Miami Hurricanes true freshmen made big strides versus Virginia Tech

Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami Hurricanes true freshmen, running back Thad Franklin and wide receivers Jacolby George and Breshard Smith all had critical impacts on Saturday against Virginia Tech. Franklin helped ice the game with nine carries for 36 yards, George had 104 all-purpose yards and Smith had 102 all-purpose yards and a touchdown.

Franklin had eight of his nine carries and all 36 yards in the fourth quarter. George had two receptions for 39 yards and three punt returns for 65. Smith scored on a 75-yard TD reception in the second quarter to put the Miami Hurricanes up 28-10 that provided the winning points in a 38-26 victory.

Franklin had his most important game of the season. Prior to Saturday, Franklin had one carry for no yards and one reception for 18 against FBS opponents this season. Against FCS Central Connecticut State, Franklin had seven carries for 88 yards and a TD. Franklin’s performance on Saturday was important for his development.

George had by far his best game on Saturday against Virginia Tech. Prior to Saturday, George set a career-high with 45 total yards against Central Connecticut State. George had a 44 yard TD reception against the Blue Devils, one carry for a loss of seven yards and one punt return for six yards.

Other than starting RB Jaylan Knighton, Smith has been the most versatile player for Miami this season. Smith has 13 receptions for 198 yards and two TDs, five carries for 16 yards and seven kickoff returns for 120 yards. The game-breaking skills and speed that Smith stresses opposing defenses.

The ability for Knighton and Smith to lineup throughout the offense provides offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee with multiple formations and options on offense. Smith had 120 all-purpose yards against Central Connecticut State. That was the only game he had more yards this season than he did against Virginia Tech.

The future for the Miami offense is bright with multiple freshmen in eligibility that have thrived or shown promise this year. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and Knighton are the cornerstones the Miami offense will build around in 2022. Freshman tight end Elijah Arroyo has also shown promise this season.

Next. Miami shuffling defense with James Williams out for season. dark

Second-year freshmen WRs Xavier Restrepo and Keyshawn Smith have become key players on offense for Miami. Restrepo and Smith are fourth and fifth in receiving for the Hurricanes. Miami is building something special on offense. Miami is in the top 35 in scoring and total offense nationally. Next year should be even better.