Building A Dynasty: The 2018 Miami Hurricanes

RECAPPING 2017

  • The Miami Hurricanes finished the 2017 season with a 12-1 record.
  • Virginia Tech beat Clemson in the ACC championship game.
  • JT Barrett from Ohio State won the Heisman Trophy.
  • Miami defeated Ohio State 28-24 in the BCS title game.
Pasadena, CA – Mike Collins celebrates winning the BCS National Championship after the Miami Hurricanes beat the Ohio State Buckeyes 28-24.

Follow the links to catch up on previous seasons; 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

RECENT HISTORY

The Miami Hurricanes have won ten or more games four years in a row. Last season was our best year so far, capped off with a BCS National Championship win over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Coach History

I have been in charge of this program for five seasons now. Our team has a 54-13 record during that span. Against top 25 opponents we hold an 18-6 record, including 4-1 in bowl games.

CUT PLAYERS

Heading into this season our roster was at 74 players – forcing us to cut just four from our squad.

Our biggest loss was the 10th best prospect in our recent recruiting class – Will Clark. The thee-star strong safety out of Mississippi was unable to impress our staff and will need to find a roster spot elsewhere.

PRE SEASON

Conference Prestige

FBS conferences are ranked based on the preseason rankings of all schools in each given conference. The average ranking for teams in each conference can be found in parenthesis.

  • #1 Big Ten (14.2)
  • #2 SEC (14.2)
  • #3 ACC (19.7)
  • #4 PAC 12 (20.0)
  • #5 Big 12 (34.2)
  • #6 American (54.2)
  • #7 MWC (64.3)
  • #8 Sun Belt (66.3)
  • #9 C-USA (72.7)
  • #10 MAC 73.8)

Preseason Polls

  • #1 Miami (33)
  • #2 Ohio State (24)
  • #3 Texas A&M (2)
  • #4 Notre Dame (1)
  • #5 South Carolina (1)
  • #6 Virginia Tech
  • #7 Clemson
  • #8 Texas
  • #9 Michigan
  • #10 Oklahoma State

Preseason All-Americans

Cameron Williams and Damien Fountain are our two senior leaders on defense, both players appear on the preseason All-American first team. Charles Cohen is on the preseason 2nd team – he is hoping to return to his Heisman form in 2018. Joining those three players on the All-ACC team are Chris Ford, Vince Davis, John Williams, and Marcus Wilson.

Heisman Watch List

George Ball, a senior runningback from the University of Oregon, is the early favorite to win the Heisman trophy. Ball ran for 1,403 yards and 13 TDs during his junior campaign. Iowa State senior HB Sean Lamb is also on the watchlist, running for 1,888 yards and 23 TDs in 2017. Redshirt senior Eddie Turner from Stanford received national attention with his 1,393 yards and 12 TDs last year. Charles Cohen is hoping to reclaim the trophy he won as a freshman – he ran fro 1,885 yards and 22 TDs during his Heisman winning season – along with 1,511 yards and 15 TDs last year. The lone QB with decent early odds is Nick Levine from Clemson – in 2017 he threw for 3,004 yards and 31 TDs.

Schedule

The Hurricanes will once again use their non-conference games to go barnstorming. They will play games in Reliant Stadium, AT&T Stadium, and The Georgia Dome.

The Advocare Texas Kickoff – Reliant Stadium
#1 Miami vs #3 Texas A&M

This season opener features two recent National Champions. Texas A&M won the 2014 title – while Miami won it all in 2017.

The Cowboys Kickoff Classic – AT&T STadium
#1 Miami vs #2 Ohio State

The second week of the season brings a rematch of last year’s BCS National Championship. The Hurricanes came away from that one with a 28-24 victory.

Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – Georgia Dome
#1 Miami vs #4 Notre Dame

Miami and Notre Dame meet in the Georgia Dome. Notre Dame holds the series lead at 16-7-1. The last game between these two teams was in Chicago in 2012, with Notre Dame winning 41-3.

The rest of the 2018 schedule can be seen below:

The Miami Hurricanes have once again pieced together the toughest non-conference schedule in the nation. Neutral site games against Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Notre Dame are tough enough – add to that a road game in Gainesville agaisnt the rival Florida Gators.

