The Miami Hurricanes enjoyed a bit of a resurgence in 2013, climbing as high as No. 7 in the BCS standings before things fell apart down the stretch. They will be looking to close strong in 2014 and added some key pieces on National Signing Day that will help them get the job done next fall. One of the biggest impact signings was Chad Thomas, a local five-star defensive end, who should step in next fall and provide an instant boost to the Miami pass rush.
Last season, Miami was pretty good at getting after the quarterback, racking up 29 sacks in 2013. But that was just ninth best in the ACC and it petered out at the end of the year as the Canes managed just seven sacks in their final six games (where they went just 2-4). Part of the problem was injuries as leading sack-man Tyriq McCord, who finished with four sacks on the year, did not play in five of Miami’s last seven games and recorded just one sack after October 17.
But McCord should be back and healthy in 2014 along with Ufomba Kamalu, who finished second on the team with 3.5 sacks in just seven games, which should give the Canes a nice boost in the pass rush department. Add in the talents of Thomas, a 6-foot-5, 240-pound monster off the edge, and Miami has the recipe for a nasty pass rush next fall. Thomas was rated as the No. 3 weak-side defensive end in this recruiting cycle and logged eight sacks in his senior season. While he will need to bulk up to be an every-down type of defender, his skill set should get him playing time immediately on passing situations.
In today’s game, a good pass rush can make all the difference in the world. For the Canes, they will look to take the next step on getting back to the top of the ACC in 2014 by utilizing the talents of Thomas to give their pass rush a much-needed surge next season.