The Miami Hurricanes did indeed end their season on a three game losing streak however there is quite a bit of optimism regarding the future of this program. One area where we know next season is going to be solid is in the defensive back field.
On Friday the Canes learned that cornerback Michael Jackson and safety Jaquan Johnson will be returning for their senior season. This was pretty big news considering the pair were juggling their NFL options. Having the two return will make Miami’s defensive back field one of the best in the country.
Both players took tremendous strides in their junior seasons which is in large part due to their work ethics, but also because of how defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and defensive backs coach Mike Rumph developed the duo.
Jackson ended the season 43 tackles a sack, four INTs, a fumble recovery and five pass breakups.
Johnson it can be argued was the best player on the Canes on either side of the ball. He had a team high 96 tackles, three for a loss, four INTs, four pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
With both Jackson and Johnson coming back the leadership factor on the defensive side of the ball is going to be huge. Both players are not happy with how the season ended and will be motivated to take this team to the college football playoff.
With the defensive backfield in good shape, one area where the team could be looking for more depth will be on the defensive line. RJ McIntosh and Kendrick Norton have also been testing the NFL waters. They were supposed to be meeting with the Miami coaching staff this weekend to figure out their futures. Obviously it would be huge if they both come back, but there hasn’t been word yet on their next move.
If McIntosh and Norton decide to take the same route as Jackson and Johnson, this Miami defense next year is going to have some serious depth and a lot of big game experience. If the two defensive linemen decide to jump to the draft, Diaz and company will have quite the Spring working on the depth.
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