Since 2018, Miami has relied heavily on a smaller group of players to make an impact on their defensive line. That has backfired time and time again with depth being the main issue.
When Cristobal arrived, the defensive line needed a fix, immediately. One of the best ways he did so was by bringing in five transfers and signing two elite edge rushers from high school. All five transfers could be impact players and the young, talented freshmen can also see the field as the season goes on.
The defensive end position needs more productivity this season. Jahfari Harvey and Mitchell Agude look to lead and be the most productive members of that position. Agude transferred from UCLA in March and is already in great shape to be a strong edge rusher. Agude is a true edge rusher that has a great blend of speed and strength, which is what Miami lacked last season alongside Harvey. Agude had 4.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in two years at UCLA.
Harvey has all the makings of a top college defensive end. With the speed, the strength and the moves, he truly is one of the freakier athletes on Miami’s roster. Whether or not it clicks this year for him is still to be determined, but Harvey has garnered a lot of praise this offseason and has gained the trust of the defensive coaching staff. Harvey has been rumored to have run a 4.5 forty-yard-dash this offseason.
There is one important fact to note regarding the defensive tackle position: Without the transfer additions of Darrell Jackson (Maryland), Antonio Moultrie (UAB), Jake Lichtenstein (USC) and Ahkeem Mesidor (WVU), the tackle spot was going to have major depth issues.
The additions of those four provide instant depth and veteran experience at a very thin and inexperienced position before. It’s a safe bet that the two starting interior defensive linemen will be Mesidor alongside Leonard Taylor.
Mesidor had 9.5 sacks in two years at West Virginia and arguably would have been the Big 12’s best defensive lineman going into 2022. Mesidor has also played outside, so he, like Taylor, is a versatile defensive lineman that can contribute anywhere on the front.
Taylor was limited as a freshman in 2021, but despite playing in only nine games, he was one of Miami’s most dominant forces stopping the run. Taylor had two sacks on the year and led Miami in tackles for loss with 9.5 rotating with Jared Harrison-Hunte and Nesta Jade Silvera, who is now at Arizona State.
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