Impact of Miami Hurricanes LBs and DBs out for spring practice

Oct 30, 2021; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami Hurricanes announced on Monday they will be without cornerbacks Tyrique Stevenson and freshman Khamauri Rogers, linebackers Sam Brooks, Tyler Johnson and Chase Smith and , safeties Kam Kinchens and Keshawn Washington and walk-on defensive back Luis Gutierrez for the entirety of spring practice.

The loss of Stevenson thins the Miami Hurricanes CB unit that has been inconsistent the last few years. Stevenson was unquestionably the best Miami CB in 2021. Stevenson had 43 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 0.5 sacks, one interception and four pass breakups in 2021. Rogers was the 15th ranked CB in the Class of 2022.

Chris Graves and Jaden Harris the other CBs Miami signed in the 2022 Class were not early enrollees. Third-year sophomore Marcus Clarke was the primary starter opposite Stevenson in 2021. Miami also has veterans Al Blades Jr, Te’Cory Couch and D.J. Ivey who will compete for snaps this spring.

West Virginia transfer Darryl Porter Jr. who will not arrive in Coral Gables until this summer will compete to be a first-team CB. The loss of Gutierrez is minimal other than adding depth this spring. Issiah Dunson and Jalen Harrell who signed with Miami as CBs before moving to safety could move back if needed.

Improved LB play is critical for Miami in 2022. Missing Brooks, Johnson and Smith could slow their development. Brooks was a highly regarded signee with Miami in 2019 who has battled injuries throughout his career. Johnson was a 2021 signee who would have added depth. Smith should challenge for snaps in 2022.

As a true freshman in 2021, Smith had 13 tackles, one TFL and two pass breakups as primarily a striker. Smith moving to LB would provide Miami with good size and speed at the position at 6’2, 210 pounds. A player to watch with the trio of LBs out is early enrollee Wesley Bissainthe who many expect to challenge for first-team.

Corey Flagg, Keontra Smith and Waynmon Steed were the primary starters at LB last season. Tirek Austin-Cave, Avery Huff, Ryan Ragone and Deshaun Troutman are the other LBs who will compete to make this spring heading into the remainder of the offseason. Charlie Strong gives Miami an elite LB coach to aid development.

Safety is the deepest position on the Miami Hurricanes roster. Kinchens was a starter for most of the 2021 season. Washington has not made an impact in his two seasons with Miami. Avantae Williams and James Williams will lead the Miami safeties this spring into the 2022 season.

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Dunson and Harrell along with Brian Balom who returns after missing the entire 2021 season with an injury provide Miami with depth entering 2022. The Hurricanes also signed four-star safety Markeith Williams who was not an early enrollee. Balom is expected to be the fourth safety for Miami in 2022.