Miami Defense Facing Uncertain Future in ’14

Whether the issue is coaching, a lack of talent or a combination of both, the Miami Hurricanes appear in for at least one more troublesome year on the defensive side of the ball.

While it’s unknown what head coach Al Golden plans to do regarding coaching staff changes this offseason, “The U” remains in search of next-level players, hitting the recruiting trail with a vengeance. ranks Miami’s 2014 class third in the nation, and the Hurricanes could climb even higher courtesy of some last-minute additions. Of the current 29 verbal commitments, 15 are slated to play defense—eight of which are defensive linemen, adding instant depth to the Hurricanes’ weakest link.

Miami’s defense is set to potentially lose as many as 11 starters or veteran players after the December bowl showdown against Louisville. The result is another “rebuilding” year—hard to accept entering year four of the Golden era, on the heels of 10 years of subpar football in Coral Gables.

Defensive linemen Justin Renfrow and David Gilbert are both out of eligibility, having exhausted their careers at Virginia and Wisconsin before graduating and playing one season at Miami. The Hurricanes will also lose senior tackles Curtis Porter and Luther Robinson and end Shayon Green, while junior Anthony Chickillo could be weighing his options regarding turning pro.

Miami returns five underclassmen in Al-Quadin Muhammad, Jelani Hamilton, Dwayne Hoilett, Corey King and Earl Moore, but a lack of experience leaves the door wide open at every position on the line.

Five-star defensive end Chad Thomas is a crown jewel of the 2014 class and should have an immediate impact, as could 4-star teammate Demetrius Jackson, another verbal commit from state champion Booker T. Washington in Miami. The Canes are also going the JUCO route, earning a commitment from 4-star tackle Michael Wyche and on the brink of another via 3-star Calvin Heurtelou

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