Miami football spring competition heating up at LB

The competition for first team snaps at linebacker with Francisco Mauigoa out this spring have been heating up.

Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes linebacker Wesley Bissainthe (31) tackles
Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Hurricanes linebacker Wesley Bissainthe (31) tackles / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

With Wesley Bissainthe and Francisco Mauigoa returning starters at linebacker in 2024, the competition to start next to them this spring will set the foundation for this season. The LBs behind Bissainthe and Mauigoa have opportunities to assert themselves in the rotation during spring practice.

Chase Smith is the only LB on the Miami roster other than Bissainthe or Mauigoa who is not a freshman or sophomore. Sophomores Raul Aguirre and Marcellius Pulliam and freshman Cameron Pruitt have reportedly been impressive for Miami at LB this spring. Aguirre has reportedly worked at middle LB this spring.

Aguirre had seven tackles and 0.5 tackles for loss as a true freshman in 2023. Pulliam finished with one tackle and an interception in 2023. The interception came in the final regular season game versus Boston College. Sophomore Bobby Washington had four tackles. 0.5 TFLs and 0.5 sacks in 2023.

Smith, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, had three tackles, one TFL and one sack in four games in 2023. Smith has only played in eight games in the last two seasons. The best season for Smith came in 2021 with 13 tackles and one TFL playing in 11 games, primarily on special teams.

"Probably Popo (Raul Aguirre) you, know Popo's running with the ones. (I) Also think Wesley's improved drastically. You know Kiko (Mauigoa) is not going right now, so you know they're getting a lot of reps. You know so Bobby (Washington), I think Washington will do well and then keep your eyes on Bobby (Cameron) Pruitt, that guy's going to be a really good football player. So excited about those guys and then you know each and every week one guy improves and we'll go from there. Just trying to create as much depth as we can."

Miami Defensive Coordinator Lance Guidry

Pruitt has received consensus praise for his performance during the first week of spring practice. Pruitt was one of two LBs Miami signed in the 2024 class. Adarius Hayes is the highest-ranked LB in the 2024 Miami class. Hayes is the 16th-ranked LB in the 2024 class and Pruitt is 43rd per the On3 rankings.

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Kaleb Spencer who signed with Miami as a safety, is another LB to watch this spring. Aguirre is the early favorite to be the backup MLB behind Mauigoa. Pruitt is challenging to be the starting weakside LB. As Guidry said Miami is working hard creating depth at LB this spring and heading into August training camp.