’Canes get votes

Mi­ami picked to win Coastal Di­vi­sion.

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Shan­del Richard­son and Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos Staff writ­ers

The Mi­ami Hur­ri­canes won’t have to worry about be­ing over­looked this sea­son.

On Mon­day, they were by voted by the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence writ­ers as the pre­sea­son pick to win the Coastal Di­vi­sion. The Hur­ri­canes re­ceived 1,065 votes, in­clud­ing 103 first-place ones.

Florida State was pro­jected to win the At­lantic Di­vi­sion and ul­ti­mately de­feat the Hur­ri­canes in the con­fer­ence cham­pi­onship game for the over­all ACC ti­tle.

This marks the fourth time the Hur­ri­canes have been picked to win the Coastal Di­vi­sion, though the pre­vi­ous three times did not ul­ti­mately go their way. Mi­ami was last picked to win the di­vi­sion in 2014, a year it ul­ti­mately fin­ished tied for fifth in the Coastal af­ter go­ing 3-5 in ACC play.

The Hur­ri­canes were the pre­sea­son di­vi­sion fa­vorites in both 2013 and 2006 as well. They fin­ished sec­ond and fourth those years, re­spec­tively.

This time around, al­though Mi­ami has yet to name a start­ing quar­ter­back, ex­pec­ta­tions are high for the Hur­ri­canes. Mi­ami fin­ished sec­ond in the di­vi­sion in 2016 be­hind Vir­ginia Tech and was 9-4.

The Hur­ri­canes closed the year with five straight vic­to­ries, in­clud­ing their first bowl win in a decade, spark­ing op­ti­mism from Mi­ami coach Mark Richt and his play­ers at last week’s ACC Kick­off event.

“We’re look­ing for­ward to this sea­son,” Richt said. “Put a lot of work into it, just like

ev­ery­body else, and we’re just anx­ious to see what we’ve got.”

Added line­backer Shaquille Quar­ter­man: “We have all the pieces. Look at our team. We have re­ally good ath­letes, as good as any­body in the con­fer­ence. And with that, we have a great coach­ing staff. I love our coach­ing staff. We all do. There’s no rea­son we shouldn’t buy into the process. There’s no wa­ver­ing when it comes to how we play. We play dif­fer­ent. It’s South Florida. We lit­er­ally play dif­fer­ent.”

The Hur­ri­canes were fol­lowed in the vot­ing by Vir­ginia Tech, Ge­or­gia Tech, Pitts­burgh, North Carolina, Duke and Vir­ginia. UM has yet to win the di­vi­sion since mov­ing to the con­fer­ence from the Big East in 2004, but — again — the writ­ers think the Hur­ri­canes have the tal­ent to com­pete in the di­vi­sion.

Even af­ter los­ing nine play­ers to the NFL, in­clud­ing quar­ter­back Brad Kaaya and tight end David Njoku, the Hur­ri­canes re­turn plenty of tal­ent in­clud­ing Quar­ter­man. He, run­ning back Mark Walton, tight end Christopher Hern­don, de­fen­sive tackle Ken­drick Nor­ton and kicker Michael Bad­g­ley have all been nom­i­nated for na­tional awards. Re­ceiver Ah­m­mon Richards is also con­sid­ered one of the na­tion’s best af­ter a record-break­ing fresh­man sea­son.

The only ques­tion mark is the quar­ter­back po­si­tion. Ma­lik Rosier is the lone player with ex­pe­ri­ence. He and Evan Shirreffs emerged as the fa­vorites dur­ing the spring, but fresh­man N’Kosi Perry has im­pressed since ar­riv­ing on cam­pus in May.

Richt said he won’t make a de­ci­sion un­til at least Mi­ami’s sec­ond scrim­mage of train­ing camp. Mi­ami will open the sea­son Sept. 2 at home against Bethune-Cook­man.

“There’s a lot of time be­tween now and the game, but it’s get­ting shorter and shorter,” Richt said. “We’ll be prac­tic­ing be­fore you know it and find­ing out who’s go­ing to play where, who’s go­ing to earn snaps, who’s go­ing to be the quar­ter­back, all those things will be com­ing down the road, and I’ll get a chance to an­swer those as we go.”

Louisville quar­ter­back La­mar Jackson, who played at Boyn­ton Beach High School, was named the ACC pre­sea­son player of the year.

More watch list hon­ors

Two more Hur­ri­canes have earned spots on the watch lists for two ma­jor col­lege foot­ball awards. Re­ceiver Brax­ton Ber­rios on Mon­day was one of 46 play­ers named to the Paul Hor­nung Award watch list. The award is given an­nu­ally to the most ver­sa­tile player in col­lege foot­ball. Team­mate Shaquille Quar­ter­man, mean­while, was named to the Butkus Award watch list. That award is given to the na­tion’s top line­backer.


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