Building A Dynasty: The 2015 Miami Hurricanes

RECAPPING 2014

  • The Miami Hurricanes finished the 2014 season with a 10-3 record while going 6-2 in the ACC.
  • Maryland beat Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game.
  • Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M won his third consecutive Heisman Trophy – our very own Duke Johnson finished second in the vote.
  • Texas A&M dismantled Wisconsin in the BCS title game.

If you want to read more in depth about previous seasons – click here to read about 2013 and click here to read about 2014. .

2015 is looking to be another successful year in Miami, here we go:

OFF THE FIELD ISSUES

Many college programs find themselves amongst off the field issues, and our program is not immune to these problems. When dealing with young student athletes, many different things can happen that impact the future of your program. I know that Miami does not have the purest history, but it is my intention to run a clean program.

With that being said – Kevin Olsen – a sophomore QB (86 ovr) has been dismissed from the team. He was expected to start under center in 2015. We now enter the season with high expectations and a QB controversy in Coral Gables.

CUT PLAYERS

We finished spring ball with far too many players on our roster, and unfortunately had to let go of eight talented student athletes – well, maybe just six talented student athletes.

The biggest loss from a talent standpoint was Kevin Olsen, which I touched on earlier. Mark McNeal was a four star QB out of the 2015 class – but there was no real reason to hold on to him with all of the young talent we have at the QB position. Alex Johnson, Paul Frederick, and Clifton Wilson were also four star recruits we signed in 2015 – however, they just didn’t live up to the hype they came in with.

PRE SEASON

We start the year off with four pre-season All-Americans. Duke Johnson leads the charge, and he is on the early Heisman favorites lists – right behind Johnny Manziel. Raphael Kirby, Larry Hope and Deon Bush find themselves as pre-season All-Americans on the defensive side of the ball.

The early polls have the Hurricanes ranked #6. We come in with a ton of hype after our 10-3 finish in 2014. Ohio State is the early #1 – they are hoping to get back to the peak they were at in 2013. Marcus Mariota and the PAC 12 champion Oregon Ducks are #2. The Texas A&M Aggies are #3 despite returning 3x Heisman winner Johnny Manziel and winning the 2014 National Championship. The Texas Longhorns come in at #4 and The Notre Dame Fighting Irish round out the top 5.

Schedule

Green = Home, Orange = Road

I went out and scheduled a few different conference champions to fill out our non-conference schedule this season. We open with Tulsa, the 2014 Conference USA champions. We follow that with a home game against the Florida Gators – a team that has outscored us 118-24 over the past two seasons. Next, we are travel to Camp Randall to take on the Wisconsin Badgers – a team that lost to Texas A&M in last year’s BCS National Championship. We wrap up our non-conference slate with a home game against the UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns – winners of the Sun Belt conference last year. To make things more difficult for us – Wake Forest has been replaced by Clemson as our cross-division opponent in ACC play.

Depth Chart

OFFENSE – 93 OVR

BOLD = Captain

This is a YOUNG offense. We have just two seniors starting – Duke Johnson and Ereck Flowers. Flowers is moving back to LT after playing RT last year, and Danny Isidora is moving from RG to LG this season. The big story out of camp is true freshman Mike Collins winning the QB battle. The spot came open after Kevin Olsen was dismissed from the team. Collins beat out Danny Johnson – a four star recruit that redshirted in 2014, Sam Clarke – a true freshman and the #2 QB from the class of 2015, and Nick Weber – a four star athlete from the 2015 class. Clarke and Weber will redshirt in 2015. Another stunning result from camp was the battle at Center, as true freshman Chris Ford beat out senior Dylan Smith for the job.

Our weak point on offense this season will be the line. Last year they were dominant – helping Duke Johnson rush for over 2,000 yards. Our starting line averaged an 86 overall in 2014 – with seniors at LT, LG and C. This year, our starting line averages an 81 overall – with just one senior starting.

We are finally beginning to see my influence on the offense – this season three of my recruits find themselves starting (Collins, Swain and Ford).

DEFENSE – 97 OVR

BOLD = Captain

We have a strong defense this year – specifically in our secondary. Larry Hope makes the move from CB to FS. He is going to pair well with All-ACC strong safety Deon Bush. Tracy Howard and Antonio Crawford are prepared to lock down receivers this season. Our linebackers are as solid as ever – Alex Figueroa and Jermaine Grace are elite talents, and they are only sophomores. On the defensive line, Al Quadin Muhammed slides over to LE from RE to replace former captain Anthony Chickillo.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Duke Johnson is hoping to do it all this year – and he is replacing 2x Returner of the Year Phillip Dorsett. Matt Goudis is back as our kicker – he is out to prove that he is one of the best kickers in the country in 2015.

