The Miami Hurricanes are coming off a 10-win season and are welcoming in the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation with the Class of 2018, but how far forward they go in 2018 may actually come down to the strides made by the Class of 2018.
Not only will Miami be looking for true freshmen like Jeff Thomas and DeeJay Dallas to make larger contributions in the fall, but they’ll also be looking for a number of freshmen coming off redshirt seasons to make a tangible impact.
Of their 24-man recruiting class in 2017, 7 of those players wound up redshirting. So they’ll look to climb the depth charts and earn the right to playing time beginning in the spring and these three redshirt freshmen in particular could be poised to make major contributions in 2018.
Quarterback N’Kosi Perry
Malik Rosier has already been declared the starting quarterback heading into spring by Miami coach Mark Richt, but plenty of fans will hope to see the incumbent starter on a relatively short leash. Instead, they’d love to see N’Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams battling in an open competition.
Williams is already on campus, but Perry has a one-year head start in the offense and his athleticism could certainly make him a factor. He’ll have to continue to transform his body at a listed 185 pounds, but the raw ability could be hard to ignore once the pads go on in the spring.
Linebacker Waynmon Steed
Waynmon Steed is an undersized linebacker who was rated as a 3-star coming out of Miami Central in 2017, and he doesn’t have a particularly clear path to playing time defensively in 2018. However, that’s not to say that he can’t make an impact for the Hurricanes whatsoever.
Steed’s easiest way to get on the field is going to be through special teams and the former tackling machine who led Central to a state title as a sophomore and then overcame a torn ACL as a junior to have a big senior season is tailored to impact that phase of the game. His speed and his ability to stack and shed as a linebacker aren’t overcome by his size (5-foot-11 and 223 pounds) as a special-teamer.
And that avenue usually earns you opportunities to get actual reps over time. So, in a crowded linebacker’s room, Steed might be able to make his presence known with special teams.
Wide receiver Evidence Njoku
Miami loves the size that Evidence Njoku — the younger brother of former first-round pick and Miami great David Njoku — brings to the table at 6-foot-6 and 196 pounds and they seem pretty eager to utilize that on the outside and in the red zone. The question is how long will it take Njoku to recover from an injury that ended his season in 2017?
The Hurricanes called it a lower right extremity injury when they officially shut him down for the year and CanesInsight.com reported it was a torn ACL. But if he used the time he was laid up to add some mass and is able to compete by the end of summer camp, he’ll have a chance to earn reps and be of value.
If not, obviously his ability to make an impact will probably be delayed until 2019, but Miami is still excited about what he’ll be able to do when he is finally healthy.
The post 3 Miami Hurricanes redshirt freshmen who can change games in 2018 appeared first on Diehards.
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