Building A Dynasty: The 2017 Miami Hurricanes

RECAPPING 2016

  • The Miami Hurricanes finished the 2016 season with a 12-2 record.
  • Miami lost to North Carolina State in the ACC championship game.
  • Charles Cohen from the University of Miami won the Heisman Trophy.
  • Nebraska defeated NC State in the BCS title game.

Follow the links to catch up on previous seasons; 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

RECENT HISTORY

The Miami Hurricanes have won ten or more games in the past three seasons. Our best season during my time as the head coach was in 2015, when we went 13-1 and won the ACC championship along with the Orange Bowl.

CUT PLAYERS

Heading into this season our roster was at 81 players – forcing us to cut 11 from our squad.

The most talented player we had to let go was Sam Clarke – a four star QB from the class of 2015. While he is rated at 86 overall, he would have slotted in as the 6th QB on our depth chart. We also let go of three four-star recruits from our 2017 recruiting class; Jeff Goss, Kenneth White, and Glenn Bryant.

PRE SEASON

We once again have multiple players on the pre-season All-American team. Charles Cohen leads the group – the reigning Heisman Trophy winner. Mackey Award winner Robert Swain is also a pre-season All-American. On the defensive side of the ball, Alex Figueroa is joined by Al Quadin Muhammed and Artie Burns on the pre-season All-American team. Lou Groza Award recipient Vince Davis is also on the squad. Joining our pre-season All-Americans on the pre-season All-ACC team are Joe Simpson, Stacy Coley, Jermaine Grace, and Antoine Dotson.

Preseason Polls

  • #1 Nebraska
  • #2 Virginia Tech
  • #3 Michigan
  • #4 Miami
  • #5 Georgia
  • #6 Ohio State
  • #7 USC
  • #8 South Carolina
  • #9 Oregon
  • #10 Alabama

Heisman Watch List

Charles Cohen from the University of Miami is looking to win his second consecutive Heisman trophy in 2017 – last season he rushed for 1,885 yards and 22 TD. Adam Taylor from Nebraska is another player on the watch list – the redshirt senior ran for 1,425 yards and 13 TD last season. LSU’s Josh Sanders ran for 1,694 yards and 17 touchdowns as a redshirt junior in 2016. Redshirt junior Antoine McConnell out of the University of Michigan ran for 1,555 yards and 13 TD last season. From Rutgers, redshirt senior Chris Laviano threw for 3,228 yards and 33 TD last season.

Schedule

Instead of taking the easy route like #2 Virginia Tech and scheduling cupcakes – the #4 Miami Hurricanes have gone out and scheduled the toughest non-conference games possible. All of these non-conference games will take place at neutral sites.

The Advocare Texas Kickoff – Reliant Stadium
#1 NEbraska vs #4 Miami

We open our season against the #1 team and defending National Champion – the Nebraska Cornhuskers. This neutral site game will take place at the home of the Houston Texans – Reliant Stadium.

Met Life Stadium
#4 Miami vs #7 USC

Our Week 2 game is against the #7 USC Trojans. This will be a unique matchup – both teams have agreed to play this game at MetLife Stadium – the home of the New York Giants and New York Jets.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – Georgia Dome
#4 Miami vs #5 Georgia

Our final neutral site non-conference game will take place in the Georgia Dome for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – where we will take on the #5 Georgia Bulldogs.

The rest of the 2017 schedule can be seen below:

On top of our non-conference games with Nebraska, USC, and Georgia – our final non-conference game will be our season finale. We will take on the Florida Gators in week 14.

Our schedule is really different this year. We do not play a game at home until week 6 against #2 Virginia Tech. The other notable change – our non-divisional conference opponent is now Maryland – who replaces Clemson on our schedule.

Depth Chart

OFFENSE – 99 OVR

BOLD = Captain

We return seven starters on offense this season. Stacy Coley was our slot receiver last season – he is our #1 WR this year. Brandon Cade and Tommy Hawthorne will be our other big threats at receiver. Alex Gall finally gets to start this season at LT – he was a backup the past few seasons. On the opposite side of the line, sophomore John Williams starts for us at RT.

