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2021 Spring Preview: CB

2021 Spring Preview: CB

Zach Shashoua
Offseason Additions: Tyrique Stevenson (UGA transfer), Jalen Harrell (Moved from S)

Offseason Departures: None



The cornerback position at UM has been underwhelming as of late, but the group is looking to turn it around in 2021. Head Coach Manny Diaz made the move to hire the former defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at South Carolina, Travaris Robinson, to coach the DB’s. The Miami native has a reputation of being an elite recruiter along with developing NFL talent. This quality addition will revamp a DB room in much need of an established coach, and gained even more of a boost when Diaz promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to take on the role of CB’s coach and assist Robinson.

Diaz is known for attaining star players from the transfer portal, and he did not disappoint when he brought in Tyrique Stevenson, who spent his first two seasons of his collegiate career at Georgia. Seeing action in 24 games while making four starts, Stevenson totaled 47 tackles and two tackles for loss in two years with the Bulldogs. Stevenson is a versatile DB who has the ability to play any position in the secondary, and his athleticism and playmaking skills in coverage make him a threat to any offense. The former 4-star has found his way back to his hometown and hopes to bring the Miami secondary to the next level.

In the latter part of the 2020 season, Al Blades Jr. announced that he would miss the remainder of the season after he had found out that he had myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) as a result of COVID-19. While he is cleared to return, Diaz has said they will be cautious with Blades Jr. as he works his way back into playing shape, and he is expected to miss at least the beginning of spring. The 6-1, 192 lb. junior saw action in eight games in 2020, finishing the season with 29 total tackles, two interceptions, and seven PBU’s. Going into his fourth year at UM, Blades Jr. will provide a veteran presence in the DB room.

DJ Ivey proved to be a mixed bag in the 2020 season. Ivey started all 11 games in the secondary and finished with 36 total tackles, one interception, and four PBU’s. Ivey will have competition for his starting job this spring, making it now or never for him; the former 4-star prospect has always been highly regarded by the coaching staff but has never lived up to his potential. His technique is definitely an area in which he needs to improve as he finds himself getting beat on the boundary at times.

One thing we learned from the 2020 season is that Te’Corey Couch can ball. The sophomore saw action in all 11 games and emerged as starting cornerback late in season. He started the final four games of the year and finished the season with 37 total tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. He also added one interception, one forced fumble, and six PBU’s. At 5-10 172 pounds, Couch proved that he is deserving of a starting corner spot, making many crucial plays this past year and was all over the field demonstrating his ability to play bigger than he is. Couch’s athleticism and fearlessness allow him to make big time plays and he demonstrates great footwork with the ability to play press man, which is how coach Robinson likes his DB’s to play. Although Couch got caught with some penalty issues at the end of the season, look for him to improve his IQ and take that starting CB role head on.

Spring practice is going to show who is willing to step up into that fifth cornerback spot, as there are a few young guys in the room who are yearning for that opportunity to play. There is no shortage of young talent in the CB room, as Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson will begin their second season at UM. At 5-10 190 pounds, Clarke saw action in six games, finishing the year with five tackles and one interception. A known ballhawk, Clarke has a background playing offense and defense in high school, so he has a natural ability to make a play every time the ball is near him. As he continues to develop, Clarke should see more playing time in the 2021 season. Dunson mostly contributed on special teams in 2021, but the coaching staff is high on his potential moving forward. The 6-1, 184 pound DB saw action in nine games in his first season, finishing with six total tackles. The former 4-star prospect is known to be a competitive ball player that has that dog in him.

Diaz also announced on Friday that Jalen Harrell will be switching to cornerback from safety this spring. At 6-2, 200 pounds, Harrell saw action in five games in his first season, largely on special teams. The move from corner to safety will benefit UM depth-wise as the roster is thin at CB with only five returning at the position. Look for Harrell to get some playing time, as his versatility and size will be a plus to the coaching staff.


Bottom Line

The CB room is always filled with talent, but the production has been underwhelming. With the hiring of Travaris Robinson and promotion of DeMarcus Van Dyke, there should be no excuses for underperforming in 2021. The position demands elite skill and IQ and UM has the players that can meet those demands, if developed correctly. Miami has the players, and now the coaching staff, so can they put it together? This spring will be proving time, and it will be interesting to see if Stevenson can lock down the #1 role from the get-go. Without Blades Jr., this spring will also be a great opportunity for younger talents Clarke, Dunson, and Harrell to make a push for real playing time as well.
 

