Miami Football: Projecting the Hurricanes' 2013 2-Deep Depth Chart

David MayerCorrespondent IJanuary 15, 2013

Miami Football: Projecting the Hurricanes' 2013 2-Deep Depth Chart

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    With the Miami Hurricanes returning 20 of 22 starters back from last season's team, the depth chart for next season wasn't too hard to figure out.

    Many of the starters from last season should be able to keep their spot on the depth chart, with the possible exception on the defense.

    The defense was horrible last season and it's a crapshoot to determine who should and shouldn't be starting next year.

    Here is my prediction of what Miami's two-deep depth chart will look like next season.

Quarterback

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    Starter: Stephen Morris, Sr

    Stephen Morris will undoubtedly be the starter for the 2013 season after throwing for 3,345 yards, 21 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season.

    Morris broke the school record in total offense (3,415 total yards), and broke the school and ACC record for most passing yards in a game when he threw for 566 against North Carolina State.

    Backup: Ryan Williams, Jr

    Ryan Williams will most likely backup Morris next year but will get competition from Preston Dewey, Gray Crow and true freshman phenom Kevin Olsen.

    Williams saw action in five games last season, completing 15 of 20 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Running Back

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    Starter: Duke Johnson, So

    Duke Johnson will be the Hurricanes starting running back after the departure of senior Mike James. Johnson had an unbelievable freshman season running for 947 yards (freshman record) and 10 touchdowns. He also had 221 receiving yards and a touchdown reception.

    Duke also broke the school's kick off return record with 892 yards and two touchdowns. Duke's 2,060 all-purpose yards was the most by a freshman and the second-most in school history.

    Backup: Eduardo Clements, Sr

    Eduardo Clements should be Duke's backup next season as I don't see much competition from Danny Dillard or Dallas Crawford. Clements is entering his senior season having played in 31 games.

    Clements finished the season rushing for 70 yards and two touchdowns in seven games. He also caught two passes for 11 yards.

Fullback

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    Starter: Maurice Hagens, Sr

    Although Maurice Hagens only has eight carries for 24 yards in three years at Miami he is a very important feature for the Hurricanes pro-style offense. He is a big back (5'11", 238 pounds) that can block extremely well.

    Backup: N/A

    The Hurricanes don't list any other fullbacks on the team. Most likely they will get a walk-on or use one of their seven tight ends they will have on the roster next season.

Wide Receivers

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    Starter: Phillip Dorsett, Jr

    Phillip Dorsett will be Stephen Morris' primary target all season long, just like he was in 2012 when Dorsett finished with a team high in receptions (58), receiving yards (842) and tied for the team lead in touchdowns with four.

    Backup: Herb Waters, So, or Malcolm Lewis, So

    I chose both players because I believe if Malcolm Lewis is 100 percent healthy from last year's ankle injury, he will be the top player off the bench for the Hurricanes. Lewis is a terrific receiver that caught eight passes for 73 yards and a touchdown before he got injured in the fourth game of the season.

    Herb Waters saw limited action in the first 10 games of the season, but broke out in the Hurricanes last two games and finished the season with 10 catches for 227 yards and two scores. Waters could start ahead of Lewis with a strong spring.

    Starter: Rashawn Scott, Jr

    As long as Rashawn Scott can put aside his immaturity (suspended last three games due to breaking team rules), he could easily start the 2013 season, opposite of Phillip Dorsett.

    Scott possesses great speed and quickness, finishing last season with 512 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

    Backup: Allen Hurns, Sr

    Allen Hurns was the leading receiver heading into last season but was overtaken by Dorsett as Morris' primary receiver. Although he started eight of the 11 games he played in, he only caught 28 passes for 314 yards—seven catches less than Scott.

    Hurns and Scott should battle for the other starting spot, but I think the coaches will go with Scott's explosiveness, eventually landing Hurns in a reserve role.

Tight End

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    Starter: Clive Walford, Jr

    Clive Walford broke out last season finishing with 451 yards and four touchdowns. The most impressive stretch of the season came in the final two games in which Walford caught seven passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.

    Walford may have a breakout 2013 season and give Morris another weapon in the air.

    Backup: Beau Sandland, Jr (JUCO)

    This could be the biggest surprise in the article as not many people have even heard of Beau Sandland. For those who haven't, just YouTube his name and you will see Sandland single-handily dominating the junior college-level with great catches and tremendous athleticism.

    Sandland looked so impressive to me that he could possible even end up fighting for the starting position with Walford.

Offensive Tackles

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    Starter: Malcolm Bunche, Jr

    Malcolm Bunche started all 12 games at left tackle for the Hurricanes and I expect the same next season. Ereck Flowers competed with Bunche against Duke last season but couldn't overtake the position.

