My Spring Game thoughts

My Spring Game thoughts

Going to seperate this into two posts because it is a lot. I might go to the final scrimmage next Saturday so I might have more after this.


Let me start off by saying this. Malik may be the safe pick but if Miami wants to reach new heights on offense, they need to roll the dice and roll with one of the young guns at some point this year.(N’Kosi or Jarren)

It might not be wise to throw them out there against LSU, but post LSU they need to get live reps and get their feet wet.

Yes, experience is a good thing but I didn’t see anything different from Malik yesterday that tells me he is going to get better. He has limitations, the other two have ceiling.

It is very telling that he has not separated himself from N’Kosi or Jarren.

Malik outside of that first throw to Cager was honestly quite underwhelming. N’Kosi and Jarren have better pocket awareness simply put. I’ve seen a lot of mentions of his struggles against the 1st team defense but he played against the 2nd team and that remained there as well. Meanwhile both Kosi and Jarren got there shots at the 1st defense too. He protected the ball but it was almost as if when he came out and the other two came in..... the offense just seemed to have more life and was actually able to create some drives under the young guns.

N’Kosi is still a bit raw but the big play factor is definitely there with him. They have to reign him in a bit more in regards to when to tuck the ball and run but his legs are dangerous. There was multiple runs he could have taken for even longer gains if QBs were allowed to be tackled. He throws a very nice ball and both his and Jarren’s release is MUCH quicker than Malik. He led the offense down the field 3 times and could have scored a second time towards the end but they didn’t call a timeout and time expired. I wouldn’t place much blame on him for the INT he threw to end the first half as it was more of a try and make something happen before the half ends , with very little time. One thing being excluded in his numbers not being talked about, some of his receivers dropped very catchable balls that could have went for big gains (Harris twice, Burns, Irvin & Harley). If he gets more comfortable and as the game slows down for him, I honestly believe he could challenge for the starting job. He made some throws that Malik just can’t make and was putting the ball where only his receiver could make a play on the ball. He’s a little raw but he has a lot of talent and Miami’s passing attack could be explosive with him in time. I’m very confident in his ability to lead this team if he takes full focus in the off-time and works on his game.

Jarren, he doesn’t look like a freshman and didn’t play like one either. He has great size already. Let me tell you, I wish N’Kosi arrived here for spring last year, he would be further along right now too.(If any recruit or commit or prospect anywhere reads this, I highly suggest trying to enroll early. It does makes a difference.) Although a lot of his work was on the 3rd team, he made some nice throws on the 2nd team and got a little burn against the 1st team too. He showed what I already knew, he is more ready as a freshman than Perry was coming in fall ball last year as a freshman. Looking forward to his progress over the summer. He’s very polished for a freshman and looked comfortable. I can’t say whether or not they will redshirt him but I can definitely say he can challenge to be the guy too.

*It’s not taking shots at Malik but I expected more from a 5th year senior at QB. He can win us games but for Miami to take the next step on offense, they need to roll the dice.


It was a relatively quiet day for the RBs, they didn’t take too many touches.

Homer, Deejay, Lingard and Burns all had one decent run each but nothing much to sample on.

Both Deejay and Burns have definitely put on size.

Deejay came very close to making a huge catch downfield on one of the drives.

Lingard has some ability as well in the pass game.

*Cam Davis will add more depth to this group in fall. It was refreshing to see Burns healthy.

*It was nice to see Trayone Gray to find a role within the offense but he will have competition with Realus George at FB in the fall.


*I honestly felt the WRs were more in synch with Kosi & Jarren opposed to Malik.

Jeff Thomas looks like he’s going to take the next step this year. He looked comfortable out there and made it look easy. The potential of him & a healthy Ahmmon playing together this year is very exciting.

Cager had some flashes here and there but must become more consistent. He made a big catch to open up the scrimmage but dropped another that could have been a big gain.

Harley made some catches and seems to have adjusted more to the college game as he struggled a bit last year. Nothing that really wowed anyone but did have a key 3rd down catch. Had one drop.

