The Miami Hurricanes offensive line looks waaaaaaay different from what was on the field in 2022. And given what the Canes trotted out, that’s not a bad thing.
Between impact transfers and incoming freshmen, there are a number of interesting candidates as the season prepares to kick off.
Interior offensive line
The addition of UCF C transfer Matt Lee cannot be understated as far as importance. The senior is experienced and talented, whose knowledge should help massively in handling calls at the line of scrimmage. Pro Football Focus gave Lee a pass blocking grade of 90.6 and a run blocking mark of 80.6 in 2022. Solid.
Javion Cohen, who transferred in the offseason from Alabama, will line up beside him at left guard. He was among the top six guards in all of FBS in pass blocking efficiency in 2022, per Pro Football Focus, so he and Lee should help provide a strong pocket on the inside of the offensive line for Tyler Van Dyke.
Anez Cooper looks to have the edge at right guard. The massive - and I mean absolutely massive at 6’6”, 350 pounds - finished last season as a starter for Miami and appears set to continue in the starting lineup.
For reserves, while Miami has yet to put out an official depth chart, it appears as though Tommy Kinsler is a backup candidate at guard, Lou Cristobal at center, and Samson Okunlola at both left tackle and guard. When you’ve got a 5-star recruit coming off the bench even as a freshman, you’re in a pretty good place with your line.
Jalen Rivers has the edge at left tackle over Okunlola. The 6’6”, 325-pound Rivers had seven starts last season at left guard. He’ll move over one spot as the starter, and if he can keep up his level of play, things could get interesting when Zion Nelson gets back, as well as if Okunlola’s developmental curve is steep. That will be a fascinating position to keep an eye on.
True freshman Francis Mauigoa appears to have the right side on lock. The 6’6” 342-pound behemoth appears ahead plays like a player ahead of his age and experience level, and Miami should be very strong on the right side for years to come. Matthew McCoy should serve as the primary backup for Mauigoa.
Missing due to injury
Nelson is obviously the biggest absence. How ready he is to step in after missing almost all of 2022 with a knee injury and how well Rivers is playing will dictate whether he returns to the starting lineup. Anthony Tripp and Jonathan Denis, some depth options, also are still dealing with injuries and while expected back soon, Mario Cristobal didn’t give a firm timetable for their return. Neither should push for a starting job once they get back though.
There’s a lot to like about the Miami offensive line. There’s little doubt that the ceiling is high with this group. The only question is: how long with it take it for it all to come together? Hopefully that’s sooner than later for Miami fans.