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2021 Spring Preview: DT

2021 Spring Preview: DT

Canes Legacy
Offseason Additions: None

Offseason Departures: Jason Blissett (Medical Retirement)



The story of the 2020 season at defensive tackle was all about a couple guys taking the next step while being largely in the shadow of the stellar play on the edges. The main four-man rotation should remain with the re-addition of Jess Simpson, who should see some of the fruits of his labor three years ago with the current group of upperclassmen.

Up until this past season, Nesta Silvera had spent much of his career either flashing his potential or injured, but in 2020 he emerged as an impact player on the defense. His natural quickness is always a key asset to his game, but he clearly got stronger and developed one of the best motors on the team. It’s hard not to get a tear in your eye when you see your 300 lb. DT rumbling downfield to help with a tackle on the sideline. This spring would have been a chance to solidify his spot and take on more leadership opportunities on the line, but he will miss the spring with a shoulder injury.

While Jared Harrison-Hunte was basically a footnote in our fall camp preview last season, he became the clear next big thing on the defensive line. His length and athleticism are the first things you notice, but it’s his rapid technical development that should make him one of the defense’s primary playmakers in 2021. The best version of the Miami defense came when he and Nesta were lined up together, so in the best case scenario, he will show Jess Simpson how far he’s come since he recruited him in 2018.

By the time Jon Ford’s all done at Miami, he will likely have played in over 40 games, starting a majority of them. Ford is a physical specimen, but his role with Miami won’t often get him a lot of attention because his job is to let the guys around him make plays. As Nesta and JHH see increased snaps (Simpson wants to get upfield quick, so those two fit better), Ford will likely take more of a support role, but that works for what Miami needs.

Jordan Miller was thought to be the breakout candidate by many last season, but instead saw a few others make the jump ahead of him. Miller has transformed his body and remains a solid contributing member of the line, but where exactly he fits now is yet to be seen. The question for the spring would be if he and Jon Ford can work well enough as a second unit to support the two should-be starters. Of the top 4, he would be most at risk for losing snaps to the young DTs that are expected to emerge.

The biggest wildcards at the position are two recruits who were listed as DE’s last season. Quentin Williams has been working on his body to bulk up, but should still honestly be seen as a tweener. Simpson prefers length in his linemen, so this spring will go a long way to showing exactly where he belongs. The real breakout potential lies in Elijah Roberts, who Simpson singled out in his introductory press conference. He’s got all the traits to be a special player on the interior, and we all saw the impact he’s able to make when he gets on the field based on his special teams work last season. Even in a stacked field, he is one of the main breakout candidates to watch for considering the jump that many players take between years one and two.

JHH isn’t the only one of Jess Simpson’s lone recruiting class looking to make an impact this year. Jalar Holley has taken advantage of Feeley’s system as much as anyone, looking like a totally different person last year, but we’ll have to see if that translates to more playing time in a suddenly stacked position group. The other recruit, Jason Blissett, was the only loss from the unit after medically retiring this offseason.

Also, before you ask, Leonard Taylor isn’t on campus yet, but when he is, spots will be taken. He’s the best DT recruit Miami has pulled since a certain #75-wearing, Leon Washington-eating, future Pro Football Hall of Famer.


Bottom Line

The Canes have depended on the end position over the last two years to set the tone for the defense, but if history is any indicator, Miami needs the tackle position to play at an elite level to win big games. The 2021 roster has great potential in that regard, with two potential All-ACC candidates and a 2-deep with guys who all have quality playing experience.

The key will be whether or not Nesta and Harrison Hunte continue to progress and make up for inexperience on the edges. Now that the focus is on JHH, will he become the All-Conference caliber player that he showed flashes of last season? This spring will go a long way towards instilling confidence in the coaches that they are where they need to be on one of the most important units on the roster.
 

Comments (28)

Additions: None

Departures: Jason Blissett (Medical Retirement)


The story of the 2020 season at defensive tackle was all about a couple guys taking the next step while being largely in the shadow of the stellar play on the edges. The largely four man rotation should remain with the re-addition of Jess Simpson, who should see some of the fruits of his labor three years ago with the current group of upperclassmen.