Charles Cohen returns as our lead back this year – he will be supported by Joe Simpson and Andre Wise. Mike Collins is back for his third season starting under center. Along with Collins, we have elite depth at QB – all four guys behind him on the depth chart would start elsewhere. Gus Edwards is back for his fourth season starting at FB – he is our team captain on the offensive side of the ball. The always consistent Robert Swain is back for his senior year at TE – he passed up an opportunity to get drafted to play another season for the Canes.

DEFENSE – 99 OVR

BOLD = Captain

Alex Figueroa, Al Quadin Muhammed, and Jermaine Grace will be the pillars of our defense in 2017. Muhammed makes a position move once again – hoping to fill in for the great Earl Moore at DT. Cameron Williams replaces Raphael Kirby at MLB – Williams transferred over from Notre Dame and is eligible to play this season. Jonas Robinson – a five-star OLB from the class of 2016 – makes the move to RE after a redshirt season last year. Williams will team up with Jermaine Grace and Jermaine Meyer to form our linebacking core. Meyer – the former JUCO standout – took a redshirt last season to learn our system.

Our secondary is full of upperclassmen, many of which have yet to play much. Artie Burns makes the move from CB to SS. Jamal Carter will start at FS after sitting behind Larry Hope for years. Our starting corners will be Damien Fountain along with Corn Elder. Underclassmen Mike Robinson and Greg Rosario will be waiting in the wings should anyone struggle in our secondary.

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Miami Hurricanes have one of the best groups of Special Teams players in the country. Vince Davis and Antoine Dotson have received plenty of accolades during their time at The U. Stacy Coley hopes to join Phillip Dorsett and Herb Waters as the next great return man at Miami.

REDSHIRT PLAYERS

We were able to sign our best recruiting class to date in 2017. While all of the players from this class will redshirt this season, there are a number of players that have exciting futures in our program. Of all of the players in this group – the most likely to see playing time in 2018 will be Chris Taylor, Andrew Spencer, and Reggie Johnson.

RESULTS

Week 1 – #4 Miami vs #1 Nebraska
The Advocare Texas Kickoff – Reliant Stadium
W 49-17
The Miami Hurricanes open the season agaisnt the #1 team and defending national champion. This is the national game of the week – Kirk Herbstreit has the Canes coming out on top.

These two teams have played 12 games against each other – splitting the series with six wins apiece. The most memorable game in recent history was the 2002 Rose Bowl – a game Miami won 37-14 – leading to their last national championship.

Nebraska comes into this game with two returning 1,000 rushers – Adam Taylor (1,425 YDS) and Terrell Newby (1,001 YDS). It is unclear who will start for them at QB coming into this. They have two seniors fighting for the job – Johnny Stanton and Damon Greenwood.

Miami drove down the field and scored easily on their first possession. Mike Collins connected with Tommy Hawthorne for a 33 yard TD.

The Hurricanes were dominant on both sides of the ball. Damien Fountain was elite at corner – helping extend the lead to 28-0 after a pick six. Going into halftime the Hurricanes led 35-0 following Hawthorne’s second receiving touchdowns of the half. Nebraska had just -5 yards of total offense in the first half.

Collins ended the day with 249 yards and 3 TDs through the air. Robert Swain hauled in 7 receptions for 126 yards and a score – Hawthorne had 4 catches for 64 yards and 2 TDs. Charles Cohen ran for 119 yards and a TD while Joe Simpson had 2 rushing touchdowns of his own.

Our defense had seven sacks on the day – led by Alex Figueroa who had two sacks on his own.

Week 2 – #1 Miami vs #6 USC
MetLife Stadium
W 38-10

The Trojans came into this with all of the talent in the world on offense – but they were no match for the Miami defense. Damien Fountain had two interceptions in this game.. On offense, Mike Collins was electric – passing for 302 yards and 2 TDs. Charles Cohen had another 100+ yard day out of the backfield.

