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Changing The Game

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For better or worse, Manny Diaz is already changing college football

University of Miami Introduces Manny Diaz Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Things have moved so fast at Miami that it’s easy to overlook the recruiting revolution going on before our very eyes. Things have moved at a relentless pace not one month following the retirement of Mark Richt and hiring of Manny Diaz as the next head coach.

In between gutting the offensive staff and stealing Dan Enos from Nick Saban’s hands, Diaz has worked non-stop to continue adding talent to a roster that will be losing enough of it to the NFL. Diaz has convinced Jeff Thomas to return after the rising junior seemed to change his mind every couple of days. The most impressive work CMD has done thus far however, is on the transfer portal and making it into a potential pathway to quickly rebuild pieces of the roster that have underwhelmed.

Prior to this offseason, going after transfers was something teams did but not at an aggressive level. Any power five team might be able to grab a couple transfers in a given year to increase depth, replace a starter or try something new at a position. But the way Diaz has attacked the transfer portal, utilizing it as an addition to high school recruiting and not the after-thought option that it has been considered for so long, is changing how college football recruiting is done.

Dollar General Bowl - Buffalo v Troy
Former UB WR K.J. Osborn was brought on board to be the big, athletic and consistent receiver that Miami has been missing for so long.
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Mid-level but competitive teams like Miami should use the transfer portal like a second recruiting trail in the midst of off years. The Canes have already dominated the transfer game this season, acquiring Tate Martell, K.J. Osborn, Bubba Bolden, Tommy Kennedy, Chigozie Nnoruka and Asa Martin. More seem to be on the way as well, including 2017’s top player, edge rusher Jaelan Phillips.

These players have given Miami depth, starters and, most importantly, competition between the new and old players on this Hurricanes roster. In a year where CMD is emphasizing a clean slate and everything starting over from scratch, these additions are critical to ensuring that the young guys don’t get lazy in their approach.

Rutgers v Ohio State
Acquiring Tate Martell will bring out the best of Miami’s entire QB room.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

To compare the recruiting process to the NFL, transfers are much like free agents whereas HS recruiting is like the draft. The best NFL teams can’t succeed purely on an intake of free agents. And just like how NFL teams need to hit on and develop their draft picks to be successful, college programs need to do the same thing when it comes to recruiting high school talent. At the end of the day, transfers are short-term fixes to a few positions, not a way to turn a team from pretender to contender.

That being said, the transfer game should not be overlooked any longer. If Miami goes on to have a winning season and players like Martell, Osborn, Bolden and Kennedy prove to be a big reason why? Teams will be falling all over themselves to copy The U and attempt recruiting high-profile transfers to their schools. We will go without Miami football for a long, long time but if we truly see #TNM under CMD, then consider this transfer revolution a huge reason why.