As fall camp gets going, the Miami Hurricanes were dealt an early harsh blow. At Wednesday’s practice, sophomore defensive tackle Nesta Silvera suffered a right foot injury. He will undergo surgery this week. Currently, there’s no timetable for his return.
During his freshman season, Silvera appeared in 10 games and recorded 13 tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss.
#Miami sophomore defensive lineman Nesta Jade Silvera has sustained a right foot injury. He will undergo surgery later this week. A timetable for his return will be determined after surgery.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) July 31, 2019
Much bigger things, however, were expected of Silver in 2019. A product of Fort Lauderdale, Silver was rated as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the 2018 class.
Under then-defensive coordinator Manny Diaz — now the program’s head coach — Miami put together a ferocious defensive unit in 2018. The Hurricanes led the FBS with 10.5 tackles for loss per game; according to Bill Connelly’s data, Miami also led the nation in adjusted sack rate and ranked third in Stuff Rate.
What’s Left Now? Well, plenty still
Entering 2019, the Hurricanes still project out as a top 10-15 defense, although the loss of Silvera is tough. He was expected to start and produce at the top of Miami’s depth chart. While star rush end Jonathan Garvin is back (17 tackles for loss in 2018), the program parted ways with several key contributors after last year.
Defensive tackle Gerald Willis, now with the Baltimore Ravens, was a monster in 2018. Willis led the ACC with 1.5 tackles for loss per game. He finished the season with a team-best 22 runs stuffs, too, per Connelly. Former defensive end Joe Jackson, a 2019 draft pick of the Dallas Cowboys, also finished with 14.5 tackles for loss, 21 run stuffs and accounted for 10 percent of the teams Havoc Plays.
With Willis and Jackson gone, that’s a lot of missing production. Silvera would be a major help this season, though the cupboard isn’t dry behind him.
Nesta Silvera’s loss hurts Miami, but it is not devastating. Miami recruited three defensive tackles in their last signing class and added UCLA transfer Chigozie Nnoruka. Redshirt freshman Jordan Miller has looked really good in camp. He and Nnoruka will backup Bethel and Ford.
— Manny Navarro (@Manny_Navarro) July 31, 2019
Pat Bethel and Jonathan Ford combined for eight tackles for loss last season, too.
During the 2017 season at UCLA, Chigozie Nnoruka recorded 49 total tackles, including 8.5 for loss. That wasn’t a very good defense at UCLA, but the defensive line did rank top 40 nationally in Havoc Rate.
As Manny Navarro notes, Jordan Miller — a 3-star recruit in the 2018 class — played well during training camp. Miami also added three defensive tackles in its 2019 class, including 4-star prospect Jason Blissett.