Depth Chart

OFFENSE – 99 OVR

BOLD = Captain

The Miami Hurricanes are led on offense by Mike Collins at QB. This will be his 4th season starting for the Canes. Collins has a history of lingering injuries – Jay Wheatley will be first in line to replace collins should anything happen. Charles Cohen will once again pair with Joe Simpson and Andre Wise at HB this season. Cohen will be the lead back once again, and he is hoping to return to the national spotlight after a down year in 2017. Aaron Pittman replaces Gus Edwards at FB – he may prove to be a more versatile weapon from the FB position. At receiver, Brandon Cade and Tommy Hawthorne will start for us, with Justin Fontaine and Gavin Wise alternating in the slot. Zachary Harper finally gets his chance to start at TE – he has big shoes to fill with Robert Swain now playing in the NFL. The captain of our OL is Chris Ford – who is entering his 4th year starting for us at C. Marcus Wilson and John Williams are the other returning starters on our OL – Scott Washington and Billy Cruz will start for the Canes on the right side of the line.

DEFENSE – 99 OVR

BOLD = Captain

We have five returning starters on defense. Jonas Robinson moves over to LE after starting at RE last season – he will be our primary threat to get to the QB. Our other returning starters are Cole Dickson, Jermaine Meyer, Cameron Williams, and Damien Fountain. Jamal Reid was the primary backup LB last season – he makes the move to RE in 2018. At ROLB, Antonio Mitchell beat out James Wade for the starting spot.

Our secondary is much younger than last season – but still in good shape. Fountain is the leader of the group – Mike Robinson will start alongside him at CB. Greg Rosario moves from CB to get the start at FS, and Nick Givens is finally getting a chance to start at SS after backing up Artie Burns and Jamal Carter last year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Vince Davis is taking on a huge role with special teams this year, not only is he our kicker, he also has to replace Antoine Dotson as our punter in 2018.

REDSHIRT PLAYERS

The 2018 recruiting class was ranked 7th in the country – and all players joining the Canes will be redshirting this season. Freddie Howard is also forced to take a year off after transferring to Miami from Oklahoma.

RESULTS

Week 1 – #1 Miami vs #3 Texas A&M
The Advocare Texas Kickoff – Reliant Stadium
W 38-14
The Hurricanes overcame some adversity to start their season off with a win. Mike Collins was knocked out of the game with a concussion late in the 2nd quarter. Jay Wheatley replaced him going 14/19 for 173 yards and 2 total TDs – one through the air and one on the ground.

Week 2 – #1 Miami vs #2 Ohio State
Cowboys Kickoff Classic – AT&T Stadium
W 30-23

A dominant defense led the Canes to win over the Buckeyes – and it wasn’t as close as the final score made it seem. Mike Collins threw for 242 yards and a TD while running for 43 yards. Brandon Payne led the defense with seven tackles and one INT.

Week 3 – BYE

Week 4 – #1 Miami vs #2 Notre Dame
Chick-fil-A Kickoff – Georgia Dome
W 66-9

The Fighting Irish traveled to the Georgia Dome for an utter ass-kicking. Miami jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead. The Hurricanes scored 66 total points in this one – including a Gavin Wise kick-return TD and a Greg Rosario pick 6.

Week 5 – #1 Miami @ Maryland
W 42-17
Mike Collins was the star of this one. He threw for 245 yards and 2 TD, while also rushing for 2 TD.

Week 6 – #1 Miami @ #18 Georgia Tech
W 28-24

Georgia Tech was in command of the game – and knocking on the door of an upset all night long. On defense, they were able to get to Mike Collins often – sacking him 8 times. Late in the 3rd quarter the Yellow Jackets jumped to a 24-14 lead. Miami chipped away, scoring on a Charles Cohen run early in the 4th quarter to make the score 24-21. The Hurricanes were able to get the ball back after stopping the Georgia Tech offense. With 1:17 left in the game, Joe Simpson scampered in from 18 yards out to put the Canes up 28-24.

Week 7 – #1 Miami vs Florida State
W 27-10
Jonas Robinson had a huge game for the Hurricanes, setting a school record with 5 sacks. On offense, Charles Cohen set the tone with 120 yards and 3 TD on just 16 carries.

Week 8 – #1 Miami vs Virginia
W 44-6

Despite the large margin of victory – Miami barely escaped this game without a huge loss. Mike Collins left the game in the 3rd quarter with a strained shoulder. Jay Wheatley replaced Collins and was 4/5 for 109 yards and 2 TD.