Week 3 – #1 Miami vs #11 Georgia
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – Georgia Dome
W 24-16

This is the first time that these two teams have met since 1966. The The Hurricanes had a tough start in this one, Mike Collins threw an interception on Miami’s first offensive play. Luckily for the Canes their defense was able to carry them. Alex Figueroa went off with a school record of 4 sacks.

Week 4 – #1 Miami vs Pitt
W 48-14
The Miami Hurricanes dominated their ACC opener from the start. They went into halftime with 31-0, thanks in part to four interceptions in the first half.

Robert Swain had a big day, setting the career receiving yards record. He passed Santana Moss – who collected 2,546 yards from 1997-2000. Swain finished the game with 122 yards and 2 TD.

Week 5 – #1 Miami vs Duke
W 52-13
Mike Collins has impressed the nation with his play so far and finds himself in contention for the Heisman – along with teammate Charles Cohen.

While two players on offense are getting national media attention – our defense led the way again in this one. Corn Elder had two interceptions – his teammates added another three by the end of this one.

Week 6 – #1 Miami @ #2 Virginia Tech
L 48-41 OT

The biggest game of the year – #1 vs #2. The big news out of Coral Gables is that of the injury to Mike Collins – who strained his back against Duke. He will be out for 10 weeks.

To make this game even more dramatic – the Canes had seven big time prospects visiting for this rivalry game.

Miami got off to a terrible start – Charles Cohen fumbled on his first carry of the game. The Hokies scooped the ball up and ran it all the way back for a touchdown to grab an early 7-0 lead. By halftime Virginia Tech was up 31-13.

The Hurricanes continued to claw back throughout the second half – Stacy Coley returned a kick 101 yards for a touchdown. With 4:51 left in the game, Robert Swain scored to bring the Hurricanes within seven points. The Miami defense was able to shut down the Hokies and get the ball back. After a long drive, Danny Johnson was able to scramble in and tie it up at 41-41 with 0:51 left in the game.

Virginia tech ran the ball right up the middle to score on their first play of overtime. During Miami’s possession, Danny Johnson was picked off by Yannick Ngoukwe to seal the game for the Hokies.

Week 7 – BYE
The Miami Hurricanes are now ranked #8.

Week 8 – #6 Miami vs North Carolina
W 38-28

The Canes relied on heavily on their rushing attack in this game. Charles Cohen collected 125 yards on 25 attempts for 3 TDs, while Joe Simpson had 2 TDs of his own.

Week 9 – #4 Miami vs #20 Virginia
W 28-3
Miami has gone in a new direction at the QB position this week. Danny Johnson fumbled the ball twice last game – he has turned the ball over four times during his two games under center. Nick Weber gets his first start for the Canes at QB.

The first set of BCS rankings came out this week:

  • #1 Ohio State (6-0)
  • #2 Florida (7-0)
  • #3 Mississippi State (7-0)
  • #4 Miami (6-1) – loss to VT
  • #5 Oklahoma State (5-1) – loss to Tulsa
  • #6 Kansas State (5-1) – loss to Oklahoma State
  • #7 Notre Dame (6-1) – loss to USC
  • #8 Tulsa (8-0)
  • #9 Virginia Tech (5-1) – loss to Army
  • #10 Rutgers (4-1) – loss to UCLA

The offense was not as electric as one would have hoped with Nick Weber under center – he has a similar skillset to Mike Collins, but just isn’t quite as talented. On defense, Greg Rosario collected the first pick six of his young career.

Week 10 – #4 Miami @ FSU
W 28-24
The QB position at Miami is anything but certain at this point in the season. Mike Collins is expected to miss another 6 weeks. Nick Weber will get the start against the Seminoles – with Derek Smith or Jay Wheatley getting a shot should he struggle.

This was a close one down to the wire. With 0:14 left in the game, Gus Edwards was able to run it in to put the Canes up 28-24. Nick Weber threw for 253 yards and a TD with and INT. Weber also collected a rushing TD.

