Barry Jackson

Here are the freshmen who are impressing UM’s Diaz. And 2 ballyhooed transfers arrive

A six-pack of non-quarterback University of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Friday:

▪ Who are the freshmen who have most impressed coach Manny Diaz?

“The midyear enrollees always have a leg up, [end] Jahfari Harvey on defense and [tackle] Zion Nelson on offense,” Diaz said Friday. “[Receiver] Jeremiah Payton kind of has a leg up.”

Among the summer arrivals, Diaz said “Jakai Clark on the offensive line has really impressed.

[Cornerback] Te’Cory Couch has shown some positive things. [Safety] Keontra Smith. [Linebacker] Sam Brooks has really flashed this week. All three d-tackles - I keep praising those guys - are going to be really, really special.”

Those three freshmen tackles — Jason Blissett, Jalar Holley and Jared Harrison Hunte — have all impressed, according to a UM official at practice.

Clark has been running as the second-team center.

“This class has some dudes in it,” Diaz said.

▪ Diaz said it remains to be seen what kind of role safety Bubba Bolden forges after arriving this week. Bolden played in five games at Southern California in 2017, none last season. He’s eligible immediately.

“It depends on Bubba in terms of what can he process, what can he learn,” Diaz said. “In terms of what role can be play. Obviously, he has to get into a competition. We have a lot of guys competing for spots.

“Whether he factors in at safety or sub defense as a nickel or dime or who knows what. It depends on what he can handle and what he’s understanding. He’s been a guy who’s been in games so he has an understanding of all that stuff. It’s fun to have him out there. [Saturday] will be his first day with shoulder pads on, obviously can’t scrimmage that that.”

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Miami Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden (21) during morning workout at practice at the University of Miami Greentree Practice Field in Coral Gables on Friday, August 9, 2019. Al Diaz

Gurvan Hall and Amari Carter are the likely starting safeties, and Derrick Smith and Robert Knowles have been backing them up.

▪ As for UCLA transfer Jaelen Phillips, the former No. 1 overall recruit who can play defensive end or linebacker, Diaz said: “Jaelen is in the process of getting cleared medically. There’s not the urgency with Jaelen since we know he has to sit this year anyway. It’s more getting him into our program, getting him acclimated to our guys and our culture and way of doing things.”

▪ Running back Lorenzo Lingard, coming off last fall’s major knee injury, has increased his practice workload in recent days.

“Lorenzo is getting closer and closer; excited about his development and progress.” Diaz said.

Among three injured linebackers, Waynmon Steed and Bradley Jennings Jr. remain “longterm deals,” Diaz said, with neither apparently close to a return.

Diaz said linebacker Patrick Joyner Jr. - who was impressive in the spring game after moving back to linebacker from defensive end - will play this season.

“Everything on track with him for the heart of the ACC season,” Diaz said, with UM scheduled to play six consecutive ACC games beginning Oct. 5.

Defensive tackle Nesta Silvera will miss six to eight weeks with a foot injury. Defensive tackle Chigozie Nnoruka has been dealing with an undisclosed injury.

▪ UM’s second scrimmage will be held Saturday night and be closed to media and fans, though Diaz will issue some details and a statement afterward.

“We want to see the details we felt were lacking last Sunday night, get them cleaned up,” he said. “We did a mock deal yesterday’s practice that I thought was cleaner. Now let’s see if we can do it in more of a game setting.”

▪ Quick stuff: Offseason additions Ousman Traore (via a junior college) and Tommy Kennedy (via Butler) haven’t made the impact that some hoped. At the moment, they’re simply depth. … Tight end Michael Irvin has had a very good camp… Running back Robert Burns continues to look good, UM people say.

Later today, colleagues Susan Miller Degnan and David Wilson will have a story on the UM quarterbacks, who spoke today.

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