Week 9 – #1 Miami vs Duke
W 63-17

The first set of BCS rankings came out this week:

  • #1 Miami (7-0)
  • #2 South Carolina (7-0)
  • #3 Michigan (6-0)
  • #4 Penn State (6-0)
  • #5 Rutgers (5-0)
  • #6 Clemson (5-1) – loss to Notre Dame
  • #7 Notre Dame (5-1) – loss to Miami
  • #8 Virginia Tech (5-1) loss to Washington
  • #9 Georgia (6-1) – loss to South Carolina
  • #10 Washington (5-1) – loss to Oregon State

Mike Collins threw for 343 yards and 3 TD – breaking Brad Kaaya’s career passing yards record in the process. Charles Cohen was also impressive, running for 113 yards and 4 TD.

Week 10 – BYE

Week 11 – #1 Miami @ #18 Virginia Tech
W 35-17
Zach Harper went off against the Hokies – hauling in 6 receptions for 181 yards and 2 TD.

Week 12 – #1 Miami @ #15 Florida
W 31-28
Another close game against the Gators. Charles Cohen was once again the star of the game – running for 202 yards and 4 TD. A potential Heisman moment for him came in the 3rd quarter, when Cohen broke away for an 85 yard TD..

Week 13 – #1 Miami vs North Carolina
W 42-10

Mike Collins showed off his dual-threat capabilities against the Tar Heels – throwing for 226 yards and a TD, while rushing for 70 yards and a TD. Charles Cohen had his second consecutive 4 TD game – running for 147 yards in the process.

Week 14 – #1 Miami vs Pitt
W 56-28
Pitt jumped out to a 14-0 lead, but that wasn’t enough to stop the Hurricanes. Mike Collins threw for 356 yards and 4 TD, while rushing for one more. His favorite target was Zach Harper, who hauled in 5 receptions for 176 yards – 84 of those yards came on his lone TD.

Week 15 – BYE
Despite remaining undefeated, the Miami Hurricanes fell to #2 in the rankings this week. The South Carolina Gamecocks are the only other undefeated team – and they jumped to #1 after beating #7 Clemson last week.

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

  • #1 South Carolina (12-0) vs #6 Alabama (10-2)
  • #2 Miami (12-0) vs #7 Clemson (10-2)
  • #3 Washington (11-1)
  • #4 Georgia (11-1)
  • #5 Oregon State (11-1) vs #19 USC (8-4)


ACC Championship
#1 Miami vs #7 Clemson
W 36-21
There is a lot on the line for the Hurricanes heading into the ACC championship. A win gets them to their second straight BCS Title Game. A loss and the Hurricanes could find themselves falling all the way to #5 in the rankings. Charles Cohen also has a chance to win his second Heisman trophy – he is likely to win the award with a strong ACC Championship Game performance.

The Miami Hurricanes jumped out to a 13-7 lead at halftime following a 61 yard field goal by Vince Davis. The rushing attack of the Canes stole the show in the second half. Charles Cohen finished the game with 161 rushing yards and a TD, while Mike Collins ran for 88 yards and a TD.

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

  • #1 South Carolina
  • #2 Miami
  • #3 Washington
  • #4 Georgia
  • #5 Texas
  • #6 Ohio State
  • #7 Army
  • #8 Oregon State
  • #9 Notre Dame
  • #10 USC
  • Rose Bowl – #6 Ohio State vs #10 USC
  • Fiesta Bowl – #5 Texas vs #14 Rutgers
  • Sugar Bowl – #3 Washington vs #9 Notre Dame
  • Orange Bowl – #4 Georgia vs #7 Army
  • BCS National Championship – #1 South Carolina vs #2 Miami

Bowl Season – BCS National Championship
The Fiesta Bowl
#1 South Carolina (13-0) vs #2 Miami (13-0)

W 27-24

The Miami Hurricanes are playing in their second consecutive BCS National Championship game. The Canes have won 20 consecutive games – dating all the way back to their Week 5 overtime loss to Virginia tech in 2017.

The South Carolina Gamecocks stormed through the SEC this year, beating ranked teams like #4 Georgia, #12 Alabama, #18 Vanderbilt – and even #13 Clemson in an out of conference rivalry game. On offense the Gamecocks are led by Redshirt Junior Quarterback Chris Robbins – who passed for 3,300 yards and 36 TD with 6 INT.

Despite being ranked #2 in the BCS standings – the Canes should be the heavy favorite in this one. They are led on offense by Charles Cohen, who was just awarded his second Heisman Trophy. Along with Cohen, Miami had eleven other players on the All-American team.

