Miami Football: Uncovering When Hurricanes' Defensive Tackle Problems Began

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2013

Miami Football: Uncovering When Hurricanes' Defensive Tackle Problems Began

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    The Miami Hurricanes boast one of the most dynamic offenses heading into the 2013 college football season, but Miami's defense is another story.

    In 2012, the 'Canes allowed the fifth-most (486.42) yards per game in the country and compiled only 13 sacks, which tied for fifth-worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

    Michael Casagrande of the South Florida Sun Sentinel notes the defensive line is trading criticism for confidence, and it all starts with the tackles stepping up.

    But last season was just plain bad and to uncover where the problems began for Miami, look no further than the recruiting trail. In-state rivals Florida and Florida State have each been able to entice major talent, and both teams consistently showcasing two of the best defenses in the nation proves it.

    While defensive tackle is one of the hardest areas to evaluate talent translating to the collegiate level, the 'Canes have signed now-mediocre players for more than a couple years.

Class of 2008

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    Although there are no longer any players on the Miami roster who were a part of the 2008 class, they had a small impact on the success (or lack thereof) of the 2012 team.

    The 2008 cycle was one of the better-looking classes, though, as former head coach Randy Shannon signed three of the top five tackles from the state of Florida.

    Results, however, were a different story.


    Marcus Forston

    Forston was a 5-star and the No. 1 defensive tackle according to both Rivals and 247Sports before being immediately impactful as a freshman. He was selected to's All-Freshman Defense team in 2008.

    But after two injury-shortened seasons and a respectable sophomore campaign, Forston surprisingly declared early for 2012 NFL Draft. He had received a medical hardship waiver in 2009, so he still had another year of eligibility.

    Forston managed two simply decent seasons even with first-round draft pick caliber.


    Jeremy Lewis

    Lewis ranked as's 19th-best tackle, but he never panned out on the defensive line.

    The Palm Beach Lakes High School product played in nine games and accumulated a mere four tackles throughout four seasons before moving to the offensive line as a senior.


    Micanor Regis

    Regis was undoubtedly the most consistent player of this class for the 'Canes. A 3-star and 29th-best tackle by Rivals, Regis appeared in 45 games and earned 16 starts under two coaches.

    He earned 112 tackles with 17.5 for loss and even snagged a few interceptions during his time at Miami.


    Florida and Florida State

    The Gators signed the second-best defensive tackle, and Florida State snagged the 21st-rated DT in 2008.

Class of 2009

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    Both signees from the 2009 class remain on the team, and they will be seniors with a lot to prove this upcoming season.

    Shannon gained commitments from two players, but he missed on 247Sports' top six in-state tackles including now-Florida State Seminoles Demonte McAllister and Jacobbi McDaniel.


    Luther Robinson

    Robinson was a 4-star and No. 18 defensive tackle recruit according to Rivals, but he has hardly made a 1-star contribution for the 'Canes.

    Playing in just 20 games so far at Miami, Robinson has only 16 tackles, zero sacks and a fumble recovery to his name.


    Curtis Porter

    A 3-star by both Rivals and 247Sports, Porter arrived in Coral Gables after attending Victory Christian High School in North Carolina.

    Injuries, however, have sidelined Porter for the majority of his collegiate career. He has appeared in 15 games, managed 24 tackles with 4.5 for loss, but, like Robinson, has not made a sack.


    Florida and Florida State

    Both schools signed a 5-star and 4-star, respectively.

Class of 2010

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    Simply put, 2010 was a bad year in Miami's recruiting of defensive tackles. If you can only think "who?" when reading them, you're not wrong.

    This was Shannon's last full class before Al Golden took over the following season.

    A notable in-state miss in this class is Louis Nix, the physically-massive and enormously-talented tackle who helped take Notre Dame to the 2013 BCS Championship Game.


    Tavadis Glenn

    Glenn was a 4-star recruit by both Rivals and 247Sports, but he did not qualify academically at Miami and never enrolled.


    Jeff Brown

    Brown never accumulated any stats and was dismissed from the team following being charged with sexual battery.


