Coach Mario Cristobal and the Miami Hurricanes have had an amazing few weeks. They’ve secured commitments from highly touted recruits OT Francis Mauigoa, EDGE Jayden Wayne, QB Jaden Rashada, TE Riley Williams, WR Nathaniel Joseph, ILB Raul Aguirre and CB Robert Stafford. The momentum that the ‘Canes have is on another level, and they could use this to possibly secure pledges from some of the top talent in the nation.
Just a few days ago, I wrote an article talking about the five-star prospects that Miami is in play for. Now, let’s take a look at what the 2023 class as a whole can look like.
Before I get into this, I want to say that this MY best case, realistic dream class for the ‘Canes. Some players will be missing that you may think should be here, but I firmly believe this class is how the ‘Canes could look in a few months. Despite the momentum, I believe that some players are just too far gone.
Coach Cristobal’s First Cycle
With 2023 being Mario Cristobal’s first chance at a full recruiting cycle, the results of the full class will surely be exciting. As of now, Miami has the 8th ranked class with 14 commits and 8 of those players are in the Top247, including one 5-star. Miami isn’t finished though, and I personally think this could be a class where the ‘Canes take more than the average 25 players.
If everything goes to plan, Cristobal and Miami could bring in one of the best recruiting classes of all time, let alone program history. In this hypothetical but realistic class, Miami could bring in five 5-star players and 17 4-star players. In addition, 15 of these players are in the Top247. According to 247sports’ class calculator, with 28 commits, the ‘Canes would have a class score of 318.76, and for reference, that would be Miami’s first class over 300 in the 247sports era.
Now, some players on this list are wishful thinking, but I firmly believe that Miami is in play for a good number of them due to a few things. First, momentum is key. Second, the competition for these recruits could be either moving on or not as in play as it seems. The ‘Canes momentum is second-to-none right now, and I give Miami the edge for a number of prospects right now due to that. For example, Cormani McClain is considering Alabama, Florida and Miami. The Tide already have two 5-star cornerbacks committed, and I just think its unlikely that they pull in the top three cornerbacks in the class. UF reportedly hasn’t contacted him for a while. I give Miami the lead due to momentum, a recent visit and local ties.
*This is all a prediction*
Bold indicates that the player is already committed to Miami.
Led by Rashada, this ‘Canes offense has the potential to be one of the nation’s best in the next few years. The elite signal-caller has the skillset to be a future Heisman winner with his amazing deep ball and velocity combined with great pocket presence. Johnson has elite speed and ball-carrier vision, and he would put up great numbers in UM’s backfield. To me, there is no player in the class that has more potential than Williams. The 6’3, 200 pound WR possesses incredible size and jump-ball skills with 22 mph speed. He is a game-changer. Joseph and Washington are two of the most electrifying players in the nation when the ball is in their hands. Jean brings some size at 6’1, and is dominant with the deep ball. Williams has the potential to be a monster at the next level due to his 6’6, 230 pound frame. Carver and Mikeska each bring their individual skillsets to Miami, putting together the best TE room in the ‘23 class. The skill positions have the potential to carry the ‘Canes to national prominence, but they can’t do it without help from the offensive line.
The clear-cut priority for Cristobal has been the offensive line. He knows that the ‘Canes can’t win anything meaningful without the trenches. Miami already secured a commitment from the No. 1 offensive lineman in the nation in Mauigoa, but the ‘Canes aren’t done yet. Okunlola would be the second 5-star lineman for this cycle, and the dominant tackle would give Rashada’s blindside great protection. I personally think Mauigoa could make the move to guard, leaving a tackle position open for the 6’6, 315 pound Alinen on the right side. Both of Okunlola and Alinen have received crystal balls to Miami from Steve Wiltfong, so that works very well for Cristobal and co. Kirkland would most likely move inside, but his size and power would be great for Miami. ‘Canes commit Tripp is one of the best centers in the country and possesses great size. Can you imagine an offensive line with these five beasts? It has been a long time since Miami’s trenches were elite, and that starts now with Cristobal’s first class.
M’Pemba and Wayne are both edge rushers and teammates at IMG. A commanding presence off of the edge, Wayne is already committed, and I could definitely see the dominant duo teaming up at The U to give opposing defenses the business. Five-star edge M’Pemba has the potential to be one of the best players in the class with the correct coaching and weight program. Walker would bring much needed size to the DL class, and has the skill to be a great run stopper in the interior. Bain is a quarterback’s worst nightmare, as he had 29.5 sacks in the 2021 season.
Linebackers Bryant and Aguirre are two of the highest-rated players at their position, and have the potential to contribute the second they step on campus. They both rack up tackles with ease. Aguirre committed recently, and Wiltfong put in a crystal ball for Bryant within the last few days. Much like offensive line, it has been a long time since linebacker was a position of dominance for the ‘Canes. Clark and Washington both play on the outside and could also play early on in their careers due to the weak LB room at Miami.
This would be a dream front seven class for Cristobal and defensive coordinator Kevin Steele. The defensive line has the potential to be one of the most talented we’ve seen in a long time at Miami, and the linebackers would easily become the best prospects the ‘Canes have had in numerous years.
Cornerback has been an area that the ‘Canes could use some improvement, so why not go out and get the best in the country? McClain is the No. 3 overall player, and would be Miami’s first 5-star corner in over a decade. His ball-skills combined with his lockdown coverage would be an amazing get for the ‘Canes. Stafford has the size, speed and length of an NFL cornerback prospect, and will have the opportunity to grow at Miami. It’s a family affair for the talented Brown, as his father played DB at Miami. These three corners could revolutionize the position.
Aguero is one of the top players in the class and is an all-around safety that excels in coverage and tackling. Bonsu’s 6’2, 205 pound frame is terrifying for opposing offenses and will be mentored by the best safety of all time, Ed Reed. The duo could contribute instantly if Avantae Williams makes his way to the NFL after this season. Aguero and Bonsu are both announcing their commitments in July and have a real possibility of teaming up.
This secondary could be one of the best in the nation with the elite cornerbacks and a terrific safety duo. Miami gave up some of the most passing yards in the country in 2021, and could possibly bring in the best secondary recruiting class in the nation.
How Realistic is This Class?
To me, this class is pretty realistic. I can definitely see Cristobal and his staff pulling in these recruits. I’m more confident in some players than others, but I mentioned this in my last article; momentum is everything. Miami is killing it on the recruiting trail right now, and has the potential to pick up elite prospects every few days. As long as the momentum keeps up, anything is possible. I firmly believe that Miami will walk away from the 2023 class with 4 or more 5-stars and a talented, deep class. My prediction is a top 4 class with the potential to be in the top 3 depending on how Miami does with McClain.
Four of the players listed above have scheduled their commitments for July. Listed below are the dates that they will be committing on. Two others are reportedly announcing a commitment date soon, with the crystal ball favoring the ‘Canes for both of them. If Miami secures these five players, they would jump up to 283.33, the No. 2 class in the nation behind Notre Dame (285.34).
- S Jayden Bonsu: Wednesday, July 20
- S Joenel Aguero: Saturday, July 23
- LB Malik Bryant: Saturday, July 23
- OT Payton Kirkland: Saturday, July 23
- DL John Walker: Thursday, July 28
- OT Olaus Alinen and OT Samson Okunlola are rumored to be announcing a commitment date relatively soon.