Who will replace lost Miami Hurricanes defensive starters?

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes lost five defensive starters from their 2021 team. Miami has to replace its entire defensive line plus striker Amari Carter. The Hurricanes return both of their linebackers and the entire secondary entering 2022. Defensive tackle should be a strength for Miami despite two new starters.

Defensive end could be the biggest question mark for the Miami Hurricanes entering the 2022 season. Miami lost 2021 starting DEs Deandre Johnson and Zach McCloud. Johnson tied for the Miami lead with 8.5 tackles for loss. McCloud led Miami with 5.5 sacks. Johnson also had 26 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

McCloud added 28 tackles, 7.5 TFLs and one forced fumble. Johnson and McCloud were backed up primarily by Jahfari Harvey and Chantz Williams in 2021. Harvey and Williams project as the starting DEs for Miami in 2022. As primarily the third DE in the rotation in 2022, Harvey had 26 tackles, seven TFLs, 2.5 sacks and an interception.

Williams had 14 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, 1.5 sacks and two passes defended in 2021. Miami is in a much stronger place at defensive tackle. Jon Ford finished his eligibility and Nesta Silvera transferred to Arizona State after the 2021 season. Silvera led Miami DTs in 2021 with 38 tackles, added 5.5 TFLs and one fumble recovery.

Ford had 14 tackles and one TFL in 2021. In his third season in the Miami football program,

Jared Harrison-Hunte

had 17 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, two sacks and one pass defended in 2021.

Leonard Taylor

was dominant as a true freshman for Miami in 2021. Taylor tied for the Miami lead with 8.5 TFLs and had 21 tackles and two sacks.

Gilbert Frierson is a past starter at striker and poised to have the first opportunity to start there in 2021 if the new defensive coordinator keeps the position. Frierson had 41 tackles, 3.5 TFLs and one sack in 2021 primarily backing up Carter at striker. Miami has other options at striker or their third LB.

Most college football teams are currently using a hybrid of a defensive back and linebacker. With spread offenses dominating college football, teams need a player that is equally adept against the run and the pass. Miami is extremely deep at safety and could choose to start three players at the position in 2022.

True freshmen Kamren Kinchens and James Williams started most of the 2021 season. When Williams suffered a season-ending injury in November second-year safety Avantae Williams replaced him. Whoever Mario Cristobal hires as the new defensive coordinator should choose to play Kinchens and both Williams together.

Next. Who will replace Miami Hurricanes lost defensive starters. dark

Miami returns starting cornerbacks Marcus Clarke and Tyrique Stevenson. Kinchens and James Williams are the near-certain starters at safety. Corey Flagg, Keontra Smith and Waynmon Steed all started games at LB in 2021. Chase Smith and true freshman Wesley Bissainthe could challenge to be starters at LB.