Rivals ranks Mario Cristobal second best first-year head coach so far

Sep 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

Following the season-opening win by the Miami football team on Saturday, Adam Gorney of Rivals.Com ranked Mario Cristobal the second-best first-year nationally. Gorney ranked Billy Napier of Florida first following the Gators’ 29-26 upset of number seven Utah in Gainesville.

Cristobal and Napier have frequently gone head to head on the recruiting trail in their first nine months in their new positions. Florida currently has the ninth-best 2023 recruiting class according to Rivals and Miami is 11th. Cristobal and Napier are scheduled to face each other on the field in 2024 and 2025.

Miami football players have praised Mario Cristobal for the culture change with the Hurricanes in the nine months since being hired. Miami accomplished what was expected of them in the season opener. The Hurricanes will play its first game versus a 2022 FBS opponent when they host Southern Mississippi on Saturday.

Cristobal was hired by the Miami football program during a high-profile cycle of head coaching hires. The 2022 class of head coaches at new programs. Cristobal, Napier and Mike Norvell in his third season at Florida State will be linked all new in their tenures. Gorney evaluated the state of the Miami football program.

"2. Mario Cristobal, Miami“Cristobal has brought energy and excitement back to Miami as the recruiting tent for the home opener was a big success and lots of local talent showed up. That’s a major first step as the Hurricanes were expected to throttle Bethune-Cookman and did, 70-13.Things are definitely headed in the right direction fast but talk to me again in a couple weeks after the Hurricanes visit Texas A&M. That will be a much better gauge of where things stand right now.”"

The tent that Gorney refers to is the two-story suite that was built for the Miami Grand Prix outside of Hard Rock Stadium. Cristobal reportedly spent time with recruits less than an hour before game time versus Bethune-Cookman. Recruits will have another chance to mingle with Cristobal on Saturday.

dark. Next. Miami versus Southern Misissippi week 2 best bets

Miami is a 25.5-point favorite versus southern Mississippi on Saturday. The game a week from Saturday at Texas A&M will be the first true measure for Miami of the Cristobal era. Miami will travel to College Station as the underdog. Notre Dame in 2017 was the last Power Five non-conference opponent Miami defeated.