Friday, November 17, 2017
Colleges

Miami Hurricanes see clear sailing ahead

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The Hurricanes are savoring their freedom.

Miami is poised to finally start a season without the grim weight of an NCAA investigation.

UM players vow to make the most of their fresh start, competing for an elusive Atlantic Coast Conference title. Can they put The U back on top and join the college football playoff conversation?

Keys to the season

Run Duke run: Star tailback Duke Johnson returns after fracturing his ankle during a loss at Florida State last season. Johnson has added muscle to his frame with the hope of better handling the hits sure to come his way. He has been an elite playmaker for UM in the past, and the team needs to get him back in the offensive mix early and often.

Jump-start the defense: The team got off to a strong start last season but faded in ACC play when the defense struggled. It needs the defense to take a big developmental step forward both against the run and the pass. Veteran LB Denzel Perryman has high hopes for the defensive unit after strong offseason workouts.

Players to know

RB Duke Johnson: He missed the last five games of last season after injuring his ankle in November, but Johnson still finished with a team-high 920 yards and six touchdowns to earn second-team All-ACC honors.

LB Denzel Perryman: The heart and soul of the team's defense last season, Perryman finished with a team-high 108 tackles, 69 solo stops and five tackles for losses. He was a first-team All-ACC selection and has already projected in some mock drafts as first-round NFL talent.

WR Stacy Coley: He emerged as one of the fastest and most electric players in college football. He was the only Division I-A player to score a touchdown four ways last season: rushing for one, catching seven TD passes and returning a punt and a kickoff for scores.

CB Tracy Howard: He has a knack for finding the ball and delivering hard hits. Howard had a team-high four interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown on the first snap of a 45-26 win over Virginia.

WR Phillip Dorsett: He averaged a team-high 20.9 yards per catch and is a threat on special teams. Dorsett missed five games last season while recovering from a knee injury, but he has shown an ability to make big plays.

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