Miami Football: 4 Recruits Most Likely to Start in 2013
The Miami Hurricanes football team boasts a staggering 20 returning starters next season, so playing time for recruits may be at a premium in 2013-14.
Though few positions appear to require a competition this spring, head coach Al Golden is no stranger to using his team's youth as an advantage. This was clearly shown by a plethora of freshmen and sophomores seeing significant playing time last season.
With these young players all over the roster stepping up—Duke Johnson, Deon Bush, Tyriq McCord, Ereck Flowers, etc.—no starting job is safe for an entire season.
Here are four recruits most likely to start for the Hurricanes next year.
1. Beau Sandland, Tight End
At 6'6" and 250 lbs., Beau Sandland has the size.
With a Rivals.com reported 4.6 40-yard dash, he has the quickness.
For Miami, he'll be a weapon.
He's too big to be covered by a defensive back, but he may also too fast for a linebacker to stay with him stride-for-stride. Sandland could provide the biggest impact by a first-year Miami player in 2013-14.
Although Clive Walford broke out in the final two games of the season, I expect Sandland to emerge as the starting tight end for the Hurricanes.
Canes fans can have a logical hope Sandland will prove to be more of a Jeremy Shockey-like JUCO transfer and less Chase Ford-esque.
Sandland is an early-enrollee at Miami and will participate in spring practices.
2. Devante Bond, Linebacker
Another transfer, Devante Bond terrorized the JUCO scene amassing 77 tackles and 17 sacks in 2012-13.
Miami severely lacked a consistent pass rush in 2012-13, and Bond will provide an immediate impact off the edge. His speed and excellent jump off the ball can be well-utilized as a third down speed-rusher opposite Tyriq McCord next season.
Bond will also bring a bit of a mean streak and invaluable swagger to the Hurricanes as evidenced by his highlight tape.
Simply put, dude's kinda scary.
3. Al-Quadin Muhammad, Defensive End
Al-Quadin Muhammad committed to Miami at the Army All-American game and proved his value at the same time. The 4-star defensive end finished the game with 1.5 sacks along with a forced fumble and recovery.
Though currently a bit undersized, Muhammad is a very talented and versatile player who could be used on the line or at outside linebacker. While that's not for me to decide, the possibilities are exciting.
If Bond, McCord, Anthony Chickillo and Shayon Green are the third-down lineman, Muhammad could be used in zone coverage or as a quarterback spy with his great closing speed. He may also be used as an edge rusher in place of McCord or Bond.
Bleacher Report's Marc Kohn believes that Muhammad eventually will be a star for the Hurricanes.
And so do I.
4. Artie Burns, Defensive Back
Artie Burns is a consensus 4-star cornerback recruit who provides the Hurricanes with a variety of skills. He is a ballhawk who can hit like a safety and play a lock-down coverage corner.
Hailing from pipeline Miami Northwestern High School, his immediate impact may be necessary as Thomas Finnie was dismissed from the team.
Burns possesses Olympic-caliber speed as well, so returning kicks is not out of the question.
Once a University of Alabama commit, Burns will find himself in a young and talented Miami secondary. He joins the likes of Tracy Howard, Ladarius Gunter, Deon Bush and fellow recruit Jamal Carter.
Whether he plays nickelback like Howard in 2012-13 or starts on the outside is to be seen, but I expect Burns to earn playing time in 2013-14.
Keep a Watchful Eye On...
Update- Committed Honorable Mentions:
Jamal Carter: Though not very likely, Carter could earn a spot as a starter next to Deon Bush.
Jermaine Grace: He may not boast the optimal size at this moment, but a thin linebacking corps contributes to Grace starting for the Canes.
After numerous delays, Grace committed to Miami on National Signing Day.
Stacy Coley: A highly-touted prospect, Coley joins a loaded receiver group. He may see time as a returner as well, but Golden loves to use youth on the Canes' roster and I would not be shocked to see Coley work his way into the rotation.
Coley also picked the Hurricanes on National Signing Day.