Miami football starting center Jakai Clark enters transfer portal

Oct 29, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 29, 2022; Charlottesville, Virginia, USA; Mandatory Credit: Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports /

Jakai Clark who was the starting center for the Miami football program for most of the last two seasons intends to enter the transfer portal according to Manny Navarro of The Athletic. Matt Lee who announced his transfer to Miami from Central Florida earlier this month is expected to be the Hurricanes starting center in 2023.

As stated in his introductory press conference as head coach in December 2021, Mario Cristobal and position coach Alex Mirabal have made the offensive line a point of emphasis in recruiting and the transfer portal. Miami added Alabama transfer OL Javion Cohen in addition to Lee to the 2023 Miami football roster.

The Hurricanes signed five OL in the 2023 class. That includes five-star offensive tackles Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola. Miami could start an entirely new OL in 2023. Clark and left tackle John Campbell are 2023 starters who transferred following the 2023 season and right tackle D.J. Scaife graduated.

True freshman Anez Cooper and redshirt freshman Laurence Seymore who started the final game of the 2022 season versus Pittsburgh will be pushed at guard. Jalen Rivers returns for Miami in 2023 from injury. Miami also returns former starting LT Zion Nelson from injury after he missed the entire 2022 season.

Clark developed into a starter with the Miami football program as a true freshman after being ranked as the 1,504th-ranked signee, 17th center and 139th player in Georgia in the class of 2019. Clark has one year of eligibility remaining with the bonus season granted to all players because of covid in 2020.

Clark originally committed to Illinois before flipping to Miami. Illinois and Miami received official visits from Clark in addition to Arizona. Clark took unofficial visits to Auburn and Clemson. Alabama, Boston College, Minnesota, Oregon State, Temple and West Virginia were the other programs to offer Clark scholarships.

There has not been any indication that Clark is reconsidering any of those programs.  Georgia could be a program to watch with Clark. Stacy Searles who was the Miami OL coach from 2016 through 2018 and is now in the same position at Georgia. SMU could be another potential destination for Clark.

Next. ESPN reports Miami QB Jake Garcia entering transfer portal. dark

Former Miami offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee is now the head coach at SMU. Former Miami defensive linemen Jordan Miller and Elijah Roberts, running back Jaylan Knighton and wide receiver Keyshawn Smith have all transferred from Miami to SMU during the offseason. Clark retweeted a picture of the former Hurricanes at SMU.