Comments (20)

Field CB - Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr

NCB - Te’Cory Couch/ Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - Jalen Harrell/ Isaiah Dunson

Would be my ideal lineup at Corner, but I pretty much know that’s not what the staff will do lol.

They’ll probably have it like:

Field CB - Te’Cory Couch/ Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr/

NCB - Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - DJ Ivey/ Isaiah Dunson/ Jalen Harrell

The DJ Ivey experiment is never gonna end, he’s gonna keep playing & keep getting beat like a rented mule in coverage & people will keep making excuses for him.

We’re gonna hear all about how he’s looking really good in Spring & he’s finally turned the corner, how the coaches love him & rave about him & he just needs to get his confidence up & he’s an all-ACC corner & same the ol same ol, then come September he’ll be giving up long TD’s & getting starched down the field & people will still be saying the sh*t about how he’s “looking pretty good” lol...

We actually have some depth now at corner, both Couch & Clarke gives us flexibility in Nickel & Dime packages, but the reality is we rely on our Safeties to do most of the covering in Nickel anyway, rarely do we ever put 3 corners on the field at the same time, we did against LVille & Pitt at times, but for most of the season we just stick with 2 outside corners & depend on a 3rd Safety or the Striker to pickup the 3rd or 4th WR.

We have a solid group with Tyrique, Couch, Blades & Clarke, then two question marks with Dunson & Harrell who are both big bodied Boundary corners with questionable speed & hips, but we’ll see if they have any other tools to be serviceable at that spot. Ivey is horrendous.

If the coaching staff wants a good coverage group they should play the best 4 in the 2 deep, but if Manny is hellbent on being proving right on old evals stick with the guy who’s a liability in coverage & pay for it on the backend vs Bama, App St, Mich St & UNC etc.. We actually have the potential to have a good CB group if they could just stop guaranteeing starter snaps to guys who underperform & can’t cover lol.

The solution to our coverage issues is simply having a fair & open competition, we’ll see how much has changed from last year.
 
Last edited:
Field CB - Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr

NCB - Te’Cory Couch/ Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - Jalen Harrell/ Isaiah Dunson

Would be my ideal lineup at Corner, but I pretty much know that’s not what the staff will do lol.

They’ll probably have it like:

Field CB - Te’Cory Couch/ Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr/

NCB - Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - DJ Ivey/ Isaiah Dunson/ Jalen Harrell

The DJ Ivey experiment is never gonna end, he’s gonna keep playing & keep getting beat like a rented mule in coverage & people will keep making excuses for him.

We’re gonna hear all about how he’s looking really good in Spring & he’s finally turned the corner, how the coaches love him & rave about him & he just needs to get his confidence up & he’s an all-ACC corner & same the ol same ol, then come September he’ll be giving up long TD’s & getting starched down the field & people will still be saying the sh*t about how he’s “looking pretty good” lol...

We actually have some depth now at corner, both Couch & Clarke gives us flexibility in Nickel & Dime packages, but the reality is we rely on our Safeties to do most of the covering in Nickel anyway, rarely do we ever put 3 corners on the field at the same time, we did against LVille & Pitt at times, but for most of the season we just stick with 2 outside corners & depend on a 3rd Safety or the Striker to pickup the 3rd or 4th WR.

We have a solid group with Tyrique, Couch, Blades & Clarke, then two question marks with Dunson & Harrell who are both big bodied Boundary corners with questionable speed & hips, but we’ll see if they have any other tools to be serviceable at that spot. Ivey is horrendous.

If the coaching staff wants a good coverage group they should play the best 4 in the 2 deep, but if Manny is hellbent on being proving right on old evils stick with the guy who’s a liability in coverage & pay for it on the backend vs Bama, App St, Mich St & UNC etc.. We actually have the potential to have a good CB group if they could just stop guaranteeing starter snaps to guys who underperform & can’t cover lol.

The solution to our coverage issues is simply having a fair & open competition, we’ll see how much has changed from last year.
Facts.
 
Field CB - Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr

NCB - Te’Cory Couch/ Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - Jalen Harrell/ Isaiah Dunson

Would be my ideal lineup at Corner, but I pretty much know that’s not what the staff will do lol.

They’ll probably have it like:

Field CB - Te’Cory Couch/ Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr/

NCB - Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - DJ Ivey/ Isaiah Dunson/ Jalen Harrell

The DJ Ivey experiment is never gonna end, he’s gonna keep playing & keep getting beat like a rented mule in coverage & people will keep making excuses for him.

