Miami’s true freshman class got to warm up in the team’s home opener on Saturday, with the Hurricanes retiring in the third quarter to give the team a 70-13 victory over Bethune Cookman.
Here are some of my takeaways from some of the early years that had a bit of a run:
– It’s clear that Nyjalik Kelly is the true freshman Miami coaches most trust in early fall.
Kelly was the first true freshman to enter the game on offense or defense. It came on a 3rd-and-6 in the second quarter on what was a pass as Bethune Cookman quarterback Tyrone Franklin rushed in for a first down.
Kelly was back on the court with Miami up 36 midway through the third quarter. He created a rush on this series by working on left tackle when most Miami starters or regular rotation guys were still in the game.
Kelly made his first tackle of the game early in the fourth quarter on a run from his side of the field and he did a good job of getting out of his block to make an impact on this play.
– Wesley Bissainthe entered the game on defense with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, but was the first freshman on the field to get a starting header into kickoff coverage for open the game. He played that role all afternoon for Miami.
Bissainthe carving out a role in special teams could give him the opportunity to find himself on the field later in the year.
– Jaleel Skinner perhaps made the biggest play of anyone in the class, catching an early pass from Jake Garcia in midfield and getting a few yards after the catch for a 30-yard gain, which set up a short run of hit.
It’s clear to me that Skinner is a long walker with some speed and length and athleticism were in the spotlight with this opportunity.
– Anez Cooper was the first true freshman to play on offense and he came on from a short-range situation that resulted in a Tyler Van Dyke fumble. He ended up finishing the game at the right tackle for Miami and I think he did a good job being physical on the offensive end, especially in the running game. When it comes to pass protection, I thought Cooper more than held his own with Miami, allowing Garcia to vaporize him in the court for part of the final period.
– Matthew McCoy replaced John Campbell at left tackle and the former tight end turned offensive lineman showed an encouraging set of tools in both the running and passing game. McCoy has been beaten a time or two when Miami ran him his way, but it’s clear to me that he moves well and seems like a willing participant in the running game. I thought on a third and long in the red zone with a touch less than eight minutes left in the fourth, McCoy won a big rep that gave Garcia a clean pocket on a clear pass and Miami converted. They scored two games later to make it 70-13.
– Former top notch security Markeith Williams sniffed a swing pass out of the backfield and made initial contact on what was just a one-yard gain on his first college snap. Jahmile Addae touted his instincts and willingness to tackle despite a slight frame before fall camp. He quickly displayed it.
– Quarterback Jacurri Brown nearly had an opportunity early in the second half, but a false start knocked him out of the field. When he came in with just over four minutes left in the game, he was just passing. He shot it several times but didn’t get very far with it.