Mario Cristobal is rebuilding the program his way. Players that didn’t like his coaching style are leaving and new ones are arriving. They have lost 17 players to the transfer portal. But, yesterday they were able to get the #4 ranked early signing class in the nation. It is a positive for a football program in need of some. The 1st phase of the transfer portal isn’t over yet but 17 players is a lot. Their net gain of players is in plus territory and no doubt will be serious upgrades from the previous roster.
Players that had enough of Mario Cristobal
There are currently 17 players that are in the transfer portal as listed here on 247sports.com. Most notable are Thad Franklin, the running back that stormed off the practice field late in the season and Keyshawn Smith, whose mother went to twitter to bash offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis. Together with Keyshawn Smith, three players (Jordan Miller, Elijah Roberts, Jaylon Knighton) are heading to SMU to be with Coach Rhett Lashlee who was their offensive coordinator until last season. A Miami legacy player, Al Blades has transferred to Duke which is a sentimental loss. The “Blades” last name is famous–Bennie Blades, Brian Blades, Al Blades, Sr. all played at Miami and were stars.
Players that have bought-in to Mario Cristobal
It is of note that the Hurricanes early signing class is rated #4 in the nation. As per 247sports in this article here, it is the highest ranked signing class for the Hurricanes in their rankings (since 2011). The Hurricanes added bulk to their offensive and defensive lines. The offensive lineman, “make your toes tingle,” as longtime sports radio talk show host, the late Jim Mandich used to say. Francis Mauigoa from IMG Academy and Samson Okunola from Thayer Academy (Brockton, MA) are the two five star athletes for the Canes. Now, as Coach Mario Cristobal alluded to in an interview with Joe Rose earlier this week, it will matter more how they play, then how they were ranked.
Two interesting recruits via the transfer portal was a starter on the Alabama offensive line, Javion Cohen and Thomas Gore, a defensive lineman from Georgia State. As per an SI article here, Cohen is a starter on the Alabama offensive line. Last season he played 554 snaps and started 10 games. He surrendered 1.5 sacks on the season. Gore has played nose tackle and defensive end and was listed as an honorable mention on the All Sun Belt conference team in 2021 as per this article from 247sports.com.
Mario Cristobal is bringing in his players
The amount of arrivals are more than the departures, so the Hurricanes so far are at +13 players. The roster purge is happening. Cristobal was telling Joe Rose in his interview that a great deal of the arrivals were also team captains on their high school teams. Also, he thought initially in coming to Miami that he would be inheriting a roster capable of competing for conference championships but later (talking with his wife) realized that it would be a “rebuilding” of the program and of culture. He said that he wanted players that would be able to deal with adversity and “resistance” and be able to adjust and thrive. The “proof will be in the pudding” for these recruits on whether they turn into solid, perennial starters for the Hurricanes.
As I wrote in a season preview article on this season’s hype on Miami, the Hurricanes have gone through 15 seasons of mediocrity. The coaches have come and gone touting recruits who have ended up disappointing fans on the field. The current transfer portal closes on January 18 and doesn’t reopen until May 1. Formal signing day is Wednesday, February 1, 2023.
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