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Miami Hurricanes’ Recruiting and Portal Strategy Focused on Sustained Excellence



Credit: Canes Football

Under Mario Cristobal’s leadership, the Miami Hurricanes have completed their second full season, marked by a mix of challenges and achievements. Despite a 7-game victory tally falling short of the anticipated 9+ wins, there’s an air of optimism about the team’s direction. Notably, the Canes secured a top three position in the early national signing day period, leading the ACC for the second consecutive year. Their average portal class ranking over the past two years stands at an impressive 9th. With a strategic focus on a transfer quarterback, the Canes are poised for a potential 10+ win season as Cristobal’s first full class, the 2023 cohort, steps into their sophomore year.

The Canes’ approach contrasts with other notable teams who have adopted aggressive portal strategies early on. Miami’s emphasis seems to be on long-term growth, balancing quality starters from the portal with a robust focus on recruitment and talent development. This article examines Miami’s retention rates in both recruitment and portal transfers, comparing them to other prominent teams, including in-state rivals.

Cristobal’s Portal and Recruitment Losses

Portal 2022:

Colbie Young
Frank Ladson
Darrell Jackson
Terry Roberts

2022 Recruiting Class:
Cyrus Moss
Jaleel Skinner

Cristobal’s arrival led to a significant roster overhaul. His impact was immediate, enhancing the 2022 class and achieving a 16th national rank. Nevertheless, Miami experienced multiple exits, among them Cyrus Moss and Jaleel Skinner, both ranking in the top 100 talents, as well as portal transfers like Roberts and Ladson, with the departures of Jackson and Young standing out as particularly significant.

Remarkably, Miami hasn’t lost any players from its highly-regarded 2023 recruiting class. The only portal losses have been NFL draft declarations. This stability, combined with a promising 2024 freshman class and upcoming portal acquisitions, positions the Hurricanes for a potentially remarkable 2024 season built for sustained success.

Comparative Analysis with Other Programs

Under Lincoln Riley, USC brought in high-profile talents like Caleb Williams, leveraging a substantial NIL budget. Despite these efforts, breakthroughs were limited, with key players like Malachi Nelson, Domani Jackson, and Korey Foreman departing, and several top portal players underperforming. Here is a full list of notable talent that left USC:

5- Star-Malachi Nelson
5- Star-Domani Jackson
5 -Star-Korey Foreman
4 Star-CJ Williams
4-Star Raleek Brown
4- Stae Fabian Ross
4 -Star Jaxson Dart

With their top portal players struggling
Tre’Quon Fegans (only 49 snaps)
Bear Alexander (⬇️ 8.4 PFF score)
Anthony Lucas (1 start only/19 snaps in last 3 games)

Texas A&M
Two years ago, Texas A&M’s recruiting class was historic; however, this strategy, reminiscent of Larry Coker’s approach, didn’t yield the desired results. Jimbo Fisher’s departure followed a disappointing season, and key recruits have since been poached.

Florida State
Mike Norvell fully embraced the transfer portal strategy, which initially brought significant success. Last year, he led the team to ten wins, followed by a 13-win streak this year, culminating in an undefeated season; however, the Seminoles’ playoff ambitions were derailed by an injury to Jordan Travis. The team has experienced considerable turnover, with 14 players entering the portal and six, including two standout wide receivers and Trey Benson, heading for the NFL. Currently in search of a quarterback, Florida State University faces the prospect of a significant downturn with the departure of key portal-acquired talent. Despite securing a top-four class this year, FSU fell to a 10th place finish after a less-than-stellar recruiting cycle. With the bulk of his portal recruits gone, Norvell must now rely on the chance of replicating his earlier success in the transfer market, as the team’s recent recruiting efforts have left much to be desired. The trajectory of FSU’s recruiting classes since 2020 indicates a challenging path ahead for the Seminoles.

Noles Recruiting Rank:
2020- 22nd
2021- 23rd
2022- 20th

Under Billy Napier’s leadership, the Florida Gators have struggled in both recruiting efforts (including portal and high school prospects) and on-field performance, with a record of 11-14. Despite Napier’s 2023 class achieving a 13th national ranking, the program has suffered significant roster losses, including star running back Trevor Etienne, with 17 players entering the portal. Compounding these challenges, Napier faces the nation’s most daunting schedule next year. Additionally, Napier witnessed the departure of six top-100 recruits within a month and the loss of seven blue-chip prospects in the 2024 class.

In Colorado, Coach Prime’s arrival generated immense excitement and anticipation. In his first year, he welcomed over 50 transfers, but despite a promising start, the team secured only four victories. The Buffaloes have continued this trend by adding 16 new portal players. This approach, however, appears to be more focused on immediate results rather than the long-term success of the program. This is reflected in Colorado’s 2024 recruiting class, which ranks 99th in the nation.

Criticism is sparse for the two-time national champions who only suffered a single defeat this year; however, as Georgia steps into the new NIL era, their management of continued success under evolving rules presents an intriguing scenario. Despite their strong recruiting, evidenced by securing the nation’s top class, Georgia has seen a concerning exodus of blue-chip talent. The departure of top-100 and five-star players at such a rate casts a shadow of doubt over the Bulldogs’ prospects for sustained triumph in the future.

Currently, the Hurricanes have focused on a strategy that emphasizes both recruitment and player development, smartly utilizing the transfer portal to acquire talented players who meet specific team needs. Their judicious use of NIL resources, avoiding overspending for short-term gains; allowed Miami to methodically construct their program from the ground up. With the acquisition of a skilled quarterback, the Hurricanes are poised not only to achieve 10+ win seasons in the short term but to establish a program designed for enduring success and long-term dominance in college football.

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