Canes Football Blog: 5/8

The Hurricanes lost seven players who were drafted last weekend. Lets take a look at who their replacements are expected to be in Miami's 2015 lineup, and what can be expected of them.

Seven Hurricanes were drafted last weekend -- five were seniors and two were juniors. Lets take a look at their expected replacements in 2015.

Ereck Flowers -- A four-star recruit out of Miami Norland High, Flowers came to Miami and immediately worked his way into the starting lineup. He started four games at right tackle as a true freshman in 2012 before becoming the team's left tackle over the last two seasons. He developed into one of the best left tackles the school's ever produced. Trevor Darling, a four-star recruit out of Miami Central High last year, emerged as the front-runner to win the job back in the spring. At 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, he has ideal size you look for. While he's not as athletic as Flowers and doesn't have the same level of footwork, Darling is fresh off a solid spring and should continue developing into a nice replacement. He doesn't quite have Flowers' upside and won't be at that elite level right away but he's considered a solid prospect there.

Phillip Dorsett -- A three-star recruit out of St Thomas Aquinas High, Dorsett was not even considered the top wide receiver prospect on his own team. That was Rashad Greene, a four-star who went onto have a record-setting career at Florida State. Dorsett was drafted in the first round last weekend while Greene went in round five. Dorsett's game was predicated on his elite speed. He became a full-time starter at the beginning of his sophomore season. He missed the second half of his junior season with an injury but otherwise was among the leading receivers in the ACC. While the Canes have several options at the wide receiver position heading into the summer, Rashawn Scott is actually the most proven, despite missing nearly all of last season with an injury. He's a different style of receiver than Dorsett, though, which means Dorsett's replacement will need to be someone who can stretch the field vertically like he did so well over the last few years. The only two receivers on Miami's roster capable of doing that are Stacy Coley and Herb Waters. Coley has more upside, and should be considered Kaaya's top downfield threat. His sophomore season was up-and-down so it's tough to predict how his 2015 will go. Coley has a big upside but it's hard to imagine he'll be able to scare opposing defenses down the field like Dorsett did in 2014.

Denzel Perryman -- A four-star recruit out of Coral Gables High, Perryman started a handful of games in each of his first two seasons here before becoming a full-time starter at the start of the 2013 season. He moved to mike linebacker as a senior and had an outstanding season which ended in him being a Butkus Award Finalist as one of the nation's best linebackers. Raphael Kirby was a starter on the outside as a junior last season and while he wasn't around the ball as much and didn't make as many tackles as Perryman, he showed some flash. He caused a couple fumbles and had a couple interceptions. He's probably more athletic than Perryman but simply doesn't have the instincts or the hard-hitting ability as the 2nd round pick. Kirby knows this defense and should be ready for a strong senior season. Projecting him to become a Butkus Fianlist is unrealistic so there will likely be a downgrade in production at this spot.

Clive Walford -- A three-star recruit coming out of Glades Central High, Walford wasn't even the most heavily recruited tight end in Palm Beach County that year. Nick O'Leary, a 6th round pick, was. Walford started a handful of games as a true freshman before having a breakout sophomore season in 2012. After a solid junior season, he became an All-American caliber tight end as a senior in 2014. He became one of the most productive tight ends in all of college football and one of the most productive in school history. Standish Dobard will be asked to be Walford's replacement. A former four-star recruit from the state of Louisiana, Dobard has all the physical tools you look for in a big time tight end prospect. In terms of ability, he's the total package like Walford. Assuming he develops the trust of James Coley and Kaaya early in the season, there's no reason to think that Dobard won't be able to have the type of season Walford had in 2014. Dobard is a popular pick to have a breakout season in 2015.

Duke Johnson -- A former five-star recruit out of Miami Norland High, Johnson had an outstanding career at Miami. He did it in the return game early in his career in addition to being an elite running back. His 2,000+ yards and 13 touchdowns of offense were among the best in all of college football. Concerns over his durability and lack of elite speed dropped him into the third round but Johnson is one of the top few players to ever wear a Hurricane uniform. Replacing him will be a huge task, and it'll fall on the shoulders of Joe Yearby. Sure, Gus Edwards finished spring as the team's No. 1 RB on the depth chart but he's not Duke and Yearby is the closest thing. Similar in size, Yearby lacks Johnson's speed but has outstanding vision, instincts, and pass-catching skills. Still, it'll be a tall order replacing a player of Johnson's caliber and while Yearby has a chance to put up solid numbers this coming season, it's unrealistic to think he'll be close to what Duke was.

Jonathan Feliciano -- A former three-star recruit out of Western High, Feliciano became a starter as a redshirt freshman in 2011. He ended his career by starting 46 games for the Canes. He played some at both guard spots as well as some at right tackle. He brought a tremendous amount of toughness and leadership to the position along with his natural physical tools. Replacing him won't be easy from all three standpoints. Alex Gall earned that opportunity with a solid spring. Danny Isidora might or might not have a better season than Gall in 2015 but either way, they both lack the toughness, leadership, experience, and versatility that Feliciano brought to the table. While those two have a chance to make a solid tandem in 2015, replacing Feliciano will be extremely tough.

Anthony Chickillo -- A former five-star recruit out of Alonso High in Tampa, Chick became a freshman starter in 2011 as an undersized defensive end. He went on to start every game from 2012-2014, having gained over 40 pounds in the process. He was also asked to play strongside end in Miami's 3-4 hybrid defense, which meant his role was often to simply engage opposing blockers. He finished with just 15.5 career sacks but lost some weight after his senior season and looked very sharp in pro workouts and all-star games. Chad Thomas will be Chick's replacement on the strong-side. Thomas has more athleticism than Chick but won't have the game experience that Chick brought to the table heading into the 2014 season. Thomas could be an outstanding pass rusher in a 4-3 scheme that let him get upfield after the quarterback but it remains to be seen if he'll be asked to do the same thing Chick was asked to do over the last few years. Still, Thomas has every bit the upside and more to have a strong 2015 season and beyond.


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