ESPN names Rueben Bain top 5 returning pass rusher

Rueben Bain received his latest accolade by being named one of the top five returning pass rushers in college football by ESPN.
Oct 7, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Rueben Bain Jr. (44)
Oct 7, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive lineman Rueben Bain Jr. (44) / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After earning the 2023 ACC Rookie Defensive Player, Rueben Bain has received a lot of praise during the 2024 off-season. Bain is fifth in the ESPN article "Ranking the top pass-rushers in college football for 2024." ESPN compiled the rankings through voting by their reporters.

Bain had a breakout season finishing eighth in the ACC in tackles for loss and tied for fifth with teammate Francisco Mauigoa in sacks. In addition to being named ACC Rookie Defensive Player of the Year, Bain earned second-team All-Conference and was named a Freshman All-American.

Bain leads what should be an elite Miami group of pass rushers. Miami added Marshall edge rusher Elijah Alston and returns Nyjalik Kelly and Akheem Mesidor from 2024 season-ending injuries. Mauigoa tied for the team lead with 7.5 sacks from at middle linebacker.

James Pearce Jr. of Tennessee finished first in the ESPN pass rusher rankings, Ashton Gilotte of Louisville is second, Trey Moore of Texas third and Jack Sawyer of Louisville fourth. Behind Bain, Kaimon Rucker of North Carolina is sixth and Antwaun Powell-Ryland is 10th among other ACC players in the pass rusher rankings.

"5. Rueben Bain Jr., Miami
2023 stats: 7.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles
Points: 35
Here's what Bain had going against him in 2023: He was a true freshman. He was splitting time between edge rusher and interior defender. He was on a team that, for the second straight year, felt directionless. It would have been entirely reasonable then to assume Bain would chalk up the season as a learning experience, work to sand off some rough edges and be ready to take the ACC by storm in 2024. Unfortunately for opposing QBs, he wasn't that patient.

Bain was a force of nature in 2023, racking up 7.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss, 4 quarterback hurries, 3 forced fumbles and 31 pressures -- ninth most in the ACC -- en route to being named the league's Defensive Rookie of the Year. His expected progression in 2024 is one of the reasons Miami believes this season could be a turning point for the Canes. -- David Hale"

David Hale, ESPN

Entering the 2024 season a lot will be expected of Bain. Bain should challenge for ACC Defensive Player of the Year, first-team All-Conference and All-American. Jaelan Phillips in 2021 was the last Miami defensive lineman to be named an All-America.

Next. Rueben Bain named Superstar Set to emerge nationally. Rueben Bain named Superstar Set to emerge nationally. dark

Bain and Mesidor will likely be rotated between edge rusher and tackle this season. When Bain played inside in 2023 it was usually on passing downs. With more consistency in 2024, Bain could double his sacks and increase his tackles for loss. Bain can become one of the greatest pass rushers in Miami history.