Miami scored on their first possession – Mike Collins connected with FB Aaron Pittman on a 58 yard TD pass. This was all made possible by a huge play on 4th and 2, when Collins scrambled for a first down to keep the drive alive.

South Carolina responded with a steady drive down the field – capped off by a Chris Robbins touchdown run from two yards out.

Miami drove down the field – only to be picked off on 2nd and goal. Jared Fulton took the interception 94 yards the other way, giving the Gamecocks a 14-7 lead.

After another great drive down the field – the Canes once again turned the ball over – Mike Collins fumbled the ball away on the five yard line. Collins was also injured on the play and left for the locker room with a bruised knee.

The Miami defense made a huge stand. Nick Givens took down the South Carolina ball carrier for a safety with 0:54 left in the half. After receiving the punt, Jay Wheatley led the Canes down the field to South Carolina’s 20 yard line. Mike Collins returned to the game following a timeout. After getting the Canes to the 5 yard line – Collins turned the ball over once again. South Carolina ran out the clock and took a 14-9 lead into the locker room.

South Carolina started with the ball in the second half. They extended their lead with a field goal to go up 17-9.

Miami started their drive, and Collins once again left injured – with a bruised shoulder this time. Jay Wheatley drove the squad down the field – and they were finally able to punch it in on a one yard Charles Cohen plunge. The Canes tied the game when they went for two and converted with a Wheatley to Gavin Wise slant pass. The score was now 17-17 with 0:54 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Miami defense made a stop – and Gavin Wise returned a punt 40 yards to give the Canes the ball back at the South Carolina 33 yard line. On 3rd and 8, Collins connected with Joe Simpson on a 20 yard wheel route to go up 24-17.

The Gamecocks responded with a touchdown of their own – with Chris Robbins connecting with Ty George on a 14 yard TD with 2:32 left in the game.

Miami received the kickoff and started their drive off hot – Mike Collins scrambled for 35 yards to get the ball to the South Carolina 42 yard line. On 3rd and 8 – Collins completed a pass to Brandon Cade for a first down. Collins injured his back in the process and was out for the rest of the game.

Jay Wheately took over with 1:32 left and the ball on the South Carolina 31 yard line. Miami ran the clock down and got the ball up to the 26 yard line with 0:04 left in the BCS National Championship Game. Vince Davis nailed the 43 yard field goal to win the game for the Canes as time expired, giving them a 27-24 win – and a second consecutive national title.

Mike Collins was named the player of the game – while Jay Wheatley was impressive in his absence, going 7/8 with 87 yards.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

ACC – Miami
American – Rutgers
Big 12 – Texas
Big Ten – Ohio State
Conference USA – Mid Tenn State
MAC – Central Michigan
Mountain West – Hawaii
PAC 12 – USC
SEC – South Carolina
Sun Belt – Western Kentucky

HEISMAN

Charles Cohen from the University of Miami won the Heisman Trophy in 2018. Cohen collected 2,236 total points on the 2018 ballot – including 673 first place votes. He surpassed the second place finisher by 1,147 points.

On the year, Cohen rushed for 1,512 yards – scoring 29 TD in the process.

This was the second Heisman Trophy for Charles Cohen, who also won the award in 2016.

NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

#1Point Total#2Point TotalScoreChampion
South Carolina (13-0)1.000Miami (13-0)0.992527-24Miami

END OF SEASON RANKINGS

TeamRecordCoachesMedia
Miami14-0#1#1
Georgia12-1#2#2
South Carolina13-1#3#3
Texas10-3#4#6
Ohio State11-3#5#4
Notre Dame9-3#6#5
Oregon State12-2#7#8
Washington11-2#8#7
Alabama11-3#9#10
Oregon10-3#10#9

MIAMI STATISTICS

Despite all of his lingering injuries, Mike Collins finished his Miami career with a solid season. Collins also broke two school records during his 2018 season. He surpassed Brad Kaaya’s (’16) record for career passing yards which was set at 9,968 yards – it now stands at 11,217 yards. Ken Dorsey’s (’02) record of 86 passing touchdowns was also bested – and the record is set at 96.

Charles Cohen had a great season – winning his second Heisman Trophy. He set the Miami single season rushing TD record, scoring 30 times in 2018. Cohen also surpassed the career record of 4,951 yards that was set by Duke Johnson (’15). Mike Collins was an incredible dual-threat QB for the Canes, rushing for 660 yards and 6 TD. Joe Simpson had his best season yet, averaging 7.7 yards per carry.

