Miami football defensive versatility should help 2022 improvement

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 /

Versatility defensively for the Miami football program in 2022 should help the Hurricanes improve from 2021. Miami was 84th nationally in 2021 allowing 28.4 points per game. The Hurricanes finished 76th allowing 389.6 yards per game. Miami has received an infusion defensively with seven transfers entering 2022.

Mario Cristobal hired an entirely new defensive staff for 2022. Co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong each have at least 40 years of coaching experience. Steele and Strong will likely start at least four of the seven transfers in 2022. Five of the transfers are on the defensive line.

Edge rushers Mitchell Agude and Akheem Mesidor, linebacker Caleb Johnson and cornerback Darryl Porter Jr. are all projected starters for the Miami football team in 2022. Defensive tackle Darrell Jackson could challenge to be a starter. Defensive linemen Jacob Lichtenstein and Antonio Moultrie should be key players in the rotation.

All of the new Miami DL can play more than one position. Agude has worked at edge rusher and LB during the first week of training camp. Mesidor played end and tackle for West Virginia the past two seasons. Jackson is the exception. At 6’6, 300 pounds Jackson is a pure defensive tackle.

Lichtenstein and Moutrie have both played end and tackle during their collegiate careers. The five new DL join returnees Jahfari Harvey, Jared Harrison-Hunte, Leonard Taylor and Chantz Williams to give new coaches at the position Joe Salave’a and Rod Wright a deep and talented rotation up front.

Taylor is the sole five-star DL on the Miami roster and was the Hurricanes’ co-leader with 8.5 tackles for loss in 2021. Harrison-Hunte has played in 19 games with nine starts at DT in his two years with Miami. Eight of those starts for Harrison-Hunte were in 2021. Harvey and Williams were productive in the DL rotation in 2021.

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Miami will likely use a nine or 10-man rotation on the DL. The versatility will provide Miami will multiple formations on the DL. Johnson and Porter will help fill needs in positions that were inconsistent the last two seasons. The Miami defense has more depth a versatility with the addition of the seven transfers.