Several true freshmen making an impact for UM

Several true freshmen are playing key roles for the Hurricanes right now.

The Hurricanes signed what they felt was an outstanding recruiting class back in February and several of the players in it and playing key roles right now, led by true freshman Brad Kaaya.

Kaaya has completed 61-percent of his passes so far this season for 1,520 yards and 13 touchdown passes. He's also been picked off nine times. He ranks 38th nationally in passer rating.

"He’s doing really well," Al Golden said Tuesday. "I know he’d like to have a few throws back. I think he’s poised, distributing the football well. I’ve been around first year starters in my career who couldn’t do what he’s doing. He knows what he needs to fix. You never hear me call him a freshman quarterback. He’s our starting quarterback and it’s not OK to throw interceptions. Throw to your outlet, protect the ball but he can’t throw interceptions."

Running back Joseph Yearby has been involved in each of Miami's first six games but his touches have gone up and down throughout the season. He's carried the ball 35 times for 209 yards and no scores. He's also caught six passes for 85 yards and one score.

The Hurricanes signed four wide receivers and Braxton Berrios is the one getting the most work. He's caught 17 passes for 185 yards and three scores. The other three have combined for zero catches.

"Braxton is an incredibly savvy player," Golden said. "He’s hard working and is all about production right now."

Offensive lineman Nick Linder was inserted into the Duke game when Taylor Gadbois went down with an injury. He won the battle for the fifth starter spot last week in practice and played every snap of the Georgia Tech game at left guard.

"Nick was ready for his opportunity," Golden said. "I kept watching it to see if I had to put Feliciano inside. He held up. He’s strong."

On the defensive side of the ball, the Hurricanes are using four freshmen on the defensive line -- Chad Thomas, Trent Harris, Anthony Moten, and Courtel Jenkins.

While Jenkins was the least heavily recruited of the three, he's been the one who's played the most through six games. He has 10 tackles on the season. Harris has nine tackles including one behind the line of scrimmage. Thomas has two tackles and Moten has one. The coaches didn't use Moten in Saturday's game and Golden talked about why.

"We didn’t want to slow down Moten’s progress so we moved him to the scout team. We expect him to play a lot this week."

Darrion Owens has played a lot of snaps at linebacker and has 12 tackles in five games. He's often the first linebacker off the bench.

Several other freshmen have played smaller roles -- mainly on special teams -- but a few have yet to see the field. Malik Rosier, David Njoku, Joe Brown, Demetrius Jackson, Terry McCray, Michael Smith, and Ryan Mays are all on track to redshirt this season.


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