Doing It Early

The University of Miami signed a very good recruiting class last month. With spring practice more than half finished, lets take a look at where some of the newcomers might fit in best in the fall.

Anytime a player enrolls for the spring semester and has the opportunity to participate in spring football he's likely to be given a real good chance of getting early playing time in the fall.

That's where running back Graig Cooper and defensive back Doug Wiggins fit into the picture.

Andrew Johnson left the team. Derron Thomas has never been able to make the type of impact a lot of people hoped for when he came out of high school. Tyrone Moss is gone. That leaves just two proven tailbacks on the returning roster -- Javarris James and Charlie Jones, who's enjoying a strong spring so far.

Cooper provides this offense with something different -- an aspect of the game in which James and Jones can't provide. They're bruising running backs who will get yards in between the tackles but it's Cooper who has the explosiveness to put fear into the hearts of opposing defenses this fall. Cooper could potentially have a huge impact this fall.

Lee Chambers and Shawnbrey McNeal likely won't see much action in the offensive backfield but they're both capable of making an impact in the return game on special teams. Both have the ability to take it to the house, something that's been missing in the return game at Miami lately.

Wiggins is another player who will likely have a good chance of getting to play right away. With Bruce Johnson and Glenn Sharpe injured right now, the young cornerback is getting plenty of reps. The Canes don't have a lockdown corner so they'll likely rotate a lot like they did last season. Chavez Grant saw a lot of playing time last season and Wiggins will likely be in position to do the same in 2007.

DeMarcus Van Dyke's playing time will depend on how ready he is when he arrives this summer. There's solid depth at corner but as mentioned, there aren't many proven difference makers.

Junior College transfer Kayne Farquharson is another player likely to see playing time right away. While he doesn't have blazing speed, Farquharson provides a playmaking threat that UM really needs more of. He's currently finishing up his last two classes at Miami Dade CC and plans to enroll at UM in the summer. Playing a position of great need, Farquharson will have the opportunity to get into the rotation right away at receiver.

Because wide receiver has the least amount of depth of any position on the team, young receivers will have a good opportunity. Leonard Hankerson and Jermaine McKenzie will likely see action in 2007 while Daniel Adderley is likely a good redshirt candidate.

Up front, the Canes need to build depth. Tyler Horn will likely need to spend a year redshirting but Orlando Franklin and Harland Gunn could both make an impact. While they may not start and have the freshman year like Jason Fox, both are capable of providing depth and pushing some of the older players.

Moving over to the defensive line, the tackle position is filled with inexperience and unproven players. Chris Perry will be able to push some of the younger players for playing time. At defensive end, the Canes bring back only two proven players -- starters Calais Campbell and Eric Moncur. Adewale Ojomo will compete with some of the younger guys for playing time.

The Canes bring back several experienced linebackers but it's going to be difficult to keep Allen Bailey, a physical freak, off the field. If Bailey comes into camp in good shape, he'll challenge for someone's spot in the middle.

Four experienced safeties return for the Hurricanes but look for one of the three incoming players -- Damien Berry, Joseph Nicolas, or Jared Campbell -- to step up and get a lot of early playing time. Berry is still recovering from a knee injury and his status for the fall remains unknown at this point.

Finally, what about the quarterback position? Robert Marve has all the tools to be successful here. However, he won't have much time to challenge Kirby Freeman or Kyle Wright. While he may get some playing time and push the older players, don't expect him to challenge the two upperclassmen for the starting spot -- at least not early on.

One thing's for sure -- everyone will be given a chance to earn a spot on the depth chart.

"I think everybody we are going to bring in is going to contribute to what we have to get done," Randy Shannon said. "Everybody coming into the University of Miami is going to have a shot this year."


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