Building A Dynasty: The 2016 Miami Hurricanes

RECAPPING 2015

  • The Miami Hurricanes finished the 2015 season with a 13-1 record while going undefeated in the ACC.
  • Miami beat North Carolina State in the ACC championship game.
  • Bri’onte Dunn from Ohio State won the Heisman Trophy.
  • Ohio State beat up on Stanford in the BCS title game.

If you want to read more in depth about previous seasons – click here to read about 2013, click here to read about 2014, and click here to read about 2015.

Is 2016 the year the Canes win it all?

CUT PLAYERS

We have had a ton of interest in our program with all of the recent success we have had. All of that interest has led to far too many players on our roster – forcing us to once again cut down to 70 players.

Last year we let go of multiple four star recruits when it came time to make our cuts. This year our biggest loss of talent is that of three star DT Nate O’Brien.

PRE SEASON

We start the year off with four pre-season All-Americans – all on the defensive side of the ball; Al Quadin Muhammed, Earl Moore, Raphael Kirby and Nate Dortch. Those four players are joined by D’Mauri Jones, Robert Swain, Jermaine Grace, Antonio Crawford, Larry Hope and Antoine Dotson on the pre-season All-ACC team.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are #1 in the preseason polls – following their National Championship last year. The Oregon Ducks are #2 after defeating Virginia Tech in the Rose Bowl. The Miami Hurricanes come in at #3 with ACC rival Virginia Tech right behind them at #4. The Stanford Cardinal round out the top 5.

Schedule

The Miami Hurricanes have been critiqued for having an easy out of conference schedule the past few seasons. As a response – we have accepted an invite to the Cowboys Kickoff Classic to open our season – against defending National Champion and #1 ranked Ohio State.

The Miami Hurricanes have faced the Ohio State Buckeyes five times prior to this game – the last coming in 2011. Miami won that game in 2011 by a score of 24-6 – however, Ohio State has the overall series lead 3-2. The most memorable game in this series was in 2003 when the refs screwed Miami out of a National Championship when Ohio State defeated Miami in the Fiesta Bowl.

The rest of the 2016 schedule can be seen below:

Green = Home, Orange = Road, Blue = Neutral

Following the game against the Buckeyes we travel to The Swamp to take on the #6 Florida Gators. They currently have a three game winning streak against us – with a combined score of 167-41. We then go on the road to complete our home-and-home agreement with the UL-Lafayette Rajin’ Cajuns. Our non-conference schedule ends with the #19 USF Bulls coming to town with new head coach – former Miami OC James Coley.

Depth Chart

OFFENSE – 95 OVR

BOLD = Captain

Our offense is much improved heading into this season. We return nine starters – Charles Cohen and Marcus Wilson are replacing graduated seniors Duke Johnson and Ereck Flowers. Mike Collins looks to build upon his solid freshman campaign – he is out to prove that he has NFL talent this season. Cohen is starting at tailback, but he will rotate with Joe Simpson and Andre Wise. Herb Waters and D’Mauri Jones lead our talented receiving core – redshirt freshman and five star talent Tommy Hawthorne is hoping to make an impact in his first year on the field for the Canes. On the offensive line, Danny Isidora bounces out from LG to LT – Wilson will start at LG.

DEFENSE – 99 OVR

Miami is projected to have one of the best defenses in the country in 2016. We have plenty of experience on this side of the ball – all of our starters are upperclassmen. There are eight returning starters on this defense, and some of them have found new positions. Nate Dortch (Thorpe Award) and Raphael Kirby (Bednarik Award) are back after winning awards in 2015. Alex Figueroa makes the move from LOLB to LE for his junior season. Al Quadin Muhammed moves back to RE from LE. Tyriq McCord is finally getting to start at LOLB in his final season. Rayshawn Jenkins has the tough job of filling in for 1st round pick Deon Bush at SS.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vince Davis replaces Matt Goudis as our kicker this season. All-American Antoine Dotson returns as our punter – he will also take care of kick-off duties. Herb Waters will be our primary return man.

REDSHIRT PLAYERS

All of our players redshirting this season are from our 2016 recruiting class. Jay Wheatley will sit for the next couple of years – learning from Mike Collins before finally taking over for him in 2019. Aaron Pittman is projected to replace Gus Edwards at fullback in 2018. Fred Tucker, Jonas Robinson and Greg Rosario will also be impact players for the Hurricanes in the future.

RESULTS

Week 1 – #3 Miami vs #1 Ohio State
L 45-42
The Ohio State Buckeyes came into this game as the favorites – it was easy to see why. They were the defending National Champions – returning a number of impact players on offense. Last season, Cardale Jones threw for 2,270 yards and 22 TD – Ezekiel Elliot ran for 1,152 yards and 14 TDs (as a backup to Heisman winner Bri’onte Dunn). On defense they have the likes of Joey Bosa, Vonn Bell and Eli Apple.

