The Miami football team will be extremely thin at edge rusher and without starting safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams in the Pinstripe Bowl versus Rutgers on Thursday. Several young Miami players will receive their most significant playing time of the season versus Rutgers. Some of those players will receive their first start.
Defensive End/Edge Rusher
Edge rusher is the most impacted position for the Miami football team by players who entered the transfer portal. Starter Jahfari Harvey, Cyrus Moss and Chantz Williams entering the transfer portal have left Miami woefully thin at edge rusher versus Rutgers. Rueben Bain and Jayden Wayne are the projected Pinstripe Bowl starters.
True freshman linebacker Malik Bryant, Jared Harrison-Hunte and Jacob Lichtenstein could all see snaps at edge rusher with Bain and Wayne versus Rutgers. Rutgers ranked 10th nationally allowing only 4.0 tackles for loss per game and 12th giving up 1.17 sacks per game. The depleted Miami DL will be challenged versus a good Rutgers OL.
Corey Flagg is the only linebacker Miami will be without versus Rutgers. Flagg announced his transfer to Missouri this week. The top three LBs of Francis Mauigoa, Wesley Bissanthe and K.J. Cloyd will remain the same. A good true freshman group led by Marcellius Pulliam will likely be next in line for snaps versus Rutgers.
If everyone is healthy Miami should be at full strength at CB for the Pinstripe Bowl. Darryl Porter Jr. missed the last four games but could return versus Rutgers. Te'Cory Couch and Jaden Harris are expected to start for Miami at safety in place of Kinchens and Williams. That will impact who starts for Miami at CB.
True freshman Damari Brown, Jaden Davis and Jaidus Richard are the likely starters for Miami at CB in the Pinstripe Bowl. Miami defensive coordinator Lance Guidry could line up his secondary in different spots throughout the game to give Rutgers different looks with a lot of versatility. Davonte Brown will also figure in the CB rotation
Harris started two games in September when Kinchens was out with an injury. Brian Balom who has one career start in 2020 adds experience. Miami also has redshirt freshman Markeith Williams and true freshman Kaleb Spencer to backup Harris and Richard as the projected starters at safety.
The biggest question for Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl on defense will be how well Harris, Richard, or whoever plays safety can replace Kinchens and Williams. Guidry can bring pressure from other places if whoever lines up opposite of Bain isn't producing. Miami will be able to get a look at players for 2024 in the Pinstripe Bowl.