2020 season: 8-3, 7-2 in the ACC (3rd in the ACC)
Head coach: Manny Diaz (3rd season)
Miami has a lot to build on after last season’s showing. The Hurricanes were able to win when they were expected to, but struggled when facing top-tier opponents. The Hurricanes’ two ACC losses came against Clemson and North Carolina, teams that were both ranked above Miami when the season came to a close. In order to take the next step toward football success, Miami has to find a way to match up with these better teams, and head coach Manny Diaz has worked this offseason in order to make that leap.
The Miami offense has some major question marks already this season. The biggest of which surrounds their star quarterback D’Eriq King, who looks to make a strong return after suffering a knee injury last year. King feels as though he is 100 percent, and he put on a show in Miami’s most recent scrimmage, throwing for 317 yards and five touchdowns. While these are encouraging signs, returning from major surgery is not always that straightforward. Backup Tyler Van Dyke must remain ready if King is unable to go.
The offensive line proved to be inconsistent at times last season. Especially with a quarterback returning from injury, Diaz and his staff need to find a solid group of linemen in order to both protect King and jumpstart a lackadaisical run game. The return of running back Cam’Ron Harris should be beneficial for the rush attack as well.
As for the defense, Miami suffered a ton of losses this offseason. The draft saw it lose star players such as Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche on the line, and the linebacker group also has some uncertainty surrounding who will be playing where. On the bright side, Miami once again touts a strong secondary filled with hard-hitters like Bubba Bolden and DJ Ivey and tons of depth. If everything comes together in time for the season, Diaz’s group could be tough to score on.
Miami has built up a lot of hype in recent years. Diehard fans are counting on Diaz to be the one to boost the Hurricanes back to the top of the college football world. While there are some things to be ironed out at the beginning of the season, this team has the talent to push for that spot.