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2021 Miami Hurricanes: A Possible Return to Prominence
Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Miami Hurricanes: A Possible Return to Prominence

It seems that every year there are high hopes for Miami to return to their championship days of the 80’s and 90’s. And, in most years, it has been just a bunch of hype when the dust clears at the end of the season. Could this be the year they rise back into the Top-10? They rose as high as No. 7 in early October last year before a blow-out loss to Clemson showed them how far away they really were. Then they were thrashed by North Carolina in the regular season finale at home and followed that up with a loss to Oklahoma State in the bowl game but they lost their QB during that game and still only lost by 3 points. Once again, the Canes are hoping to return to their magical days.

Offense: There are 9 starters returning on offense plus transfer WR Charleston Rambo from Oklahoma. But, any talk of the offense, begins with the health of QB D’Erik King. If he is fully recovered from a knee injury, he brings a ton of experience and proven leadership and talent to the fray. He combined for almost 300 yards per game rushing and passing last year and should be expected to better that if healthy. Running backs Cam’Ron Harris and Jaylon Knighton return at running back and the receiving corps is strong with several experienced players back led by Mike Harley (57 catches for 799 yards) and tight end Will Mallory (22 catches for 329 yards). Miami is hyping up the addition of Rambo but he was a disappointment at Oklahoma so he is a question mark. All of this is bolstered by an offensive line that returns all 5 starters. Obviously, the offense looks good.

Defense: Head Coach Manny Diaz is taking over as Defensive Coordinator in a role that he excelled in at Mississippi State and Texas and he has some tools to work with. There are two transfers that might be immediate help. DE Deandre Johnson had 10 sacks in four seasons at Tennessee and he will be expected to help shore up a leaky front which gave up over 175 yards a game on the ground last year. CB Tyrique Stevenson broke up 10 passes and had 47 tackles in two seasons at Georgia. The secondary looks solid. The big problem area is at linebacker where there is little depth or proven star quality.

Non-Conference Schedule

9/4 Alabama at Atlanta

9/11 Appalachian State

9/18 Michigan State

9/25 Central Connecticut State

Obviously, the non-con schedule begins with defending champion Alabama in Atlanta. Miami will find out pretty quick where they fit in nationally. But, getting the Tide early may be a good thing as they are breaking in a new QB and a lot of unproven offensive guys. Then there are 3 consecutive home games with a dangerous game after Alabama against Appalachian State in which there will almost certainly be an emotional letdown. Michigan State is down and C.Conn St. is a laugher but all in all Miami should be applauded for this schedule.

Conference Schedule:

9/30 Virginia

1016 at North Carolina

10/23 NC State

10/30 at Pittsburgh

11/6 Georgia Tech

11/13 at Florida State

11/20 Virginia Tech

11/27 at Duke

Miami doesn’t have to play Clemson from the other side so that is a break. The 4 road games include must wins at Pittsburgh and Duke and a game they should win at Florida State. The game in Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels could decide the Coastal Division. The home games are all must wins if they are going to win the division and they can’t afford to look past any of these teams.

Projected Finish: 1st Place in the Coastal Division

Overall Record: 10-2

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