Manny Diaz confident in last two Miami football classes

Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA;.Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 4, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA;.Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program signed the 17th ranked class in 2020 and 11th in 2021. Speaking last week, Miami head coach Manny Diaz praised the last two Hurricanes classes. The 2020 class signed with Miami following a 6-7, 2019 season. Most of the 2021 signees committed to Miami following the 2019 season.

After an 8-3 2020 season with 19 returning starters and the infusion of talent provided by the last two classes, Miami had high expectations in 2021. A 2-3 start has lit a fuse of fireworks under Diaz’s seat. Despite the disappointing start, Diaz is confident in the talent that the 2020 and 2021 classes have added for Miami.

Second-year quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was one of the key signees for the Miami football program in 2020. In his first two career starts the last two weeks, Van Dyke has completely 61.0 percent of his passes for 473 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Van Dyke also has 14 carries for six yards and a TD.

Not an exceptionally mobile QB, the rushing yards for Van Dyke also includes yards lost on sacks. Jalen Rivers played in seven games as a true freshman in 2020. Rivers started at left guard for the first three games of 2021 before suffering a season-ending knee injury against Michigan State.

Diaz’s comments during his weekly press conference with reporters last week were in response to comments by Kirk Herbstreit on ESPN College Gameday about Miami not having enough resources and Diaz not being aligned with President Julio Frenk and athletic director Blake James. The 2020 and 2021 classes were discussed.

"“It wasn’t pictures it wasn’t hopes or dreams or promises of, of when you come we’ll get these things. That class of 2020 you know Tyler Van Dyke’s class and Jalen Rivers and Elijah Roberts and Chantz Williams and Restrepo, Flagg all these guys that that are, that are you know making a lot of big time plays right now.They’re the ones that saw this. Those are the guys that committed to Miami on the back of a 6-7 (2019) season and then you saw the ’21 class and I mean Saturday’s game was a commercial for the last two recruiting classes that we’ve had here at the University of Miami those classes don’t happen without us increasing the resources.”"

Corey Flagg was a three-star signee who already exceeded his ranking. Flagg played in eight games as a true freshman in 2020 and has started all five games this season. Flagg has 19 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a key interception in the loss to Virginia last week.

Diaz’s predecessor as head coach and mentor Mark Richt helped Miami’s fundraising increase resources and facilities. Under Richt, Miami built new dorms and the Soffer Indoor Practice Facility for the football program. Miami will never have the resources and finance as the major state schools like Alabama and Florida.

As Diaz begins a stretch of seven straight games to finish the season, he needs the Hurricanes to turn the season around or face the real possibility of being fired. The freshmen will have a big impact on how Miami finishes 2021. Van Dyke might have to be the QB the remainder of the season with D’Eriq King injured.

Next. Miami will lean on young players as key part of rotation. dark

Several other freshmen in the Miami football program are pushing for more snaps. Safety James Williams started against Virginia and Leonard Taylor showed why he was a five-star signee in the Class of 2021. The three amigos, 2021 wide receiver signees Romello Brinson, Jacolby George and Breshard Smith can also be impactful.