Countdown to Kickoff: 28* days
As our 100 Days to Kickoff continues on, we begin our opponent previews to provide a quick look at each of the teams coming up on our schedule this season. Each team has changed and provides new challenges than in years past, so this week is all about learning about those changes and learning exactly what Georgia Tech’s opponents have to offer.
2017 Miami Hurricanes
Well I guess I’ll start with the obvious. Last season’s starting quarterback Brad Kaaya is gone. He had a lot of first round hype early in the season, but ended up drafted in the sixth round. The ‘Canes also lost their top two targets, 7th round receiver Stacy Coley and 1st round tight end David Njoku. Otherwise, this offense returns mostly intact.
Defensively, the Hurricanes secondary is taking the hit, losing starting cornerback Corn Elder as well as both safeties Jamal Carter Sr. and Rashawn Jenkins. Miami will also be replacing their solid punter Justin Vogel.
Offensively, the Hurricanes return a decent amount of talent. Ahmmon Richards had a fantastic freshman season at wide receiver and Christopher Herndon IV competed for time with a first round pick at tight end last season. They return nearly all of their running backs, led by last year’s starter Mark Walton. The running game was not super effective last season, in large part because the line was a bit of a mess. But, they return 5 offensive lineman who have combined for 86 starts. Maybe a more experienced line will get it together.
Miami’s front seven last season was good, really good. And that was despite starting 3 freshman at linebacker. They return everybody. That is very scary. They have a lot of depth too, which would limit the effects of injuries. In the secondary, it gets a little hazier. Malek Young is a returning cornerback, and the two new starting safeties have had some playtime.
Quarterback, quarterback, quarterback. If this team can find a good QB, they are easily the favorite for the ACC Coastal crown (despite playing FSU cross-division). Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. The options are Malik Rosier, who has played some in garbage time, Evan Shirreffs, who has not thrown an NCAA pass yet, and true freshman N’Kosi Perry. According to rumors, neither of the upperclassmen impressed and Perry has a good chance of starting. That’s not a great sign.
The good news is that they have a relatively easier schedule and have a defense that should keep them in every game no matter who their quarterback is. This team should be very good this year.