Next Man Up (Joe Yearby)

The Hurricanes are losing 11 seniors from its 2016 team, and 3 juniors have declared for the NFL Draft. It's time for us to take a closer look at who will be replacing those 14 players. This piece focuses on replacing running back Joe Yearby.

Gone: RB Joe Yearby
Yearby came to the University of Miami as a five-star running back from Miami Central. He actually started in an offensive backfield in high school that also included Florida State phenom Dalvin Cook. After running for 509 yards and a score as a true freshman, Yearby had somewhat of a breakout sophomore season in 2015 when he ran for over 1,000 yards and six scores. Although he improved his touchdown numbers (6 to 7) and yards per carry (4.9 to 6.0) in 2016, his involvement in Mark Richt's offense went way down (228 total touches to 132). He was clearly Miami's second running back this season but he wasn't even close to seeing the same amount of playing time as Mark Walton. 

Yearby announced a few weeks ago that he will be entering the NFL Draft. According to most draft experts, Yearby is not likely to be drafted in April but could still make an NFL roster as a free agent. 

Next Man Up: Robert Burns
It's clear this backfield belongs to Walton heading into the offseason. Who will replace Yearby as the team's No. 2 remains up in the air. It could be senior Gus Edwards, who had just 60 touches and one touchdown in 2016. It could be freshman Travis Homer, who touched the ball just seven times in 13 games. However, the most likely choice will be incoming freshman Robert Burns.

At 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, the Gulliver Prep standout has dealt with various injuries in recent months and they prevented him from playing much his senior season. Because of that he often gets overlooked when it comes to incoming recruits and their potential impact. However, Burns is still an elite talent. He has an impressive blend of size, speed, and toughness. He had scholarship offers from schools like Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and Ohio State so he'll be the most heavily recruited running back on Miami's roster in 2016. Plus, he will enroll into school later this month which will give him an advantage. If he's able to fully recover from his injuries in time for the 2017 season -- as expected -- there's every reason to believe that he will emerge as the team's primary backup to Walton in 2017. 

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