Two Miami football players named top 5 most impactful ACC freshmen

Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Multiple freshmen on the Miami football team made an impact during the 2021 season. A pair stood out to 247 Sports. Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and safety James Williams were two of the five players mentioned by 247 in their “Ranking the most impactful ACC freshmen” 

Van Dyke earned the ACC Rookie of the Year despite not starting until the fourth game of 2021. Williams was also recognized despite not starting until later during the 2021 season. Van Dyke is a second-year freshman after playing sparingly as a true freshman in 2020. Williams is a true freshman who signed with Miami in 2021.

Van Dyke and Williams will be a key part of the Miami football roster as Mario Cristobal attempts to rebuild the Hurricanes into a national power. Miami has a young wide receiving corps in the future for Van Dyke to throw to. Williams will be a part of a young Miami defense entering the 2022 season.

True freshman Kamren Kinchens earned playing time and starts before Williams this season. Kinchens finished fourth on the Miami football team with 44 tackles and had one tackle for loss, four pass breakups and a forced fumble. The Miami defense will be in transition in 2021 with new players added to the Hurricanes roster.

"1. QB TYLER VAN DYKE, MIAMI“Van Dyke burst onto the scene this season after barely playing in 2020. The Connecticut native and former 4-star recruit in the 2020 class completed 62.3% of his passes for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns against just six interceptions in 10 games. Van Dyke filled in for the injured D’Eriq King, and he did not disappoint.Despite the coaching change from Manny Diaz to Mario Cristobal, Van Dyke will stay at Miami, and Cristobal is very excited to have him. Van Dyke was one of the first players that Cristobal reached out to when he started operating as Miami’s head coach.”"

While Van Dyke took over for the injured King, Kinchens and Williams beat out older more established players to become starters. Williams was one of two five-star players Miami signed in the Class of 2021. The other five-star 2021 signee, defensive tackle Leonard Taylor tied for the Miami team lead with 8.5 tackles for loss.

The other three players named among the top five ACC Most Impactful Freshmen by 247 were running back Will Shipley of Clemson who was ranked second, Tigers safety Andrew Mukuba was the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year who was third and Syracuse cornerback Duce Chestnut who was fifth.

"5. S JAMES WILLIAMS, MIAMI“Williams was rated a five-star prospect by the industry generated 247Sports Composite coming out of the 2021 recruiting class. Out of Opa Locka (Fla.) American Heritage, he was the No. 15 overall player in the country, and impressed in a big way before going down with a season-ending injury Nov. 13 against Florida State.Williams combined for 31 tackles, two interceptions and two pass breakups.”"

Miami has a few 2022 signees who could make the list among the most impactful ACC Freshmen next season. Linebacker Wesley Bissainthe, wide receiver Isaiah Horton and tight end Jaleel Skinner are 2022 signees to watch. Miami is also heavily recruiting five-star defensive end Shermar Stewart and WR Kevin Coleman.

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The 2022 Miami class is far from finished. Cristobal and his staff are working on high school players and transfers. Coleman is projected to sign with Miami when he announces his college destination on January 8. Stewart would be a huge addition for Miami and a definite contender to be one of the best freshmen nationally in 2022.