Quarterbacks: By showing his leadership and displaying his physical strength and ability coming off back surgery in the spring, it didn’t really take junior Stephen Morris long to wrestle the starting job from sophomore Memphis transfer Ryan Williams. Williams should make for a decent backup because of his accuracy, but at times he lumbers in the pocket too long. The key for Morris in keeping the job will be avoiding turnovers. He has thrown seven touchdown passes and 11 interceptions in his career. Jacory Harris finished 19th in the nation last season in efficiency (150.61). Now let’s see what offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch can do with a quarterback who has a stronger arm.
Running backs: Replacing the team’s first 1,000-yard back in a decade in the explosive Lamar Miller won’t be easy. But so far, senior Mike James (5-11, 220 pounds) has received a lot praise in camp. James will get the bulk of the work early, but don’t be surprised if true freshman Duke Johnson (5-9, 188) runs past everybody and into a leading role quickly. The former Miami Norland All-American already has worked himself into a backup role alongside junior third-down and short-yardage specialist Eduardo Clements (5-9, 195).
Receivers: The Hurricanes need some youngsters to step up here — and fast. With last year’s top two targets in Tommy Streeter and Travis Benjamin gone, the hope was junior Allen Hurns (6-3, 192) and sophomores Phillip Dorsett (5-10, 185) and Rashawn Scott (6-2, 198) would lead the unit. But injuries have slowed Hurns and Scott, opening the door for fifth-year seniors Kendal Thompkins (5-10, 182) and Davon Johnson (6-0, 188) to work themselves into the mix. The only freshman who might know the playbook well enough to help is former Miramar High standout Malcolm Lewis (6-0, 192). At tight end, Fisch believes junior Asante Cleveland (6-5, 260) and redshirt sophomore Clive Walford (6-4, 248) can combine for 50 catches. That’s asking a lot.
Offensive line: Junior Seantrel Henderson (6-8, 340) missed all of training camp, opening the door for true freshman Ereck Flowers (6-6, 314). What could be more troubling than Henderson’s absence is that Flowers was able to surge past older players such as fourth-year junior Jermaine Johnson (6-6, 318) and fifth-year senior Ben Jones (6-5, 315), who are the primary backups at tackle and guard on the right and left sides, respectively. Outside of that, the starting lineup looks solid with junior right guard Brandon Linder (6-6, 312) and sophomore left guard Jonathan Feliciano (6-5, 314) providing 25 games worth of starting experience. But staying healthy will be a huge key as there does not appear to be much depth.
Defensive line: Coaches were looking for leaders to emerge, but it wasn’t a stellar fall camp for this group — particularly at tackle. Junior Luther Robinson (6-3, 290) and sophomore Olsen Pierre (6-4, 300) — with seven career tackles between them — are sitting at the top of the depth chart. The situation at end is a little less dire, even though sophomore Anthony Chickillo (6-4, 262) is the only pass rusher with a college sack to his credit. Juniors Shayon Green (6-3, 260) and Kelvin Cain (6-3, 245), two converted linebackers, have earned praise during camp. But beyond those three, only true freshmen Jelani Hamilton (6-5, 271) and Tyriq McCord (6-3, 236) have excited coaches enough to be listed on the depth chart.