Depth Chart Analysis: Defense

The Hurricanes released their first fall depth chart this afternoon. Read on for a complete, in-depth analysis of the defense version from CanesTime's Mike Bakas.

DE: Anthony Chickillo is the most experienced player on Miami's defense so it comes as no surprise that he remains the starter at one defensive end spot. It is a bit surprising, however, that Trent Harris is listed ahead of both Tyriq McCord and Quan Muhammad on the other side. From all reports, Harris had a strong summer and is having a solid fall camp. Whether he ends up starting or not, it's clear that he will play a role -- especially in pass-rushing situations. The Canes now have three edge rushers who can also play outside 'backer in a 3-4 alignment. It's likely only a matter of time before Chad Thomas passes Jelani Hamilton as Chick's primary backup.

DT: Olsen Pierre is Miami's most proven player inside, so it comes as no surprise that he's listed as one of the starters. Calvin Heurtelou, a 320-pounder with ideal strength, is listed as the other starter. That means he has the current edge over fellow Juco transfer Michael Wyche and junior Earl Moore. Wyche is still getting adjusted and Moore's been average his first few years here so it's hard to tell what will happen at this spot. Interestingly, Ufomba Kamalu has been moved inside after playing end last season and in the spring. A lot of people expected Anthony Moten to factor into the rotation here but he's been unable to break into the top four after the first two weeks of fall camp. Even as the fifth guy, he could log key minutes.

LB: Denzel Perryman is one of the best linebackers Miami's had in a long time. Now in the middle, he's expected to have a big senior season. He's having that type of camp, too. Thurston Armbrister has the edge over Darrion Owens at sam, mainly because of the experience factor. Owens is a more talented player but the coaches put a lot of emphasis on understanding the system on this side of the ball. Raphael Kirby continues holding off the competition from Jermaine Grace at will but both players are expected to play a lot this fall. When Walter Tucker's playing fullback, Juwon Young will play behind Perryman in the middle. While Terry McCray and Michael Smith aren't listed, there simply isn't enough depth here to think about those two redshirting. They'll likely play a role on special teams and try breaking into the linebacker rotation.

CB: Tracy Howard and Ladarius Gunter were the two primary starters here last season so it's no surprise that they are the two starters at this stage of the game. Howard should be one of the league's best corners this fall, while Gunter has an experience edge over the rest of the competition. Antonio Crawford will likely resume his role as the team's nickel back, while Artie Burns is the most likely to challenge Gunter for a starting spot. All appear to be having solid camps. Corn Elder is the fifth corner here and he should play a key role. Kiy Hester and especially Ray Lewis don't appear to be ready to break into the top five yet.

S: Rayshawn Jenkins is done for the season, after starting 12 games last season. It's a big blow in terms of the experience he provides. However, Miami has three potentially good players here in Deon Bush, Jamal Carter, and Dallas Crawford. Bush has shown flashes of excellence and is healthy again. Carter might be the most talented of the bunch. Crawford has a great understanding of the defense and provides quality leadership. If an injury occurs here, things get a bit thin. Marques Gayot is next in line but he likely won't be any more ready than Carter (who barely played) was last season. The Canes will need to stay healthy here. Hester or Ryan Mays, who isn't listed on the depth chart either, could also flip from corner to safety in case of an injury to one of the three main guys.


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