1. Who will emerge as a star this season on the offensive side?
Allen Hurns. He had spurts last year where he would show the potential of being a big time receiver. Hurns’ highlight reel games came in the beginning of the season against Maryland and during his two-touchdown performance against Ohio State a week later. Right now there’s no clear-cut top receiver on the roster, but of them all, Hurns has the ability and the tools to become that guy. Consistency is the key.
2. Breakout player on defense
On defense, it has to be Ladarius Gunter. He had his on and off moments during the spring while he was still picking up the playbook, but he seems to feel comfortable with it at this point and figures to play a big role in the defensive backfield this season. He also has freshman Tracy Howard right behind him gunning for that spot, so he can’t afford to let down.
3. What position, as a whole, will surprise many this season?
It’s not a glamour position, and you’re not going to see their names litering the stat sheets, but look for the offensive line to play a big role this season.
Since his arrival at Miami, Coach Golden has emphasized the importance of getting a group of strong, conditioned, physical players, and there is nowhere on the team where you see that as much as in the trenches.
Malcolm Bunche, arguably the strongest player on the team, will be plugging the hole at left tackle while freshman Ereck Flowers, who has impressed coaches during the fall, will line up at right tackle.
In the middle, Jonathan Feliciano, Shane McDermott and Brandon Linder are all expexted to make strides.
Seantrel Henderson is not currently listed on the depth chart after missing most of camp, but if he can fight his way back, this is a line that will have plenty of viable options.
4. Which freshman will be a household name by the end of the season?
Tracy Howard, Duke Johnson and Deon Bush are all names that Canes fans are already familiar with and hope will produce for years to come. But a name not mentioned very often until recently is the aforementioned Flowers. He had been competing with Jermaine Johnson for the right tackle spot while Henderson missed the beginning of camp attending to personal issues, and he has gone a long way in impressing teammates and coaches alike. Expect some growing pains, but Flowers will be someone to keep an eye on.
5. How will the Canes end the season?
A 7-5 record is certainly possible. I can see the Hurricanes going 2-1 through their first three games (loss likeliest at Kansas State). Depending on how the defense looks in those first few games, Georgia Tech is a toss up. Miami’s big ACC games (UNC, FSU, VT) are all at home, so that works out favorably.