Miami has a new coach, and it’s time to ask the Internet’s favorite question about the Hurricanes, is Da U back? Count me skeptical. Their hot streak on the recruiting trail to open July got more hype going for the Cristobal train, but this team is not yet a finished product. We’re likely a few years away from off-field wins fully manifesting on the field, and that’s assuming the NCAA doesn’t make an example out of Miami before that.
What do things look like right now? Miami has the 13th most talented roster in the country according to 247 and returns the 27th most production according to our trusted source for all things data, Bill Connelly. The Binion Index slots Miami right behind Pittsburgh in the preseason version of things, giving Miami a 7.8 rating, good for 35th overall. SP+ is more bullish on the Hurricanes, slotting them all the way up at 14th thanks to a 15.6 team rating.
Given the defensive question marks and uncertainty about offensive playmakers, my subjective feeling is something right in between, around 25th in the country.
WR Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley
Miami lost its two most productive receivers from last year; Rambo was a one-year wonder after transferring in from Oklahoma, and Harley leaves with the most catches in school history. In 2021, they combined for 136 catches for 1715 and 12 touchdowns. The offense will certainly be good; being great will require some early and obvious answers to the question of who is going to replace the efficiency and explosiveness that 2021 Miami got from this pair.
DE Deandre Johnson and DT Nesta Jade Silvera
On defense, there are similar questions up front. Miami didn’t have its typical dominant pass rusher last season, but Johnson opted to test the NFL draft waters after leading the team with 8.5 TFL. Silvera added 5.5 TFL from the middle and elected to go into the portal, ultimately ending up at Arizona State. Neither of these losses is insurmountable, but there is no clear leader up front.
QB Tyler Van Dyke
I’m all aboard the hype train for Van Dyke. Yes, he torched GT, but he also did quite well against defenses that weren’t ranked 130th in the country in EPA/pass allowed. In fact, Van Dyke was 5th in QBR nationally over the second half of the season. His numbers throwing deep boggle the mind.
OK, I said Malik Cunningham was the best deep ball passer but, well, Tyler Van Dyke has something to say about that, too. On deep routes (corner/post/vert): 98.1 QBR (best in ACC), 14.46 yards/att, 16 TD, 1 INT— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) June 7, 2022
I wrote more on TVD this spring: https://t.co/P6s4bHyZRI
If I was ever blessed with such a vote, I would be casting my preseason ACC player of the year ballot for Van Dyke.
WR Xavier Restrepo
Restrepo was a reliable slot option for Van Dyke last year, and now he must expand his role. He had a 24-373-2 line in 2021, but Miami will be looking for those numbers to double or triple this fall. PFF charted him with a solid 72 grade last year, so he looks to have the ability to be the go to guy in this offense. If not, Van Dyke could have a much more difficult time finding open targets.
CB Tyrique Stevenson
The transfer from UGA likely could have been drafted in 2021, but a late season injury and the prospects for more exposure brought him back to Coral Gables for another year. If he can match last year’s performance, he’s a first round candidate next spring. How good was he?
Miami's secondary largely floated around middle of the pack last year but was killed by missed tackles and YAC. A strong '21 signing class paid late dividends, however, and Tyrique Stevenson tied for the ACC lead in yards/target (4.5) w/BC's Josh DeBerry.— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) June 15, 2022
OC Josh Gattis
Part of Cristobal’s early momentum has to be linked to the kind of staff he has put together. Atop that list is Josh Gattis, the former OC for Alabama and Michigan who brought life to the offensive side of the ball that previous iterations of Harbaugh’s Wolverine squads had been missing. In the off-season coaching analysis work we published here, Gattis was one of the coordinators who jumped out for improving offensive efficiency at multiple stops. Gattis inherits a group that brings back 61% of its OL snaps and a running game that was horrible last year. With his track record of maximizing what he has, will Gattis let TVD throw it 50 times a game?
DL Akeem Mesidor and Antonio Moultrie
On defense, the biggest question mark carrying over from last year is the front.
Miami was woefully inconsistent up front in '21. Canes had highest rate of missed tackles BY FAR. They were among the worst in the P5 in success rate in short-yardage situations. They were below average in rush EPA. But lots of young talent + impact transfers. High ceiling here.— ️♈️ (@ADavidHaleJoint) June 6, 2022
Mesidor and Moultrie were two solid pick ups from the transfer portal who should both start right away. Mesidor had 8 TFL’s for West Virginia, while Moultrie had 7 TFL’s on a very good UAB defense. Both of these guys have experience and production and should cement a baseline of competency for the Miami defensive line. But will there be a game changing disrupter up front? The jury’s still out.
TBI and SP+ see things just differently enough to be interesting. Vegas has Miami’s over under at 8.5 wins; TBI likes the under with 7.6, while SP+ would go slightly over at 8.7. I’m not personally convinced about this Miami defense yet, but September and October set up beautifully for them to find a stride. Going to College Station is the only game in the first two months of the season where Miami likely won’t be favored, but then November brings a tough closing stretch that includes FSU, Clemson, and Pittsburgh. 8-4 feels about right to me.
When Miami travels to Atlanta in November, TBI would make them a 12.5 point favorite, which works out to a 19% win probability for GT.
Too high, too low, or just right for Miami?