Miami football plays 3 ESPN top 10 defenses in 2023

Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 17, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football team will play three of the top 10 defenses as ranked by ESPN in an article posted on Monday. Clemson, Florida State and Texas A&M were included among the teams  in “Ranking the 10 best college football defenses ahead of the 2023 season.” 

Miami hosts Texas A&M on September 9, Clemson on October 21 and plays at Florida State on November 11. The 17-9 loss at Texas A&M and the embarrassing 45-3 win by Florida State at Hard Rock Stadium last season were the two lowest-scoring games for Miami in 2022. Miami last played Clemson in 2020.

ESPN ranks Clemson as the fifth-best defense in college football entering the 2023 season, Florida State seventh and Texas A&M ninth. ESPN had 10 writers vote on a ballot with 10 points to the first-place defense down to one point for a 10th-place vote similar to the system utilized in voting for the top 25.

Clemson received 55 points, Florida State had 34 and Texas A&M 29. North Carolina State who Miami plays in Raleigh on November 4 was fourth among others receiving votes with four points. New Miami offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson will have a big challenge versus the Tigers, Seminoles, Aggies and Wolfpack.

Miami football 2023 opponents’ best defenses: 5. Clemson: ​Points: 55

Clemson was sixth in the ACC in total defense in 2022. That was the first time in nine years that Clemson did not finish in the top two in the ACC in total defense. According to ESPN, Barrett Carter and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. return as the best starting LB duo in the country. Clemson enters its second season under coordinator Wes Goodwin.

Carter and Trotter combined for 169 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 12 sacks in 2022. Clemson should have its standard elite defensive line in 2023. Like Miami, Clemson has to decrease the number of big plays they allowed in 2022. Clemson was 106th nationally in 2022 allowing 106 pass plays of 20 or more yards.

Florida State defense: ​Points: 34

Florida State head coach Mike Norvell has rebuilt the Seminoles’ defense in the last two seasons through the transfer portal. Defensive end Jared Verse who transferred to Florida State last season had 14.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2022. Fabien Lovett and Patrick Payton are other FSU DL to watch.

Florida State added DL Braden Fiske and cornerback Fentrell Cypress II as transfers for 2023. Cypress is added to an FSU pass defense that was fourth nationally in 2022. The Seminoles finished 15th in total defense and 20th allowing 20.6 points per game in the 2022 season.

Texas A&M Aggies: ​Points: 29

Texas A&M is loaded with talent on defense. The Aggies’ top-rated 2022 recruiting class was loaded with elite defensive talent. Texas A&M was 25th nationally allowing 21.2 PPG and 52nd in total defense with opponents averaging 365.2 total YPG in 2022. The Aggies have room to improve defensively in 2023.

Texas A&M beat Miami 17-9 in College Station in 2022. The nine points scored by the Hurricanes in 2022 were the least by a Power Five opponent versus Texas A&M in 2022. One of the names to watch in the Texas A&M secondary is former North Carolina cornerback Tony Grimes who transferred in the offseason.

Next. Miami trending for 4--star TE Elija Lofton. dark

The question for the Miami football team offensively in 2023 versus the Clemson, Florida State and Texas A&M defenses is can Dawson return Miami to the elite and explosive offense they had under Rhett Lashlee in 2020 and 2021? A return to his 2021 form by quarterback Tyler Van Dyke will likely be the biggest key.