Miami football will start almost entirely new defense from 2021 opener

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team will start almost an entirely new defense in the 2022 season opener from the 11 players who opened 2021 against Alabama. Defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte and striker Keontra Smith in 2021 were the only starters against Alabama who are projected to potentially start in 2022.

Cornerbacks Te’Cory Couch and D.J. Ivey, defensive end Jahfari Harvey and middle linebacker Corey Flagg, Jr all return for the Miami football team from the 11 starters in the 2021 season opener against Alabama. All four have difficult challenges to start the 2022 season opener against Bethune-Cookman.

Tyrique Stevenson started the final 10 games he played at CB for Miami in 2021. Stevenson missed the final game of the 2021 season against Duke with a shoulder injury. The other CB starter, DE and MLB are projected to be filled by players Miami added through the 2022 transfer portal.

West Virginia transfers, CB Darryl Porter Jr. and DE Akheem Mesidor and UCLA transfers, LB Caleb Johnson and DE Mitchell Agude are projected to start in the 2022 season opener versus Bethune-Cookman. The remaining 2022 Miami projected starters are from returning players for the 2022 season.

Rising sophomore Leonard Taylor is projected to start with Harrison-Hunte at DT. Waynmon Steed is expected to be the third starting LB if Miami chooses to use a traditional 4-3 defense with four defensive linemen and three LBs. Miami is deep at safety with Kamren Kinchens, Avante Williams and James Williams.

If Miami chooses to play the best 11 players on defense, there is a way for the Hurricanes to have Kinchens and the two Williams on the field at the same time. There was talk when Kevin Steele was hired as defensive coordinator in February that Miami could use a star position which is a hybrid between a defensive back and LB.

Nearly half of the players expected to be in the rotation for Miami defensively will be new in 2022. Seven of the 11 2022 transfers added were on defense. Miami added five DL through the 2022 transfer portal. All five DL project as part of the 2022 Miami rotation. Agude and Mesidor are expected to have major impacts.

Next. Miami significantly upgraded experience with transfers. dark

Defensive tackle Darrel Jackson had 22 tackles for Maryland as a true freshman in 2021. Jacob Lichtenstein from USC and Antonio Moultrie from UAB will provide the Miami DL with the versatility to play inside and outside. Mario Cristobal has quickly remade the Miami roster in one offseason.