Alright guys. We’re back after a bit of time away from blogging. Everything is good, just....needed some “me” time. Anyways, here we are.
Let’s talk recruiting numbers, shall we?
While I’ve been dilly dallying on writing this piece, however, the landscape of recruiting has completely changed. No, I’m not talking about NIL (which has been a major added advantage for Miami), but I’m talking about last week’s NCAA announcement regarding scholarship limits.
The Wild West
Last week In May, the NCAA announced they were lifting 25 scholarship limit for incoming players for 2 years.
As expected, the NCAA has removed 25-player initial counter rule for the next two years, as long as teams stay at the 85-scholarship limit... Man, Kansas football could've REALLY used this flexibility awhile back.— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) May 18, 2022
Simply put: there used to be a “limit” of 25 new scholarship players any CFB team could add to the roster in a given year. I put “limit” in quotations because there are certain loopholes that could be used to go over that number (or if you’re, say, Alabama, you just oversign every year anyway and nobody says anything about it, but I digress...). Things like counting early enrollee scholarships back to the previous year’s allocation (if there was remaining room). There was also a recent waiver the NCAA approved to allow teams to add up to 7 additional players via the transfer portal, if they had available scholarships to do so.
But now, with this new two-year change, the 25 scholarship limit for incoming counters (scholarships) has been lifted. And that means teams, including Miami, can add AS MANY PLAYERS AS THEY WANT as long as they don’t exceed their 85 scholarship limit. So, say, if a team has 37 open scholarships after graduations and transfers, they can reload that entire number from the HS ranks and/or transfer portal, as long as they can find interested players.
So, what does that mean for this piece? Well, everything and nothing. I’m still going to go off the normal 25 player paradigm for a HS class. BUT, I do want everyone to be aware that this number could be much higher (or just, different) based upon defections from the roster after the season.
Cool. Let’s talk numbers then.
Disclaimer: This is an annual reminder but worth saying: things can and do change over the course of a recruiting cycle. While these numbers are a good guideline based on depth at the position both on the roster and in the available talent pool, they are not the exhaustive or definitive. As we saw last cycle (and every cycle, really), recruiting is dynamic and these numbers will change slightly based upon various factors and events.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s get into it.
I’ve said it a million times, and I’m saying it again: Recruiting Rule #1 is that you have to have a QB in every class. So yes, Miami needs to have a QB in this recruiting class. Shocking, I know.
There has been chatter that the staff wants 2 QBs in this class. I think that would be unwise. I believe you only make that move if you believe or know for certain that BOTH Tyler Van Dyke and Jake Garcia are leaving the program after this season. And, I don’t believe that to be the case. So I disagree with the thought of taking 2 QBs this year.
The other variable here is if you get players who are not the most highly rated. I don’t like taking projects (players that are gonna take 3+ years to see the field), but if you’re gonna go the project route, taking 2 is better than taking 1 just from an odds perspective.
Miami has 4 scholarship players on the roster at Quarterback: Tyler Van Dyke, Jake Garcia, Peyton Matocha, and Jacurri Brown. Van Dyke, Garcia, and Brown are a good and talented trio, but the rule is the rule: grab a QB each year. And I, for one, am sticking with just ONE QB as the need, while allowing for the fact that this may be bumped up to 2 in the end.
And since it’s taken me months to finish this piece, we all now know that Miami has 2 players committed at this position in 2023. I am still of the “1 QB class” mindset, but with the players committed, I’m fine with taking 2.
Running Back: 1-ish
This position has quickly become one of Miami’s best, and one of the best in the country if we’re being honest. But, you can never have too many good players here (or anywhere, really), so Miami should be looking to add talent in this class here as well. It’s not a super pressing need as every scholarship running back could possibly return for 2023. But, it’s better to plan on someone leaving and stocking the next All-American player at this position in this class.
And, when you add in the injuries to Donald Chaney Jr. (out for a few games; he posted on Instagram he’ll be out a month) and Tre’Vonte Citizen (no timetable for this injury has been given but it’s been said to be “severe” by Coach Cristobal when asked on multiple occasions), adding another talented back is a necessity in this class.
Wide Receiver: 3+
I’ll get straight to the point: Miami is lacking top-end, elite talent at the WR position. That’s been the case for a while, and that needs to change. Miami needs top end talent, and plenty of it, at WR in this recruiting class.
