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2021 Spring Preview: DE

2021 Spring Preview: DE

bradtejeda
Offseason Additions: Deandre Johnson (Tennessee transfer), Zach McCloud (moved from LB), Thomas Davis (2021 signee)

Offseason Departures: Jaelan Phillips (NFL Draft), Quincy Roche (NFL Draft)


A position group that loses key starters will now be coached by Jess Simpson. Typically, when a team loses 2 defensive ends to the NFL Draft, it takes a year or two to get some of that talent back; while it does not seem like Miami will enter the spring with that true elite presence, there are plenty of guys who will be playing with a chip on their shoulder and trying to prove themselves. The defensive end group profiles to be a “player by committee” this season and should have a lot of guys contribute.

Deandre Johnson, the Southridge alumni who transferred in from Tennessee, made his mark in the Volunteers defense last season and will look to use his last season in Miami to catapult him to a future NFL player. Johnson is not the only player trying to make the most of his final season at Miami - Zach McCloud, a sixth-year senior, will be officially making the switch from LB to DE after finishing at the position last season. McCloud may have regressed as a linebacker the past few years, but did show a spark when switched to the end position in the bowl game. His size and quick step off the line could potentially make him an intriguing asset as a pass rusher.

Another pass rusher Miami Hurricanes’ fans are very familiar with is Jahfari Harvey. Harvey, who made his first start as a Cane last season in the Cheez-It Bowl, will hope to use that as momentum to carry him into this spring and remain a starter. The 6’4” Vero Beach star has been a player most fans have been waiting to see get his turn and this will be the year all eyes are on Harvey.

The younger defensive ends have potential that we have seen glimpses of in Cam and Chantz Williams. Both Williams will be primed to have key roles in a position group that could be constantly be rotated. Both players bring a different element to the game off the bench, whether it is their speed off the line or their outstanding length, that could cause mismatches for opposing defenses.

While the 5 previous guys are set to get most of the snaps, true freshmen Thomas Davis out of Valdosta, GA will be getting acclimated with Miami’s scheme after enrolling early for spring. His work ethic, dog mentality, and ability to play multiple positions could help him see the field early. Although many believe Quentin Williams is set to play defensive tackle, CIS has been told that he is likely to contribute at end as well, and that will be something to watch during spring practices. Quentin originally was switched to defensive tackle during last season, but has used the offseason to get his body in a place that would allow him to play either spot. Williams’ crazy athleticism could give him a chance to crack either rotation.


Bottom Line

Make no mistake, losing 2 potential early draft picks at the end position is a blow, but Miami is poised under Jess Simpson to bring the aggressive pass rush back to Coral Gables. Although there is no clear star at defensive end, this group has multiple guys who can cause mismatches. This spring we will find out who has been putting in the work and taking their talent to the next level. All in all, look for the group to be a “player by committee” until somebody emerges as the leader in the room.
 

Comments (27)

Cant wait to see who wins the battle between Harvey, Chantz, and Cam..

We finally have competition at just about every position group!!!!
 
I'm nervous because we know how much defensive ends matter in the manny system. Excited to see Coach Simpson work!
 
Deandre and Harvey will get theirs. Neither one is Jaelan Phillips type talent, but the two together should be a formidable duo. After those two is where it gets interesting. Who will be DEs 3 and 4? We all know that McCloud at LB is garbage, but he should add value at Rush End. Cam needs to make something happen next season. Chantz and Quentin... good young talent heading into their Year 2 in the program. Then the two Freshmen.

It's an unproven group, but there is much talent to work with. Really excited to see what Jess can do.
 
WDE - Jahfari Harvey/ Cam Williams/ Thomas Davis/ Jabari Ishmael
3Tech - Nesta Silvera/ Jared Harrison-Hunte/ Quentin Williams/ Leonard Taylor
1Tech - Jon Ford/Jordan Miller/ Jalar Holley/ Allan Haye
SDE - DeAndre Johnson/ Zach McCloud/ Chantz Williams/ Elijah Roberts

16 deep at DLine with both Roberts & Quentin Williams being able to play both at DT & DE.

