Michael Irvin confident about Miami football future with Mario Cristobal

Sep 2, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA; Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Miami football legend Michael Irvin spoke to Nick Kosko of 247 Sports about the future of the Hurricanes with Mario Cristobal as head coach. Irvin discussed what Manny Diaz meant for Miami, the need for the Hurricanes football program to reach another level, what Cristobal did at Oregon and opportunities for the future.

Irvin lamented the opportunity the Miami football team lost in 2021 to win the ACC in a down year for Clemson. Wake Forest became the first program to win the ACC Atlantic Division other than Clemson or Florida State since 2008. Pittsburgh was the first ACC Champion other than Clemson or Florida State since 2010.

When Miami joined the ACC in 2004 the expectation was that the Hurricanes would make frequent appearances in the conference championship game. Miami being placed in the Coastal Division was with the hope that the Hurricanes would play Florida State in frequent ACC Championship Games.

Irvin expects Miami to be in the ACC Championship game often while building a foundation to contend for the College Football Playoff. The expectation from most analysts is that Cristobal will make Miami a factor nationally in recruiting. Irvin then turned his attention to the quarterbacks at Miami.

The addition of D’Eriq King as a transfer in 2020 upgraded QB significantly for Miami. Irvin was impressed by King and stressed the importance of Cristobal “finding his QB.” Miami will enter 2022 with Tyler Van Dyke projected as one of the best QBs in college football. Here is part of the conversation with Kosko.

"“I thought it was a great hire…First of all, I love (former coach) Manny Diaz. Manny Diaz is a great man. He moved the needle for us some, but we need to take it to another level. Mario Cristobal, I hope he can come in and get to that other level.Oregon is one thing because he did great in Oregon, but he came back to Florida and got all our players to go to Oregon and win. So hopefully now that he’s the head coach of ‘The U,’ he can keep those players in Florida and let’s bite this thing one at a time. Let’s just bite off the ACC. Let’s get into (the championship) game.Clemson was down last year, and we were not in that game. At the bottom, Miami should be in that game or right around that game every year. That’s the acceptable minimum and then from there, we start working on the (College Football Playoff) and getting national championships.But Cristobal coming back, if he can recruit that area and keep those players, at minimum we can get back to take over ACC…It’s all about that quarterback, buddy…And especially especially at that level.Look at the last few years, what it looked like. We (had D’Eriq) King and you know he went through some injuries, but it was a marked improvement at the quarterback position. (If Cristobal) goes and finds his quarterback, he has a shot to put them right back into that ACC fight.”"

Cristobal has already made an impact with Miami in recruiting. Miami has added three top 100 players in the Class of 2022 since Cristobal was hired last month. The Hurricanes flipped tight end Jaleel Skinner from Alabama and have added edge rushers Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss since last month.

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Miami is expected to add more highly ranked signees in the Class of 2022 by National Signing Day next month. Five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart and four-star offensive lineman Dave Iuli are the players to watch for Miami before NSD. Cristobal is quickly building a foundation for the Miami football program.