Miami Football: Adjustments Top Incoming Freshmen Must Make

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2014

Brad Kaaya comes to Miami with an opportunity to win the starting job.
Brad Kaaya comes to Miami with an opportunity to win the starting job.Credit: 247Sports

Headlined by 5-star Chad Thomas and a pair of 4-stars in Brad Kaaya and Kiy Hester, the second wave of true freshmen are set to arrive on the University of Miami campus.

As the young Hurricanes come to Coral Gables, Florida, however, they must start making adjustments to their respective games.

College football is obviously an elevated level of competition, and the athletes who owned opponents in high school can soon become the dominated.

And now, the Miami coaching staff is responsible for assisting incoming players while they transition into their familiar, yet new roles on a different team.

Note: According to Peter Ariz of CanesInSight, the trio will be joined by Tyre Brady, Marques Gayot, Malik Rosier, Demetrius Jackson, Courtel Jenkins, Nick Linder, Michael Wyche and Mike Smith.

Chad Thomas, Defensive End

Thomas excels at attacking around the edge, which is where he did most of his damage, accounting for 191 tackles and 17 sacks at Booker T. Washington High School.

However, Thomas must become a better inside rusher because he is easily neutralized where technique is essential.

"As of his commitment, Thomas is an athletic edge rusher who lacks the ability to work the inside of the line," said Dieter Kurtenbach of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. "That's a correctable issue, but Thomas is unlikely to be an every-down DE until his game becomes more versatile."

The best way to make this improvement is learning proper hand usage on the line of scrimmage to manipulate the blockers.

During his freshman year at Miami, Thomas will likely be a one-trick pony. Sure, he may be darn good at his edge rushing, but adding inside moves to his arsenal will expedite his progression to an elite end.

Brad Kaaya, Quarterback

Handpicked by offensive coordinator James Coley, the California quarterback boasts excellent mechanics and displays superb power to all areas of the field.

Where Kaaya gets caught, however, is overlooking a crucial part of the throwing motion.

"Too often, he leaves his front foot planted in an inappropriate direction when following through with the back foot upon release," wrote Bleacher Report's Tyler Donohue. "This limits potential velocity on throws and also affects accuracy."

While it would take some serious work, Kaaya has a legitimate (long shot) chance to overtake Kevin Olsen as the starter. Granted, head coach Al Golden recently told's Andrea Adelson that Ryan Williams is on track to return from an ACL injury during the regular season, which complicates things.

Unless Kaaya would start the entire season, the best-case scenario for him is to be available behind Olsen but never actually used in a 2014 game.

Refining his entire motion as a redshirt freshman will be beneficial to both Kaaya and the 'Canes in the near future.

Kiy Hester, Safety

One of the more unanticipated commits, Hester is a top addition to a Miami roster that will need safeties to replace Deon Bush and Rayshawn Jenkins after 2015.

Hester's awareness and pursuit are ridiculous. He absolutely flies to the football and has a penchant for making nasty hits. Additionally, Hester spent time as a receiver in high school, so his ball skills are decent.

The biggest adjustment Hester faces is to recognize when to break for the ball or make a play on the wideout. He is so good at the former that the latter can develop into a less appealing option, though it's often more important.

As the last line of defense, the No. 1 responsibility for a safety is to not get beat deep. Hester has the speed to recover if he misplays a ball, but chasing an opponent from behind is not the view the Hurricanes want their safeties to see.

That happened all too often in 2013, and Hester needs to be one of the defensive backs to change it.

Note: All recruit information courtesy of 247Sports.

Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.


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