2019 Spring Preview: CB

2019 Spring Preview: CB

Additions: None

Departures: Michael Jackson (Graduation), Jhavonte Dean (Graduation), Gilbert Frierson (Moved to striker)

In 2018, the Miami Hurricanes actually led the nation in passing defense, giving up a paltry 135.6 yards per game. While the players in the secondary deserve to be commended for ultimately doing their job, that number is slightly misleading when you consider the competition. UM only played one passing offense in the national top 40 in passing yards per game, and that opponent, Florida State (28th), was completely outclassed by Miami in the trenches on offense and gave their QB no time to throw. Last season’s #3 corner, Jhavonte Dean, was consistently beaten and was a potential liability every time he stepped on the field, and Miami still went stretches of games making average QB’s look like world beaters. All this to say that while UM’s corners were overall a positive for the defense in 2018, there is still room for improvement to be had when looking towards this spring.

The Canes will have to do it without 2 of their top 3 corners from last season in Dean and Michael Jackson, as well as a startling lack of numbers/proven depth in a passing era of college football where it’s almost essential to have 3-4 quality corners; for reference, the Canes only have 4 corners total to work with this spring and only one with real crunch time experience.

That one experienced returning corner was arguably UM’s most reliable cover guy last season, and it was rare to see junior Trajan Bandy get beat in 2018. Bandy led UM in passes broken up with 8, tied for the team lead with 3 INT’s, and led all DB’s with 4.5 TFL. Bandy has proven to be a sure tackler for Miami and shown the initiative to learn his craft. He’s not a prototypical #1 corner at 5’9”, but he’s well-built, uses advanced technique to play bigger than his size, and has the type of versatility where he can play both outside and inside when needed. Bandy will be an invaluable presence to a young corner group heading into spring ball and he will be counted on to help the young guys along.

The battle to replace Jackson in the other starting role gets underway in spring ball, and the two main contenders are sophomores Al Blades Jr. (13 tackles, 1 TFL in 2018) and DJ Ivey (3 tackles). Despite enrolling later in the summer, Blades ended up getting the most burn of all the 4 freshmen corners in 2018 and really made an impression on coaches with his hard-working attitude and effort on special teams. At 6’1” 185, Blades has the size, length, ability, and work ethic to develop into UM’s next shutdown corner on the outside. He will be pushed by Ivey, who is just as highly regarded talent-wise and plays the position with great instincts, something Rumph loves. The pair will use the spring to get a head start on winning that #2 job across from Bandy, but they will both likely play a ton regardless of who starts, and they could potentially give UM a formidable trio at corner.

The only other corner on the roster is Nigel Bethel, who redshirted as a freshman last season. Bethel was considered a track star that would be a project as a football player when he came to UM, and it seems that the process is still ongoing. Bethel is still not where the staff wants him to be size-wise at 6’0” 170 pounds, but he has no competition for a spot in the rotation as of now and will get all the reps he can handle this spring to prove he deserves playing time in 2019.

UM added 4-star corners Christian Williams and Te’Cory Couch in the 2019 class, but the pair won’t join the fray until the summer.

Bottom Line

The lack of unproven depth and sheer numbers at corner is a real concern, and I am surprised UM did not bring in more here over the off-season. The battle for the #2 role between two prospects with elite potential in Blades and Ivey will be fun to watch. The good news is that even though they have the ability to be a stout group, with all else considered, the cornerback unit does not have to be all-world. The rest of Miami’s defense is ACC Championship caliber, and a ferocious and deep Miami front 7 will cover up for a lot of the secondary’s mistakes. Miami can still achieve their goal of an ACC Championship even with average play at corner; however, this group of Canes will be sure to aim higher.

I see a lot of comparisons to the 2017 season, where Miami also really only brought back one experienced corner in Malek Young and had to rely on talented, but unproven players to fill out the rotation. 2017 ended up working out just fine for the #28 UM scoring defense, and Mike Rumph will have to work that magic again to get the most out of his cornerback group in 2019.

ajone228

Recruit
Joined
Aug 1, 2017
Messages
1,029
Good breakdown. Really hope the entire unit stays healthy and takes strides this spring.

