Cover, Football, Sports

Mid-week notes: CB Christian Williams enters transfer portal, depth chart changes and Top 25 ranking

Coach Manny Diaz runs out of the tunnel with the team as the University of Miami hosts the UAB Blazers at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 10.

Head coach Manny Diaz runs out of the tunnel with the team during Miami's game against UAB at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sept. 10. Photo credit: Al Diaz via ACC

After defeating the University of Alabama at Birmingham last Thursday, the Hurricanes are ranked No. 17 in the AP Top 25 college football poll, the team’s highest ranking since 2018. Miami is preparing to face the No. 18 Louisville Cardinals this weekend in Kentucky.

Williams enters transfer portal

Sophomore cornerback Christian Williams entered the NCAA transfer portal earlier this week, as confirmed by the University of Miami. Williams, a former four-star prospect in the class of 2019, was once committed to the University of Alabama, but signed with Miami.

Williams played in all 13 games last season, mostly on special teams. In the UAB game, he played a total of eight snaps and recorded one tackle. The Daphne, Alabama native was fourth on the depth chart at the cornerback position behind starters Al Blades Jr. and DJ Ivey and sophomore Te’Cory Couch. Miami now has just five scholarship players at cornerback: Blades Jr, Ivey, Couch and true freshmen Marcus Clarke and Isaiah Dunson.

The loss of Williams is a big deal, not only because there are now only five scholarship cornerbacks, but because Louisville presents one of the most difficult passing games in the ACC with receivers Tutu Atwell, Dez Fitzpatrick and Braden Smith.

When head coach Manny Diaz was asked about Williams, Diaz preached the importance of hard work and came to the defense of his defensive backs.

“Ultimately it comes down to competition on Greentree Practice Field,” Diaz said. “You gotta be able to compete and you gotta be able to be the best version of yourself. One thing we’ve prided ourselves on in the secondary is playing the most competitive guys, and I like the guys we got. We know what we’re doing when it comes to stopping the pass.”

Changes at depth chart

The only major change in this week’s depth chart from last week is that sophomore Jakai Clark is listed ahead of Ousman Traore at left guard, who started the UAB game at that position.

“Traore didn’t play poorly,” Diaz said. “Jakai Clark is a guy that we’ve known is a starter-quality player. We felt like we’re deeper this year on the offensive line than we were a year ago. We just felt that Jakai would settle in a little better at left guard, but I think you’ll continue to see us go past five deep, six, seven, eight guys being able to go in there.”

Traore was the lowest graded offensive line starter for the UAB game according to Pro Football Focus, an analytical site that grades college football players performances. Clark, previously listed on last week’s depth chart, missed a good part of the offseason with an injury. As a true freshman in 2019, he started 12 games at right guard.

“Jakai missed a considerable amount of time in fall camp with an injury, so I think that kind of slowed the progression of where we thought he would be,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said. “Ousman was okay the other night. We just feel like right now it’s a good opportunity to give Jakai that shot.”

Prime-time games

This Saturday’s game against Louisville will be broadcast on ABC at 7:30 p.m. Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit will call the game and College GameDay will be broadcasting from Cardinal Stadium before the game.

Miami’s Sept. 26 matchup against in-state rival Florida State will be televised on ABC at 7:30 p.m.

Featured Image by Al Diaz via ACC

September 16, 2020

Reporters

Isabella Didio


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