4. Miami Hurricanes College Football Preview 2021: Defense
– The defensive line never had Gregory Rousseau last year, but now it’s without Jaelan Phillips on one side and Quincy Roche on the other – they combined for 12.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. The Canes were fourth in the nation in tackles for loss, but the D as a whole was just okay allowing 408 yards and 27 points per game.
No pressure, senior Zach McCloud and redshirt freshman Jahfari Harvey – or Tennessee transfer Deandre Johnson – but the spotlight will be on to keep up the production. There’s good size to work around in 318-pound Jonathan Ford and 305-pound Nesta Silverà inside.
– Defensive end might get the attention, but linebacker might be the early concern with some shuffling going on. 230-pound second-year freshman Corey Flagg made 15 tackles and should push Bradley Jennings for time in the middle. 205-pound Gilbert Frierson was a safety playing linebacker, and now the third-leading tackler will play the hybrid Striker role.
– When the Miami secondary is healthy and ready to roll, it’s going to be fantastic. There were some bumps and bruised that kept some parts out this spring, but all should be fine in time for Alabama.
Leading tackler Bubba Bolden is back at one safety spots after coming up with 74 tackles, and Amari Carter will play a role somewhere – even if Frierson takes over the Striker spot – after finishing second on the team with 53 tackles.
The corners are deep with a nice rotation if needed. DJ Ivey is a good hitter who’s been around long enough to be set at one side, but again, the position is strong enough – transfers are playing a huge role helped by getting corner Tyrique Stevenson from Georgia – to play around with the lineup.