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More injuries for Miami: Hurricanes missing 2 more defensive starters, Lou Hedley at Duke

·2 min read
Miami Hurricanes cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (2) reacts during the fourth quarter of their ACC football game against the Appalachian State Mountaineers at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, September 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Miami Hurricanes were missing two more defensive starters Saturday against the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, North Carolina.

They were also without a former All-American on special teams.

Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, defensive lineman Jonathan Ford and punter Lou Hedley all did not dress Saturday for Miami’s regular-season finale at Wallace Wade Stadium. Stevenson didn’t play in the second half of the Hurricanes’ win against the Virginia Tech Hokies last Saturday because of a shoulder injury, Ford missed his second straight game with an ankle injury and Hedley was out with a “lower-body injury,” coach Manny Diaz said. All three made the trip to North Carolina despite sitting out.

With Stevenson sidelined, Miami was missing four defensive backs with significant starting experience. Bubba Bolden and Gurvan Hall Jr., who began the season as the Hurricanes’ starting safeties, are done for the year, as is freshman safety James Williams, who replaced Hall in the starting lineup in September. Bolden had season-ending shoulder surgery last month, Hall entered the transfer portal after losing his job and Williams is out for the season after injuring his groin Nov. 13 in a loss to the Florida State Seminoles.

On Monday, Diaz said there was a chance Stevenson could play this weekend and didn’t rule out the sophomore for the season.

“We think there’s a better chance of him playing this weekend and moving forward,” he said.

Stevenson is eligible for the 2022 NFL Draft after playing two seasons with the Georgia Bulldogs before he transferred to Miami in January.

In the secondary Saturday, the Hurricanes started cornerbacks Marcus Clarke and DJ Ivey, and freshman safeties Avantae Williams and Kamren Kinchens.

Ford hasn’t played since the Florida State game, when he injured his ankle, but was able to finish the game. The fifth-year senior started eight of the first 10 games. With Ford out, fellow defensive linemen Nesta Jade Silvera and Jared Harrison-Hunte both started for the second straight game.

For Hedley, his absence means the Hurricanes had a different punter for the first time since the specialist transferred to Miami from City College of San Francisco, a junior college, in 2019. The 29-year-old redshirt junior from Australia was a finalist for the Ray Guy Award last season and a second-team All-American, according to the Associated Press. With Hedley out, punter Nelson Foley, another Australian, made his debut for the Hurricanes.

On Monday, Diaz said Miami views Foley as Hedley’s successor if Hedley opts to turn pro and forego his final season of eligibility.

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