Mario Cristobal making Miami football coaching destination

Feb 2, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 2, 2022; Coral Gables, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

Mario Cristobal is building an elite Miami football coaching staff. Hiring Cristobal as the head coach has made Miami a coaching destination. Cristobal has placed an emphasis on experienced coaches who are elite recruiters. Some Miami assistants have been head coaches and others are young with experience with playoff teams.

Nearly all of the Miami football assistants have at least been on the staff of a team that has played in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game. Tom Fornelli of CBS Sports wrote that “Mario Cristobal looks to revive Miami program behind experienced coaching staff, QB with superstar potential.” Alabama is a common link.

Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and co-defensive coordinators Kevin Steele and Charlie Strong have all been on the Alabama coaching staff under Nick Saban. Defensive line assistant Jason Taylor played for Saban with the Dolphins. Several other Miami assistants were on staffs led by former Saban assistants.

Running backs coach Kevin Smith came to Miami from Mississippi who is led by former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. Defensive backs coach Jahmile Addae joined Miami after one season on the staff at Georgia under former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Fornelli wrote about the Cristobal culture.

"“That last part (recruiting) is a theme for all of Cristobal’s new hires. Not only is he bringing experienced coaches and play-callers to round out his staff, but coaches who understand the importance of recruiting — and it’s recruiting that will serve as the soul of how Miami develops under Cristobal.”"

When Cristobal was hired, the 2022 Miami recruiting class was ranked in the 70s. Miami improved to 15th with Cristobal. The majority of the Miami coaching staff was not hired by the time the Hurricanes finalized their class on traditional National Signing Day. Miami had four assistants for February Signing Day.

Offensive line coach Alex Mirabal who came with Cristobal from Oregon and incumbent tight ends coach Stephen Field were the only current Miami assistants who were on the Hurricanes’ staff in December. Miami added four-star signees, defensive ends Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss and tight end Jaleel Skinner in December.

Kelly, Moss and Skinner all signed with Miami in December because of Cristobal. The Hurricanes added four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen on Early National Signing Day in January. Citizen was expected to sign with an SEC school. Smith was the primary recruiter for Citizen. Field led Miami flipping Skinner from Alabama.

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The remainder of the Miami football coaching staff has all been elite recruiters throughout their careers. Miami which has mostly had recruiting classes ranked in the teen in recent seasons should be expected to move into the top 10 under Cristobal. Most of the classes at Oregon under Cristobal finished in the top 10.