The Miami football team has 12 freshmen listed as first-team on their depth chart for Pittsburgh on Saturday. Led by quarterback Tyler Van Dyke seven of the 12 first-team players on the depth chart are second-year freshmen after gaining the extra season of eligibility because of COVID-19 in 2020.
Defensive linemen Jared Harrison-Hunte and Jahfari Harvey are third-year redshirt freshmen. True freshmen kicker Andres Borregales, wide receivers, Jacolby George at punt returner, Breshard Smith as kickoff returns and safties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams are first-team.
Joining Van Dyke as second-year freshmen listed as first-team are linebacker Corey Flagg, running back Jaylan Knighton and WR Keyshawn Smith. Second-year freshman cornerback Marcus Clarke is listed as co-first team with veterans Te’Cory Couch and D.J. Ivey. Harrison-Hunte is co-first-team with Nesta Jade Silvera at defensive tackle.
Van Dyke has improved every week as the starter against ACC teams since replacing D’Eriq King who was lost for the season with a shoulder injury. Van Dyke has completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 1,062 yards, nine touchdowns and four interceptions. Van Dyke’s best game came Saturday against North Carolina State.
The Wolfpack were blitzed by Van Dyke who completed 25-33 for 325 yards, four TDs and no interceptions and nine carries for eight yards. Van Dyke earned ACC Rookie of the Week for his performance against NC State. Van Dyke is not the only freshman to earn his starting spot as the result of injury.
Kinchens has played starters snaps this season. Bubba Bolden is still listed as the starter on the Miami depth chart. Head coach Manny Diaz announced on Monday that Bolden is out for the season with a shoulder injury. Kinchens is eighth on the Miami football team with 20 tackles and has one pass breakup and one forced fumble.
Knighton is the last man standing at RB. Don Chaney who signed with Knighton in 2020 was lost for the season with a torn ACL versus Appalachian State. Cam’Ron Harris who has been the starter the last two seasons is out for the year with his own knee injury. Knighton has had breakout performances in the last two games.
Knighton has run for 219 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry, two touchdowns and has eight receptions for 156 yards and another two TDs. All four TDs have happened in the last two games. Knighton has over 160 yards in each of the last two games with a 50 plus yard TD in each game.
Most of the players listed have been an impact. Kinchens and Williams will become a rare true freshmen starting safety pair. Gurvan Hall who started in 2019 and 2020 will likely regain snaps in the safety rotation. Hall played only on special teams against North Carolina State. The 2020 and 2021 highly ranked classes are paying off.