Harris had a very bad day. Idk if they will ever get much out of him as his hands leave a lot to be desired. It’s a shame IMO as he does possess some wiggle and speed at his size. He creates separation but if you can’t catch, you’re just not gonna play.

Langham is a spark guy, he will make a big play here and there but a bit inconsistent. He struggles a bit to create separation at times. He has his role and will continue to make a play when they need him.

Wiggins didn’t get a lot of burn but when he came in, he made the most of it. I was very impressed with a catch he made with a DB coming full speed at him and he held on to the ball.

The star of the day. Brian Hightower. One word, WOW. He has a legitimate chance to become a starting receiver at some point this season. Size, speed, hands & he blocks. He was slept on by some, I highly suggest keeping your eyes open cause this kid is gonna do great things at Miami. He looked the part too when he came in to play with the 1’s. As Dmoney mentioned in another thread, his baseball skills are coming to light in the way he tracks the ball. No one had an answer for him. It was refreshing to see for the first time in a while at Miami, a true big bodied WR who uses his size. Great body control and concentration by the kid on his two end zone grabs and showed he was more than just a redzone guy, with another two big catches going for 25 and 50+.

*Two key returns in Fall. Ahmmon Richards and Evidence Njoku. I am very high on Njoku and think he could make some noise too when fall ball opens up. I expect Ahmmon to make a full recovery and healthy in time for the season.

*Mark Pope and Marquez Ezzard have a chance to make a splash in the fall. I expect Pope to challenge Harley in the slot. Langham & Harris have not separated theirselves to be safe yet, Ezzard could take those snaps if he’s ready.


*We need help here ASAP.

Irvin was very inconsistent yesterday and dropped quite a few catchable balls.

Polendey was a bit of a surprise and made a very nice downfield catch.

*The opportunity is there for both Brevin Jordan & Will Mallory to come in and seize a lot of play time.


Miami is going to be fine on the interior of the line but the tackle spot needs to get figured out before the season. Not much more to be said than that. Searles has work cut out for him this off-season to find his best tackles. Donaldson needs to keep trimming weight if they are serious about him at RT because he didn’t look comfortable at that spot. St. Louis is going to need work to improve at LT opposed to RT previously.

*I expect some transfers from the unit now that spring has concluded.
*Cleveland Reed will be a great addition for depth on the interior as well.

Comments (42)


*No drop off here in talent and I honestly believe DE has become not so much of a worry anymore for this season.

JoJo, Garvin, Rousseau and Patchan all looked great. Getting Demetrius Jackson back with that group is going to be great for Miami.

Garvin had a tremendous day and has taken the next step in his game, JoJo was very active and had a sack and some tackles and a TFL. Rousseau has the highest ceiling of anyone on Miami’s defense right now, as he continues to fill out. He’s going to be a major problem for opposing offenses for at least 3 years.(This kid could be making millions of dollars a few years from now). Patchan looked healthy for the first time in a while and was active and creating pressure.

The DTs between Willis, Ford and Bethel... they were great. I don’t think Miami will have a drop off here from last year but it’s very evident that the depth is minimal. Miami really needs Nesta Silvera to come with his A game in the fall, ‘cause he could be playing a lot of snaps this season from game 1.

Willis really stood out and looks like he’s ready to play for his Money this year.

*Jess has these guys playing like animals. They were energetic and physical. I have no doubt in my mind, that they will be one of the top groups in the country again this season.


* We have depth here for this first time in a long time at Miami.

*The striker position is going to be very refreshing, for fans who have had many complaints with our LBs getting killed covering slots.

Shaq & Mike did their thing and they look poised for a sort of bounce-back season. I know some had concerns that the LBs took a step back last year in some games, and were not as effective as freshman year.(Teams started game planning around our LBs.)

This may or may not be relevant but I have noticed within Miami lore. Our LBs almost traditionally have had that one slump year to rebound into a great season the following year. This may be the case this year. I know, I know.... different staff, different coaches.