Up until this past season, Nesta Silvera had spent much of his career either flashing his potential or injured, but in 2020 he emerged as an impact player on the defense. His natural quickness is always a key asset to his game, but he clearly got stronger and developed one of the best motors on the team. It’s hard not to get a tear in your eye when you see your 300 lb DT rumbling downfield to help with a tackle on the sideline. This spring is a chance to solidify his spot and take on leadership opportunities on the line.

While Jared Harrison-Hunte was basically a footnote in our fall camp preview last season, he became the clear next big thing on the defensive line. His length and athleticism are the first things you notice, but it’s his rapid technical development that should make him one of the defense’s primary playmakers in 2021. The best version of the Miami defense came when he and Nesta were lined up together, so in the best case scenario, he will show Jess Simpson how far he’s come since he recruited him in 2018.

By the time Jon Ford’s all done at Miami, he will likely have played in over 40 games, starting a majority of them. Ford is a physical specimen, but his role with Miami won’t often get him a lot of attention because his job is to let the guys around him make plays. As Nesta and JHH see increased snaps (Simpson wants to get upfield quick, so those two fit better), Ford will likely take more of a support role, but that works for what Miami needs.

Jordan Miller was thought to be the breakout candidate by many last season, Miller saw a few others make the jump ahead of him. Miller has transformed his body and remains a solid contributing member of the line, but where exactly he fits now is yet to be seen. The question for the spring would be if he and Jon Ford can work well enough as a second unit to support the two should-be starters. Of the top 4, he would be most at risk for losing snaps to the young DTs that are expected to emerge.

The biggest wildcards at the position are two recruits who were listed as DEs last season. Quentin Williams has been working on his body to bulk up, but should still honestly be seen as a tweener. Simpson prefers length in his linemen, so this spring will go a long way to showing exactly where he belongs. The real breakout potential lies in Elijah Roberts, who Simpson singled out in his introductory press conference. He’s got all the traits to be a special player on the interior, and we all saw the impact he’s able to make when he gets on the field based on his special teams work last season. Even in a stacked field, he is one of the main breakout candidates to watch for considering the jump that many players take between years one and two.

JHH isn’t the only one of Jess Simpson’s lone recruiting class looking to make an impact this year. Jalar Holley has taken advantage of Feeley’s system as much as anyone, looking like a totally different person last year, but we’ll have to see if that translates to more playing time in a suddenly stacked position group. The other recruit, Jason Blissett, was the only loss from the unit after medically retiring this offseason.

Also, before you ask, Leonard Taylor isn’t on campus yet, but when he is, spots will be taken. He’s the best DT recruit we’ve pulled since a certain #75-wearing, Leon Washington-eating, future Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Bottom Line

The Canes have depended on the end position over the last two years to set the tone for the defense, but if history is any indicator, Miami needs the tackle position to play at an elite level to win big games. The 2021 roster has great potential in that regard, with two potential All ACC candidates and a 2 deep with guys who all have quality playing experience.

The key will be whether or not Nesta and Harrison Hunte continue to progress and make up for inexperience on the edges. Now that the focus is on JHH, will he become the all conference caliber player that he showed flashes of last season? And for Nesta, after finally making good on some of that promise, will he fulfill the expectations everyone had when he put pen to paper three years ago? This spring will go a long way towards instilling confidence in the coaches that we are where we need to be on one of the most important units on the roster.

Are Taylor and Haye trying out for WR?
 
Hope Jess teaches Nesta some techniques. Can't Bull rush or over power OLinemen consistently in college. JHH I hope is stronger and at minimum 290 lbs. I like Miller, he's the wild card IMO, but somebody needs to light a fire under his azz. Jon Ford too lazy and lacks hustle. Hoping like hell Lenny Taylor comes in at 290lbs and competes for major minutes. Haye coming in at the size I like 6'2" 300lbs, but can redshirt and be 315lbs next year.
 