    Backup: Hunter Wells, So

    Hunter Wells has only seen the field in four games on special teams in his short career at Miami, but has been impressive enough to be listed on the Hurricanes' depth chart throughout the last season.

    I believe he will finally see the field next year in a backup role at tackle.

    Starter: Seantrel Henderson, Sr

    For the first time in three years, I will not say that Seantrel Henderson is going to have an All-American season because, quite honestly, he has not lived up to expectations. That's not to say he won't this upcoming season because he has the athleticism to do so.

    If he can mature like the entire college football world thought he would three years ago, we could see a very special season from the senior.

    Backup: Ereck Flowers, So

    Ereck Flowers is a tremendously gifted tackle and could backup both left and right tackle next season. He played in all 12 games at right tackle, including four starts.

    Don't be surprised if he has a tremendous offseason and takes either Henderson or Bunche's starting position next season.

Offensive Guards

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    Starter: Jon Feliciano, Jr

    Jon Feliciano isn't only going to start, but should be an All-ACC first- or second-team selection next season. He is one of the Hurricanes best linemen and proved it last season when he earned All-ACC honorable mention.

    Backup: Danny Isidora, So

    Danny Isidora never saw the field in his freshman year but was listed on the depth chart all season long. He is a good athlete that should see playing time this season.

    Starter: Brandon Linder, Sr

    Brandon Linder also earned All-ACC honorable mention that should be on the first- or second-team next season. Extremely efficient guard with terrific feet.

    Backup: Danny Isidora, So

    See above.

Center

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    Starter: Shane McDermott, Jr

    Shane McDermott started all 12 games at center last season and will continue to do so in the future. The All-ACC honorable mention is one of the best centers in the ACC.

    Backup: Jared Wheeler, Sr

    Although McDermott started all 12 games at center, Jared Wheeler played all positions on the line and serves as a terrific backup to anyone.

Defensive Ends

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    Starter: Anthony Chickillo, Jr

    Anthony Chickillo will be the starter at defensive end but by the way everyone played last year, don't be surprised if the coaching staff threatens his role during the offseason. Chickillo had a decent season but he didn't improve much from his freshman season.

    The Hurricanes need him more now than ever if they want any chance at improving off the teams 7-5 record.

    Backup: Jelani Hamilton, So

    Jelani Hamilton played in five games during his freshman campaign but didn't make much of an impact recording just six tackles. With a full offseason ahead of him to improve, I expect much bigger things from Hamilton next season.

    Starter: Shayon Green, Sr

    Shayon Green was perhaps the most impressive player on the line last year, leading the team in tackles (67) and tied for the team-lead in quarterback hurries with three. Although he statistically had a good year, the Hurricanes need him to become a much better rush stopper and tackler.

    There were far too many games last season where he was pushed around by bigger offensive linemen.

    Backup: Tyriq McCord, So

    Tyriq McCord could very well turn into the best defensive end the Hurricanes have and could push Chickillo or Green for a starting position.

    McCord finished his freshman season with 3.5 sacks, 15 tackles and was tied with Green with three quarterback hurries. If he works hard in the offseason and adds more bulk to his frame, he could be a disaster for any offensive lineman.

Defensive Tackles

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    Starter: Curtis Porter, Sr

    As long as Curtis Porter can stay healthy the entire season, this should be the year we see him shine. He has gone through multiple injuries and surgeries yet every time he gets on the field he proves he is a disruptive force to anyone trying to block him.

    Backup: Earl Moore, So, or Corey King, So

    Earl Moore or Corey King could be a solid backup to Porter, but that doesn't mean it will be handed to them. Last season they combined for 21 starts recording just 19 tackles. The way the defensive tackles played last season, any job is fair game.

    Starter: Olsen Pierre, Jr

    Olsen Pierre started all 11 games he played in last season and was a decent starter for the Hurricanes. Although I believe he starts next year, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone beats him out in the offseason.

    As I have stated before, the defensive line was really bad last year and any position is up for grabs.

    Backup: Luther Robinson, Sr

    One of those players that could take away Pierre's position is Luther Robinson. Robinson came to Miami in 2012 but hasn't really lived up to expectations. His attitude has been less then stellar but has the athleticism to become a good run stopper.

    If he puts all of his anger and dissatisfaction behind him, he could certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

Outside Linebackers

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    Starter: Eddie Johnson, So

    Eddie Johnson had a terrific redshirt freshman season and I expect more of the same next season. To me, Johnson was the most surprising player on defense, making 59 tackles and three forced fumbles in 10 games that he played.

    The only problem with Johnson was immaturity, missing the last game of the season due to the inability to follow team rules.

