Miami football signed its best coaching transition class

Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Mario Cristobal and the Miami football program finished with the 15th ranked 2022 Class. That is the highest-ranked class Miami signed in a transition year. According to multiple sources, Miami signed the 33rd ranked class in the first year under Al Golden in 2011, finished 22nd under Mark Richt in 2016 and 27 with Manny Diaz in 2019.

The Miami football program signed 21 players in 2011. Defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo was the lone five-star signee in 2011. Only three other signees were four-stars. Wide receiver Philip Dorsett who was a three-star signee in 2011 became a first-round pick became a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

Golden was fired six games into the 2015 season. Interim head coach Larry Scott had the difficult task of recruiting for a program knowing he was likely not returning in 2016. Despite the uncertainty, Miami signed 19 players total with eight being four-stars. Several signees became key contributors in their Miami careers.

Manny Diaz succeeded Richt 11 days after Early National Signing Day. Transitioning to head coach from defensive coordinator made the succession easier for at least half the team. The 2019 class signed seven four-star prospects. Only two of the blue-chip players have reached their potential.

Keontra Smith was a starter for Miami at linebacker in 2021 after signing with the Hurricanes as a safety. Jahfari Harvey showed signs of reaching his potential last season in year three. Jared Harrison-Hunte was productive in 2020 as a true freshman but battled injuries last season. Harrison-Hunte will likely start in 2022.

The 2022 Class was much better than the three most recent Miami transition classes in quality and quantity. Cristobal inherited a class that was ranked in the 70s when the Early National Signing Period began in December. Ten of the 15 2022 signees are blue chips. Miami ranks seventh nationally in average rating per prospect.

Cristobal has quickly proven the ability to sign high-level prospects. Moving about 60 spots in the recruiting rankings in less than two months is remarkable. Miami beat out Alabama for the third-ranked TE in the country Jaleel Skinner and Florida for Trevonte’ Citizen the ninth-ranked running back.

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With what Cristobal accomplished in eight weeks as the Miami head coach recruiting, the 2023 class should be exceptional. Cristobal has frequently been mentioned as one of the best recruiters in college football. Cristobal was named by Rivals as the 2015 Recruiter of the Year. Expect the accolades as a recruiter to continue at Miami.