The Miami Hurricanes are coming off a 10-win season and just pulled in the No. 8 recruiting class in the country, but their pursuit of top quality talent as Mark Richt looks to build them back into a national powerhouse never stops and graduate transfers may be a key to their success in 2018.
Richt has already made it known that he’d be on the lookout for top graduate transfers at defensive tackle after Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh declared for the 2018 NFL Draft. And it just so happens that there are some options out there that can help them at the position on the graduate transfer market.
And in what is shaping up to be a talented class of graduate transfers overall, there could be more than just help at defensive tackle if Miami is interested. So here are three options that could help the Hurricanes in 2018.
Clemson defensive tackle Sterling Johnson
Sterling Johnson was an important part of the Clemson defensive tackle rotation in 2017 but Christian Wilkins’ return and a talented defensive line haul on the recruiting front made it relatively clear he wouldn’t be moving up the depth chart anytime soon. So he announced his intention to transfer earlier this month.
And the Hurricanes are already showing interest in the former 4-star recruit who suited up in 11 games and recorded 14 tackles in 2017, including 3 tackles for loss and 2 sacks. So it’ll be interesting to see if Johnson has any interest in sticking around in the ACC after an amicable split with Clemson.
What’s particularly intriguing about Johnson is the fact that he’s already proven he’s ACC-ready and he’s got two years of eligibility remaining as a graduate transfer. So that would be an absolutely huge score for Richt and his staff.
Syracuse defensive tackle Kayton Samuels
Another ACC guy who has proven that he can withstand the battering an interior defensive lineman takes in this league, Kayton Samuels announced his intention to transfer from Syracuse back in December. But there hasn’t been much news on that front since.
Samuels appeared in 34 games for the Orange and recorded 44 tackles, including 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack. At 6-foot and 320 pounds, he’s not exactly the prototype in the middle of Manny Diaz’s defense, but he can absolutely make an impact as a plug if called upon.
Unlike Johnson, who would likely be a starter if he came to Miami, Samuels might be more of a rotational piece but depth is such an important aspect of defensive line play that the Hurricanes should still make sure they’re involved here.
South Florida tight end Kano Dillon
Kano Dillon announced that he’d be transferring earlier this month and he’ll be eligible to play immediately as a graduate transfer after he gets his degree in May, according to a report from Joey Knight of the Tampa Bay Times. And that could provide a solid boost of depth at tight end for Miami.
Michael Irvin III is a relative wild card for the Hurricanes after missing several games last year while suspended for an unknown reason and Scott Patchan and Brian Polendey don’t have a lot of experience. Meanwhile, the incoming class welcomes talented 4-stars Brevin Jordan and Will Mallory, but neither arrive on campus until the summer.
So adding proven experience like Dillon could be of extreme value to that rotation, as the former Bulls tight end caught 28 passes for 504 yards and 4 touchdowns during his time at South Florida.
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