This was a back and forth game – at times the Hurricanes felt like they were going to come away victorious. The difference in this one was the turnovers – Miami turned the ball over four times while Ohio State didn’t turn the ball over at all. A key turnover came near the end of the 1st quarter – Mike Collins forced a pass on third and long, Vonn Bell picked it off and took it the distance for an Ohio State touchdown.

The game ended on an exciting note. Down 45-34 late in the 4th quarter – Mike Collins left the game with a concussion. With 11 seconds left, backup quarterback Danny Johnson scrambled in for a TD. On the two-point attempt, Johnson connected with Herb Waters to bring the score to 45-42. Miami was able to recover their onside kick attempt – but unable to make anything happen on their final two plays.

Despite losing – the Miami offense was impressive. Mike Collins threw for 277 yards and 3 TD (with 3 INT). Charles Cohen had a fantastic debut, rushing for 124 yards and a touchdown. Robert Swain hauled in eight receptions for 132 yards.

Our defense was hyped up to be one of the best in the country this season – but we were unable to stop Cardale Jones and the read option. He ended the night throwing for 170 yards while rushing for 139 yards and 3 TDs.

Week 2 – #9 Miami vs #5 Florida
W 28-16

What a way for the Miami Hurricanes to bounce back. We finally took down the Gators. This was an all around steady and composed game from the Canes. Charles Cohen ran the ball 23 times for 136 yards and a TD. Rayshawn Jenkins led the defense with six tackles and an interception.

Week 3 – BYE

Week 4 – #7 Miami vs UL Lafayette
W 49-13
Mike Collins had his best game to date in a Miami uniform – throwing for 307 yards and 4 TDs. Charles Cohen ran for 210 yards and 2 TD on just 18 carries. Raphael Kirby was incredible on defense, with 11 tackles and a sack.

Week 5 – #6 Miami vs USF
W 28-3
This was a huge week for the Canes. We had former Miami OC James Coley bringing his new team to town. We also had ten prospects visiting. Mike Collins threw for over 300 yards, Charles Cohen rushed for 181 yards, and Standish Dobard had two receiving touchdowns. Seven of the visiting prospects signed by the end of the weekend – including the following five star recruits: Alfred Brown, Rob Nicholson, and Walter Mathis.

Week 6 – #5 Miami @ Clemson
W 41-13

Miami ran all over the Clemson Tigers in this game. Charles Cohen ran the ball 24 times for 116 yards and score. Joe Simpson carried the ball eight times for 64 yards and 2 TD.

Week 7 – #7 Miami vs Florida State
W 45-42
The Hurricanes took part in their second shootout of the season – this time coming out on top. Mike Collins threw for 329 yards and 3 TD, while Sean Maguire threw for 356 yards and 3 TD for the Seminoles. Robert Swain had quite a night – with 149 receiving yards on seven catches.

Week 8 – #8 Miami vs Georgia Tech
W 80-35

Both teams scored early and often, but Georgia Tech couldn’t keep up with the Hurricanes. Mike Collins passed for 371 yards and 5 TD, Charles Cohen ran for 291 yards and 3 TD, and Robert Swain hauled in 10 receptions for 209 yards and 3 TD. Collins tied the school record for touchdown passes in a game, while Swain tied his own record for receiving touchdowns in a game. Our defense also helped us in this blowout – Alex Figueroa and Antonio Crawford both had defensive touchdowns.

Week 9 – #6 Miami vs Duke
W 41-38
Duke always seems to play the Canes tough. This was the first team all season that was able to contain Charles Cohen – he was held to 51 rushing yards. Stacy Coley was the man to break things open – 113 yards and 2 TD on just three receptions. Thomas Sirk was key for the Blue Devis – passing for 282 yards and 3 TD, while rushing for 93 yards and another TD.

Week 10 – BYE

Week 11 – #6 Miami @ #2 Virginia Tech
W 44-18

The Hokies came into this game with an 8-0 record – actually deserving of their #2 ranking. The hype leading up to this game was for the two Heisman contenders – Charles Cohen for the Canes, and Brenden Motley for the Hokies.

Miami’s defense came out ready to play. Former Thorpe Award winner Nate Dortch picked off the first pass of the game. Charles Cohen scored two plays later – giving the Hurricanes an early lead. On Virginia Tech’s very next offensive play – Dortch nabbed his second pick of the game. Miami had a 10-0 lead less than 3 minutes into the game.

Turnovers were the difference in this one – Dortch snagged his third interception of the game in the 2nd quarter. Brenden Motley ended his day with four interceptions.

