Jahfari Harvey says Miami Hurricanes immediately bought into new culture

Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

Speaking at ACC Kickoff last week, defensive end Jahfari Harvey said Miami Hurricanes football players have immediately bought into the new culture set by head coach Mario Cristobal and his staff. Harvey will be competing with fellow returnee Chantz Williams and a pair of newcomers to start for Miami at DE in 2022.

UCLA transfer Mitchell Agude is projected to be one starter at DE in 2022. The other starting edge rusher for Miami could depend on if West Virginia transfer Akheem Mesidor is slated on the edge or inside in 2022. Harvey had 26 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception returned for a TD in 2021.

The addition of Agude and Mesidor, defensive linemen Jacob Lichtenstein and Antonio Moultrie plus tackle Darrell Jackson improved the depth for the Miami Hurricanes upfront in 2022. Miami returns Jared Harrison-Hunte and Leonard Taylor who project to be the starting DTs for Miami in 2022 depending on Mesidor.

Taylor will definitely be one of the starters for Miami at DT. Harvey discussed the variance of the experience and talent the transfers bring to the Miami Hurricanes DL in 2022. Jackson is the least experienced of the transfer DL entering his sophomore year. The other four DL all have multiple years of collegiate experience.

"“Since the first day the new staff came, I feel like everybody bought in really well. We have a group of hard workers over at the U. It felt different walking around there. It felt like culture just changed automatically. Everybody goes in there ready to work every day. Same energy every day. Just getting ready to grind.We’ve got a lot of talent from the transfer portal (on the DL). A lot of guys coming in. We have some vets, some younger guys. I feel like everybody that came will make an instant impact on the D-line. Those boys came in. Those boys bought in the first day and came in ready to work, ready to play, ready to go win some games.“With the new coaching, we go in there extra every day. After practice, after you’ve had a long practice over there in the spring, down in Miami it gets hot outside. So I feel like running extra when you are tired, working on that get-off after practice so you know late in the fourth quarter your legs still feel fresher than everybody else.Oh, yeah, most definitely (that they will improve defensively). With the coaching we’ve got here on the defensive line especially, we’ve got some great coaches. A lot of guys got NFL experience. A lot of guys came in, I feel like we’ll improve very much in sacks, tackles for losses, especially turnovers.The defense will be successful, but I feel like relentless effort. Relentless effort. Hard work willtake care of itself. I feel like everybody bought in, so coming fall camp working hard and we’ll have a great defense this year.”"

Agude had 78 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, 4.5 sacks, three pass breakups, one fumble recovers and six forced fumbles in two seasons at UCLA. Mesidor had 70 tackles, 14.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks in two seasons at West Virginia. Agude will transition from outside linebacker in a 3-4 to defensive end in the Miami 4-3.

Miami will be led by new co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong. Steele and Strong both have at least 40 years of collegiate experience as football coaches. Jackson, Lichtenstein and Moultrie help provide depth. At 6’6, 300 pounds, Jackson provides Miami with exceptional size at DT.

Miami continued to get into the backfield last season to force negative plays but that did not transfer to turnovers. The Hurricanes finished 119th last season forcing only 11 turnovers in 12 games. Miami needs a more opportunistic defense in 2022 than they had in 2021. Miami forcing turnovers has diminished steadily.

In 2017, Miami finished third nationally forcing 31 turnovers in 13 games. Miami needs to get back to the opportunistic defense that had in 2017. Forcing turnovers takes pressure off the offense. The Harvey pick-six versus North Carolina last season tied the game at seven after an early Tar Heels touchdown.

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Harvey will be an important part of the Miami defensive line rotation. In 2021, Harvey played in all 12 games with five starts. Miami needed to add the five DL transfers to improve the depth, particularly at edge rusher. Harvey and Williams were the only experienced edge rushers returning for Miami before adding the transfers.