    Delmar Taylor

    Like Glenn, Taylor failed to qualify and never played for the 'Canes.


    Florida and Florida State

    Former UF head coach Urban Meyer plucked both of Rivals' 5-star tackles and added another 4-star. Shariff Floyd became a first-round draft pick, and Dominique Easley will be an anchor for the Gators this season. Florida State, on the other hand, grabbed some guy named Bjoern Werner—turns out he was pretty good.

Class of 2011

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    Technically speaking, Golden signed two defensive tackles in the 2011 class because Jalen Grimble and Olsen Pierre were listed as ends.

    But, since they are expected to be big contributors in 2013, they will be included.

    The strangest part of 2011, though, was 23 of 247Sports' top 47 defensive tackles were from the state of Florida, and Miami did not sign a single one.


    Jalen Grimble

    A 4-star end according to Rivals and 247Sports out of powerhouse Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, Grimble had huge expectations set for him.

    In two seasons, however, he has made just six tackles with zero sacks in 15 games. As a backup, though, Grimble will still get plenty of playing time in 2013.


    Olsen Pierre

    Pierre split time at end and tackle depending on formation last season, but he sees plenty of time on the interior and was listed as a starter on the post-spring practice depth chart.

    After receiving scattered playing time as a freshman, Pierre was the best defensive tackle for the 'Canes last season amassing 27 tackles (5.0 for loss with 1.5 sacks) and two forced fumbles.


    Corey King

    King redshirted his first year at Miami after being a 2-star recruit by Rivals, and he made a small impact as a freshman last season playing in nine game and starting one.

    But 13 tackles later and zero of them being for loss, Golden will be looking for the second-stringer to improve his presence in 2013.


    Darius Smith

    Smith transferred from Lackawanna Community College in Pennsylvania and played two seasons in Miami before graduating following last season.

    He appeared in 21 games, making 14 starts and accounting for 32 tackles (4.0 for loss with 2.0 sacks) and one pass break-up.


    Junior Alexis

    Alexis redshirted one season at Miami before transferring to Portland State.


    Florida and Florida State

    Florida did not sign a heralded defensive tackle, but the Seminoles signed three 4-star prospects and two 3-stars. Yeah, they had a good signing period.

Class of 2012

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    The Hurricanes signed a trio of Rivals 3-stars in 2012, and it may be a small step in the right direction even with one departing from the program.

    Golden missed originally on a couple higher-ranked in-state players, but one of them—Dalvon Stuckey—did not qualify at Florida State and is currently at prep school for one season and committed to Miami.


    DeQuan Ivery

    Ivery appeared in only five games last season and made three tackles.


    Earl Moore

    Moore saw playing time in every game and even started two for the 'Canes as a freshman. He made just six tackles with zero sacks, though, and lacked consistent disruptive abilities on the line.


    Jacoby Briscoe

    Briscoe redshirted in 2012 and recently decided to transfer from Miami.


    Florida and Florida State

    Florida picked up Jafar Mann, a 3-star prospect who has since transferred, but you may have heard of Eddie Goldman and Mario Edwards, Florida State's pair of 5-star recruits. FSU added another 4-star in Justin Shanks, too.

Looking Ahead

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    To be fair, the 2013 signees have not played in a collegiate game. But, in reality, there are zero new defensive tackles to play.

    Unless Golden switches Ufomba Kamalu's position from end to tackle, the 'Canes are totally reliant on the returning players.

    In comparison, the Gators and Seminoles again each grabbed talent from the hands of the Hurricanes in 4-star Jaynard Bostwick and 4-star Keith Bryant, respectively. For good measure, Florida added 4-star Caleb Brantley, too.

    It is officially the collective job of Robinson, Porter, Pierre, King, Moore and Ivery to step up for the Hurricanes next season.

    Golden and company are buckling down on recruiting defensive tackle talent in the 2014 cycle, but those players obviously will not produce in 2013. Along with Stuckey's commitment, Travonte Valentine and Khairi Clark—both local prospects—are rated two of the top six tackles by 247Sports and very interested in the 'Canes.

    Golden has improved every position since arriving at Miami, and he knows the defensive tackle must be vastly improved—and soon.