Takeaways from day four of Miami spring football practice

Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis defends third-year sophomore wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022.
Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis defends third-year sophomore wide receiver Key’Shawn Smith during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The pads were on to kick off the second week of Miami football’s spring practices, and the competitive spirit on the Greentree Practice Fields was apparent from start to finish. A media availability with assistant head coach/offensive line coach Alex Mirabal, quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Frank Ponce, tight ends coach Stephen Field and running backs coach Kevin Smith followed Tuesday’s practice.

Here are some takeaways and highlights from UM’s fourth day of spring practice.

1. Jacurri Brown impresses, shows off tantalizing potential

The true freshman from Valdosta, Georgia had perhaps his best day of practice as a Hurricane, throwing crisp passes all over the field, including a perfectly placed deep pass to third-year wide receiver Xavier Restrepo.

Brown threw for 2165 yards and 23 touchdowns and ran for another 882 yards and 10 touchdowns in his senior season at Lowndes High School.

“He’s starting to catch on,” Ponce said regarding Brown. “Today he had a great day.”

2. Tight end Elijah Arroyo flashes second-year improvement

Arroyo had his most productive receiving day of the spring, catching multiple passes in the media viewing portion of practice as well as showcasing his athleticism with his ability to run after the catch.

“He’s improved every single day,” Field said regarding Arroyo. “He makes sure he does all the right stuff the right way.”

3. Key’Shawn Smith catches multiple deep passes

The third-year wide receiver provided UM’s offense with a legitimate deep threat throughout Tuesday’s practice, bringing in multiple passes from quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, with one of those receptions coming during individual drills and the other happening during the controlled scrimmage portion of practice.

Smith, who with 405 receiving yards last season is Miami’s leading returning wideout, took mostly first-team wide receiver reps on Tuesday along with Restrepo and sophomore Jacolby George.

4. Mirabal impressed by DJ Scaife Jr.

Scaife, a fifth-year offensive lineman from Miami, is expected to be one of the veteran leaders on Miami’s offensive line. He has played at both offensive guard and tackle throughout his tenure with the Hurricanes.

“[Scaife has] a tremendous skill … he’s a great listener,” Mirabal said. “You could tell DJ something in the classroom, and immediately, he’ll put it into action on the field, and to me that’s a gift.”

Mirabal also mentioned that he is not sure which position on the offensive line Scaife will end up at.

5. Jakai Clark emerging among Miami’s centers

Clark, who started UM’s last nine games at center in place of the injured Corey Gaynor, has taken reps at center throughout Miami’s spring practices along with redshirt freshmen Laurance Seymore and Ryan Rodriguez.

“I think Jakai Clark could be one of the upper echelon centers in the ACC,” Mirabal said. “I think it’s my job to keep helping him get better … I’m extremely happy of where he’s at in his growth, and I think he’s a heck of a football player.”