Decision looming for several Miami Hurricanes football players

A six-pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday:

College football players who plan to transfer must enter the portal by Sunday to be eligible to play FBS football in the 2022 season.

And that adds urgency throughout college football this week, including at UM.

Based on the official roster on the Hurricanes’ website and transfers who have committed but aren’t yet listed on the roster, the Canes are very close to the maximum 85 players permitted on scholarship.

But for UM to have greater flexibility to add a few more transfers, it would be helpful if a few players start this week.

There are at least three offensive linemen on scholarship who didn’t seriously compete for playing time this spring and who could be candidates to exit. Linebacker Sam Brooks’ status remains in question.

It will be interesting to see if quarterback Payton Matocha wants to look for opportunities elsewhere; he likes it here but is no higher than fourth on the depth chart.

UM will face more of a numbers crunch in 2023 than 2022.

Five scholarship players either transferred or entered the portal with the intent of transferring this offseason: center Corey Gaynor (now at North Carolina), defensive tackle Nesta Silvera (now at Arizona State), tight end Larry Hodges, linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave and running back Cody Brown.

Freshman quarterback Jacurri Brown impressed everyone all spring.

“He’s definitely a weapon and a threat to the defense,” quarterback Jake Garcia said. “He threw a ball in practice, and I looked at him and I was like, ‘Bro, how did you throw that?’ It was an off-platform, movement throw, and he just launched it. He has a cannon on him, and he has some legs that move pretty fast.”

On WQAM, UM defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae good-naturedly admonished the NCAA for limiting the amount of time that players can watch tape with coaches, noting that safeties James Williams and Avantae Williams genuinely want to sit with coaches and watch more than permitted by the NCAA.

“We’ll be in defensive staff meetings, and those guys will literally walk in and watch film with us. We’ll have to kick them out,” Addae said. “Shame on the NCAA for not being able to give them more when they ask for more.”

Addae had an interesting way of describing the coaching staff that Cristobal has put together: “a conglomerate of elite coaches.”

Addae said “we’re going to compete against everybody, and we plan on winning.”

On his defensive backs, Addae said: “I’ve seen a lot of good. I’ve seen some bad. I’ve seen guys who really want to be better than they were last year. These guys want to right those [bad] things. There’s some untapped potential, guys who haven’t necessarily reached the high bar.”

UM’s linebackers were poor in pass coverage last season, but the likely new middle linebacker starter — Caleb Johnson — allowed an impressive 80.4 pass rating in his coverage area at UCLA last season, with one interception and no touchdowns allowed.

He had 5.5 sacks in 2020 but none last season as his role changed somewhat. He will enter camp as the front-runner to beat out Corey Flagg Jr. in the middle. Johnson has one season of eligibility remaining.

Longtime draft analyst Dane Brugler’s seven-round mock draft for The Athletic has receiver Charleston Rambo as the first Canes player off the board, in the sixth round at 190th overall. He has only one other Canes player being drafted—safety Bubba Bolden in the seventh round, 238th overall.

Kudos to NFL-bound receiver Mike Harley Jr. for giving $500 to Miami Mission, which helps the homeless. He did an autograph session for All Canes and gave one-third of the proceeds to Miami Mission… UM’s Zach McCloud, who played linebacker for five seasons and defensive end last season, visited the Minnesota Vikings.

This story was originally published April 26, 2022 4:09 PM.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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