It’s been well chronicled, here and elsewhere, that Miami has struggled to get the best of the best at WR from South Florida for QUITE a while. Not only does that need to change, but Miami needs to get blue chip players at receiver TO PLAY LIKE BLUE CHIP PLAYERS WHEN THEY GET TO CAMPUS!!!! And at this point, that problem is going to get solved by throwing numbers at the problem. Get in a bunch of good players and let them figure it out on the field.
Tight End: 2+
This is already a position of strength for Miami, and this will get even stronger in the future. Miami needs to continue to stack elite talent here, and recruit over some marginal players already on the roster.
The good news is that Miami already has not two, but THREE TEs committed in this class. We’ll talk about them later, but they’re all 6’6” 230lbs+ and very, VERY talented. Tight End U just keeps on keepin’ on. You love to see it.
Offensive Line: 5+
This is without a doubt the position that needs the biggest overhaul in terms of composition.
A Lineman on two National Championship teams at Miami, head coach Mario Cristobal is committed to getting the OL back where it needs to be (and hasn’t been in a while). His best friend OL Coach Alex Mirabal is one of the best OL coaches in the country, and the pair are working to get the kind of talent needed to be way, WAY more PHYSICAL at the line of scrimmage.
The big number of players needed is both for the present and future. Multiple linemen from the top of the rotation are out of eligibility after this season, and others behind them may not be top-line players moving forward. On top of that, the OL just needs to be bigger and lengthier. 6’4” OTs become 6’7” OTs (with the associated additional arm length) and so on. That happens by getting different players in the room, then you can kick the undersized guys inside (where they fit better) and everything improves.
To this point of the cycle, Miami has 5 linemen committed, including the best OT prospect in the Country. So things are looking good. But the work isn’t done.
Defensive Line: 5
This number might be low, to be honest. Miami only signed a couple HS DL last cycle (they were REALLY GOOD, but still, few in number) so there needs to be more numbers here this year. Sure, Miami could try to go to the portal again in 2023 like they did in 2022, but I hope that’s more like 2 players added than the 5 added thru the portal this year.
Because of the additions through the portal, I’d balance these players as 3 EDGE, 2 DT. Miami really needs more guys who can get after the QB, and that’s a big focus here. The good news, like OL, is that there are already players committed including a high 4-star/borderline 5-star EDGE. So the work is well underway here.
Just like at Receiver, Miami has long had issues that need solving at Linebacker. The Canes have moved guys from other positions there. They’ve changed positional responsibilities. They’ve even changed the positions — changing an OLB into a hybrid LB/S STRIKER — to address the issues.
And like at other positions I’ve already discussed, Miami has met their needs already on the recruiting trail. The Canes have 3 athletic and talented players committed at LB in this class. Job done. We move!
Defensive Back: 5
The DB group is one of the stronger and deeper groups on the roster, particularly at Safety. But, there’s a need to reload the roster as players get older and closer to leaving for the NFL (James Williams, Avantae Williams and Tyrique Stevenson immediately come to mind).
The main thing here is the main thing that’s been the main thing at receiver for years: Miami needs to find a way to get the top talent to stay home. Guys like, say, a Tyrique Stevenson, who spurned Miami initially to go to Georgia before transferring back home to The U last year.
Miami has one player committed at this group so there’s still work to be done to get to the number needed. And there were a couple early whiffs on the trail, so plenty of work to be done to get the talent needed from the HS ranks....before going shopping in
Free Agency the Transfer Portal becomes necessary.
Special Teams: 1
Love him though we do, super duper duper senior Lou Hedley is finally out of eligibility. Miami needs a punter to replace him next year. Simple.
After all that narrative, here’s the chart on how I see Miami’s scholarship needs for the 2023 recruiting class: (again, basing this off a traditional 25-man recruiting class)
2023 Class Numbers
I’m a bit later than normal with this piece, so there are some names out there. Check out he recruiting news section of the site, where Blake Malick, Chris Picaro, and Rob Weaver have been profiling several potential targets and discussing the action on the trail for a little while now.
Okay. Numbers and Needs are done. Unlike last year, when Miami only had 1 commitment heading into the season, Mario Cristobal’s Canes have a top 10 class with 17 players already committed.
With just 8 spots still open (to get to 25) and a bunch of needs, it’s likely that Miami uses the new wiggle room to go over that number, both in this class and in the portal. The end goal is building a championship caliber roster, and Cristobal and Co. are well on their way to doing just that.
Agree with the numbers as I see them? Disagree and think we need more (insert position here)? Hop in the comments and let me know.