The Miami football program has one of the deepest groups of edge rushers entering the 2023 season in the country. Miami can potentially go six deep at edge rusher, especially early in the season. Miami returns starting 2022 edge rushers Jahfari Harvey and Akheem Mesidor. They are being pushed by Rueben Bain and Nyjalik Kelly.
Mesidor was the co-leader on the Miami football team in 2022 with 10.5 tackles for loss and led the Hurricanes with seven sacks. Harvey had 7.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks. There has been some speculation that Bain and Kelly will be the starting edge rushers for Miami to begin the season versus Miami (Ohio) on Friday.
David Lake of Inside the U reported that Kelly has worked with the first team throughout training camp. Bain was an elite pass rusher in high school with the ability to be an edge rusher or play tackle. Mesidor will likely get the start on Friday due to his experience and the production he had in 2022.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said to expect true freshman Jayden Wayne to play this season. Miami returns redshirt freshman Cyrus Moss and fourth-year Junior Chantz Williams in 2023. A Miami defensive staffer told Jackson, that Kelly is disruptive and forces turnovers.
The staffer also mentioned that Mesidor is a pro with the ability to take it to another level from his production in 2022. Mesidor added 38 tackles, four pass breakups, three quarterback hits and one forced fumble to the 10.5 TFLs and 7.5 sacks in 2023. Mesidor often played tackle on passing downs in 2022.
Harvey had 31 tackles, one pass breakup and one QBH to go with his 7.5 TFLs and 5.5 sacks. Kelly had 11 tackles, 4.5 sacks and four TFLs in 2022 playing limited snaps. Kelly has the potential to be an impact defensive lineman in 2023. Williams had 11 tackles and 4.5 TFLs in 2022. Moss played in three games while redshirting in 2022.
The Miami staffer told Jackson that Wayne has the ability to deflect passes at the line of scrimmage, drop into pass coverage and create negative plays. With Bain, Harvey, Kelly, Mesidor, Moss and Williams, Miami is six deep at edge rusher. Expect Bain, Harvey, Kelly and Mesidor as the top four in the rotation.
The first and second-team Miami edge rushers should not matter that much. Bain, Harvey, Kelly and Mesidor will all play significant roles for the Hurricanes on the defensive line in 2023. How much each play will depend on their production. Mario Cristobal has quickly rebuilt the Miami defensive line in two offseasons.