Last season, the Miami Hurricanes defensive line put on a show the entire season. Entering the year, many had doubts how the interior would hold up after losing two players early to the NFL Draft. The Hurricanes front four responded by causing havoc, and Miami’s defense led the nation in tackles for loss. With that success came some attrition; junior defensive end Joe Jackson opted for the NFL Draft. Also, defensive line coach Jess Simpson resigned at Miami to become the defensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Before his departure though, Simpson signed one of the best signing classes at defensive line Miami has had. With the depth Miami returns at defensive line, these players will be part of the foundation for years to come. One of the impact moves that were made is the transfer of former Virginia Tech defensive end, Trevon Hill. The following week after the Hokies were upset by Old Dominion, Hill was dismissed. Hill spoke about the situation and called it a “heated conversation with teammates at halftime“. After graduating at Virginia Tech, the upcoming redshirt senior is expected to be an instant impact at Miami.
The Hurricanes defense has been as good as any unit in the country since Manny Diaz arrived in Miami. With Simpson leaving for the NFL, Miami will have their third defensive line coach in four years. Before Simpson, Craig Kuligowski helped the line lead the nation in team sacks.
With a standard already set, Miami hopes to continue with business as usual now that Todd Stroud will take over as position coach. Stroud’s resume includes having three defensive lineman drafted in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft while at North Carolina State. Mario Williams was the first overall pick of that draft and was under Stroud’s tutelage.
Miami hopes to have that type of success with notable standouts like Jonathan Garvin, who had 17 tackles for loss last season as a sophomore. The addition of Hill will also help improve the pass rush. Miami is eager to finally see Greg Rousseau in meaningful games, the six-foot-six defensive end redshirted last season after a season ending ankle injury. Scott Patchan will look to end his Hurricane’s career on a high note after being hampered by injuries early on. On the interior, Miami added Chigozie Nnoruka, a graduate transfer from UCLA who should help the defensive tackles. Along with him returns Jon Ford, Pat Bethel, and sophomore Nesta Silvera.
With Diaz becoming the head coach, the expectation of the defensive line to be highly productive remains. One could make the argument that Miami has it’s most talented defensive line in the past three years. However, the current group will have to live up to those expectations. With a change in position coaches and some added veterans, there will be some time to learn one another. However by midseason this group should be one of the best in the ACC.
Miami also may have the opportunity to actually redshirt some guys if they need more time to develop because of the added depth. Harvey benefited from enrolling early and being able to see the speed of the college game, others may need more time. Strong defensive line play has been the spear to helping Clemson become national powers and the Hurricanes are trying to follow suit. Freshman like Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley, and Jared Harrison-Hunte all arrive in the summer and will see how they matchup.
The quarterback position is the most important but the people that chase him are next on the list. To ensure their future success, the Miami Hurricanes defensive line will continue to develop talent as well as seek to add more. In order to compete for championships, that position is critical. The Hurricanes have the right blend of talent and experience to challenge some of the best in the country.
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