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2019 Fall Camp Preview: S

2019 Fall Camp Preview: S

Stefan Adams
Summer Additions: Bubba Bolden (USC transfer), Keontra Smith (2019 signee)

Summer Departures: None

The starting safety spots were considered the most wide-open jobs on the defense heading into spring, and we didn’t get too much more clarity on things because of a rash of injuries at the spot. Still, sophomore Gurvan Hall was the player that excited people in the program the most this spring, and that showed as he finished camp as a starter along with senior Robert Knowles. Hall is the type of rangy safety on the back end that the staff is looking for and he isn’t afraid to lower the boom as well. With Hall’s athleticism and playmaking ability, there is no reason he shouldn’t build on his strong spring and start the season as Miami’s top safety.

The book on Knowles is well written at this point: A team source says he practices well but struggles to stay mentally focused on game day. Even still, he has the most experience of any returning safety and Knowles could provide veteran leadership to a young and inexperienced group.

Junior Amari Carter continues to push Hall and Knowles here. He was getting a lot of praise early on in spring in interviews from the staff, but he ended up sidelined with injury most of the spring and finished with the second unit. Carter is another hard-hitter that has the versatility to be lined up all over the field and Miami is hoping can excel in this defense. Although there is some concern that his deficiencies in space will hold him back, team sources expect him to definitively surpass Knowles on the depth chart at some point during fall camp.

Like Carter, junior Derrick Smith also missed most of spring with injury and really could have used the extra reps in transitioning back to safety from striker. 5th year senior and former walk-on James Murphy showed in the spring game he’s not just a special teams guy, picking off a pass and forcing a fumble. It would still take a lot for him to see meaningful reps in this defense, though.

2019 signee Keontra Smith arrived this summer and, with his intensity and athleticism, has a shot at earning a role. He loves rotating down into the box and making stops around the line of scrimmage. The Canes are also expecting big things from USC redshirt sophomore transfer Bubba Bolden, and multiple people within the program see him starting at some point this season. With his freakish blend of size, speed, and strength, that’s certainly a big possibility, but he is going to have to get up to speed quickly on the playbook because, as of now, he still has not been cleared to enroll at UM.


Bottom Line

This group has tons of talent and potential, but haven’t shown they can consistently put it all together on the field just yet. We would have liked to see this unit stay healthy during spring and string together good days to build depth, so it was disappointing that it didn’t happen.

It’s encouraging that an elite talent like Hall is beginning to rise to the top, and that was a key moment for me this spring as Miami hasn’t had a safety with Hall’s ceiling for quite some time. He would make a devastating combination with Bolden on the back end, and watching how comfortable Bolden is in the defense as camp progresses will be a main storyline to keep an eye on. Even if it’s not Bolden starting against the Gators week 1, guys like Carter and Smith will have every chance to usurp Knowles in the rotation during camp.
 

Comments (11)

Banda has put us in a shitty spot. Bolden and Hall combo is exciting if they can both figure out the defense and stay healthy. That might be our most athletic duo in some time. I like Carter coming in as a box safety, but don't know how he'll do hash to sideline and I'm uncertain about his ball skills. We lost a lot with Jaquan graduating. He was instinctual and a playmaker and was incredible and filling alleys and cleaning up messes. Just please Lord Jesus do not let Knowles start against the Gator.
 
can someone update Bolden's enrollment ?? i keep hearing different things
major difference
 
Too many great athletes for someone not to step forward.

Manny has found a way to roll out ballers across the board every Saturday. Confident he will continue to do so.
 
can someone update Bolden's enrollment ?? i keep hearing different things
major difference

I have seen in multiple places that he will be in Coral Gables after his class ends on August 6. I would assume all the grades, etc have to be signed off or whatever before he can join the team. Or maybe that's a process that has been on going - IDK how that works.
 
I have seen in multiple places that he will be in Coral Gables after his class ends on August 6. I would assume all the grades, etc have to be signed off or whatever before he can join the team. Or maybe that's a process that has been on going - IDK how that works.
Yeah i think it’s that just sucks cause we wanted him during the summer at least.
 
I have seen in multiple places that he will be in Coral Gables after his class ends on August 6. I would assume all the grades, etc have to be signed off or whatever before he can join the team. Or maybe that's a process that has been on going - IDK how that works.
Thanks for update.... hope he can come ready to roll
 
all Im asking for is some James Lewis-level play. Be steady and solid back there....
Bro, that reminds me of all those times in the Grassy chat room. We were both big James Lewis fans and you insisted that you were the President of his fan club so I had no choice but to name myself the VP. lol Those were really fun times as I think we all sensed that something great was on the way but I don't think any of us had the slightest idea that we would go on the run we went on. Then in 2000 we were all fuming after the road loss to UW in week 2. Little did we know that we wouldn't taste defeat again until 2003. Just an amazing time to be a Cane fan!
 
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