Which true freshmen will play for the Miami Hurricanes in 2016?

Shaq Quarterman (Miami Herald)
Shaq Quarterman (Miami Herald)

[Source: DT Willis suspended for opener]

[Practice observations, Aug. 23]

[UM unranked to start the season, place 26th in polls]

Miami is still a few days from locking in its lineup for Florida A&M (6 p.m. Sept. 3, ESPN3.com), but here’s what we are hearing, via program sources, about where true freshmen stand:

Likely to play: 

LB Shaq Quarterman
LB Michael Pinckney
LB Zach McCloud
WR Ahmmon Richards
RB Travis Homer
TE Michael Irvin II

The hard-hitting Quarterman is possibly UM’s best linebacker not named Jermaine Grace. Pinckney’s instinctive and aggressive play earned him a spot as a first-teamer, though he is currently battling a hamstring injury. A source said Pinckney had platelet-rich plasma therapy on his hamstring 10 days ago and responded well. McCloud emerged as Grace’s backup at strong-side linebacker. Richards — who fought turf toe during camp but like Pinckney has returned to full-go — has excellent downfield speed, though in his absence Dayall Harris has solidified his spot at split end (X receiver). Homer is pushing Mark Walton and Gus Edwards for reps behind Joe Yearby. On a team light on pass-catchers, Irvin has a great pair of hands (though he’s stuck behind a deep group at tight end).

Still fighting: 

WR Dionte Mullins
WR Sam Bruce
DE Pat Bethel
DE Joe Jackson
CB Malek Young

Miami needs as many wideouts as possible, but late-offseason arrivals Mullins and Bruce are behind in learning the offense. UM is hopeful both can prove to be trustworthy. Bethel and Jackson are in a similar boat, flashing their athleticism in practices. Either could get in the mix behind UM’s top four defensive ends. With Miami thin at corner beyond its top three, the speedy Young could work his way into the rotation as the season wears on. Right now sophomore Michael Jackson is Miami’s fourth cornerback (behind Corn Elder, Adrian Colbert and Sheldrick Redwine), but that evaluation is ongoing.

Likely to redshirt: 

QB Jack Allison
TE Jovani Haskins
OT Tre Johnson
DL Tyreic Martin
S Jeff James
S Romeo Finley
S Cedrick Wright

Unless Allison was the clear-cut second-best behind Brad Kaaya (or Miami’s QB room became Maryland 2012) he was destined to redshirt. Haskins, a high school quarterback, is a promising project. Miami needs tackles but Johnson needs a year in the weight room. Martin has a knee injury. Miami is four-deep at safety (plus Colbert, who played safety at Texas) and can afford to let that trio develop. On the other hand, with two seniors (Rayshawn Jenkins, Jamal Carter) it makes sense to try to work in whoever’s ahead — James, Finley or Wright — if they’re ready down the line.