    Backup: Thurston Armbrister, Jr

    Thurston Armbrister is a solid backup that should see action in all 12 games like he did last season. He recorded 40 tackles and four starts for the 'Canes' last season.

    Starter: Denzel Perryman, Jr

    Denzel Perryman had an injury-riddled 2012 season and if he comes back 100 percent healthy he should lead the team in tackles. Perryman is not only the best defensive player on the team, but could be the best in the ACC.

    Perryman started the season at middle linebacker but due to injuries was forced to move back to the outside—where I believe he will play again next season.

    Backup: Tyrone Cornileus, Sr, or Nantambu-Akil Fentress, Jr

    Tyrone Cornileus played a backup role in all 12 games for the Hurricanes last season, but I was more impressed by the play of Nantambu-Akil Fentress.

    Fentress only recorded 14 tackles in 12 games but saw limited time at the position. During his time on the field though, Fentress demonstrated a non-stop motor and the ability to make good, clean tackles—something the rest of the Hurricanes need practice with.

Middle Linebacker

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    Starter: Jimmy Gaines, Sr

    I think Jimmy Gaines played well enough to earn the spot in the middle, moving Denzel Perryman back to the outside position for the 2013 season.

    Gaines finished with 57 tackles and I expect him to have an even better season next year.

    Backup: Raphael Kirby, So

    Raphael Kirby has an extremely bright future, but unfortunately he will see himself behind Gaines for the 2013 season. Kirby reminds me of Perryman in his athleticism and hitting ability, and should see the field a lot more next year than he did the last.

Cornerbacks

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    Starter: Tracy Howard, So

    Tracy Howard will start on one side and will have big shoes to fill after the graduation of Brandon McGee. McGee was the only cornerback that played at a high level last year.

    Howard will be able to have a full offseason next year which will help him hone his skills and live up the lofty expectations the entire country gave him.

    Backup: Larry Hope, R-Fr, or Artie Burns, Fr

    Larry Hope was redshirted last year and never saw the field but I have heard nothing but positive things about his athleticism and coverage ability since he came to Miami a year ago.

    Hope will most likely get a lot of playing time alongside true freshman Artie Burns (as long as he keeps his commitment and picks Miami this upcoming year). Burns is a terrific athlete that can run and cover the entire field.

    Starter: Ladarius Gunter, Jr

    Ladarius Gunter played pretty well in all 12 games he was in last season. He recorded 27 tackles, six pass breakups and had an interception. With Thomas Finnie off the field, he should have no problem starting for the Hurricanes next fall.

    Backup: Antonio Crawford, So

    Antonio Crawford played in all 12 games last season but it was mostly on special teams. He did play some at cornerback but wasn't much of a factor.

    Much like Howard, Crawford will benefit from a full offseason and compete for playing time next season.

Safeties

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    Starter: Deon Bush, So

    If there was one guarantee heading into next season, it's the fact that Deon Bush will be a starting safety. Bush had a terrific freshman campaign totaling 34 tackles, one sack, three pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

    Bush is an unbelievable athlete who can hit like a mack truck. He reminds me of a cross between Sean Taylor and Ed Reed. Yes, he has that bright of a future.

    Backup: AJ Highsmith, Sr

    AJ Highsmith has been around the defense (after being converted from quarterback) for two years now and has shown improvement since making the change. Having another year under his belt, he should be a solid backup for Bush and Kacey Rodgers.

    Starter: Kacey Rodgers II, Sr

    Kacey Rodgers should be the other starting safety after starting seven games last season, amassing 54 tackles and two pass breakups. Rodgers is a better run stopper than a coverage man but should improve over the spring.

    Backup: Rayshawn Jenkins, So

    Rayshawn Jenkins could very well be the surprise of next season. He played in 10 games last year and recorded 27 tackles, three pass breakups and an interception. He is a better coverage guy than Rodgers but lacks the tackling ability Rodgers displays.

    With a solid spring, Jenkins could certainly compete for Rodgers as the starting safety opposite Bush.

Kicker

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    Starter: Matt Goudis, So

    Matt Goudis will take over the kicking duties from Jake Wieclaw next year even though he has yet to kick a field goal at Miami. He has kicked off twice (58 and 53 yards) and punted (37) one time in his collegiate career.

    Backup: Ricky Perez, So

    Ricky Perez will be backing up Goudis and also hasn't kicked at the college level.

Punter

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    Starter: Ricky Carroll, Jr

    Ricky Carroll is a community college transfer from Orange Coast College in California. He played two years for the Pirates and was voted first-team all-league and first-team all-state by the Costa Mesa Post.

    Backup: Matt Goudis, So

    Matt Goudis is the only other player on the roster that I see fit as Carroll's backup. Goudis had one punt last year for 37 yards.