Week 12 – #4 Miami vs North Carolina
W 48-27
Mike Collins threw for 402 yards and 2 TD – 168 of those yards went to Stacy Coley. Charles Cohen ran the ball for 147 yards and 2 TD.

Week 13 – #4 Miami @ #18 Virginia
W 35-5

The rankings are about to get really frustrating. We currently sit in 5th in the BCS poll. We are behind four undefeated teams; Ohio State (9-0), Nebraska (10-0), Nevada (10-0) and Rutgers (8-0).

Two of our players broke school records in this blowout. Mike Collins set the school record for passing touchdowns in a single season with 30. Robert Swain surpassed Clive Watford’s record for most receiving yards in a single season.

Week 14 – #5 Miami vs Pitt
W 38-21
Mike Collins led an efficient offense to an easy victory against Pitt. He was able to complete 83% of his passes for 230 yards – 111 of those yards were to Robert Swain. Charles Cohen ran the ball for 106 yards and 2 TD.

Week 15 – BYE
Miami jumped to #2 in the coaches poll and #3 in the media poll. The BCS has the Canes ranked #2. As it stands, the BCS has the following top 5:

  • #1 Nebraska (12-0)
  • #2 Miami (11-1)
  • #3 Virginia Tech (11-1)
  • #4 Kansas State (9-1)
  • #5 Ohio State (10-1)

Conference Championship Week
There were a few changes to the BCS rankings following the Week 15 games:

  • #1 Nebraska (12-0)
  • #2 Miami (11-1)
  • #3 Virginia Tech (11-1)
  • #4 Ohio State (10-1)
  • #5 Cincinnati (10-2)
  • #6 Michigan (9-3)
  • #7 NC State (11-1)
  • #8 Rutgers (10-1)
  • #9 Georgia (10-2)
  • #10 Arkansas (8-4)

Nebraska plays Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship while Miami plays NC State for the ACC title. Both games could essentially serve as the national semi-final. The winners of the ACC and Big Ten would have a viable argument for playing in the National Championship.

The Heisman race is also coming down to the wire. Charles Cohen is the current frontrunner, closely followed by Manny Stocker – the senior QB from NC State. The ACC championship appears to be the decision making game for voters.

ACC Championship – #2 Miami vs #5 NC State
L 48-34
We have a rematch of the 2015 ACC championship game – a game the Canes won 51-20.

The Hurricanes had a terrible start in this one. Mike Collins threw an interception on Miami’s first possession. Manny Stocker, on the other hand, threw a TD on his first pass. Miami was simply unable to stop Stocker and the Wolfpack offense in this title game – even though the Canes were able to score 34 points, they still lost by two touchdowns.

BCS Bowls
At the end of the regular season – the BCS rankings are:

  • #1 Nebraska
  • #2 NC State
  • #3 Virginia Tech
  • #4 Cincinnati
  • #5 Miami
  • #6 Rutgers
  • #7 Georgia
  • #8 Michigan
  • #9 Ohio State
  • #10 Nevada
  • Rose Bowl – #3 Virginia Tech vs #12 Oregon
  • Fiesta Bowl – #14 Kansas State vs #8 Michigan
  • Sugar Bowl – #7 Georgia vs #6 Rutgers
  • Orange Bowl – #4 Cincinnati vs #10 Nevada
  • BCS National Championship – #1 Nebraska vs #2 NC State

Despite being ranked high enough to appear in a BCS Bowl game, the rules state that “no more than two teams from any one conference could receive berths in BCS games”. Unfortunately – while deserving of a spot in the Sugar Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, or Orange Bowl – we were forced to play in a lesser bowl game.

Bowl Season – Chick-fil-A Bowl
#5 Miami (11-2) vs #25 Auburn (9-4)
W 31-10

The Hurricanes were definitely the superior team in this bowl game. Herb Waters played in his final game as a Miami Hurricane – he caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

ACC – North Carolina State
American – Rutgers
Big 12 – Kansas State
Big Ten – Nebraska
Conference USA – Tulsa
MAC – Kent State
Mountain West – Nevada
PAC 12 – Oregon
SEC – Georgia
Sun Belt – UL Lafayette

HEISMAN

Charles Cohen of the University of Miami won the Heisman Trophy in 2016. He is the third Hurricane to win the Heisman Trophy – joining Vinny Testaverde (1986) and Gino Torretta (1992).

Cohen collected 1,753 total points on the 2016 ballot – including 335 first place votes. He surpassed the second place finisher – Manny Stocker of NC State – by 44 points.

