7 way-too-early predictions for Miami's offense in 2022
For the first time in years, Miami’s offense has major expectations in 2022.
The Hurricanes return several key pieces, led by quarterback Tyler Van Dyke, running back Jaylan Knighton and tight end Will Mallory. They also hired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis away from Michigan this offseason.
Here’s 7 predictions about Miami’s offense going into this season:
Tyler Van Dyke will be a Heisman Trophy finalist
There’s already been plenty of hype for Tyler Van Dyke this offseason, but it’s well-earned. He showed flashes last season of being the best Miami quarterback in recent memory during his freshman season.
Over Van Dyke’s final 6 games, he completed 66% of his passes for 2,194 yards, 20 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions. That span included upset wins over ranked teams in NC State and Pitt.
Van Dyke put up that production with very few expectations. Miami had to restructure its entire offense after D’Eriq King went down with a season-ending injury. No, with a half a season of experience and a coaching upgrade in Mario Cristobal, it’s time for Van Dyke to take the next step.
Jaylan Knighton will have over 1,500 yards from scrimmage
Miami fans will remember Jaylan Knighton well from last season, but he has a chance to develop into a household name.
Last season, he managed over 800 scrimmage yards despite missing several games early in the year. But he came on late, totaling multiple receptions and 50+ rushing yards in 4 of his last 7 games.
Perhaps more importantly, he proved he had the skillset of a running back who can create offense in the passing game. He finished the year with 20 catches. His best receiving game was in a win over a ranked NC State team — 6 catches for 83 yards and 1 touchdown.
That should translate well to Mario Cristobal’s offense, which certainly utilizes the running back in the passing game. Last year at Oregon, running back Travis Dye led the entire team with 46 receptions and had 1,673 scrimmage yards.
Replacing Charleston Rambo will be tough…
The biggest piece that Miami will have to replace this season is receiver Charleston Rambo. A former Oklahoma transfer, Rambo emerged mid-way through the year as Van Dyke’s top target.
He ended up setting Miami’s single-season record for receiving yards in a season with 1,172. He also scored 7 touchdowns on 79 total receptions.
Finding someone — or multiple players — to replace Rambo’s ability to stretch defenses will be vital. And as of now, there’s no proven receivers on the roster. Still, there’s reason for optimism that Miami will find a new No. 1 receiver.
… but not impossible
There are options on Miami’s roster for replacing Rambo.
The top internal option is likely Xavier Restrepo, who was Miami’s standout receiver at its spring game earlier this offseason. Last season as a redshirt freshman, he caught 24 passes for 373 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also posted an average of 15.5 yards per reception.
Miami could also look into the transfer portal this summer. The Hurricanes were active in the portal in Cristobal’s first offseason, and have already landed former Clemson receiver Frank Ladson. He caught 31 passes for 428 yards and 6 touchdowns over 20 games for the Tigers.
Other internal options include Jacolby George, Key’Shawn Smith and Romello Brinson.
The offensive line will be improved
Miami’s offensive line struggled at times last season, and significantly impacted its ceiling on offense. But with Cristobal — a former offensive lineman — and new OL coach Alex Mirabal in the building, things should be better.
Miami’s offensive line conceded 3 sacks to FSU star Jermaine Johnson III in the Seminoles’ 31-28 win last November. Johnson also had 5 tackles floss and 1 forced fumble.
However, the Canes return a lot of experience on the offensive line in 2022. Zion Nelson, DJ Scaife and Jakai Clark have over 100 career combined starts at Miami. They also added Oregon transfers Logan Sagapolo and Jonathan Denis via the portal.
Miami will be top 3 in the ACC in yards per play
If all the pieces come together as they should, Miami will have an elite offense in the ACC. That’s saying quite a bit as the ACC is loaded offensively in 2022 — particularly at the quarterback position.
Finishing in the top 3 in the conference in yards per play seems like a reasonable goal. Last season, Miami averaged 6.13 yards per play and finished 5th in the league.
If Miami can get into the top 3, it will be the first time its has hit that benchmark since averaging 6.24 yards per play in 2017.
Josh Gattis will be a finalist for the Broyles Award
One of Miami’s biggest offseason additions was getting new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis from Michigan. Getting Gattis — along with Miami’s other major coaching changes this offseason — was a sign of Miami’s increased investment into the football program.
Gattis arrives in Coral Gables with an excellent reputation as a play-caller. He won the Broyles Award — which goes to the nation’s best assistant coach each year — last season after leading Michigan’s offense to a College Football Playoff appearance.
He’s not likely to repeat as the winner again, but being named a finalist again could be well within reach. Past winners of this award include Lane Kiffin, Kirby Smart and Lincoln Riley.