National analyst asks if Miami football has enough secondary depth

Chris Hummer of 247 Sports asked if there is enough depth in secondary for the Miami football program as part of his article "Burning spring football questions for every ACC team."

Nov 18, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Chris Bell (0) catches
Nov 18, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Louisville Cardinals wide receiver Chris Bell (0) catches / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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Injuries and departures to the NFL have left questions in the secondary for the Miami football team as the Hurricanes are in the middle of spring practice. Chris Hummer of 247Sports asked "Is there enough depth in the secondary" as part of his article "Burning spring football questions for every ACC team."

Miami returns starting cornerbacks Damari Brown and Darryl Porter Jr. but lost safeties Kamren Kinchens and James Williams to the NFL Draft. Brown missed the first week of spring practice with an injury. Miami has signed multiple safeties through the transfer portal and the 2024 class.

Cornerback is likely to be the most targeted position for Miami in the spring transfer portal window. Spring will be an important time for the CBs projected to be behind Brown and Porter Jr. Miami needs to improve its depth at CB. Safety seems to be more stabilized for Miami with the additions to the 2024 roster.

Miami is rebuilding its secondary under new defensive backs coach Chevis Jackson. The Hurricanes hired Jackson away from Marshall where he worked with Miami defensive coordinator Lance Guidry. Miami was 55th nationally in 2023 allowing 216.0 passing yards per game and 53rd allowing 7.1 yards per attempt.

"Miami lost arguably the best safety pairing in college football (James Williams, Kamren Kinchens) while also seeing starting cornerbacks Jaden Davis and Te'Cory Couch depart, a blow for a pass defense that held opposing passers to the 33rd-lowest passer rating in the FBS.

That means, other than senior Daryl Porter Jr., who had a breakout campaign in 2023, and Washington transfer Mishael Powell, there is very little in the way of starting experience on the roster.

You figure that rising sophomore Damari Brown, who earned four starts down the stretch, will build on a strong true-freshman campaign and emerge as a starter opposite Porter. But the other two spots are very much up for grabs.

The Hurricanes added a pair of safety transfers in Savion Riley (Vanderbilt), who played well last season as a redshirt freshman, and Isaiah Taylor (Arizona), who is Hurricanes D-line coach Jason Taylor's son. Those like Jadais Richard, who played 187 snaps last year in his Hurricanes debut, and Jaden Harris, who played 130 snaps as a redshirt freshman, could push for more playing time, too.

There's also true freshman Zaquan Patterson to consider. The nation's No. 63 overall player is someone who those around the Hurricanes program believe could make an immediate impact.

How that room shakes out will likely determine if the Hurricanes are forced to dip into the portal for help during the post-spring window."

Chris Hummer, 247Sports

Brian Balom and Markeith Williams add depth at safety. Miami also returns redshirt freshman CB Robert Stafford, who is expected to be out during spring practice with an injury. Harris started two games last season when Kinchens was out with a neck injury. Harris adds versatility in the secondary at CB and safety.

In addition to Patterson, Miami signed CB Romanus Frederique and safeties Dylan Day, Ryan Mack and Isaiah Thomas in the 2024 class. Day, Patterson and Thomas are all enrolled and participating in spring practice. Day is expected to primarily be a CB for Miami. Day played well at Under Armour All-America week.

Next. Miami 2024 transfer portal addition tracker. Miami 2024 transfer portal addition tracker. dark

If Miami cannot add a CB in the spring transfer portal, Day should challenge for snaps during the 2024 season. Day also ran track in high school. Day is the second-highest-ranked DB in the 2024 Miami class behind Patterson. Expect Patterson to make an impact in 2024 and Day to compete for snaps in the rotation.