DT play improved and with a brighter future

Miami really struggled getting production from the interior of its defensive line in each of Al Golden's first three seasons. Things have started changing this season but it's still not where it needs to be. CanesTime's Mike Bakas breaks down their play from the first half of the season.

1. Olsen Pierre -- The leader of this group because of his experience inside, Pierre is turning in another solid season. A very lightly recruited kid who was actually once part of Al Golden's commitment list at Temple, Pierre has made steady progress throughout his entire career. He's never been a real difference maker but he's been solid all along and his senior season has likely put him somewhere in the middle rounds of next April's NFL Draft. He's expected to continue playing rock solid football inside for the rest of the season.

2. Ufomba Kamalu -- The one-time MVP of a Junior College national championship game, Kamalu played defensive end last season but added a good amount of weight and strength and turned in a very impressive fall camp. He's played in every game (started against Georgia Tech) and has made a handful of plays behind the line of scrimmage. He's the most athletic interior lineman on the roster and is the best pass rusher of the group. He's not in the starting lineup because the team typically starts a nose tackle but Kamalu is developing really well and is having a fine season as the team's top backup. He's still learning the game in some ways and so look for him to continue making good strides. Like with Pierre, this turned out to be a very good recruiting find for the Canes.

3. Calvin Heurtelou -- A Junior College transfer who started school here in the spring, Heurtelou turned in a solid spring and then edged out the other nose tackles for the starting job right away. He's started all but the Georgia Tech game and has done a decent job so far. He has tremendous strength and should continue improving as the season goes along.

4. Courtel Jenkins -- A lightly recruited player from the state of New Jersey in last year's recruiting class, Jenkins was a pleasant surprise during fall camp. He was able to get ahead of Mike Wyche in the rotation and saw the field earlier and more often than A.J. Moten. He has ideal size and strength to play the nose and has shown an impressive motor. He's been fairly active inside and has seen action in every game except for Georgia Tech. All early indications are that he has a bright future and was a very good recruiting find by Miami's coaching staff.

5. Anthony Moten -- A heavily recruited player from South Florida in last year's recruiting class, Moten saw his first action of the season in a backup role against Florida A&M. He's played in three of the last four games and Coach D'Onofrio singled him out over the weekend as a player they're excited about moving forward. He's a very talented kid with a bright future and should see the field more and more as the season goes along.

6. Michael Wyche -- A Junior College transfer didn't arrive until the summer and that hurt his chances of jumping into the rotation right away. He worked hard to get his weight down and his conditioning up and he's slowly starting to get worked in. He's played in four games as the team's third nose tackle. Look for him to continue making a solid progression as the season wears on and he'll have a chance to make a big jump in the spring.

7. Corey King -- The junior has only played in two of the first seven games of the season. A late addition to Al Golden's first recruiting class at Miami, King was a lightly recruited player from Palm Beach County who has never been able to break into the regular rotation.

8. Earl Moore -- The junior is buried on the depth chart and has not played in a single game this season. Don't be surprised if he left or transferred after the season.

Related Story:

Evaluating Miami's D-End play

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