53 Days to Miami Football: Zach McCloud ready to return

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24:(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 24:(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

Zach McCloud has a unique place in the series of counting down to the beginning of the Miami football season being the only active player as the best ever to wear his number.

Zach McCloud is ready to return for his final season in a Miami football uniform after playing in only four games in 2019 and taking a redshirt season. The advent of the striker position reduced the playing time that McCloud has had in the last two seasons. McCloud approached the Miami coaching staff to redshirt in 2019.

In just over three seasons with the Miami football team, McCloud has 137 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and three pass breakups. McCloud was impactful as a true freshman in 2016 starting 11 of the Hurricanes 13 games as part of an All-Freshmen linebacking corps with Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney.

McCloud has been a steady performer for Miami. As a freshman, McCloud recorded 37 tackles. McCloud added 48 as a sophomore and 44 in his junior season in 2018. In four games in 2019, McCloud added eight tackles. The best performance for McCloud in 2019 was five tackles against Pittsburgh in relief of an injured Pinckney.

With Quarterman and Pinckney graduated, McCloud becomes the leader of the Miami LB corps. Previously an outside LB, McCloud is moving to the middle in 2020 to replace Quarterman. At 6’2, 236 pounds many scouts project McCloud to be the best professional of the three Hurricanes LBs who entered together in 2016.

The 2020 season is the chance for McCloud to prove he has the skills to be an NFL LB. Miami will break in a new starting LB and striker next to McCloud in 2020. Sophomore

Sam Brooks

is projected to start next to McCloud with redshirt freshman

Avery Huff

in the competition.

Junior Gilbert Frierson is the likely starter at striker succeeding the departed Romeo Finley. McCloud has a lot of responsibility in 2020. Zach McCloud has a unique place in Miami football history as the best player to wear number 53 and currently an active player.

Next. 53 Days to Miami football: Navaughn Donaldson 2020 redshirt. dark

McCloud has a chance to cement his legacy in Hurricanes’ history with an outstanding 2020 season. Leading the Miami defense, McCloud should compete to earn All-ACC.