You outside Greentree this spring, wondering where LT and Haye are:

View attachment 144546

I understand what you're getting at but these write ups would be better to include signed, enrolled, unavailable etc and better segway into a Summer Preview, what I assume you all plan on.

Seems strange to me to say between now and Summer we've had off-season additions. I suppose some might fail to enroll but that could contribute to the next segment discussing the concerns and how it might be proposed to deal with them.

Rather than just a blurb about LT being awesome you all could set up how the incoming enrollees might factor in the roster.
 
Despite all the well-deserved hype, I don’t expect to see Taylor get many snaps at DT in 2021. We’re 3 deep with ACC caliber tackles. The question is whether any of them can take the next step to being All ACC or AA level.

We know what we have with Ford. Does Silvera find an extra gear in year 4 or is he also plateauing? The rest are mysteries.
 
So we at least have a two deep that is solid. Just continue to build on that and we should be straight this season
 
Really need Nesta and JHH to continue their rise in development; DT is a position I feel really needs to keep getting better technique wise. Look for both to take advantage of Simpson’s coaching pedigree and becoming All-ACC DT’s. Ford and Miller are good depth, I see the biggest leap in playing time and ability going to Robert. The kid has all the necessary ingredients to really put it together this season. Taylor I’d put at SDE if he’s not close enough, or at, 290lbs. He’d add some serious hops to the DE room for his first collegiate season.
 
I understand what you're getting at but these write ups would be better to include signed, enrolled, unavailable etc and better segway into a Summer Preview, what I assume you all plan on.

Seems strange to me to say between now and Summer we've had off-season additions. I suppose some might fail to enroll but that could contribute to the next segment discussing the concerns and how it might be proposed to deal with them.

Rather than just a blurb about LT being awesome you all could set up how the incoming enrollees might factor in the roster.
Including guys who aren’t here yet on a spring preview wouldn’t really make sense considering we are going to have that fall camp preview when they’re on the roster. We’d just be guessing even more than we are now because what happens this spring has an affect on their eventual roles this year.

Also, guys like Taylor and Haye would qualify as additions when they get on campus because that delineates who was already here for a camp and who wasn’t, which is important for spots where there is a difference like OL and safety.
 
This group should make the LB’s jobs much easier than last season. I expect both groups to help us beat Alabama and bring this program to it’s rightful place in the college football hierarchy. Sorry mopes, it’s on again. You can all pretend like you saw this coming, after its here. 🙌 let’s fucking go. Every review of a position group, outside of LB before the changes, is going to be the best we’ve seen in a long ass minute. Dam read that again and realize that LT3 isn’t even in the mix. I still think he’ll see as much time or more this coming season at DE as he does DT
 
This group should make the LB’s jobs much easier than last season. I expect both groups to help us beat Alabama and bring this program to it’s rightful place in the college football hierarchy. Sorry mopes, it’s on again. You can all pretend like you saw this coming, after its here. 🙌 let’s fucking go. Every review of a position group, outside of LB before the changes, is going to be the best we’ve seen in a long ass minute. Dam read that again and realize that LT3 isn’t even in the mix. I still think he’ll see as much time or more this coming season at DE as he does DT
While I’m not predicting we’ll beat Bama if, IF we can get spirited play from the DT positions it will make not only the LB’s jobs much easier, it will for the DE’s as well. I think we’re going to be much more competitive with Baga that others believe. We’re looking at the most talent we’ve had across many positions than we have seen in quite some time. That and starting to build some seriously competitive depth as well. That, coupled with Saban having to rely on newbies galore will keep the game closer than Nicky will like heading into the 4th. It’s there that Bama’s pedigree can lift them over us. That, or do we choke in the moment? It’s highly unlikely we end up victorious...but it wouldn’t shock me if we beat them. It’s going to require sound, discipline on all fronts coupled with mistakes from Bama. But it’s definitely doable.
 

2022 Commits

QB
6'4"
205
Valdosta, GA

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