I am on this same page and a believer in McCloud. He was the most raw of the 3 coming in, we all knew that. The game needed to slow down for him. Before being held out with injury for this spring game, he was also cross training at WLB this spring in 4-2-5 looks. He is the SLB in base as of now. I am looking forward to his progress when he comes back in fall.

Waynmon Steed & Bradley Jennings have taken the next step and they seem like the two most likely to come in for rotation first as of now. Waynmon is healthy as ever and made some nice plays yesterday and Bradley is a striker in the middle and noticeably faster than I remember.(I must be honest, I wasn’t that high on Bradley coming in but he has opened my eyes a lot.)

Mike Smith ran with the twos as an OLB but nothing to really note on yesterday. He’s a solid guy but I wonder where his PT falls once CPerry returns and the emergence of Steed and Jennings as legitimate LBs.

Wilder got snaps with the 2’s and 3’s and looked good but he may be another year away from really making an impact. He’s still a bit raw but he can run and hit. It’s not a matter of talent with him, he has it. He’s just gonna need a little more time.

Striker.... Derrick Smith had a great day and this new position installed with the defense is going to make a difference when teams spread out Miami. Finley ran with the twos and was noticeably much more comfortable there, than he was as a traditional safety prior to the move. He has found a home now.

*The return of McCloud as the base SLB and CPerry as a key rotational guy is only going to make LB better. Miami is in a good spot right now and depth is finally emerging for the first time in a long time. I came away super impressed by the LB’s unit. Patrick Joyner arriving in fall will create more depth.


Michael Jackson is every bit as advertised and is ready to play for his money this year. Big year coming for him, I can’t even recall anything he gave up yesterday. He looks the part and plays the part entirely.

Trajan Bandy has put on some size and looked good yesterday. While some were saying that he’s a nickel, he will actually be playing on the outside a bit this season too.

Jhavonte Dean was raw coming into Miami even as a juco. I’m wondering how much progress he can make between now and the fall. He had an up and down day and didn’t make a case to solidify himself a spot as a starter. He will need to become more physical too.

Gilbert Frierson is going to make fans very happy with living up to being a Cane legacy. He has that IT factor and it oozes off of him. From the way he carries himself on and off the field. Beautiful INT in the back of the end zone and even better executing a sack from the corner on a blitz. He definitely made a strong case to be a starter this season. While I had some reservations about him as a corner at Miami because I believed he was a natural born single high FS. I am an ultimate believer in Coach Mike Rumph ability as a coach and it’s showed with Gilbert on Saturday. Yes, Hightower got him good on the first TD of the day but this kid went right back out there and made two plays that change a game and had a solid day in coverage otherwise.

DJ Ivey had a solid day as well and has made a case for playing time this year. Hightower made a big deep ball catch on him late in the game(This may be more of a testament to how good Hightower is as a FR right now) but otherwise, he held his own and did what he does best. He’s a technician, a pure cover corner. He will continue to get better as we get closer to the season, he hasn’t even scraped his potential yet. Big kudos to Big Gus on the size he put on Ivey and not losing an ounce of his athleticism or speed.

*The addition of Al Blades Jr. & Nigel Bethel will help this position unit with much needed depth. Bethel could get a potential look at special teams as a return man.


What a difference a year can make. A lot of people noticed early on last season within the first 2-3 games, where Jaquan and Redwine didn’t seem settled in at safety yet. With both moving from Nickel/S & CB respectively prior to that, but as the season progressed they got better each week and Jaquan an AA caliber safety by the end of the year.

They look comfortable & they know what they are doing. The secondary is going to be a strength this year and these guys are the backbone to it.

Amari Carter snaps are only going to continue to increase this year. He looks seasoned now and no longer a freshman second guessing himself. He was very active and involved and came up in run support.