Week 11 – BYE
The Miami Hurricanes jumped to #2 in the polls. The formerly undefeated Florida Gators lost to Georgia and fell from #2 to #10. The Mississippi State Bulldogs fell from #3 to #9 after a loss to Texas A&M.

The BCS Top 10::

  • #1 Ohio State (8-0)
  • #2 Miami (8-1)
  • #3 Kansas State (7-1)
  • #4 Notre Dame (8-1)
  • #5 Virginia Tech (7-1)
  • #6 Rutgers (6-1)
  • #7 Arizona State (6-2)
  • #8 Nebraska (5-3)
  • #9 Mississippi State (8-1)
  • #10 Florida (7-1)

Week 12 – #2 Miami vs Georgia Tech
W 38-31
The Hurricanes hosted the Yellow Jackets for a classic trap game against and underperforming team. Nick Weber struggled at QB and was replaced after tossing his third interception of the day. Jay Wheatley replaced Weber, completing 7 of 9 passes for 116 yards. Robert Swain had a milestone moment happen in this game – surpassing Michael Irvin’s career touchdown record of 26 that was set in 1987.

Week 13 – #2 Miami vs Maryland
W 21-14

Despite having much less talent than Miami – Maryland was able to keep this game close until the final seconds. Jay Wheatley was able to scramble across the goal line with :03 seconds left on the clock to seal the win for the Hurricanes. Wheatley finished his day with 258 passing yards and three total TD’s. Tommy Hawthorne proved to be a reliable target for Wheatley – collecting 11 receptions for 127 yards and 2 TD.

Week 14 – #2 Miami vs #21 Florida
W 17-10
The Miami Hurricanes faced the Florida Gators in what was likely to be their last game prior to bowl season. Virginia Tech had the tiebreaker for the ACC Coastal division – after beating the Canes earlier this season. A Virginia Tech loss to Virginia would give the Canes a spot in the ACC Championship game.

Miami managed find themselves on the winning end of another one score game. Both offenses struggled, but the Canes were able to pull ahead in the final minute. Joe Simpson ran the ball in from 15 yards out to put the Hurricanes up 17-10. Greg Rosario intercepted a Hail Mary attempt from the Gators in the final seconds to seal the win.

Week 15 – BYE

Conference Championship Week
The BCS standings prior to conference championship games are below – teams are listed next to their conference championship opponent.

  • #1 Ohio State (12-0) vs #12 Minnesota (9-3)
  • #2 Miami (11-1)
  • #3 Notre Dame (10-1)
  • #4 Texas A&M (10-2)
  • #5 Virginia Tech (10-2) vs #11 Clemson (9-3)
  • #6 USC (9-3) vs Stanford (7-5)
  • #7 South Carolina (9-3) vs #9 Alabama (9-3)
  • #8 Rutgers (10-2)
  • #9 Alabama (9-3) vs #7 South Carolina (9-3)
  • #10 Oklahoma State (9-3)

As far as storylines go – I don’t see a path for any teams to jump the Miami Hurricanes for a spot in the National Championship. Miami appears to have lucked out by losing to Virginia Tech earlier in the season, rather than playing for the ACC title – the Hurricanes get an extra week off.

BCS Bowls

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

  • #1 Ohio State
  • #2 Miami
  • #3 Virginia Tech
  • #4 Notre Dame
  • #5 South Carolina
  • #6 Texas A&M
  • #7 Rutgers
  • #8 Oklahoma State
  • #9 Houston
  • #10 Mississippi State
  • Rose Bowl – #4 Notre Dame vs Stanford
  • Fiesta Bowl – #17 Kansas vs #9 Houston
  • Sugar Bowl – #5 South Carolina vs #7 Rutgers
  • Orange Bowl – #3 Virginia Tech vs #6 Texas A&M
  • BCS National Championship – #1 Ohio State vs #2 Miami

Bowl Season – BCS National Championship
The Rose Bowl
#1 Ohio State (13-0) vs #2 Miami (11-1)

The big story coming into the BCS National Championship – Mike Collins is healthy and ready to play. He appeared in Miami’s first five games of the season – before being inactive due to a back injury.

