Head coach Al Golden released the Hurricanes’ post-spring depth chart today, two days after a spring game that saw multiple interceptions from both quarterbacks. The starting quarterback is listed as Jacory Harris OR Stephen Morris and the race is far from over. Both Harris and Morris threw two interceptions apiece in Miami’s annual spring game—the first under Golden.
Another position race still underway following the spring game is at running back. Mike James is listed as the starter and has had a good spring, but it was Lamar Miller who stole the show at the spring game. Miller’s 166 yards on 10 carries has Miami fans excited. Miller scored three touchdowns in the green team’s 30-17 win, rushing for scores of 70, 64 and 3 yards. Of course, if things don’t change at the quarterback position and turnovers remain a concern, it may not matter how effective the ground game is.
Morris—playing for the green team—completed 14 of his 22 pass attempts for 140 yards and a touchdown as well as the two interceptions. Harris went 18 for 30 for 149 yards with no touchdowns and the two interceptions. One of Morris’ interceptions went right to linebacker Sean Spence, who took it the other way for a 25-yard pick-six.
Kendall Thompkins, who was part of Miami’s top-ranked 2008 recruiting class that included several players from Northwestern High School (including himself), caught seven passes for 81 yards including Morris’ only touchdown pass of the afternoon. He is not listed on the new depth chart. Thompkins has yet to see significant playing time for the Hurricanes, but many expect him to step in and see more passes this season.
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What should be a dynamic receivers corps has not lived up to expectations since its core was formed in the ’08 recruiting class. Thompkins and fellow Miami Northwestern alum Tommy Streeter should see their playing time creep up this season, but it’s another Miami Northwestern receiver from that ’08 recruiting class that could make the biggest impact. Aldarius Johnson continues to nurse an injured ankle, but when he’s healthy he could see more playing time than in years past. Expected to become the next star receiver when he came to Coral Gables, Johnson has not met expectations. Entering his senior season, though, he has the physical tools to become an effective member of the passing game.
Brandon McGee, Andrew Swasey, Thomas Finnie and Spence came up with the interceptions. Swasey’s came in the end zone on a pass intended for Streeter, who stands 6’5. Streeter had his hands on the ball, but Swasey, who stands 5’10, was able to come away with the football.
Swasey is listed along with Kacy Rodgers as the backup to Vaughn Telemaque at free safety. McGee, along with Keion Payne, is listed behind JoJo Nicolas at left cornerback, while the new depth chart lists converted running back Lee Chambers and Finnie as co-starters on the right.
The cornerback position is one that has been closely watched this spring. Brandon Harris and DeMarcus Van Dyke are headed to the NFL, leaving a void at the position. The depth chart currently lists a converted safety as one starter, and lists a converted running back and a true freshman as the co-starters at the other corner spot. Whereas limiting turnovers on offense is a major key to Miami’s 2011 season, the cornerback play on defense will be a major determining factor in the Hurricanes’ competitiveness as well.
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The safety position is much more set with Telemaque and Ray-Ray Armstrong forming a strong duo in the last line of defense. Behind Armstrong on the latest depth chart is converted running back Eduardo Clements and converted quarterback A.J. Highsmith. Miami has reached into spillover from other positions to field a good part of the secondary and reports have been impressive thus far.
Sean Goldstein—not on the depth chart—led all Miami defenders with 14 tackles for the orange squad in the spring game, while Armstrong and Spence each recorded nine tackles for the orange as well. Nicolas and Kelvin Cain led the green with six tackles apiece.
The Hurricanes intend on taking that first step towards competing for the ACC title in Golden’s first season on the sidelines, but before they do they’ll have to get interceptions under control and find replacements in a secondary that ranked third nationally in pass defense a year ago. Otherwise, it’ll be another season of unmet expectations in Coral Gables.
Check out the complete Miami Hurricanes depth chart HERE.