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University of Miami junior running back Mark Walton runs the ball during fall practice. (Source: J.T. Wilcox/Football Hotbed)

Canes Release First 2017 Depth Chart

The No. 18 ranked (AP) University of Miami released its first official depth chart for the 2017 Monday.

UM hosts FCS-level Bethune Cookman University Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium (12:30 p.m. kickoff) to open the much-anticipated 2017 season.

The depth chart holds true to much of what has been the narrative during fall camp.

Redshirt junior Malik Rosier holds the spot of “QB1” – as it was announced this past week – while redshirt sophomore Evan Shirreffs is listed as the backup. Not listed on the depth chart are freshmen quarterbacks N’Kosi Perry or Cade Weldon.

Though Perry was the popular pick to be the Hurricanes’ starting quarterback, Rosier proved to be the steadier hand with his improved accuracy and his consistency executing head coach Mark Richt’s “RPO” (run-pass option) offense.

The receiver group had a bit of shake-up because sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards was downgraded to out for the season opener. Richards, a freshman All-American performer in 2016, has been nursing a hamstring injury over the past couple of weeks and is being held out as a precaution.

Freshman receiver Mike Harley, a Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas alum, was inserted as the No. 1 at the “Z receiver” and will line up alongside senior Braxton Berrios (Y receiver) and redshirt sophomore Lawrence Cager (X receiver).

There were a few changes along UM’s offensive line.

Senior Trevor Darling has been moved from left tackle to left guard. He’ll start next to senior Kc McDermott, who takes over the left tackle duties. Tyler Gauthier is the No. 1 center – a spot he earned throughout the spring into fall practice, which led to the transferring of Nick Linder.

6-foot-5. 350-pound freshman Navaughn Donaldson was listed as the starting right guard. Donaldson, who had earned the praise of teammates and coaches since he arrived in the spring, was originally working at right tackle but coaches elected to move him inside.

Junior Tyree St. Louis is the starting right guard.

The Canes defense – especially the front seven – looks familiar.

Chad Thomas, R.J. McIntosh, Kendrick Norton Jr. and Joseph Jackson will make up the defensive line – a group that is easily Miami’s best.

The linebackers are the same – with one caveat.

Redshirt junior Mike Smith is listed as the starting weakside linebacker next to sophomores Shaquille Quarterman (middle) and Zach McCloud (strong side) because Michael Pinckney must serve a one-half suspension Saturday stemming from a targeting penalty he received during Miami’s 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl game win.

Miami’s secondary will have four new starters.

Graduate transfer Dee Delaney (from The Citadel) is listed as a starting cornerback. Junior Michael Jackson received the nod as the other starting corner.

Jackson received praise from cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz since the spring for his work on and off the field and is being rewarded for his efforts.

Playmaking sophomore Malek Young, JUCO transfer Jhavonte Dean and freshman Trajan Bandy will all see action against Cookman and moving forward.

Former high school teammates Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine will be the starting safeties. Johnson was the first safety in the rotation this past season, but will take over as a full-time starter in his junior year. Redwine was moved to safety from cornerback and has had a fairly seamless transition.

See the full depth chart below:

(Freshman are italicized)

Quarterback: Malik Rosier; Evan Shirreffs

Running Back: Mark Walton; Travis Homer

X-Receiver: Lawrence Cager; Darrell Langham or Dayall Harris

Y-Receiver: Braxton Berrios; Jeff Thomas or DeeJay Dallas

Z-Receiver: Mike Harley; Dionte Mullins

Tight End: Chris Herndon IV; Michael Irvin II

Left Tackle: KC McDermott; Kai-Leon Herbert

Left Guard: Trevor Darling; Hayden Mahoney

Center: Tyler Gauthier; Corey Gaynor

Right Guard: Navaugh Donaldson; Jahair Jones

Right Tackle: Tyree St. Louis; George Brown

Defensive End: Chad Thomas; Trent Harris

Defensive Tackle: Kendrick Norton; Anthony Moten

Defensive Tackle: R.J. McIntosh; Pat Bethel

Defensive End: Joseph Jackson; Demetrius Jackson

Strongside Linebacker: Zach McCloud; Charles Perry or De’Andre Wilder

Middle Linebacker: Shaquille Quarterman; Darrion Owens or Bradley Jennings

Weakside Linebacker: Mike Smith; Michael Pinckney or Darrion Owens

Cornerback: Dee Delaney; Trajan Bandy or Jhavonte Dean

Safety: Jaquan Johnson; Robert Knowles

Safety: Sheldrick Redwine; Romeo Finley or Amari Carter

Cornerback: Michael Jackson; Malek Young

Kickoff/Field Goals: Michael Badgley

Punter: Zach Feagles; Jack Spicer

Long Snapper: Jordan Butler; Sam York

Holder: Jack Spicer; Zach Feagles

Punt Return: Braxton Berrios; Malek Young or Jeff Thomas or DeeJay Dallas

Kickoff Return: Travis Homer or Malek Young or Jeff Thomas

About J.T. Wilcox

J.T. Wilcox is an award-winning sports journalist that has worked in South Florida for more than a decade. He authors "The Bald Predictions" Blog and "The Baldcast" Podcast. J.T. Wilcox joined the Football Hotbed staff in 2017.

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