We’re gonna hear all about how he’s looking really good in Spring & he’s finally turned the corner, how the coaches love him & rave about him & he just needs to get his confidence up & he’s an all-ACC corner & same the ol same ol, then come September he’ll be giving up long TD’s & getting starched down the field & people will still be saying the sh*t about how he’s “looking pretty good” lol...

We actually have some depth now at corner, both Couch & Clarke gives us flexibility in Nickel & Dime packages, but the reality is we rely on our Safeties to do most of the covering in Nickel anyway, rarely do we ever put 3 corners on the field at the same time, we did against LVille & Pitt at times, but for most of the season we just stick with 2 outside corners & depend on a 3rd Safety or the Striker to pickup the 3rd or 4th WR.

We have a solid group with Tyrique, Couch, Blades & Clarke, then two question marks with Dunson & Harrell who are both big bodied Boundary corners with questionable speed & hips, but we’ll see if they have any other tools to be serviceable at that spot. Ivey is horrendous.

If the coaching staff wants a good coverage group they should play the best 4 in the 2 deep, but if Manny is hellbent on being proving right on old evils stick with the guy who’s a liability in coverage & pay for it on the backend vs Bama, App St, Mich St & UNC etc.. We actually have the potential to have a good CB group if they could just stop guaranteeing starter snaps to guys who underperform & can’t cover lol.

The solution to our coverage issues is simply having a fair & open competition, we’ll see how much has changed from last year.
Man liberty with that prediction you’re saying Stevenson isn’t a starter? If I was him and that happened I’d hang it up and start training for the combine. That’s disrespectful man. Ivey is trash
 
Field CB - Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr

NCB - Te’Cory Couch/ Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - Jalen Harrell/ Isaiah Dunson

Would be my ideal lineup at Corner, but I pretty much know that’s not what the staff will do lol.

They’ll probably have it like:

Field CB - Te’Cory Couch/ Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr/

NCB - Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - DJ Ivey/ Isaiah Dunson/ Jalen Harrell

The DJ Ivey experiment is never gonna end, he’s gonna keep playing & keep getting beat like a rented mule in coverage & people will keep making excuses for him.

We’re gonna hear all about how he’s looking really good in Spring & he’s finally turned the corner, how the coaches love him & rave about him & he just needs to get his confidence up & he’s an all-ACC corner & same the ol same ol, then come September he’ll be giving up long TD’s & getting starched down the field & people will still be saying the sh*t about how he’s “looking pretty good” lol...

We actually have some depth now at corner, both Couch & Clarke gives us flexibility in Nickel & Dime packages, but the reality is we rely on our Safeties to do most of the covering in Nickel anyway, rarely do we ever put 3 corners on the field at the same time, we did against LVille & Pitt at times, but for most of the season we just stick with 2 outside corners & depend on a 3rd Safety or the Striker to pickup the 3rd or 4th WR.

We have a solid group with Tyrique, Couch, Blades & Clarke, then two question marks with Dunson & Harrell who are both big bodied Boundary corners with questionable speed & hips, but we’ll see if they have any other tools to be serviceable at that spot. Ivey is horrendous.

If the coaching staff wants a good coverage group they should play the best 4 in the 2 deep, but if Manny is hellbent on being proving right on old evils stick with the guy who’s a liability in coverage & pay for it on the backend vs Bama, App St, Mich St & UNC etc.. We actually have the potential to have a good CB group if they could just stop guaranteeing starter snaps to guys who underperform & can’t cover lol.

The solution to our coverage issues is simply having a fair & open competition, we’ll see how much has changed from last year.
Agreed @Liberty City El , Ivey needs a nice bench seat or at best - playing ST’s only. Tired of watching him get burned. I’m praying that Manny gets this is his last rodeo in town and just pushes DJ to the wayside. Put Couch in at Nickel and have Tyrique play the boundary with Dunson or Harrell on the other side. Once AB2 is free and clear, give him the opportunity to compete for the starts role opposite of Stevenson. That would make for a nice starting 3/4 and actually work well within TRob’s tutelage.
 
Man liberty with that prediction you’re saying Stevenson isn’t a starter? If I was him and that happened I’d hang it up and start training for the combine. That’s disrespectful man. Ivey is trash
I would have him as a starter, I'm just not sure if the coaching staff is going to do the right thing when it comes to Ivey & bench him.

Tyrique should be the starter at Field imo, but you never know with Manny...
 
Phillips and Roche started. Osborn started. Williams started and King started. When there was clearly a need the transfers started. Stevenson is starting. No perceived Ivey bias is changing that. Is Diaz going to overrule T-Rob? The only member of the defensive staff that remains is Patke so even if there was a bias for older players by the previous staff on that side of the ball they are almost all gone.
 
