Too early in training camp being concerned with Miami Hurricanes depth chart

Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

After two days of training camp, there has been a lot of discussion about the depth chart the Miami Hurricanes have used. Miami-specific groups, social media and website message boards are all questioning the reports about which players are practicing with the first, second and third teams this far.

With the season starting in four weeks, several Miami Hurricanes are locked into starting positions while others are open for competition. Miami offensive line coach Alex Mirabal has stated that he is cross-training his players. Knee surgery for left tackle Zion Nelson leaves Miami with two locks to start on the OL.

Center Jakai Clark and OL D.J. Scaife are the sole returning starters Miami will have for the September 3 season opener versus Bethune-Cookman. Nelson had surgery in July and should be on schedule to return for the September 17 Miami game at Texas A&M. Scaife will likely start at one offensive tackle to begin the season.

Veteran OL John Campbell who missed the 2021 season after ACL surgery is projected to replace Nelson as the starting left tackle early in the season. Justice Olawaseun and Jalen Rivers are the other projected starting OL for Miami to begin the season. Most of the other Miami OL entering the 2022 season are inexperienced.

Quarterback is set and has been through the first two days of training camp. Tyler Van Dyke, Jake Garcia and Jacurri Brown as expected have been practicing with the first, second and third teams in that order as expected. Will Mallory returns for his second full season at tight end and another near lock as a starter.

Wide receiver is more open. Key’Shawn Smith is the lone returning starting wide receiver for Miami in 2022. Xavier Restrepo should be the starting slot receiver for Miami in 2022. Sophomore Jacolby George and Clemson transfer Frank Ladson are likely to compete to be the third starting WR for Miami in 2022.

Miami should have more competition on defense for starting positions than on offense. Players who seem like locks as starters are defensive tackle Leonard Taylor, cornerback Tyrique Stevenson and safety James Williams. Several other players are not locks but it would be surprising if they didn’t become starters.

Mitchell Agude and Akheem Medisor were brought in to add experience for Miami as edge rushers. It would be surprising if either did not start to begin the season. Jahfari Harvey and Chantz Williams are important players in the rotation for Miami behind Agude and Mesidor. Jared Harrison-Hunte returns at defensive tackle.

Caleb Johnson who transferred from UCLA like Agude is the projected starting middle linebacker. Corey Flagg and Waynmon Steed. Flagg or Johnson seems most likely to start next to Steed. The third LB position for Miami will be a hybrid defensive back called a star. Gilbert Frierson and Keontra Smith are the likely frontrunners at star.

Frierson and Smith were the primary strikers that preceded the star position. Sophomore Chase Smith will compete to be a key part of the Miami Hurricanes rotation at LB and star in 2022. Freshman Wesley Bissainthe could be the freshman to make the biggest impact for Miami this year.

Darryl Porter Jr. who like Mesidor transferred to Miami from West Virginia is the front runner to start opposite Stevenson at CB. Veterans Al Blades Jr, Te’Cory Couch and D.J. Ivey will compete for rotations spots during training camp. Safety Avantae Williams will be a key part of the rotation for Miami at safety.

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Optimism was high for the Miami football program following two days of training camp. The rotations on the depth chart will continue to shuffle in the next four weeks. Expect some of the decisions on who starts in the season opener to be decided in the last few days of training camp.