Manny Diaz and his Miami football staff have been praised by college football experts throughout the offseason as winners in the transfer portal. Two Hurricanes rivals were not as fortunate.
The Miami football benefitted more by adding transfers during the offseason than anyone else in college football. Nine transfers signed with the Hurricanes during the 2018-19 offseason. ESPN named Miami one of the winners in the transfer portal. Hurricanes’ rivals Florida and Virginia Tech were named losers in the portal.
Former Auburn running back Asa Martin left the Miami football program in late June after signing in December. The additions that Miami has made during the past offseason will pay dividends in 2019 and beyond.
Buffalo Graduate Transfer K.J. Osborn is a near definite starter at wide receiver. Defensive end Trevon Hill will be a critical part of the Hurricanes rotation on the pass rush and comes from Miami’s ACC Coastal rival Virginia Tech.
The biggest splash in the transfer portal comes to Miami from Ohio State. Quarterback Tate Martell was one of the biggest names in this year’s transfer portal and in the recruiting class of 2017. Martell received a lot of unjust criticism in his decision to transfer from Ohio State and eventual immediate eligibility.
Also known as the “miami hurricanes had to many transfer portal players” rule 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/z7ruQeHDCA
— ♨️ToNy♨️ (@____therealtony) June 27, 2019
Martell and rising redshirt sophomore N’Kosi Perry head to training camp as the co-favorites to be Miami’s starting QB this fall. Perry started six games for the Hurricanes in 2018. Martell played in six last season for Ohio State. Both have intangibles they provide under center.
Manny Diaz embraced the transfer portal and as a former ESPN production assistant understands the power of social media better than any coach in college football. ESPN discussed Diaz’s ingenuity and ability to keep the fanbase informed with timely twitter posts on potential new arrivals in the portal.
— Manny Diaz (@Coach_MannyDiaz) February 22, 2019
“No new coach embraced the transfer portal like Miami’s Manny Diaz, who celebrated new roster additions with portal-themed Twitter GIFs. Miami bolstered both sides of the ball with known names from notable programs.
Although Ohio State quarterback transfer Tate Martell made the biggest national splash, Miami also added wide receiver K.J. Osborn, who caught 53 passes (seven touchdowns) for Buffalo in 2018.
After losing standout linemen Gerald Willis and Joe Jackson to the NFL, the Hurricanes picked up former Virginia Tech defensive end Trevon Hill, who had 5.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2017.
Miami also added two potential impact defenders from UCLA in tackle Chigozie Nnorukaand edge rusher Jaelan Phillips, ESPN’s No. 3 overall recruit in 2016, who has struggled with injuries. Safety Bubba Bolden, a safety from USC and an ESPN 300 recruit in 2017, is another potential impact addition.
Although the Canes could miss wide receiver Lawrence Cager, who transferred to Georgia, their net portal result is undoubtedly positive.”
While Diaz and his staff utilized the transfer portal, two of Miami’s biggest rivals, Florida and Virginia Tech were hindered by losses in the portal. The biggest defection for the Hokies was Hill who they dismissed in September. The ability to add a productive player from your most important rival helps you and hinders them.
Biggest ACC Rivalries:
UNC – Duke
Florida State – Miami
Virginia Tech – Transfer Portal
— champion of europe (@DrunkenGobbler) April 8, 2019
Loser: Virginia Tech
After a 19-8 start to the Justin Fuente era, Virginia Tech has entered a spin cycle of mostly bad news. The Hokies are all over the portal, almost exclusively with players leaving Blacksburg for other programs.
They’re also losing quite a few experienced players, such as (QB Josh) Jackson, (WR Phil) Savoy, Hill and wide receiver Eric Kumah, a former starter who transferred to Old Dominion. Even tight end Chris Cunningham, who will join Kumah at Old Dominion, made five starts during his Virginia Tech career.
The Hokies did add Oregon quarterback transfer Braxton Burmeister, who started five games for the Ducks in 2017. Virginia Tech’s overall returning production is good, but the number of players in the portal doesn’t exactly boost optimism for a turnaround in Year 4 for Fuente.
Jackson was a star in the 16 games he played for them over two seasons. A knee injury ended Jackson’s 2018 season in a shocking loss to in-state rival Old Dominion. Jackson is now at Maryland.
Florida had a renaissance season in Dan Mullen’s inaugural campaign in Gainesville in 2018. The Gators recovered from a disastrous 4-7 season in 2017 to finish 10-3 in 2018. That doesn’t absolve them from being a loser in the transfer portal according to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
“The Gators’ portal population isn’t insignificant but also shouldn’t hurt the positive trajectory of coach Dan Mullen’s program. Florida gained a big piece in (LB Jon) Greenard, who will bolster an already talented defense.
But the departure of CB (Chris) Steele could hurt in the long term, and Florida also lost onetime elite defensive recruit Antonneous Clayton (Georgia Tech), as well as linebackers Rayshad Jackson (UNLV) and Kylan Johnson (Pitt), and lineman Malik Langham (Vanderbilt).
Florida’s offense also saw the exits of offensive lineman T.J. McCoy, who started nine games in 2017, and quarterback Jalon Jones, an ESPN 300 selection in the 2019 class who transferred this spring to Jackson State amid accusations of sexual battery.”
Rittenberg is less concerned with who Florida lost than the sheer sum or players leaving Gainsville. Steele was one of the highest ranked players in the Class of 2019. He is the 42nd ranked player, fifth-ranked cornerback and sixth-ranked player in California in his class. His loss will be more significant in the future than in 2019.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) June 27, 2019
Clayton came nowhere close to producing to the level he was touted as coming out of high school. In three seasons in Gainesville, Clayton had 11 tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. Now it’s Georgia Tech’s turn to try and get production out of one of the best players in the 2016 recruiting class.
Jackson could be the player whose loss Florida feels the most in 2019. He was 12th on the Gators with 36 tackles last season. Johnson had 27 tackles and two pass defenses and Langham only had one tackle. Greenard was one of the most dominant players in the ACC last season with 15.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.
The new rules announced earlier this week by the transfer portal will likely diminish the number of players that move on to other schools in the future. Manny Diaz and his staff earned a lot of praise for striking while the iron is hot. The players that the Hurricanes added to their roster will help in 2019 and beyond.