Mario Cristobal highlights 5 true freshmen ready to contribute

Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 21, 2022; Charlotte, NC, USA; Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports /

David Lake of Inside the U reported on Wednesday morning that head coach Mario Cristobal mentioned defensive end Nyjalik Kelly, linebacker Wesley Bissainthe, offensive linemen Matthew McCoy and Anez Cooper, tight end Jaleel Skinner, and cornerback Jaden Harris as 2022 true freshmen ready to contribute.

Mario Cristobal met with reporters following Wednesday’s practice. The 2022 Miami class was ranked 15th in the 247 Sports composite rankings. Edge rusher Cyrus Moss who was not mentioned by Cristobal was the highest-rated 2022 Miami signee. Miami lost running back Tre’Vonte Citizen for the season with a torn ACL.

Citizen was expected to be a contributor for Miami on offense in 2022. Kelly and Skinner were the second and third highest-rated signees in the 2022 Miami class. Kelly has reportedly been impressive during training camp in a deep and talented Miami group of edge rushers. Miami added depth and experience at DE for 2022.

Mitchell Agude from UCLA and West Virginia transfer Akheem Mesidor are expected to be the starting edge rushers for Miami when the Hurricanes host Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. Jahfari Harvey and Chantz Williams are veterans who return to Miami and are expected to be key rotational edge rushers.

"“He is a guy that has really continued to improve. Not only with the way he takes in the system, but with the effort he is playing with. The way he is playing with the use of his hands and his understanding of the scheme. We have to keep pushing him. It is what he wants and what he deserves.”"

Cristobal praised Kelly above. Kelly is the fourth highest-rated defensive lineman on the Miami roster behind tackle Leonard Taylor, Moss and Williams. Miami is expected to go 10 deep on the DL. Tackle Darrell Jackson and versatile DL Jacob Lichtenstein and Antonio Moultrie are other transfer DL Miami added for 2022.

Bissainthe should have a chance to contribute to a LB corps that has been inconsistent the last two seasons. Cooper and McCoy were added to the 2022 Miami class after Cristobal and OL coach Alex Mirabal took over last December. They will have to beat out more experienced OL for playing time as true freshmen in 2022.

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Skinner should see significant playing time in the first two weeks behind Will Mallory and Elijah Arroyo. Mallory is recovering from an injury and will likely be brought along slowly to begin the season. Harris is behind a veteran if inconsistent CB corps that should receive playing time on special teams.