I've got TS and TC on the outside. Now Blades can play but until he's fully healthy I will have TC in that spot. With Blades back, i'm inserting Blades for TC but TC plays a TON and is the #3 CB. The question mark for me comes at the CB4 spot where you have newbie Harrell and 2nd year CBs Clarke and Dunson.

*I think CMD is largely going to allow TRob and Simpson both run their respective rooms as they see fit (including PT) unless there's a glaring and obvious change that needs to be made. CMD will largely focus on the DC duties and oversee LBs/STR with Patke/Aristide with Shoop flanking him*
 
i
I would have him as a starter, I'm just not sure if the coaching staff is going to do the right thing when it comes to Ivey & bench him.

Tyrique should be the starter at Field imo, but you never know with Manny...
I think T rob will handle. dont you? he didnt come here to play guys that will make him look bad.
 
Phillips and Roche started. Osborn started. Williams started and King started. When there was clearly a need the transfers started. Stevenson is starting. No perceived Ivey bias is changing that. Is Diaz going to overrule T-Rob? The only member of the defensive staff that remains is Patke so even if there was a bias for older players by the previous staff on that side of the ball they are almost all gone.

Yup - plenty examples of new players starting. I think Manny will let TRob run the DB room and TRob certainly has no loyalty to anyone. If everyone is healthy, Stevenson, Blades, and Couch will get most reps. Ivey will have to play some jus because we have so little depth.
 
I don't believe Stevenson would have transferred here unless he was pretty much guaranteed a starting spot.
 
I want to see more T. Couch in the slot, seems to have the ability to find the QB on blitzes even though he's not very big.
 
Field CB - Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr

NCB - Te’Cory Couch/ Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - Jalen Harrell/ Isaiah Dunson

Would be my ideal lineup at Corner, but I pretty much know that’s not what the staff will do lol.

They’ll probably have it like:

Field CB - Te’Cory Couch/ Tyrique Stevenson/ Al Blades Jr/

NCB - Marcus Clarke/ Malik Curtis

Boundary CB - DJ Ivey/ Isaiah Dunson/ Jalen Harrell

The DJ Ivey experiment is never gonna end, he’s gonna keep playing & keep getting beat like a rented mule in coverage & people will keep making excuses for him.

We’re gonna hear all about how he’s looking really good in Spring & he’s finally turned the corner, how the coaches love him & rave about him & he just needs to get his confidence up & he’s an all-ACC corner & same the ol same ol, then come September he’ll be giving up long TD’s & getting starched down the field & people will still be saying the sh*t about how he’s “looking pretty good” lol...

We actually have some depth now at corner, both Couch & Clarke gives us flexibility in Nickel & Dime packages, but the reality is we rely on our Safeties to do most of the covering in Nickel anyway, rarely do we ever put 3 corners on the field at the same time, we did against LVille & Pitt at times, but for most of the season we just stick with 2 outside corners & depend on a 3rd Safety or the Striker to pickup the 3rd or 4th WR.

We have a solid group with Tyrique, Couch, Blades & Clarke, then two question marks with Dunson & Harrell who are both big bodied Boundary corners with questionable speed & hips, but we’ll see if they have any other tools to be serviceable at that spot. Ivey is horrendous.

If the coaching staff wants a good coverage group they should play the best 4 in the 2 deep, but if Manny is hellbent on being proving right on old evals stick with the guy who’s a liability in coverage & pay for it on the backend vs Bama, App St, Mich St & UNC etc.. We actually have the potential to have a good CB group if they could just stop guaranteeing starter snaps to guys who underperform & can’t cover lol.

The solution to our coverage issues is simply having a fair & open competition, we’ll see how much has changed from last year.

agree.

i will add:

1. if ivey trots out there as one of the starting CB's to open the season against alabama, i'm turning off my TV.
2. i'm wondering if they will continue to think a couple of their safeties will be better in coverage than their 3rd/4th CB's. if that's the case, we will see less 3CB and more 3S in nickel and dime situations.
3. if we get 2 true shut down corners ( a la rumph/buchanon), then in this system, the safeties are going to eat like a pack of hyenas on a hippo.
 
I’d like to see

Stevenson
Blades
Couch

as starters. People sleep on Blade because his last game was not great. Guy has played 2.5 good years here including 2nd or 3rd team All ACC.
 

2022 Commits

QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA

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