Spring Review -- Cornerbacks

Spring football is over and the Hurricanes are now going into Phase Three, which is summer conditioning. Lets review the cornerback play from the spring and what lies ahead.

The Players:
This was one of the thinnest positions on the entire team going into the spring. It certainly didn't help that Brandon McGee had a less-than-stellar winter conditioning performance that caused him to start the spring on the third team, after starting last season. McGee was able to recover with a solid spring and finished as the top cornerback on the depth chart.

Ladarius Gunter signed with Miami out of Fort Scott Junior College and made a quick adjustment to the major college level. His previous college experience probably helped and he had a solid spring, probably better than what most expected from him right away. He finished the spring as the starter opposite McGee.

Sophomore Thomas Finnie and freshman Larry Hope ended spring as the second team guys. Finnie saw action some as a true freshman last season, while Hope just enrolled in January. Senior Davon Johnson, who has spent time at both receiver and cornerback during his career, was the fifth cornerback on the depth chart to end spring.

Best Guess Depth Chart:
McGee and Gunter will likely start fall camp as the starters, with Finnie behind McGee and Hope behind Gunter.

What's Ahead:
The Hurricanes really need to get a strong senior season from McGee. He's the most experienced of the five and probably the most talented. He needs to become more of a leader and more of a playmaker. That would be a huge boost to the secondary. Gunter has a chance to be solid on the other side but will need to get pushed. That will happen beginning in the summer when five new faces join the mix at this position -- Deon Bush, Tracy Howard, Antonio Crawford, Nate Dortch, and Vernon Davis.

Davis will likely see his biggest role as a return specialist. Crawford's speed and ball skills should give him a chance to compete early on. However, it's Bush and Howard that will likely challenge for a starting spot as soon as they arrive. Bush will probably be the most talented cornerback on the roster in the fall but how quickly be picks up the defense will be the key. Howard is the most college-ready of the five incoming guys. Don't be surprised if he becomes the starter opposite McGee before the start of the season.


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