Hurricanes expected to be active in busy transfer window: ‘We’ve been assessing’

CORAL GABLES — Prepare yourself for portal combat.

The spring transfer window opens on Tuesday, and the Hurricanes, fresh off their spring game on Saturday, are expected to be in play for several payers at multiple additions in the coming weeks.

“We’ve been assessing,” coach Mario Cristobal said after the spring game. “What are the areas that clearly need help? What are the ones that we’ve clearly improved at? What can we do well? What maybe we should get away from and not do? The portal — we address things first with our players That’s the respectful way to do so. And we’ve got to get our roster to a certain number at some point in time. Those are the decisions, the conversations that are had, and they’re very open and transparent. You go right to it. You can’t bull-you-know. You’ve got to be very truthful and straightforward when it comes to that.”

Miami has several positions they could address in the portal, including cornerback, safety, running back and wide receiver.

The Hurricanes currently have five scholarship running backs on the roster with one more, four-star signee Jordan Lyle, joining the team this summer. However, two of those running backs, Ajay Allen and Mark Fletcher Jr., missed spring practice with injuries.

Miami is also thin at cornerback after losing starters Jaden Davis and Te’Cory Couch to graduation and rotational corner Davonte Brown to the winter transfer window (Brown wound up at FSU). Veteran Daryl Porter Jr. and rising sophomore Damari Brown are solid potential starters, and transfer Meesh Powell has looked solid at nickelback in spring practice, but the Hurricanes would likely want to add more depth at that position.

The Hurricanes also lost both starting safeties, Kam Kinchens and James Williams, to the NFL draft. UM has options to replace them, including transfer Savion Riley and freshman Zaquan Patterson, but the Miami staff may want to bring in a more experienced player at the crucial position. Powell could also move to safety if Miami adds a slot cornerback.

At wide receiver, the Hurricanes have a strong corps led by Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo. They lost starter Colbie Young to Georgia in the winter. Rising redshirt sophomore Isaiah Horton is an option to replace Young, and he scored a pair of touchdowns in the spring game. But with star quarterback Cam Ward on the team for only one season, Miami may make a move for a standout outside receiver that enters the portal.

Cristobal did not expand on what positions the Hurricanes would be looking for in the portal this spring, but he said he wants players with intangibles like Ward, linebacker Kiko Mauioga, defensive lineman C.J. Clark and Powell.

“Guys like that, they want to be great,” Cristobal said. “They want to be elite, and they push culture. They work hard. They do the extra things. They’re good people. There’s nothing in them except competitive spirit and wanting and a desire to win. When you have guys like that, that really care about the end result for everybody, it adds to the culture. And you’ve got to always be very selective and make sure you’re bringing in people that add to the roster, add to the ability of your team, the caliber of your team, but also that enhance culture.”

The Hurricanes had a dozen players depart the team via the transfer portal in the winter, and at least two players have left since spring football began: running back Henry Parrish Jr. and defensive end Nyjalik Kelly.

The NCAA limits FBS teams to 85 scholarship players on a roster. The Hurricanes roster does not denote which players are on scholarship and which are walk-ons, but a Sun Sentinel count of Miami’s roster includes 80 scholarship players currently on the team and 10 more Class of 2024 signees who have not enrolled yet. That means the Hurricanes will likely need five players to depart in order to meet the scholarship limit. More players will need to leave if UM wants to clear space on the roster for prospective transfers.

“We’ve got to get to a certain number on the roster,” Cristobal said.” … Football doesn’t really tell lies. Positions are won out there. Some guys got to attack it, do a great job. And some guys just flat-out fold. Spring football is to find out who are the guys who can step up and play winning, Miami Hurricane football.

“We never, ever, ever in any case hold any hard feelings. … If we can’t have a person here due to whatever reasons they are, we always wish them the best. But we are always progressing forward, and we are very proactive with our roster decisions as to who is on the way out and who is on the way in. That’s about as detailed as I can get.”