Offensive newcomer to watch
RB Robert Burns. He missed most of his senior season at Miami Gulliver Prep with an ankle injury, but UM’s lack of depth at tailback means he has a shot to impress coaches right away. Mark Walton is the unquestioned starter, but presumptive No. 2 guy Travis Homer had just seven carries last season. Burns (6-1, 215) has nice size and runs downhill.
Defensive newcomer to watch
S Amari Carter: He’s a four-star true freshman who enrolled in January, and Miami’s opening at free safety beckons. Can Carter answer the calll? At Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) High, Carter was known both as a big hitter and a sure tackler. He has good size (6-2, 190), and if he can quickly acclimate this spring, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him starting the opener.
Offensive veteran on the spot
WR Darrell Langham: At 6-4 and, 235 pounds, Langham has the measurables to be a difference-maker for wide receivers coach Ron Dugans. But with only two targets (and zero catches) in two seasons, it’s time for Langham to step up and be noticed this spring. If he doesn’t, he likely will get lost in the wash of younger wide receivers.
Defensive veteran on the spot
DT Anthony Moten: A U.S. Army All-American coming out of high school at powerhouse Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, Moten is entering his senior season not having done too much as a collegian: 33 games, but just four starts (all in 2015) and 23 tackles. He was bothered by an injured shoulder last season, and he has to show this spring that he is healthy and ready to make plays. Moten has above-average athleticism for a man his size (6-4, 315) and a quick first step, but needs to improve his overall consistency or risk being buried on a deep depth chart.
Notable players who will miss spring practice
Injuries will hinder the mixing and matching that o-line coach Stacy Searels wants to implement. Odogwu will miss spring as he’s still recovering from his leg issues from last year, and it’s unknown whether Linder will participate because of the shoulder injury that sidelined him last year. Cager also will be eased into action as he continues to recover from an ACL tear last season.
Also of note
Spring game: April 22.
Season-opening game: vs. Bethune-Cookman on September 2.
(You can follow Jimmy Schofield on Twitter @JimmySchofield1)
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