My breakout guys on the line this year are Jahfari Harvey, JHH (even though I would say he kinda already broke out last year) & Elijah Roberts.
 
I worry about size at DE since Johnson is listed at 255, Harvey is 245. McCloud is even lighter. Cam lost a bunch of bad weight and got pretty thin. It's why I think there's a chance at SDE for a guy like Roberts. He probably doesn't move as well as the others but he moves well enough to be trusted and make plays on kickoff coverage. When Diaz's defense was at its best we had Joe Jackson and Chad Thomas at DE, and they were each 260+ lbs.
 
As mentioned previously I'm cautiously optimistic on Harvey, as I see him being elite in pass rush but possibly having to be sat down vs run heavy schemes....guess time will tell on that one. This entire group at DE is green and widely unproven so while not the ideal situation, we'll see what we have rather quickly because for the first time in a long time, our OL will be bullies/big brother as they are more older, more playing experience, and deeper than our DEs (DL room as a whole really). "Not so fun when the rabbits got the gun" is how our OL will be viewing our green and wide eyed DEs during spring practice lol.
 
Wow forgot about Quentin Williams. Damn theres ALOT of competition at DE!

And with Jess coaching them up, I like our chances 😎!
 
I worry about size at DE since Johnson is listed at 255, Harvey is 245. McCloud is even lighter. Cam lost a bunch of bad weight and got pretty thin. It's why I think there's a chance at SDE for a guy like Roberts. He probably doesn't move as well as the others but he moves well enough to be trusted and make plays on kickoff coverage. When Diaz's defense was at its best we had Joe Jackson and Chad Thomas at DE, and they were each 260+ lbs.
Charles Haley and Jason Taylor each played around 245. they both were extremely quick. Jafari Harvey has been mentioned as the quickest end any of the coaches has been around. Very twitchy. Could be in the mold of the two players just noted. I am not saying he is NFL Hall of Fame material , rather he does have similar qualities.
 
Charles Haley and Jason Taylor each played around 245. they both were extremely quick. Jafari Harvey has been mentioned as the quickest end any of the coaches has been around. Very twitchy. Could be in the mold of the two players just noted. I am not saying he is NFL Hall of Fame material , rather he does have similar qualities.
LT (who was listed as a LB, but a rusher none the less was 236 pounds) 245-260 is prime weight for DE. Harvey said he 251 now and 4 percent body fat!! Damn!!
 
Cant wait to see who wins the battle between Harvey, Chantz, and Cam..

We finally have competition at just about every position group!!!!
I think that all 3 break out this year with 2022 being the year that they all wreck shyt.
 
WDE - Jahfari Harvey/ Cam Williams/ Thomas Davis/ Jabari Ishmael
3Tech - Nesta Silvera/ Jared Harrison-Hunte/ Quentin Williams/ Leonard Taylor
1Tech - Jon Ford/Jordan Miller/ Jalar Holley/ Allan Haye
SDE - DeAndre Johnson/ Zach McCloud/ Chantz Williams/ Elijah Roberts

16 deep at DLine with both Roberts & Quentin Williams being able to play both at DT & DE.

My breakout guys on the line this year are Jahfari Harvey, JHH (even though I would say he kinda already broke out last year) & Elijah Roberts.
This is our most talented DL top to bottom in ages. I agree with your depth chart but I just don't see McCloud holding off Chanz Williams and Elijah Roberts no matter how many years he's been in the program.
 

2022 Commits

WR
6'2"
185
Nashville, TN
CB
6'0"
160
Lexington, MS
QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA
CB
6'1"
175
Fort Myers, FL
CB
6'2"
180
Alabaster, AL
S
6'1"
170
Orlando, FL
WR
6'1"
185
Mandeville, LA
MLB
6'1"
210
Manvel, TX
OT
6'7"
275
Sandersville, GA

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