3 Things to watch defensively in Miami football spring game

The biggest questions for the Miami football team defensively entering the spring game are on the back seven.
Dec 28, 2023; Bronx, NY, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Markeith Williams (15) and Miami
Dec 28, 2023; Bronx, NY, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Markeith Williams (15) and Miami / Mark Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the spring game on Saturday the Miami football team has defensive questions at cornerback, linebacker and safety. Miami needs to develop depth at CB and LB and the Hurricanes have to replace starting safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams from last season.

Darryl Porter Jr. who started 10 games in 2023 and Damari Brown who started three as a freshman last season return for Miami at CB. Jadais Richard returns as the projected third CB behind Brown and Porter. Behind Brown, Porter Jr. and Richard, Miami has uncertainty at CB.

Washington transfer Mishael Powell who played safety at Washington has primarily been taking snaps as the slot CB for Miami this spring. Miami is extremely thin at CB. Demetrius Freeney, Jaden Harris and Robert Stafford are the other CBs on the 2024 Miami roster.

Freeney played only three games in his debut season with Miami in 2023. Harris started at safety when Kinchens missed two games with a neck injury. Stafford was a 2023 four-star signee who did not play last season. Expect Miami to be active in the transfer portal, searching for experienced CBs.

Building linebacker depth

Wesley Bissainthe and Francisco Mauigoa return for Miami as the starting LBs in 2024. The question is who will be the primary LBs behind them? Mauigoa is out this spring with an injury. That has provided plenty of opportunity for the younger LBs on the Miami roster to gain experience.

Miami returns Raul Aguirre, Malik Bryant, Marcellius Pulliam and Bobby Washington from the 2023 class at LB. True freshman Cam Pruitt and Pulliam have reportedly been impressive this spring. How well they all perform in the spring game can potentially give them momentum heading into summer.

Miami primarily utilizes a 4-2-5 defensive alignment. Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry frequently utilized a 3-3-5 defense in 2023 due to injuries on the defensive line. Building depth at LB is critical for Miami entering the 2024 season. Linebacker is a position to watch in the spring game.

Who will emerge at safety?

In addition to Powell, Miami also added Savion Riley from Vanderbilt and Isaiah Taylor from Arizona as transfers at safety in 2024. Powell has the potential to start. Taylor adds depth. Miami returns Brian Balom, Harris and Markeith Williams at safety. Balom has primarily played on special teams under Mario Cristobal.

It wouldn't be surprising if Miami lost one or two safeties to the transfer portal beginning next week. Miami will likely bring in one or two more transfer safeties who can compete to start. Miami signed four safeties in the 2024 class. Zaquan Patterson is the freshman to watch at safety in the Miami spring game.

Next. Zaquan Patterson named one of best pure football players in 2024 class. Zaquan Patterson named one of best pure football players in 2024 class. dark

Six of the nine transfers Miami has added since the end of the 2023 season are on defense. Expect Miami to add experienced players to the defense when the portal opens on Tuesday. Cornerback, LB and safety are the primary positions of need for Miami defensively entering the remainder of the 2024 offseason.