Takeaways from day eight of Miami football spring practice

Sophomore wide receiver Brashard Smith catches a ball during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022.
Sophomore wide receiver Brashard Smith catches a ball during drills at the Greentree Practice Fields on March 11, 2022. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

The Hurricanes were back on the Greentree Practice Fields Thursday morning for their eighth practice of spring football, which was followed by a media availability with defensive linemen Chantz Williams and Jahfari Harvey, as well as offensive linemen Jakai Clark and Justice Oluwaseun.

Here are some takeaways and highlights from day eight of Miami’s spring practices.

1. Isaiah Dunson receiving playing time with first-team

The third-year sophomore has strung together several high-quality practices this spring, and he has been awarded for this, practicing as an outside corner with the first team on Thursday.

Dunson also made an impressive tackle on running back Thaddius Franklin, showcasing his versatile ability to make an impact in both the passing and running games.

The Tucker, Georgia native recorded 11 tackles and one pass defended in his first two seasons with the Hurricanes.

2. Tyler Van Dyke shows off ball placement

Miami’s presumed starting quarterback delivered one of his most impressive practices of the spring on Thursday, highlighted by a beautiful deep pass to Jacolby George during offense-only drills, as well as a crisp touchdown pass to Key’Shawn Smith in 11-on-11 work.

Van Dyke, who threw for 2,931 passing yards and 25 touchdowns last season for the Hurricanes, enters the 2022 slate with high expectations from fans and the media, some of whom view the third-year quarterback as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate.

3. Jason Taylor leaves mark on defense

Head coach Mario Cristobal made one of the bolder coaching hires of the offseason, adding NFL Hall of Famer and high school defensive coordinator Taylor to his off-the-field staff as a defensive analyst. Through almost three weeks of spring practice, Taylor has impressed players with his knowledge of and ability to teach the game.

“Jason Taylor has been great,” Williams said. “Having him in the meeting rooms is a pleasure.”

4. Cornerbacks stand out throughout practice

Aside from Dunson, veteran DJ Ivey and sophomore Malik Curtis played well on Thursday, with both defenders recording pass breakups during the 11-on-11 portion of practice.

Ivey, a Miami native, also came down with an interception during a wide receivers versus defensive backs drill.

5. Jaden Rashada highlights recruiting attendees at practice

The five-star class of 2023 quarterback from Pittsburg, California took an unofficial visit to Miami and attended spring practice on Thursday.

Rashada, who received an offer from UM on Feb. 23, passed for 2220 yards and 25 touchdowns in his junior season at Pittsburg High School.

“I had a little bit of communication with [Miami offensive coordinator Josh Gattis] when he was at Michigan,” Rashada told 247Sports ahead of his unofficial visit to Miami. “But since he got to Miami, I’ve really developed a strong relationship with coach Gattis. I can talk to him whenever. Even with coach Cristobal and the whole staff, they have done a really good job with me.”