The one surprise for some will be.... Robert Knowles. Yes, he is getting better. He’s learning and the game has slowed down for him a bit it seems. He’s understanding where he needs to be and what he needs to do and processing things much faster opposed to last season. He can develop into a solid rotational guy this season at safety.

*I wish Gurvan Hall didn’t get hurt this spring but he should be back and healthy for fall ball. I was actually very high on Gurvan coming into Miami and felt he had the most ceiling of any DB coming in 2018. I think he will make his mark in fall ball and will make his way into the two deep at safety this season. He’s a natural.

*The returning DBs all looked much more confident now compared to when last season started.

Special Teams:

Baxa is not here until fall so not much to go off in regards to kicker.

Feagles looks to have improved but did mess up on one punt on Saturday. Have to continue getting more consistent.

Jeff was the first one out there for PRs, followed by Deejay. Both fielded each ball without a single drop.

Not much to go off of, but we will find out more in fall ball.

Overall thoughts:

Miami’s offense can be great if one of the young Quarterbacks can continue to develop through the off-season and seize the moment. Miami has the RBs and WRs. TE I am not worried about because I honestly believe Brevin Jordan is going to make an impact. OL is fine on the interior, the main issue is really tackle spots and mainly LT of all. We all know St Louis can play RT but we need him or someone to step up there, because Donaldson is not where he needs to be at for RT at this moment as well. The defense I don’t have to say much, continue to create depth at DT and DB because Miami is honestly going to have a fierce, fast and violent defense once again. Last note, Mark Richt is recruiting further beyond and very involved with this community. I was sitting in the section with the Youth Football Kids he invited out and it was a success. Great coach but an even greater man. We are on the right track.

Saturday was also the first time I brought my 3 year old son to Hard Rock Stadium and he was baptized in Miami Hurricanes Football. He loved it, from the game to the band to everything. Starting him young. I hope everyone has a great Sunday, I will see you on the recruiting board. Spring evaluation period coming up now with spring practices starting for High School soon, lot to talk about.
Haven't seen a Canes squad with so few holes in a long, time. Get the QB and Tackle positions solidified over the Summer, sprinkle in depth here and there, and we'll be ready to roll in the Fall!
Good **** bringing your seed to the game. That's what CANEdom is all about.
(Good write-up too.)
What is the root cause of the OT position struggling? Is it ND at RT or is STL not getting it done at the LT?
He has limitations, the other two have ceiling.

Love the info. Thanks.

But I’m not sure why so many people think Malik isn’t good enough to be QB1 but let’s roll w him just for LSU game.

If he isn’t good enough (he isn’t), then he should start the season where other QBs who aren’t good enough do.
Great write-up! Very detailed about mostly everyone. You also were very objective, which most fail to do. Good job Geo.
I feel like Perry can be Richts Wsrd (pun intended). He would murder in the fast break and seems thrive in it.

Im team Perry or Jarren all day, and I bet if you took a straw poll of who the WRs want, Malik wouldnt get a majority.

Ideally, we are blowing teams out and allowing the back up to get mop up duty in the second half. If Malik isnt the starter, I dont shirt Jarren or Perry.
Find any noles to wish the best while you were out yesterday Geo?
Great write up specially on the players that did well. Two players that I was not impressed with: Irvin, who had one good catch, but seemed out of position most of the day, dropping passes. Dean as a CB as fast as he is, he seemed out of position everytime I put my eyes on him, getting there a second late. i would like to see one of the FR take his spot.

DVD was very active with he CB, seemed very motivational after every play. DVD and Rumph are in great shape, they can probably suit up tomorrow.
Great write-up Geo. If these young QBs develop over the off season before fall camp, and we get the OT positions settled, this could be a special year.

I'll take either N'Kosi of Jarren, but I hope Perry spends a lot of time working on his craft in the off season because he has that "big game" potential.

Would love to see Perry ball out and Jarren redshirt. Jarren as backup in year 2 (2019), then N'Kosi leaves early for the NFL after 2 years of starting and Jarren takes over.

Wishful thinking, but I like to dream big!!!