Miami football youth movement continued against North Carolina State

Oct 23, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 23, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The youth movement for the Miami football team continued in the Hurricanes 31-30 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday night. Several former Miami starters either did not play or are nearly completely out of the rotation. Multiple young Miami players made an impact for the first time in their careers.

The discussion for the youth movement for the Miami football team begins with second-year freshman quarterback Tyler Van Dyke. Making his fourth straight start, Van Dyke completed 25 passes in 33 attempts for 325 yards, four TDs and no interceptions. Van Dyke’s classmate Jaylan Knighton had 166 total yards and a TD.

True freshman tight end Elijah Arroyo had the biggest catch of his career for 29 yards. Second-year freshman wide receiver Keyshawn Smith continues to be a key contributor on offense with four receptions for 31 yards. It was on defense that several new young contributors emerged against North Carolina State.

Second-year freshmen cornerbacks Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson earned the first significant playing time of their careers and each had four tackles. True freshman safety Kamren Kinchens appears to have moved ahead of Bubba Bolden in the rotation. Only Kinchens’ classmate James Williams played more snaps at safety.

Kinchens and Williams tied Clarke and Dunson for third on Miami with four tackles. Clarke and Williams had the only two pass breakups from the Miami secondary. Kinchens recorded the biggest play of the game for Miami defensively when he tackled NC State WR Thayer Thomas on the open field short of the first down.

Miami was able to run out the clock offensively from there. The Hurricanes signed the 17th best-recruiting class in 2020 and 11th in 2021. Those players are beginning to make an impact as Miami hopes to turn their season around after a 2-4 start. Miami next plays at 6-1, 3-0 Pittsburgh on Saturday.

The young Hurricanes’ talent has been more productive than their experienced players. Safety Gurvan Hall who entered the 2020 season with 36 career games and 14 starts and started at the beginning of the 2021 season did not play on Saturday. Manny Diaz has backed up his promise by playing the young players.

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Miami needs to continue to develop the young players on their roster. Too often in recent seasons, players would show promise early and plateau. The production from the young Miami players over the last few weeks is promising for the future. Miami will have the most talented roster in every game they play the rest of this season.