The Ohio State Buckeyes are lead by Heisman winner JT Barrett at QB. Additionally on offense, Ezekiel Elliot is the lead back in their system, with over 1500 yards this year. Joey Bosa leads the team on defense.

The last time Miami faced Ohio State was to open the 2016 regular season. The Hurricanes lost that game to the Buckeyes 45-42.

We have a BCS National Championship featuring the #1 offense vs the #1 defense. The Buckeyes average 504.5 yards per game on offense, while the Hurricanes only allow 262.3 yards per game on defense. Based on the numbers – Ohio State appears to be more balanced.

Miami received the opening kickoff and had a fantastic opening drive – only to waste it by giving the ball away in the red zone. On third and long Mike Collins floated a pass over the middle, and it was intercepted. Ohio State capitalized and drove right down the field to score on their first possession – getting out to a 7-0 lead.

Miami matched Ohio State with a touchdown of their own – ran in from a couple yards out by Charles Cohen. Ohio State answered back with a field goal to go up 10-7. Miami drove down the field and scored on a Gus Edwards fullback dive to go up 14-10 with 0:17 left in the first half.

Miami shut down Ohio State on their opening drive of the second half. The Canes drove down the field on a 13 play, 56 yard drive – milking 4:14 off the clock. This drive was capped off by another Gus Edwards fullback dive, this one on 4th and goal. Miami was up 21-10.

The Buckeyes answered with a long drive of their own – 9 plays for 79 yards. David Pearson ran it in for Ohio State. The Buckeyes went for two and the pass fell incomplete – the score was 21-16.

Miami responded with a 7 play 58 yard drive – scoring on a Mike Collins pass to Robert Swain. The Canes were up 28-16.

The Ohio State Buckeyes answered back once again – this time on a pass from JT Barrett to Dre Yancy. The 30 yard TD brought the score to 28-24.

Fortunately for the Hurricanes – they were able to recover the onside kick attempt. After a few clutch runs from Charles Cohen – the Canes were able to run out the clock.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

ACC – Virginia Tech
American – Rutgers
Big 12 – Kansas
Big Ten – Ohio State
Conference USA – Tulsa
MAC – Toledo
Mountain West – Air Force
PAC 12 – Stanford
SEC – South Carolina
Sun Belt – Arkansas State

HEISMAN

JT Barrett from Ohio State University won the Heisman Trophy in 2017. Barrett collected 2,060 total points on the 2017 ballot – including 511 first place votes. He surpassed the second place finisher by 457 points.

On the year, Barrett threw for 2,675 yards and ran for 606 yards – scoring 42 total TD in the process.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

#1Point Total#2Point TotalScoreChampion
Ohio State (13-0)1.000Miami (11-1)0.99228-23Miami

END OF SEASON RANKINGS

TeamRecordCoachesMedia
Miami12-1#1#1
Virginia Tech12-2#2#2
South Carolina11-3#3#3
Ohio State13-1#4#4
Oklahoma State10-3#5#5
Notre Dame10-2#6#6
Texas A&M10-3#7#7
Texas10-3#8#8
Rutgers10-3#9#10
Kansas10-3#10#9

MIAMI STATISTICS

Robert Swain set the school career reception mark at 177. Also the career receiving yards 3351. and touchdowns at 28

Mike Collins was able to set the NCAA record for highest QB rating in a single season – beating the previous record set by Marcus Mariota (202.3). Given his small sample size due to injury, it is hard to take that record from Collins too seriously.

They rest of our quarterbacks had decent seasons. Danny Johnson and Jay Wheatley put up similar passing numbers – Nick Weber was the least accurate, but most versatile of the group.

