Storm ’18 Was Hyped All Summer Long, But Fizzled Like The Hurricanes’ Season: The Takeaway
Coral Gables, FL — Searching for their first top-ranked recruiting class since 2008, the Miami Hurricanes finished with the eighth-ranked class in 2018. Miami head coach Mark Richt has brought stability to South Florida, improving on each of his recruiting classes since taking over in 2016 (22nd) and 12th in 2017.
However, if you can recall the Georgia Bulldogs fired Richt for being “too stable” after a 9-3 season; Richt won 74 percent of his games a Georgia in 15 years. His predecessor Kirby Smart, won the SEC and took the Bulldogs to the National Championship Game in his second year. Also, Smart led the Bulldogs to the top-ranked recruiting class in 2018.
The prize of Miami’s 2018 class is running back Lorenzo Lingard (Orange City, FL) who is already enrolled due to the early signing period. The 6-foot-1 185 pound running back will challenge incumbent starter Travis Homer for some serious playing time. Lingard is a one-cut back who gets north and south quickly and very tough to bring down.
Time will tell how the 2018 class helps the Canes going forward. The 2017 class looks great as Miami looks to get over the hump in the 2018 season. Most noteworthy, how Richt develops and coaches these young men in search of his first National Championship appearance.
State Recruiting Champs
For the first time since 2008, the Miami Hurricanes beat out the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles in recruiting. It has been a real struggle for Miami to get top-tier recruits to come to Coral Gables, due to incompetent coaching prior to Richt’s arrival and the fallout from the Nevin Shapiro scandal.
Since 2008, Florida and Florida State have dominated Miami in recruiting. Florida had five top-ten recruiting classes in that time frame with Florida State yielding seven top-ten recruiting classes. Miami has had one top-ten class since 2008.
However, the Seminoles and Gators are in transition periods with first-year head coaches and serious quarterback questions. Miami has an excellent opportunity to thrive over the next couple of years. The Canes broke their seven-game losing streak to Florida State in October and will host the Seminoles in 2018. Also, the Hurricanes will face the Gators in the 2019 season opener in Orlando, FL.
Miami Shifting Offensive Philosophy
The Miami Hurricanes have historically run a Pro-Style offense from Howard Schnellenberger to Jimmy Johnson, Butch Davis, and Larry Coker. It’s been a big selling point with recruits for their NFL aspirations.
But around Coker’s departure after the 2006 season, college football took a turn on the offensive end due to forward-thinking coaches such as Chip Kelly, Urban Meyer, Rich Rodriguez, Kevin Sumlin and more.
Offenses in college football have been a lot more open, option-oriented, and led by running quarterbacks. These offenses are more potent in scoring points, they use more receivers which means more playing time, and they lead to more wins.
Finally, the Canes have joined the party after running a pro-style offense for too long. This past season Richt who doubles as the play caller used quarterback Malik Rosier’s running ability often. Rosier ran for 527 yards and five touchdowns.
The fifth-year senior is expected to have a quarterback battle with redshirt freshman N’Kosi Perry (3rd-ranked dual-threat QB in 2017), and incoming freshman Jarren Williams (6th-ranked dual-threat QB in 2018). Due to their athleticism, Williams or Perry will be the front-runners to win starting quarterback job.
A spread system would benefit Miami with a lot of mouths to feed on offense. Returning receivers Lawrence Cager, Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley, and Ahmmon Richards all look for big seasons next year. Incoming receivers Brian Hightower (Bradenton, FL), Mark Pope (Miami, FL), and Marquezz Ezzard (Stockbridge, GA) will look to solidify themselves in their freshman campaigns.
Miami won’t completely go to a spread look, signing four-star tight ends Brevin Jordan (Las Vegas, NV) and Will Mallory (Jacksonville, FL). In addition, the Canes signed a fullback, three-star prospect Realus George (Atlanta, GA).
The Hurricanes Look To Reload And Improve On Defense
Miami’s defense improved by leaps and bounds from 2016 to 2017 under second-year defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. It started with the birth of the Turnover Chain first worn by defensive back Malek Young.
Young’s football career came to an abrupt end due to a neck injury suffered in the Orange Bowl.
The Canes will look to improve even further in defense in 2018 as they reload with studs such as safety Gurvan Hall (Palm Beach Gardens, FL), cornerbacks D.J. Ivey (Homestead, FL), Gilbert Frierson (Miami, FL), Al Blades Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale, FL), and Nigel Bethel (Miami, FL). Also, defensive tackle Nesta Silvera (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) and linebacker Patrick Joyner (Homestead, FL) will provide much-needed depth on the defensive line.
With a crowded defensive back room, only the best will get playing time as Miami loves to use three linebackers even on third down. The competition will bring out the best and Miami will reap the benefits.