Miami football making size a priority for 2023 linebacker commits

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 /

The Miami football program has made recruiting bigger linebackers a priority under Mario Cristobal. The 2023 Miami commits at LB average 6’2.5 and 219 pounds. Backups Avery Huff at 6’3 and Chase Smith at 6’2 are the only Miami LBs taller than 6’1. Only two Miami scholarship LBs with eligibility remaining weigh more than 219.

Corey Flagg who tied for the Miami lead with 10.5 tackles for loss in 2022 is 5’11 230 pounds and Ryan Ragone is 5’11, 220. Cristobal has preached about creating a more physical team. That often was not the case in 2022. The players Miami is recruiting and the committed prospects are expected to change that.

Three-star prospect Marcellius Pulliam who committed to Miami on Saturday was the fifth LB in the Hurricanes’ 2023 class. Pulliam is 6’3, 215 pounds. Malik Bryant who is the highest-rated LB committed to the Miami football program for 2023 also has the best size in the class at the position at 6’2, 235 pounds.

Bryant is the 77th-ranked player nationally in the 2023 class, fifth LB and 17th in Florida. Wesley Bissainthe was a key contributor for Miami at LB in 2022 as a true freshman. Raul Aguirre and Bryant are projected to challenge for playing time in 2023. Bryant had 73 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks in 2022.

Pulliam told On3.Com that he partially chose Miami because of a relationship with Aguirre. Aguirre has 96 tackles, one TFL and one sack this season. Miami needs to get more production out of its LBs in the future. Miami has not had consistent play at LB since losing Michael Pinckney and Shaq Quarterman after the 2019 season.

Flagg led Miami in tackles in 2021 but finished third on the Hurricanes with 56 in 2022. Safeties Kamren Kinchens with 59 and James Williams with 58 led Miami in tackles this season. All of the 2023 Miami LB commits have excellent bases to fill out and get bigger once they get into the Miami strength and conditioning program.

Next. Miami strengths 2023 LB class with 3-star Marcellius Pulliam. dark

Cristobal, defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and Strong are all building a LB corps with the length and size they desire versus the undersized LBs that were often converted from safety under the previous Miami staff. Miami should return to having the productive LBs they were known for when they had dominant defenses.