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The Miami Hurricanes released their newest depth chart Monday ahead of Saturday's marquee match-up against ninth-ranked Notre Dame, making a few changes that could be key to the Canes' chances of upsetting the Irish.
The biggest change is the return of starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman to the first team. After spraining his ankle in a September 15 game against Bethune-Cookman, Perryman has not seen the field since. He was the second starting linebacker to miss time due to injury after Ramon Buchanan was lost for the year with a knee injury.
Junior Jimmy Gaines had been starting in Perryman's place for the past two weeks, he is back on the second team for the Notre Dame game. Gionni Paul, who had been the backup middle linebacker, is now listed as a co-starter at outside linebacker with Tyrone Cornelius.
The linebacker corps has been the weak spot in the Canes' defense this season, wracked with inexperience and injuries. The Canes are near the bottom of FBS in points allowed with 33.4 per game. While UM opponents have been held to a 56.5% completion percentage, they are averaging 4.5 yards per game on the ground, indicative of the linebackers' trouble limiting big gains into the defensive secondary.
Elsewhere on defense, junior CB Ladarius Gunter has been elevated to the starting lineup as a co-starter with sophomore Thomas Finnie.
Also of note, Junior RT Seantrel Henderson has been named a co-starter on the offensive line, along with true freshman Ereck Flowers. Flowers ascended to the first team during training camp as Henderson missed time due to a friend's funeral and recovery from a car accident.
Henderson has been given more and more playing time as the season progressed, and has apparently earned the trust of the coaching staff to start. He was also the subject of numerous transfer rumors this summer, due in no small part to conditioning issues and his expected absence from the starting lineup.
Finally, head coach Al Golden announced Monday that backup offensive tackle Jermain Johnson is not with the team. "That's personal reasons," Golden said at his Monday press conference. "But it's Jermaine's choice and he's not with us right now."