Speaking during a zoom meeting with reporters ahead of the start of spring practice on Monday, head coach Manny Diaz said the Miami football program could still add a transfer linebacker. Diaz stated that if the Hurricanes choose to add a transfer LB the addition would happen after the conclusion of spring practice.
Any player officially joining the Miami football program cannot happen until summer school at the earlier. Miami returns their entire LB corps in 2021. Starters Bradley Jennings and Zach McCloud had subpar seasons in 2020. Jennings will likely be challenged for his starting role in 2021 and McCloud moved to defensive end.
Diaz stated how the staff feels about the LBs following the spring will determine if they have what they need to compete at the position. The decision on adding a transfer at LB will also be critical in how the player fits with the scholarships Miami has. The Hurricanes already have to count running back Cody Brown towards 2022.
After stating they are keeping an open mind about adding a transfer LB, Diaz said he is excited about who the Hurricanes have. Jennings led the Miami LBs in 2020 with 39 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks and one pass breakup. The projected favorite to start next to Jennings is sophomore Sam Brooks.
"“If we come out of spring and feel like we maybe don’t have what we need to compete for things we want to compete for, that is an option…You have to be smart in terms of how you use your numbers and how long a guy can be in the program. There’s a lot that goes into all of those. I’m excited what’s on our campus.”"
Brooks had 37 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, one sack and two pass breakups last season. Tirek Austin-Cave, Corey Flagg, Avery Huff and Waynmon Steed return and freshman Deshaun Troutman was an early enrollee who will participate this spring. The Miami football program also signed LB Tyler Johnson who will enroll later this year.
There are still several LBs in the transfer portal. The two most highly ranked LBs in the portal are Henry Too’Too who is expected to sign with Alabama from Tennessee and former USC LB Palaie Gaoteote IV who signed with the Trojans in the Class of 2018 with his Las Vegas Bishop Gorman teammate Miami safety Bubba Bolden.
If Diaz and his staff want to add another LB they will have many transfers to choose from. More transfers will be added after spring practice. Players unhappy with roles on their team or place on a depth chart after spring practice frequently transfer. Miami will finish practice after their spring game on April 17.