REDSHIRT PLAYERS

All of our players redshirting this season are from our 2015 recruiting class. Charles Cohen is getting a year to develop – he was unlikely to get any carries this season with seniors Duke Johnson and Dallas Crawford in the backfield. Nick Weber and Sam Clarke lost out on the QB battle – I am hoping they stick around after this season, and we may try Weber somewhere else in 2016. Vince Davis is taking a redshirt this year – we expect him to be our kicker from 2016-2019 after Matt Goudis graduates.

RESULTS

Week 1 – #6 Miami @ Tulsa
W 24-17

The Hurricanes unexpectedly struggled in their season opener. True freshman Mike Collins threw for 180 yards and completed a touchdown pass to Robert Swain – who was also making his Miami debut. Our offensive line struggled against the Tulsa front seven – Duke Johnson was held to just 52 rushing yards.

Week 2 – #5 Miami vs Florida
L 49-17

The game started out pretty rough – Duke Johnson left the game in the first half with a concussion. It ended up being a long day for freshman quarterback Mike Collin – he was sacked eight times while tossing four interceptions in the process. For the Gators, Matt Jones dominated the Miami D – rushing for 115 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 attempts.

Week 3 – #15 Miami @ #24 Wisconsin
W 34-21

Miami was able to regroup on the road and come away with an impressive with against the Badgers. Duke Johnson broke the career rushing record for the University of Miami during his 134 yard game.

Week 4 – BYE

Week 5 – #10 Miami vs UL Lafayette
W 37-34
This game ended up being much closer than it should have been. Duke Johnson once again was pulled from a game because of a concussion. Our offense had to rely heavily on Mike Collins – and he responded well. He surpassed 250 passing yards for the first time in his career, ending his night with 257 yards and four touchdowns – with just one interception. Robert Swain set the Miami single game record for receiving touchdowns, with 3 against the Rajin’ Cajuns.

Week 6 – #9 Miami @ Virginia
W 35-17

A pretty uneventful game – but a savvy performance from freshman Mike Collins. He completed 83% of his passes for 186 yards and a touchdown. Duke Johnson rushed for 2 TD, but was held to just 33 yards. On defense, Raphael Kirby led the squad with 11 tackles.

Week 7 – BYE

Week 8 – #9 Miami vs #4 Georgia Tech
W 42-28

Vad Lee and the Georgia Tech offense are incredibly efficient – the Yellow Jackets seemed to score whenever they wanted to in the first half. Early in the second half the momentum shifted on a single play – Antonio Crawford intercepted a Vad Lee pass and returned it 96 yards for a touchdown. The Canes offense played a great game – Mike Collins threw for 200 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for another. Duke Johnson ran for 194 yards and a touchdown. D’Mauri Jones hauled in nine receptions for 110 yards and a score.

For Georgia Tech, Vad Lee threw just three passes – completing two of them for 61 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball 12 times for 163 yards and 2 TD..

Week 9 – #5 Miami vs #9 Virginia Tech
W 23-14
This game was very close until the fourth quarter – and once again Miami’s defense changed the course of the game with one play. The Canes had put together an impressive drive, only for Duke Johnson to fumble the ball away in the red zone. The Hurricane defense took over, pinning the Hokies near their own goal line. Al Quadin Muhammed was able to sack the Virginia Tech quarterback in his own endzone – giving Miami a 16-14 lead.

Collins (232 passing yards, 1 TD), Johnson (96 rushing yards, 2 TD), and Jones (96 receiving yards) were the standouts on offense once again.

Week 10 – #5 Miami @ Florida State
W 17-14
This game was a defensive battle. Al Quadin Muhammed led the Hurricanes on defense with five tackles and two sacks. Ronald Darby led the Seminoles with nine tackles. In the end, the difference was a field goal off the leg of Matt Goudis.

Week 11 – #4 Miami @ Duke
W 49-35

The Miami offense was highly effective during this game – even with Mike Collins throwing three interceptions (he also threw for 3 TD). Duke Johnson looked like the 2014 version of himself, rushing for 225 yards and 2 TD. Nate Dortch came up big on defense with two interceptions.

