University of Miami

Miami Hurricanes academically redshirting pair of highly touted freshman defenders

The Miami Hurricanes will play the 2019 season without two members of their 2019 recruiting class.

Linebacker Avery Huff and defensive lineman Cameron Williams, both of whom were four-star prospects in various recruiting rankings for the Class of 2019, will academically redshirt this season, Manny Diaz announced Saturday after Miami’s 63-0 win against the FCS Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.

“Cam and Avery are both not going to be able to play this year due to academic requirements,” the coach said, “so this will be their redshirt year and they’ll be good to go next year.”

Huff and Williams, a pair of freshmen from Broward County, both were at Hard Rock Stadium for the Hurricanes’ home opener, but did not dress. The NCAA instituted an academic redshirt rule in 2016 for athletes who do “not meet all of the initial-eligibility standards ... for competition.” While Williams was on campus for the start of training camp in July, Huff’s arrival in Coral Gables was delayed until August for undisclosed reasons.

Huff, who was a four-star outside linebacker in the composite rankings, was a standout at St. Thomas Aquinas and will be an important piece of defense moving forward. Miami (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) will lose three of the four linebackers on its two-deep depth chart to graduation after this season. The fourth player on the depth chart is Sam Brooks Jr., another freshman.

Williams, who was a four-star defensive end in the rankings, is one of three scholarship freshmen from Chaminade-Madonna. He was likely to be buried on the depth chart, anyway, thanks to the Hurricanes’ depth at defensive end. Both, however, would have had a chance to play against Bethune-Cookman (1-1) as part of the rule allowing players to play in up to four games and keep the redshirt eligibility intact.

Miami also played Saturday without running back Lorenzo Lingard. A former five-star prospect, Lingard is not listed on the two-deep depth chart, but would have likely gotten to play in the blowout in Miami Gardens if he was healthy. Diaz said the sophomore suffered an injury in practice this week, however it is not connected to the knee injury which cut short Lingard’s freshman season in 2018.

“We lost him midweek in practice, but he should be fine for this week,” Diaz said. “That was an injury deal.”

Sports Pass for $30 per year

Get unlimited access to all Miami Herald sports stories and videos for $30