Next. Cam Harris out for season, Jaylan Knighton up next. dark

Knighton will be the big play runner and occasionally in the passing game for Miami the remainder of the season. After sharing playing time with Chaney and Harris last season Knighton will have the chance to show what he can do as a lead runner. Miami will play the top two run defenses in the ACC the next two weeks.