Where Miami football goes next at center with Matt Lee declaring for NFL Draft

Sep 23, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Andy Lewis-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 23, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Mandatory Credit: Andy Lewis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Miami football program lost center Matt Lee to the 2024 NFL Draft on Saturday. Lee thanked Miami and Central Florida for in his words an awesome five years and announced his entry into the 2024 NFL Draft. Lee had one season of eligibility remaining as a Fifth-Year Redshirt Junior.

Lee signed with Central Florida in the 2019 class. After redshirting as a true freshman in 2019, Lee received another year of eligibility due to Covid in 2020. Lee was a three-year starter at UCF before transferring to Miami for the 2023 season. The ACC named Lee second-team All-Conference in 2023.

Fifth-year redshirt junior Luis Cristobal who transferred from Georgia State during the 2023 offseason is the backup to Lee. Expect Cristobal to start at center for Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl versus Rutgers. Lee is the second Miami offensive lineman to enter the NFL Draft. Guard Javion Cohen previously announced his departure.

Ryan Rodriguez will backup Cristobal at center for the Pinstripe Bowl. Rodriguez was a three-star signee with Miami in the 2021 class. Cristobal was a three-star prospect at guard in the 2019 class. Miami has not lost any OL to the transfer portal. Cohen and Lee should be the only OL missing for the Pinstripe Bowl.

The losses of Cohen and Lee to the 2024 NFL Draft mean the Miami football program could add a transfer center and guard for the 2025 season. With Cristobal a former Miami National Championship OL and players wanting to work with position coach Alex Mirabal, the Hurricanes have become a destination for OL.

Miami has commitments from OL Kavion Broussard, Nino Francavilla, Juan Minaya and Deryc Plazz in the 2024 class. All of the other Miami OL have eligibility remaining beyond the 2023 season. Left tackle Jalen Rivers will be another player to watch as a potential early entry candidate to the 2024 NFL Draft.

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Lee is currently ranked as the 853rd prospect for the 2024 NFL Draft. Projected as an undrafted free agent, Lee should receive an invite to an NFL Camp. The high intelligence Lee has will provide an NFL team with a player who can quickly learn the playbook. Lee should have a chance to make an NFL roster.