We were able to replace a Mackey Award winning TE with another award winning TE in 2018. Zach Harper was impressive in his only year starting – accumulating 1,262 receiving yards in the process. Justin Fontaine ended up as our most reliable receiver – hauling in 48 catches for 604 yards and 5 TD.

Cameron Williams went off in 2018 – nearly doubling his total tackles (43) from the year before. Jonas Robinson was unstoppable at LE – tying Danny Stubbs (’86) for most sacks in a single season at Miami. Nick Givens went from a relatively unknown to winning the Jim Thorpe Award.

Our kicking game was great in 2018 – and Vince Davis proved to be clutch for the Canes. He made a career long 61 yard field goal, along with a game winning kick in the BCS National Championship.

Gavin Wise took home the Returner of the Year Award – just one more in the long line of returners winning awards for the Hurricanes.

ACCOLADES

Heisman Memorial Trophy – Charles Cohen
Walter Camp Award – Charles Cohen
Doak Walker Running Back Award – Charles Cohen
John Mackey Award – Zachary Harper
Outland Trophy – Chris Ford
Rimington Trophy – Chris Ford
Bronco Nagurski Award – Jonas Robinson
Rotary Lombardi Award – Jonas Robinson
Linebacker of the Year – Cameron Williams
Chuck Bednarik Award – Nick Givens
Jim Thorpe Award – Nick Givens
Returner of the Year – Gavin Wise

1st Team All-American – Charles Cohen (HB), Zachary Harper (TE), Chris Ford (C), Jonas Robinson (LE), Jamal Reid (RE), Cole Dickson (DT), Cameron Williams (MLB), Antonio Mitchell (ROLB), Brandon Payne (CB), Greg Rosario (FS), Nick Givens (SS), Gavin Wise (RET)

2nd Team All-American – Marcus Wilson (LG)

Freshman All-American – Brandon Payne (CB), Clint Taylor (CB)

1st Team All-ACC – Charles Cohen (HB), Zachary Harper (TE), John Williams (LT), Marcus Wilson (LG), Chris Ford (C), Scott Washington (RG), Billy Cruz (RT), Jonas Robinson (LE), Jamal Reid (RE), Cole Dickson (DT), Cameron Williams (MLB), Antonio Mitchell (ROLB), Brandon Payne (CB), Greg Rosario (FS), Nick Givens (SS), Gavin Wise (RET)

2nd Team All-ACC – Mike Collins (QB), Dan Williams (RT), Ryan Cole (DT), Mike Robinson (CB), Damien Fountain (CB), Vince Davis (K)

RECRUITING

The class of 2019 is incredibly top heavy. A select few of our signings are the best in the class – while others will be long term projects.

The prize of this group is the #1 prospect in the country, John Brown. Although listed as an athlete, Brown is likely to follow in the footsteps of another #1 overall prospect (Mike Collins) and play QB for the Hurricanes. Willie Rogers and Steve Little may prove to be two of the more impactful recruits from this class – they will be fighting for playing time as early as next year. Tim Smith is another highly touted recruit – he will hopefully find his way into the backfield rotation in 2020.

The Miami coaching staff brought their focus closer to home for this recruiting class. It would be nice to see them develop more of a stronghold in southeast states like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

TRANSFERS

There were no transfers in or out following the 2018 season.

NFL DRAFT

Mike Collins – QB – 1st Round
Brandon Cade – WR – 2nd Round
Andre Wise – HB – 3rd Round
Danny Johnson – QB – 4th Round
Cameron Williams – MLB – 4th Round
Chris Ford – C – 5th Round
Joe Simpson – HB – 5th Round
Jermaine Meyer – LOLB – 5th Round

A few Hurricanes that found limited playing time during their careers at Miami were taken in the 2019 NFL Draft. Andre Wise found himself behind Charles Cohen and Joe Simpson his entire career, but was still taken in the 3rd Round. Danny Johnson, who played himself out of the backup role during the 2017 season – was taken in the 4th round. This is a good sign for recruits – even if you don’t play a significant number of snaps you can still get drafted from The U.

COACHING CHANGES

The coordinators from Miami were once again on the move this offseason. Bob Stoops was hired as the new head coach at Michigan State, while Clarence McKinney is now the head coach at Ole Miss. Miami brought in Jimbo Fisher from Florida State to be the new OC, and Mark Dantonio from Michigan State to be the new DC.

NEXT YEAR

Five straight 10 win seasons and back-to-back National Championships. Is this the new normal in Coral Gables?

– Buzz