On the year, Cohen ran for 1,885 yards and collected 120 receiving yards – scoring 22 TD in the process.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

#1Point Total#2Point TotalScoreChampion
Nebraska (13-0)1.000NC State (12-1)0.99548-17Nebraska

END OF SEASON RANKINGS

TeamRecordCoachesMedia
Nebraska14-0#1#1
NC State12-2#2#2
Virginia Tech12-1#3#3
Cincinnati11-2#4#4
Rutgers11-1#5#8
Miami12-2#6#7
Georgia11-3#7#6
Ohio State11-2#8#10
Michigan10-3#9#5
Arkansas8-5#10#12
Nevada12-2#11#9

MIAMI STATISTICS

Mike Collins set the single season school records for passing yards and touchdowns during his 2016 campaign. He was able to throw for 1,300 more yards and 11 more touchdowns than the year before – while throwing three less interceptions in the process.

Charles Cohen had an incredible freshman season – winning the Heisman trophy. Cohen wasn’t the only running back to make an impact in 2016 – Joe Simpson turned out to be quite the touchdown vulture.

Robert Swain set two records in 2016 – his 73 receptions and 1,497 yards are the most by a Hurricane in a single season. Stacy Coley led our group of wide receivers with 875 yards and 8 TD.

Earl Moore proved to be quite a threat from the DT position this season – with 17 TFL and 11 sacks. Alex Figueroa matched Moore with 11 sacks of his own. Raphael Kirby once again led the team in tackles.

Vince Davis was nearly flawless in his first season as our place kicker – he won the Lou Groza Award for his efforts in 2016.

Herb Waters gave our offense amazing field position nearly every time he touched the ball – he was voted the Returner of the Year.

ACCOLADES

Heisman Memorial Trophy – Charles Cohen
John Mackey Award – Robert Swain
Rotary Lombardi Award – Earl Moore
Lou Groza Place Kicker Award – Vince Davis
Returner of the Year – Herb Waters

1st Team All-American – Charles Cohen (HB), Robert Swain (TE), Alex Figueroa (LE), Earl Moore (DT), Raphael Kirby (MLB), Nate Dortch (CB), Rayshawn Jenkins (SS), Vince Davis (K), Herb Waters (RET)

2nd Team All-American – Danny Isidora (LT)

Freshman All-American – Charles Cohen (HB), John Williams (RT), Vince Davis (K)

1st Team All-ACC – Charles Cohen (HB), Robert Swain (TE), Danny Isidora (LT), Alex Figueroa (LE), Earl Moore (DT), Raphael Kirby (MLB), Nate Dortch (CB), Antonio Crawford (CB), Larry Hope (FS), Rayshawn Jenkins (SS), Vince Davis (K), Antoine Dotson (P), Herb Waters (RET)

2nd Team All-ACC – Stacy Coley (WR), Taylor Gadbois (RT), Al Quadin Muhammed (RE)

RECRUITING

We once again came away with the #1 recruiting class on signing day. Looking back at our recent classes – this incoming 2017 class is even more talented than the class of 2015.

This group is headlined by five five-star talents – Alfred Brown, James Carpenter, Kyle Jenkins, Rob Nicholson, and Walter Mathis. Many pundits were surprised to see Miami sign two of the top three running backs in this class – especially with Charles Cohen winning the Heisman as a freshman and Joe Simpson scoring double digit touchdowns. If Brown and Mathis are willing to be patient for a few years – they could be the next great backfield at the U.

Our coaches traveled across the country to sign the class of 2017 – we signed players from 13 different states.

TRANSFERS

There were no transfers this offseason.

NFL DRAFT

Antonio Crawford – CB – 1st Round
Herb Waters – WR – 1st Round
Larry Hope – FS – 2nd Round
Nate Dortch – CB – 2nd Round
Earl Moore – DT – 3rd Round
D’Mauri Jones – WR – 3rd Round
Rayshawn Jenkins – SS – 5th Round
Danny Isidora – LT – 7th Round

COACHING CHANGES

The University of Miami approached me with a contract extension – an offer that I accepted – I am now signed through the 2020 season.

Although I am staying as the head coach – both of our coordinators accepted positions elsewhere. Bill O’Brien is now the head coach at Syracuse University – he will partner with former University of Miami QB Brett Smith. Mark D’Onofrio has agreed to become the head coach at Southern Methodist University.

Warren Ruggiero comes in as our new OC. He was the OC at Bowling Green State University last season – helping them to a 9-4 record. Our new DC is Gary Anderson – he was fired after a 4-8 season as the HC at the University of Wisconsin.

NEXT YEAR

We have three straight 10 win seasons – including a bowl win in each of those years. Next year should be no different. Most of our starters return on the offensive side of the ball. Defense will be a different story – we graduated eight of our starters. We have been close the last two seasons – will 2017 be our year?

– Buzz