Miami football: PFF Names Matthew Lee top returning center nationally

Sep 11, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2021; Orlando, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports /

Pro Football Focus tweeted on Monday morning that Matthew Lee is the high-graded center returning to college football in 2023. Lee transferred to the Miami football program from Central Florida for the 2023 season. Lee and Alabama transfer guard Javion Cohen will anchor the Miami offensive line in 2023.

PFF gave Lee an 82.5 overall grade, a 90.6 pass-blocking grade and an 80.6 run-blocking grade in 2022. Lee was a three-year starter at UCF. Lee earned All-American Athletic Conference all three years at UCF. As a redshirt freshman in 2020, Lee was first-team All-ACC, was third-team in 2021 and second-team in 2022.

Cohen and Lee are the top two transfer interior offensive linemen in 2023 per On3. Lee played 883 snaps in 10 games in 2020 as a redshirt freshman. Starting all 10 games in 2020, Lee allowed nine quarterback hurries, three QB hits and three sacks playing center according to NFLDraftBuzz.Com.

As a redshirt sophomore in 2021, Lee played 705 snaps in all 12 games allowing four QB hurries, two QB hits and one sack. Last season, Lee played 986 snaps in 13 games and relinquished three QB hurries, no QB hits and one sack. Cohen and Lee will anchor an improved Miami OL in 2023.

The scouting report from NFL Draft Buzz stated Lee “He’ll give effort, but doesn’t generate much power at the point of attack. He’s not the type of interior blocker who can re-establish the line of scrimmage, instead relying on angles and technique to win.” Miami will need improvement from Lee as a run blocker.

The Miami OL has been far more proficient in pass blocking than for the run in recent years. Miami finished 100th nationally in 2022 allowing three sacks per game. The Hurricanes were 95th averaging 3.74 yards per carry in 2022. Miami was 57th on offense with a 17.2 percent stuff rate in 2022.

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Lee and Bryan Hudson of Louisville are the only ACC centers ranked in the PFF top 10. Cohen, Lee and freshmen five-star offensive tackles Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola have significantly upgraded the talent on the Miami OL. The improved play upfront should help Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke have a bounceback 2023 season.