Charles Cohen proved to be a workhorse again for the Hurricanes. He was unable to match his numbers from his Heisman winning season – but still ran for a solid 1,511 yards and 15 TDs. Joe Simpson once again had limited carries, but found himself in the endzone often. Mike Collins proved to be quite the dual-threat QB – finding the endzone five times on the ground.

Robert Swain re-wrote the Miami record books this season. He is now the all-time leader in receptions (177), receiving yards (3,351), and receiving touchdowns (28) at the University of Miami. The previous record holders were Reggie Wayne (173 receptions), Santana Moss (2,546 yards) and Michael Irvin (26 TD).

Tommy Hawthorne had a solid season for us – and was a consistent threat in the red zone. Brandon Cade was another reliable receiver. It will be interesting to see what Cade and Hawthorne are able to achieve next season.

Alex Figueroa was the leader of the defense this year and he proved why – winning two national awards in the process. Figueroa put up 13 sacks – which would be 5th all time in the Miami record books.

Vince Davis had another solid season for us – although not quite to the level of his 2017 season – but still good.

Stacy Coley followed in the footsteps of those before him – taking home the Returner. of the Year award.

ACCOLADES

Bronco Nagurski Award – Alex Figueroa
Rotary Lombardi Award – Alex Figueroa
Ray Guy Award – Antoine Dotson
Returner of the Year – Stacy Coley

1st Team All-American – Alex Figueroa (LE), Al Quadin Muhammed (DT), Cameron Williams (MLB), Jamal Carter (FS), Antoine Dotson (P), Stacy Coley (RET)

2nd Team All-American – Robert Swain (TE)

Freshman All-American – Jonas Robinson (RE), Greg Rosario (CB)

1st Team All-ACC – Charles Cohen (HB), Tommy Hawthorne (WR), Robert Swain (TE), Chris Ford (C), Sunny Odogwu (RG), Alex Figueroa (LE), Al Quadin Muhammed (DT), Cameron Williams (MLB), Jamal Carter (FS), Antoine Dotson (P), Stacy Coley (RET)

2nd Team All-ACC – Alex Gall (LT), Marcus Wilson (LG), John Williams (RT), Jonas Robinson (RE), Jermaine Grace (ROLB), Damien Fountain (CB), Vince Davis (K)

RECRUITING

This was an off year for our recruiting class. We seem to have a pattern going where we fall off a bit after bringing in the #1 class. Signing the #7 class is nothing to be upset about though.

This group is headlined by three five-star talents – David Holly, Alex Powell, and David Jones. Powell initially comes in as a WR prospect – but our coaching staff is hoping to put his 6’7″ frame to use as a TE in the future. Holly and Jones hope to make an impact on our offensive line in the next couple of years.

While our staff did a good job of signing prospects from many different states – they neglected to recruit the state of Florida. If we want to build a dynasty, we have to make sure we sign in-state talent.

TRANSFERS

Justin Jones transferred to Wake Forest. He slated to be the punter for the Hurricanes for the next four seasons. Really odd decision for Jones to make – and he leaves a big hole for us to fill in our roster.

NFL DRAFT

Robert Swain – TE – 1st Round
Stacy Coley – WR – 2nd Round
Gus Edwards – FB – 3rd Round
Jamal Carter – FS – 5th Round
Antoine Dotson – P – 7th Round

COACHING CHANGES

Once again – both of our coordinators accepted positions elsewhere. I fully expected that to happen after winning a National Championship. Our DC Gary Anderson has accepted the head coaching job at Air Force. Warren Ruggerio, our OC, will now be in charge of the Ohio Bobcats.

Clarence McKinney comes in as our new OC. He was the head coach at West Virginia last season – he was fired for poor performance. Our new DC is Bob Stoops – he was let go after a sub-par season at Oklahoma.

NEXT YEAR

We capped off our fourth straight 10 win season with a National Championship. The expectation is now set – compete for the ACC title and a National Championship every single year. We return a number of starters in 2018 – are the Hurricanes poised to win back-to-back titles?

– Buzz