The transfer portal has been quite kind to the Miami Hurricanes. Under head coach Manny Diaz, Miami has been able to land impact players in the form of Jaelan Phillips, Quincy Roche, KJ Osborne, Bubba Bolden, D’Eriq King, and Trevon Hill.
Keeping pace with recent trends, the Hurricanes landed several transfers this offseason that have a chance to claim significant roles which have implications both for Miami’s season and the draft stock of the newly acquired players.
The Hurricanes saw Phillips blossom into an elite defensive end and become a first-round draft pick while Osborne and Roche leveled up in competition and were selected on day three. Bolden became a full-time starter for Miami in 2020 and will look to build upon that experience, find consistency, and maximize his physical upside to elevate his draft stock with a strong year in 2021. King proved his playmaking ability at Houston translates to the Power Five as he continues to build his resume in 2021.
Let’s examine the next wave of potential transfer success stories for Miami:
Deandre Johnson, Defensive End
The instability of the Tennessee Volunteers football program has led to a mass exodus of players, which includes Johnson, a Miami native. Johnson was an early enrollee at Tennessee in 2017 and across four seasons with the Volunteers never claimed a prominent role as a playmaker for the Tennessee defense. With that said, the flashes he started to display in 2020 are very exciting. His performance against South Carolina in Week 1 was exceptional.
Johnson is a hard-charging pass rusher with built-in leverage and a low center of gravity which enables him to have terrific contact balance and reduce rush angles. He has active hands, good burst, and a hot motor. He has terrific spatial awareness and is an excellent run defender where his processing skills and power at the point of attack shine.
Johnson should be able to step in right away and claim a starting role for Miami’s defense on the edge and help fill the void left behind by Roche and Phillips. If Johnson can find consistency and make an impact, it would be massive for both the success of Miami in 2021 but also for his draft stock.
Tyrique Stevenson, Cornerback
Like Johnson, Stevenson is a Miami native that has found his way home after spending the beginning of his career in the SEC. In the case of Stevenson, he was part of the Georgia program in 2019 and 2020. As a member of the Bulldogs, Stevenson showcased his versatility as a slot corner that spent some time out wide and even rolled back into deep middle coverage as well.
Stevenson has terrific range, anticipation skills, and embraces a physical brand of football. He loves to crowd receivers, get his hands on them and disrupt their timing. He’s enthusiastic about tackling and has performed well in both zone and man coverage from a variety of alignments.
Stevenson should settle in right away for Miami and become a fixture in the secondary where his size, athleticism, instincts, and physicality will be major assets to the defensive unit. He will likely get more opportunities to play outside at corner for Miami and how he fares in that role in addition to finding more ball production will elevate his draft stock and the Hurricanes defense.
Charleston Rambo, Wide Receiver
Rambo spent his first three seasons at Oklahoma where hauled in 76 receptions for 1,180 yards and nine touchdowns across three seasons. He brings explosive big-play potential to the Miami offense.
Rambo’s speed is evident as soon as you start watching the tape. He quickly accelerates and gets to his top gear very quickly, which enables him to put stress on corners to stay leveraged over the top as they open their hips to turn and run with him. He made his share of plays down the field for Oklahoma but is also dangerous with the ball in his hands to produce after the catch.
While he has a slender build, that doesn’t mean he is a slot only. In fact, the majority of his time as a Sooner was spent out wide where he showcases a diverse release package and a willingness to compete well above his weight class. With that said, his lack of functional strength and narrow frame creates challenges for him at the catch point and as a route-runner.
The most notable area for Rambo to grow in Miami is with his hands. He has his share of disappointing drops on tape and it wasn’t an issue that improved during his three seasons at Oklahoma. Whether it’s getting his hands properly aligned to catch the football or a desire to guide the ball into his frame, his mitts have been anything but secure to this point.
There is some give and take when it comes to Rambo from studying him at Oklahoma, but perhaps a fresh start will lead to more consistency which would be notable for his draft stock and the Miami offense.
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