Manny Diaz and company have wasted no time generating buzz back to the University of Miami. Apparently, Coral Gables is a great attraction for players that are transferring from other programs. Currently the University of Miami has eight players that are transfers in the current recruiting class alone.
After a brutal signing day, Miami has entered the transfer portal at a frequent pace searching for talent to fill in the gaps in the roster. Due to a lack of older players, the Hurricanes have made the addition of transfers a priority. The combination of missing many targets last recruiting cycle, and attrition have made the ‘Canes a destination for transfers.
2016 Recruiting Class
The first recruiting class under Mark Richt was put together in a short period after being hired shortly before New Year’s day. At the time, there was no early signing day period, and Richt and staff put together a staff in a month’s span. The class turned out to be ranked as the 22nd class by 247Sports. Overall the group featured 19 players, with nine of them being rated four stars.
Fast forward four years later and Miami will only have seven members of that class still on the roster. Highly rated wide receivers such as Sam Bruce and Dionte Mullins would be dismissed from the team. Players such as Jack Allison and Jovani Haskins eventually ended up transferring, along with six other players.
Then Miami received a rash of bad luck, losing key players to significant injuries. Both Ahmon Richards and Malek Young had to end their football careers due to neck injuries. The two players were instant contributors even as freshman and had potential to be drafted fairly high. After the 2018 season Miami also lost Joe Jackson and Travis Homer to the NFL Draft as juniors.
Enter The Transfer Portal
For new head coach Manny Diaz, there was a discussion to be had about how to address the lack of age and experience at a number of positions. With Miami having had success in recent years with graduate transfers, the option seemed to be the most logical.
Another benefit for the Hurricanes was the new transfer rules. The addition of the transfer portal, allows players to add their name in a transfer database which gives other schools the ability to contact them.
For many positions on the roster, there is young talent but ultimately a lack of experience. The wide receiver position lacked any receivers with more than 30 career receptions. That got addressed with the transfer of K.J. Osborn. The Buffalo transfer comes to Miami with 96 career receptions, over 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns. Miami also convinced their most explosive receiver last season, Jeff Thomas, to return to the Hurricanes after mulling over a transfer to Illinois.
After losing both starting safeties, Miami was able to secure Bubba Bolden after he withdrew from Southern Cal. Coming out of high school he was a top 60 player nationally and a teammate of current Miami tight end Brevin Jordan. Diaz didn’t stop there, he added another former teammate of theirs in Tate Martell. The quarterback position struggled in the 2018 season under Richt and with the addition of the Ohio State transfer, Miami adds another capable leader. Currently the Hurricanes are awaiting news on an NCAA waiver that would allow Martell to be immediately eligible for the 2019 season.
On the offensive line, Thomas Kennedy graduated from Butler University and will compete to be a starter at offensive tackle. Another addition to the offense is transfer running back Asa Martin from Auburn. He will also seek an NCAA waiver to be eligible this season.
Reloading on Defense
Miami’s defensive line will lose over 30 tackles for loss just between the departures of Gerald Willis and Joe Jackson. Rising junior Jon Garvin will return next season but more production is needed. Miami went to work adding former Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill, who has signed a financial aid agreement with Miami. With 11.5 career sacks he gives the defensive end group more experience.
The Hurricanes also added two UCLA standouts to the defensive line. Chigozie Nnruka was the first to commit to the Hurricanes. He will be a graduate transfer and adds the upfield push the interior will need. The most recent announcement is of the former number one player in the 2017 class, by 247Sports, Jaelan Phillips. Although there is uncertainty as to whether he will be eligible to play immediately, his talent makes any wait worth it. He also went through a stretch of injuries which would benefit from some time off. Overall though the talent that Miami has added is better than any talent it would have acquired from unsigned high school prospects.
The Hurricanes have made a strong ripple this off-season with the talent being added to the team. The acquisition of experience this year could help push the Hurricanes back into being a top 25 team. Miami has to answer some questions on the roster this Spring, but the transfer portal has benefited the Hurricanes more so than almost any team in college football.