Freshmen impacted Miami Hurricanes 2021 offense

Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 27, 2021; Durham, North Carolina, USA Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes offense in 2021 was led largely by freshmen eligible players. Miami entered the 2021 season ranked 14th nationally led by 19 returning starters. Quarterback D’Eriq King led an offense with 10 returning starters. Miami only lost tight end Brevin Jordan who was drafted in the fifth round by the Houston Texans.

During the season, the Miami Hurricanes lost King and other starters, offensive lineman Jalen Rivers and running back Cam’Ron Harris to season-ending injuries. Backup RB Don Chaney Jr. suffered a torn ACL in week two ending his season. Chaney would have likely started with Harris also lost for the season.

With King in his sixth year, the Miami Hurricanes had to turn to Tyler Van Dyke who was in his second season, but still freshman eligible. Harris was in his fourth season. Chaney and Rivers were both freshmen eligible in their second seasons. Van Dyke had a breakout season succeeding King as the starter.

Van Dyke had completed 62.3 percent of his passes for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. With Chaney and Harris lost for the season, Jaylan Knighton who was a 2020 signee assumed the role as the major ball carrier for Miami through the majority of the 2021 season.

Knighton has 561 rushing yards with eight TDs and 20 receptions for 280 yards and three TDs. Three times this season Knighton had over 160 yards from scrimmage. After missing the first four games Knighton was outstanding this season. Knighton was one of the most explosive players in the ACC with three plays over 40 yards.

Mike Harley and Charleston Rambo gave Miami experience at wide receiver. Behind them were freshmen Romello Brinson, Jacolby George. Xavier Restrepo, Brashard Smith and Keyshawn Smith. Keyshawn Smith has 26 receptions for 332 yards and three TDs as a starter alongside Harley and Rambo.

Restrepo has 24 receptions for 373 yards and two TDs. Brinson, George and Brashard Smith all showed potential throughout the season. Brashard Smith had 15 receptions for 199 yards and two TDs this season. George had three receptions for 80 yards in the regular-season finale at Duke.

Freshman RB Thad Franklin emerged at the end of the season after getting playing time early against Central Connecticut State. The tough running style of Franklin helped Miami close out games against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. Franklin finished the season with 23 carries for 172 yards and two TDs.

WSU QB Jayden De Laura had similiar 2021 to Tyler Van Dyke. dark. Next

Tight end Elijah Arroyo is another 2021 freshman to watch in the future. The 2020 and 2021 Miami signing classes were stocked with offensive talent. The future for the Miami offense is bright through at least the 2023 season. Who Miami hires as the new offensive coordinator will have a major impact.