By Dan Kelley on May 31, 2014
The Miami Hurricanes are one of the favorites to win the ACC Coastal division in 2014. But in order to win the division and play in the ACC championship, the Hurricanes will need to replace a few departing stars. Here are five players who will need to step up in 2014 to fill those voids.
The Hurricanes lost two starters along the offensive line to the NFL, including tackle Seantrel Henderson. Ereck Flowers, a returning starter, will be even more vital in 2014, as the line tries to avoid a drop-off from last season. At left tackle, he will be relied on to protect the quarterback's blind side.
Unlike its offensive counterpart, the defensive line didn't see any draft picks this year. But that's because the D-line was a major weakness in 2013. Chad Thomas, one of the best prospects in the country at defensive end, could provide Miami with the pass rush it lacked last season.
Jon Feliciano may be even more important than Flowers to the offensive line's continued success. Feliciano will be asked to provide stability at guard, after Brandon Linder's departure. With Duke Johnson returning, the Hurricanes will want to run the ball a lot, and Feliciano's blocking on the interior will be crucial.
The Hurricanes will be without one of the ACC's most product receivers from a year ago, after the loss of Allen Hurns. The Hurricanes have plenty of talent at receiver, but they will need a new number one to emerge. Stacy Coley should fill that role nicely. As a freshman last season, Coley proved himself as a big-play threat, averaging nearly 18 yards per reception, for 591 yards and seven touchdowns.
Miami's offense was one of the best in the ACC last season, with quarterback Stephen Morris leading the way. Morris is gone now, and his presumed heir, Ryan Miller, tore his ACL during spring practice. The starting job has now fallen to Kevin Olsen. With plenty of talent surrounding him, Olsen will not need to be spectacular, but he will have to rise above his level of experience if the Canes are going to win the Coastal division in 2014.
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