Week 12 – #4 Miami vs #24 Clemson
W 24-6
Duke Johnson carried the offense in this game – rushing 30 times for 163 yards and 2 TD. On defense, Al Quadin Muhammed shut down the Clemson Tigers – sacking their QB three times.

Week 13 – #4 Miami @ North Carolina
W 31-24

The Tar Heel offense, led by Marquise Williams, had no problem throwing the ball against the Canes’ secondary. Williams ended the day with 323 yards and a TD through the air. Luckily for the Canes, Mike Collins outplayed Williams – passing for 3 TD and rushing for another. D’Mauri Jones hauled in two of Collins‘ touchdown passes.

Week 14 – #4 Miami @ Pitt
W 38-27
The shocking story heading into this week took place in the polls. Somehow, Virginia Tech (9-2) jumped the Miami Hurricanes (10-1) despite losing to the Canes just four weeks ago. Virginia Tech defeated Georgia Tech last week – another team that Miami beat already. This is going to lead to some wild rankings debates in the coming weeks.

James Conner and the Panther offense ran all over the Hurricanes this week. Conner ran the ball just 14 times for 184 yards. Luckily for the Canes, they won the turnover battle. Antonio Crawford snagged two interceptions on the day – leading Miami to their 10th win in a row.

Conference Championship Week
The Miami Hurricanes are stuck ranked #4 heading into conference championship week. Their early season loss to the Florida Gators is still being held against them. Ohio State is undefeated and holding steady at #1. They take on #12 Nebraska in the Big Ten Championship game – the Buckeyes expect to be playing for the National Championship whether they win or lose this game. USC comes in at #2 – they have one loss this season, to #16 Washington. The Trojans will play #5 Stanford in the PAC 12 Championship. Stanford is hoping to avenge their only loss of the season, which was at the hands of the Trojans. Virginia Tech is still somehow sitting at #3, they have the week off after coming in 2nd the ACC Coastal division.

ACC Championship – #4 Miami vs NC State
W 51-20

The game was back and forth in the first half – that all changed when Duke Johnson returned a kickoff 102 yards for a TD to start the second half. The Miami offense was unstoppable after that. Mike Collins threw for 237 yards and 3 TD – D’Mauri Jones hauled in 112 of those yards for 2 TD. Johnson led the rushing attack – accounting for 166 yards and 2 TD.

BCS Controversy

  • Despite going 12-1, winning the ACC, defeating #22 GT, and #3 VT – The Miami Hurricanes were left out of the National Championship game and maintained their #4 ranking.
  • Virginia Tech was idle during conference championship week and stayed at #3.
  • Stanford defeated USC in the PAC 12 championship – and jumped all the way to #2 in the polls. (Stanford’s only loss was to USC earlier in the year)

BCS Bowls

  • Rose Bowl – #3 Virginia Tech vs #5 Oregon
  • Fiesta Bowl – #11 Texas vs #6 USF
  • Sugar Bowl – #7 Florida vs #14 Nebraska
  • Orange Bowl – #4 Miami vs #10 KSU

Bowl Season – Discover Orange Bowl
#4 Miami (12-1) vs #10 Kansas State (10-2)
W 38-24

This was the last game for Duke Johnson in a Miami uniform – and what a way for him to go out. Johnson rushed for 238 yards and 4 TD against the Wildcats. Mike Collins only needed to throw the ball nine times during this game – he completed every pass for 158 yards and a TD.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

ACC – Miami
American – South Florida
Big 12 – Texas
Big Ten – Ohio State
Conference USA – Rice
MAC – Northern Illinois
Mountain West – San Diego State
PAC 12 – Stanford
SEC – Florida
Sun Belt – UL Lafayette

HEISMAN

Bri’onte Dunn of Ohio State won the Heisman Trophy in 2015.

Dunn collected 1,860 total points on the 2015 ballot – including 432 first place votes. He surpassed the second place finisher by 789 points.

