Barry Jackson

UM freshmen receivers, ballyhooed new defensive end impressing

UM defensive coach Manny Diaz talks to players at practice during the second day of University of Miami football camp at Greentree Field on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017.
UM defensive coach Manny Diaz talks to players at practice during the second day of University of Miami football camp at Greentree Field on Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017.

Some Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday:

• We’ve heard positive feedback about how freshmen receivers Jeff Thomas, Mike Harley and DeeJay Dallas have looked, and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz made an interesting point on Tuesday from the perspective of his side of the ball.

“What some of those young receivers have brought to the offense, the juice, the speed, is one of the more dramatic changes to our team,” Diaz told WQAM’s Joe Rose and Zach Krantz.

• Defensive end Deonte Johnson, the highly recruited freshman from Sacramento, is turning heads, as expected.

“DJ is doing really well,” Diaz told Rose and Krantz. “Super talented. He made a play in practice where he was lined up at left end, [there was a] play on the right sideline, and ran it down and passed three or four guys playing different positions on the way to the ball.”

• Susan Miller Degnan will have a story today on new corner Dee Delaney. Diaz told WQAM that the other new corners also have left an impression.

Diaz said Jhavonte Dean “has such upside. We are so delighted he's here. Wants to work, wants to learn. He's got the things every big time corner needs.” He said freshmen Trajan Bandy “has really good speed.”

And Diaz said freshman safety Amari Carter is a “very intelligent young man. Picks concepts up very easily. He's got to play starting day 1.”

• Diaz not only wants his defense to stop opponents. He wants them to score. Alabama had 11 defensive touchdowns last season. UM was among 20 schools tied for 19th, with three.

“You can tell they are responding to the greater emphasis we’ve put on it,” Diaz told reporters after practice. “We’re getting our hands on more balls. … You want it to be contagious. We’re making it a big point of emphasis to score on defense this year. We’re turning defense into offense. Everything we get we’re trying to score on defense.”

• A year ago, three cornerbacks had an equal chance to emerge and prove worthy of a future here. Of the three, only Michael Jackson demonstrated what coaches were looking for. Terrance Henley and Ryan Mayes didn’t and have moved on.

“Michael Jackson, he’s been pushing, man,” cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph said. “He’s done it in the spring and he started off where he left off in the spring.”

• Booker T. Washington Class of 2018 receiver Tyquan Thornton, a UF commit, said he’s still considering UM... Though Palm Beach Lakes Class of 2018 four-star safety Gurvan Hall told Rivals that he remains solidly committed to UM, he plans to visit Oregon, Alabama, Florida, Ohio State and Clemson... Per Canesport, UM offered Oregon-based dual threat QB Michael Johnson Jr. and he indicated he will visit next year. He’s Rivals’ 103rd best prospect for 2019.

• Line of the day, from Diaz, to Rose and Krantz:

Asked about quarterback, he said: "We know who the starter is going to be now. It's obvious.”

So tell us, Manny.

"Jay Cutler.”

Here’s my six-pack of Dolphins notes today, including Jakeem Grant fulfilling his Jay Cutler dream and Bill Belichick’s lengthy testimonial to a Dolphins great at practice today.



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