Miami football has 2 top 5 ACC returning graded safeties

Oct 22, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program has two of the top five returning safeties in the ACC ahead of the 2023 season. Kamren Kinchens is first and James Williams fifth in the Pro Football Focus rankings. Kinchens has a PFF grade of 90.0 and Williams 73.5. Depsite the elite safety tandem, Miami needs to improve defensively in 2023.

Miami finished 79th in 2022 allowing 233.1 passing yards per game. The Hurricanes finished 80th allowing opponents to complete 60.9 percent of their pass attempts, 121st allowing 8.3 yards per completion and 102nd with a 142.37 passer rating against. The propensity to allow big plays was a huge problem in 2022.

Miami was 131st and last nationally allowing 10 pass plays of 50 yards or more. The experience of Kinchens and Williams returning and hopefully better communication under new defensive corodinator Lance Guidry should correct the breakdowns the Miami football team had in the secondary in 2022.

Per PFF “Kinchens led all college safeties with a 90.0 grade and a 90.7 coverage grade in 2022. His six interceptions were also tied for the most in the Power Five. He’s a true centerfielder at free safety.” Kinchens and Williams are also two of the PFF Top 10 Draft Eligible Safeties to Know.

PFF expects that “between Kinchens and Williams, Miami is set to field the best safety duo in the country heading into next season. Both Williams and Kinchens recorded 89.9 coverage grades over the past two seasons — tied for first among returning Power Five safeties…Williams has unbelievable length for a safety.”

Miami will have continuity in the secondary with Kinchens and Williams returning. Slot cornerback Te’Cory Couch also returns. Miami has to replace starting outside CBs D.J. Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson. Davonte Brown, Jaden Davis and Jaidus Richard improve the depth at CB for Miami as incoming transfers.

Next. PFF names Kinchens and Williams top 4 safeties. dark

Kinchens had a breakout season in 2022 with 59 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 12 passes defended, six interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown and one forced fumble. Williams had 58 tackles, one TFL, seven passes defended, one interception and one forced fumble during the 2022 season.