On the year, Dunn ran for 1,872 yards and collected 116 receiving yards – scoring 19 TD in the process.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

#1Point Total#2Point TotalScoreChampion
Ohio State (13-0)1.000Stanford (12-1)0.99542-17Ohio State

END OF SEASON RANKINGS

TeamRecordCoachesMedia
Ohio State14-0#1#1
Miami13-1#2#3
Oregon10-3#3#2
USF12-1#4#4
Stanford12-1#5#6
Florida11-3#6#5
Virginia Tech10-3#7#7
Washington10-3#8#9
Maryland10-3#9#8
Kansas State10-3#10#10

MIAMI STATISTICS

Mike Collins had a great debut season in Miami – despite being sacked 41 times. This is the best play we have seen from the QB position during my tenure at Miami.

Duke Johnson capped off his Miami career with another solid season. He set the school career records for rushing yards and touchdowns during the 2015 season – 4,951 yards and 67 TDs. Otis Anderson (1978) previously had the record for rushing yards (3,331) and Stephen McGuire (1992) had the record for rushing TDs (35).

D’Mauri Jones led the team in receptions and yards – he was incredibly consistent this year for us from the slot. Robert Swain impressed in his first year starting at TE – earning 2nd Team All-American honors.

Raphael Kirby led the team – and country – in tackles this season. His numbers helped him to earn the Chuck Bednarik Award in 2015. Nate Dortch was third on the team in tackles and tied for second in interceptions – earning the Jim Thorpe Award in the process.

Matt Goudis was once again reliable for us. In 2015 he showed off the power in his leg – making a 59 yard field goal.

Duke Johnson was a solid return man for us this season – he even managed to set the record for longest kickoff return.

ACCOLADES

Chuck Bednarik Award – Raphael Kirby
Jim Thorpe Award – Nate Dortch
1st Team All-American – Al Quadin Muhammed – LE
1st Team All-American – Raphael Kirby – MLB
1st Team All-American – Nate Dortch – CB
1st Team All-American – Deon Bush – SS
1st Team All-American – Antoine Dotson – P
2nd team All-American – Duke Johnson – HB
2nd team All-American – Robert Swain – TE
2nd team All-American – Earl Moore – DT
Freshman All-American – Mike Collins – QB
1st Team All-ACC – Duke Johnson – HB
1st Team All-ACC – D’Mauri Jones – WR
1st Team All-ACC – Robert Swain – TE
1st Team All-ACC – Ereck Flowers – LT
1st Team All-ACC – Danny Isidora – LG
1st Team All-ACC – Al Quadin Muhammed – LE
1st Team All-ACC – Earl Moore – DT
1st Team All-ACC – Corey King – DT
1st Team All-ACC – Raphael Kirby – MLB
1st Team All-ACC – Nate Dortch – CB
1st Team All-ACC – Tracy Howard – CB
1st Team All-ACC – Larry Hope – FS
1st Team All-ACC – Deon Bush – SS
1st Team All-ACC – Antoine Dotson – P
2nd Team All-ACC – Taylor Gadbois – RT
2nd Team All-ACC – Ufomba Kamalu – RE
2nd Team All-ACC – Jermaine Grace – ROLB
2nd Team All-ACC – Antonio Crawford – CB
2nd Team All-ACC – Matt Goudis – K

RECRUITING

We followed up our #1 recruiting class in 2015 with the #8 class in 2016. We were able to sign four different five star recruits in this class; Jay Wheatley, Greg Rosario, Derek Smith, and Jonas Robinson. Despite being the #2 overall prospect, Wheatley will have to be patient – Mike Collins still has many years under center for our program.

Our recruiting class was smaller in 2016 than in 2015. Our coaches were able to sign recruits from 10 different states.

TRANSFERS

IN: Mike Robinson – Freshman – CB – North Carolina
We have plenty of talent at the CB position – but it never hurts to stockpile talent for the future.

NFL DRAFT

Deon Bush – SS – 1st Round
Tracy Howard – CB – 3rd Round
Matt Goudis – K – 7th Round

COACHING CHANGES

Heading into the offseason I received a ton of interest from other Power 5 schools; Penn State, North Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, USF, Indiana, Kansas, Purdue, and Washington State. I am committed to staying at Miami and turned all of those offers down.

The same can’t be said for one of my assistant coaches. My offensive coordinator, James Coley, accepted the position of head coach at the University of South Florida.

Our new offensive coordinator is Bill O’Brien – who was fired from his position as the head coach at Penn State University after going 4-8 in 2015.

NEXT YEAR

Our record has continued to trend up each year I have been at the helm of this program. We have gone from 7-6, to 10-3, to 13-1. Is 2016 the year that the Miami Hurricanes return to the National Championship?

– Buzz