2017 Prespring Rankings: No. 15 Miami Hurricanes
The 2017 prespring college football rankings, taking the first look at the Miami Hurricanes
No. 15: Miami Hurricanes
Miami Hurricanes Prespring Status
It didn’t end with a trip to the ACC Championship like it was supposed to, but it was a strong first season under Mark Richt – he proved the program could potentially be great again.
The Canes won their first four games, lost their next four, and won their final five, closing out with a fantastic blowout bowl win over West Virginia, showing off the speed and athleticism across the board that overwhelmed the speedy and athletic Mountaineers. The defense was fantastic throughout the season – allowing more than 21 points just three times – while the offense rallied back from a rough stretch to rip it up from November on.
So now is the program ready to take that next step forward and really and truly be in the hunt for the ACC title?
The O loses most of the key skill stars, but six starters are back and the line should be fine. So how could Miami be ranked this high going into the spring? That defense that was so devastating at times now gets back all those freshmen who rocked at linebacker, all those dangerous forces on the line, and just enough good defensive backs to get by. Nine starters are back on the nation’s 20th best D.
Miami Hurricanes Biggest Issue
The quarterback situation. Mark Walton can head a decent group to handle the running game, receivers are in place to help take over for Stacy Coley, and three starters are back on the line. There might be no real replacement for freakish future star NFL tight end David Njoku, but that’s the least of the issues for an O that has to replace Brad Kaaya.
It’s going to be a six-man race for the starting quarterback gig, with Malik Rosier getting an early look after serving as last year’s main backup, but with no one thinking he’s going to be the guy. Star recruits N’Kosi Perry and Cade Weldon might be the most talented options, but can a team that’s loaded just about everywhere else rely on a true freshman to handle the ACC world? It’ll be a fun spring, and then a wilder summer after Perry arrives.
Miami Hurricanes Biggest Positive
The defense that rolled up a whopping 108 tackles for loss gets back just about everyone. The top nine playmakers in the backfield return, and ten of the top 11 sackers – who helped account for most of the 37 sacks – are back. Get ready for the Hurricanes to turn the dogs loose again. Okay, so three of the top four tacklers are gone, but it’ll be fine – the D will be among the ACC’s best.
Really, Why Are The Miami Hurricanes Ranked Here?
While it’s hardly a positive to lose a quarterback like Kaaya, a receiver like Coley, and a force like Njoku, the offense will be more than fine, while the defense should be a killer that gets better and better as the season goes on. There might be just enough missing to win the ACC title, but there’s enough talent to potentially take the Coastal.