Which Hurricanes cornerbacks will get the starting nod for Friday’s season opener?

Adam Lichtenstein/South Florida Sun-Sentinel/TNS

CORAL GABLES — The Miami Hurricanes lost a pair of cornerbacks, D.J. Ivey and Tyrique Stevenson, to the NFL following the 2022 season, setting the stage for arguably the closest position battle of the offseason.

With just days until Miami opens the season at home against Miami (Ohio), the Hurricanes coaches have not announced who will start at cornerback. If they know who will line up at the position at the start of the game, they are not telling.

“It’s still a top kind of five guys — the Brown brothers, (Daryl) Porter, along with (Jaden) Davis and (Jadais Richard),” defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said. “(Te’Cory Couch) is playing the nickel right now. It’s been a revolving door. I think we’ll have to play all of them and just find out through the year which ones are playing the best and go from there. They all deserve the right to play.”

Most of those cornerbacks have something in common: They are new to Miami. Only Couch and Porter were on the team last season. Davis, Richard and Davonte Brown all arrived via the transfer portal. Damari Brown was a four-star prospect who signed out of American Heritage School in Plantation.

Davonte arrived in time for spring practice, but Davis, Richard and Damari went through their first set of practices in the summer.

Despite just getting to Miami, Davis, a St. Thomas Aquinas alumnus, said his teammates quickly made him feel welcome.

“You’ve got guys like Kam Kinchens, James Williams, that brought me along right away,” Davis said. “I could’ve came in here and guys could’ve turned their heads and not tried to help me because I’m coming to bring more competition, but it was the exact opposite. Everyone here just was so welcoming from the day I stepped on campus till now … guys have been helping me out, whether I text Kam at eight o’clock at night or seven o’clock in the morning, he’s going to answer.”

Davis and Richard offer versatility in the secondary. Both can play nickel and outside, and Richard could play safety as needed, too.

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“I feel like I’m dominant at all of them, coming from playing all of them,” Richard said. “In high school, I played safety, and at Vandy, I played a little bit of safety, too, and I played nickel and corner. I feel like I’m strong at different spots.”

How the Hurricanes utilize their cornerback corps will depend on the players’ performance and how they match up with opposing wide receivers. Taller groups of receivers could mean more reps for Damari and Davonte, who are both 6 foot 2, and Richard, who is 6-1. But otherwise, Guidry said they will often go with the hot hand.

“If you’re going to face a bunch of big receivers, you need some big bodies, of course,” Guidry said. “But just in general, normal size, you’re going to play the guys that are kind of hot. The game usually comes down to if you’re stopping the run, people are going to start throwing to the outside. If they’re going to throw it to the outside, you’ve got to play the back shoulder and all that. Longer guys are usually better at it, but if a guy that’s shorter has really got a knack for playing the football, they’re good at it.”

One intriguing possibility could still happen in the season opener or another time this year. Although Damari and Davonte played together in high school, Damari was still an up-and-coming underclassman on a high school team loaded with talent. As a result, they never started opposite each other at cornerback. That could happen at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday night.

“That would be cool, though,” Damari said. “Just taking one day at a time. If my name’s called, that’d be something. That would just be something that’s not really heard of, going out there on the opposite side of your brother. That’d be something dreamed of.”