I know this is a Spring article but I’d watch out for Couch getting immediate burn if he bulks up beforehand. He’s a technician and that speed is undeniable.
 

brock

All-American
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
26,569
Not worried at all at cb, it’s talent there. Can’t keep bringing in guys to solve issues(grad transfers). You got to develop depth or we will be in the same place next year. I’m all for transfers but got to be a fine balance

Bandy
Ivey
Blades
Christian Williams
Tecory couch
Bethel

Is a really talented group. Plus did our 4th corner even see the field much last year? Not really
 
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ScharfCane

Redshirt Freshman
Joined
Nov 30, 2016
Messages
420
Not worried at all at cb, it’s talent there. Can’t keep brining in guys to solve issues(grad transfers). You got to develop depth or we will be in the same place next year.

Bandy
Ivey
Blades
Christian Williams
Tecory couch
Bethel

Is a really talented group. Plus did our 4th corner even see the field much last year? Not really
Talented yet unproven. That's why you stack chips.
 

brock

All-American
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
26,569
Safety is 10x more worrying than CB is.
Only thing I’m “concerned” about at any of the db positions is lack of overall experience outside of bandy and Amari Carter. I’m really high on the talent at both corner and safety though. Feel we are in a good spot at both positions honestly
 
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bacane

Junior
Joined
Jan 30, 2012
Messages
1,666
"The rest of Miami’s defense is ACC Championship caliber, and a ferocious and deep Miami front 7 will cover up for a lot of the secondary’s mistakes."

Obviously, there's a ton of experience at linebacker, but still questions remain about the front four. First one is very simple: can they stop the run?
 

brock

All-American
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
26,569
"The rest of Miami’s defense is ACC Championship caliber, and a ferocious and deep Miami front 7 will cover up for a lot of the secondary’s mistakes."

Obviously, there's a ton of experience at linebacker, but still questions remain about the front four. First one is very simple: can they stop the run?
Need to sure up the middle at dt but we got some talent to work with.

Silvera is a great talent imo

bethel experienced starter(should take a leap as a senior in his game)

Chigozie nnoruka is an intriguing talent in 4-3 scheme. His get off is very real and i think he will be really productive

Ford has the size and can make a leap

. Truly believe Miami will have one of the best starting de tandems in the country once again with garvin and hill. Then you add Rousseau in that mix? Whew. Lot of talent in the front 7
 

BigBoi

Freshman
Joined
Mar 15, 2018
Messages
445
I'm both excited and nervous about our secondary. It's full of potential. The most potential we've had back there in a while but the youth/lack of experience is worrisome. With that being said I expect them to ballout come the second half of the season.
 

Jassid82

Senior
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
5,534
Only thing I’m “concerned” about at any of the db positions is lack of overall experience outside of bandy and Amari Carter. I’m really high on the talent at both corner and safety though. Feel we are in a good spot at both positions honestly
Bama seems to never have this problem as they seem to switch out guys and coach up new ones every year and turn them into studs with no game experience. Rumph and Banda have talent to work with..a room full of 4* players! ..coach’em up!
 

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West Palm Beach, FL
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Miami, FL
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235
Naples, FL
DT
6'2"
275
Saint Petersburg, FL
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6'3"
290
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5'11"
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2018 Schedule

09/02
LSU
Arlington, TX
L 33 - 17
09/08
Savannah State
Miami Gardens, FL
W 77 - 0
09/15
Toledo
Toledo, OH
W 49 - 24
09/22
FIU
Miami Gardens, FL
W 31 - 17
09/27
North Carolina
Miami Gardens, FL
W 47 - 10
10/06
Florida State
Miami Gardens, FL
W 28 - 27
10/13
Virginia
Charlottesville, VA
L 16 - 13
10/26
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA
L 27 - 14
11/03
Duke
Miami Gardens, FL
L 20 - 12
11/10
Georgia Tech
Atlanta, GA
L 27 - 21
11/17
Virginia Tech
Blacksburg, VA
W 38 - 14
11/24
Pittsburgh
Miami Gardens, FL
W 24 - 3
12/27
Wisconsin
Bronx, NY
L 35 - 3
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