UM's Cornerback Depth Will Get Tested In Next Four Games
Miami sophomore cornerback Christian Williams has entered the transfer portal and the offshoot is UM could be exposed at one of its most suspect positions in three of its next four games.
The 17th-ranked Hurricanes enter Saturday’s game at 18th-ranked Louisville with five scholarship cornerbacks among starters Al Blades Jr., and D.J. Ivey and backups Te’Cory Couch, who plays in the nickel package, and Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson.
Louisville has a strong receiving corps among slot Tutu Atwell, the slippery All-ACC selection from Miami Northwestern, and Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith, who had 70- and 63-yard receptions last week, respectively.
Cardinals quarterback Micale Cunningham, who had a career-best 343 yards passing in last week's 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky, is a veteran who knows how to pick apart a defense so Miami will need as much help as it can get in its secondary.
UM defensive coordinator Blake Baker was lukewarm on his cornerbacks’ performance in the season-opening 31-14 victory over Alabama-Birmingham, saying they were “average.”
Williams’ absence could be costly if UM sustains an injury among its top three cornerbacks against Louisville.
Williams, who is no longer on the roster, was highly-regarded by coaches earlier in the fall. Cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said there was strong competition among Blades, Ivey, Couch and Williams.
Apparently that wasn’t enough for Williams, who is from Daphne, Ala., and he’s exploring the possibility of leaving after playing eight snaps in the opener against UAB. Last season Williams had five tackles and one pass breakup in 13 games.
Among Miami’s next four opponents – Louisville, Florida State, Clemson and Pitt – all except Florida State have quarterbacks and receivers who can make life rough on a cornerbacks unit that’s thin on experience.
For now, Miami must hope its primary cornerbacks stay healthy and Clarke and Dunson develop quickly. And in the big picture Miami might consider adding another cornerback to its highly-regarded 2021 class that already has Tim Burns Jr., of Miami Northwestern and athlete/cornerback Malik Curtis of Fort Myers (Fl.) Bishop Verot.