Francisco Mauigoa return anchors Miami football 2024 defense

Sep 1, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

The return of starting middle linebacker Francisco Mauigoa for the 2024 season anchors the defense for the Miami football program. Entering the Pinstripe Bowl Mauigoa is second on Miami with 70 tackles, leads the Hurricanes with 17 tackles for loss and tied with Rueben Bain for the team lead with 7.5 sacks.

Safety James Williams currently leads Miami with 73 tackles but is entering the 2024 NFL Draft and not playing in the Pinstripe Bowl versus Rutgers. Mauigoa should pass Williams for the 2024 team lead in tackles in the Pinstripe Bowl. Miami should return almost everyone at LB for the 2024 season.

Rocky Shelton who contributed primarily on special teams this season and Keontra Smith are the only senior LBs listed on the Miami football roster. Miami also loses fourth leading tackler Corey Flagg who entered the transfer portal and will not be available versus Rutgers. Miami projects to have a deep LB rotation in 2024.

If Cloyd returns in 2024 he projects as a starter at LB with rising junior Wesley Bissainthe and Mauigoa. Bissainthe is sixth on Miami with 38 tackles. Freshmen Raul Aguirre, Malik Bryant, Marcellius Pulliam and Bobby Washington have bright futures for Miami at LB. Bryant could be moving to edge rusher.

Pulliam showed his athleticism with an interception return for a touchdown in the 45-20 win over Boston College in the final game of the regular season. Miami has commitments from Cameron Pruitt and Vincent Shavers at LB in the 2024 class. With Miami having depth at LB the position doesn’t need to be a transfer portal priority.

Next. Miami has depth and commits to absorb Colbie Young transfer. dark

The return for Mauigoa is a good career move. Mauigoa is listed as the 343rd overall prospect in the NFL Mock Draft Database. That is 84 picks below Mr. Irrelvant (the final pick of the NFL Draft). Mauigoa returning for the 2024 season will provide him with another year of video to improve his draft stock for 2025.