A look at how the new redshirt rule will impact Hurricanes freshmen, and other stuff to know from ACC media days

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Like most college football coaches around the country, Mark Richt is a big fan of the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.

The Division I council recently approved a proposal that will allow student-athletes to participate in up to four games without burning their redshirt for the season, and the rule will go into effect immediately. Previously, a player was ineligible for a redshirt season as soon as they played a down unless a medical issue arose.

Head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes looks on during a game against the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

“Just imagine if this rule was in place a year ago,” Richt said Wednesday at ACC Kickoff. “We could have played N’Kosi [Perry], we could have played [Cade] Weldon up to four games and we might have found out … who knows what we would have found out. Now those guys are redshirted and it doesn’t really affect them, but it could affect Jarren Williams being a true freshman. Really, all of our true freshmen, I would love to play them all at one time or another if possible.

“Sometimes the quarterback position can be the hardest one to just throw a guy in there for a few plays. But [Williams] has got a much greater shot at playing this year because of the new rule than if it wasn’t. And I’m not saying he’s going to redshirt. He may play, period. But I think it’s an awesome rule, in general. My goal would be to play just about everybody we can play because we know it’s not going to count against their eligibility.”

As Richt alluded to, this new rule will have a big impact on true freshman. More incoming freshman will play right away, with coaches now able to give them some real-game experience without burning a year of eligibility.

This is a positive thing for the Hurricanes, as they have a list of talented freshman from their loaded 2018 recruiting class. Along with four-star quarterback Jarren Williams, the new redshirt rule means Miami is also more likely to play five-star running back Lorenzo Lingard, four-star tight end Brevin Jordan, four-star defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, four-star wide receiver Mark Pope, and even the freshmen who enter without the four- or five-star ratings.

But Richt made it clear there’s a fine line between allowing freshmen to get some experience and making sure the best players are still on the field in games.

“You don’t want to put any player in in any position that can cost you a game,” he said. “I don’t care who the opponent is. ‘Oh, yeah let’s play these guys,’ that sounds good. But if you put him in there and they’re not ready, and they make a mistake and get beat on something or make a play that can define the game whether you win or lose it. That’s kind of a scary thought, and then the last thing you want to do is hurt a kid’s confidence. So the goal is to get them in there when they’re prepared to play well enough to not be concerned how they can affect the outcome of the game in a negative way.”

Other tidbits from the Hurricanes’ time at ACC media days on Wednesday …

* ACC commissioner John Swofford said in his state of the league address Wednesday morning that ACC coaches will no longer release injury information each week. “We have had, not a rule, but a gentleman’s agreement among our coaches to share publicly injury information. We were the only conference that was doing that, and ironically, we decided not to do it this year.”

* Richt said graduate transfer Venzell Boulware, who arrived to Miami from Tennessee just a few weeks ago, will have a chance to earn playing time on the Hurricanes’ offensive line this season.

“Very good first impression,” Richt said of Boulware. “The guy played SEC ball for three years. He’s a graduate. He’s a mature guy. Even to graduate in three years, it shows a sign of maturity. He’s a sharp guy, he’s built well. He looks like he’s in really good condition. He’s probably 305 pounds-ish. He looks like he can move and function and the thing about him, is if you teach a freshman from scratch, that’s a lot to learn. You teach a guy who’s already been in a college system for three years, we may have a little different way we call this play or that play or this blocking scheme or that blocking scheme. If we call it a ‘scoop block,’ he might be like, ‘Oh, that’s a ‘B block’ for me.’ He’ll be able to relate to something he’s already done in the past, so he’ll be able to learn a lot faster.”

* With the start of camp set for early August, Richt said linebackers Zach McCloud (wrist) and Charles Perry (Achilles) are expected to be ready for the start of practice after being limited by injuries in the spring. Also, Richt mentioned that redshirt freshman Evidence Njoku has started running routes with his teammates during player workouts after suffering a season-ending knee injury in October.

* Senior safety Jaquan Johnson said redshirt senior defensive end Demetrius Jackson is the Hurricanes player who has shown the most improvement this offseason. “He’s a fifth year senior,” Johnson said. “He got injured last year, a knee injury, and just the way he approaches every day. He’s bringing the young guys along with him. He’s attacking the day. Every time he’s around, everybody is excited, everybody is happy.”

As for the most impressive freshman so far, Johnson pointed to 6-foot-6 defensive end Greg Rousseau. “He works so hard,” Johnson said. “In the sprints, he’s in the front. In the weight room, he’s going hard. In spring, he had a blast getting around the corner. I really like that guy Greg Rousseau.”

MORE HURRICANES STUFF FROM ACC MEDIA DAYS

[Ahmmon Richards finally feels healthy, and he’s ready to make sure everybody knows it]

[Here’s what Hurricanes coach Mark Richt had to say at 2018 ACC Kickoff]

[Does Hurricanes safety Jaquan Johnson still think about last year’s blowout loss to Clemson? ‘It pops in my head every day’]

[Hurricanes RB Travis Homer lands spot on another watch list for prestigious college football award]

[Hurricanes coach Mark Richt on quarterback situation: ‘Malik is the starter’]

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