When the Miami Hurricanes open the Manny Diaz era against Florida in Orlando, more than 10 percent of their scholarship players will be transfers … just from this offseason alone.
It’s a crazy stat, made possible by the NCAA transfer portal. I have no idea if it’ll work, but it continues to be one of the most interesting stories this college football offseason.
It got even more interesting Thursday night when Jaelan Phillips announced he was joining the ’Canes. Phillips didn’t have much of an impact in his two seasons at UCLA, but the outside linebacker/defensive end was the No. 1 recruit in the country in 2017. The talent, clearly, is there for him to make an impact — assuming he’s healthy enough, after reportedly planning a medical retirement only a few months ago.
Phillips was only the latest addition. Of 247Sports’ top 22 transfer portal players, six joined Miami, including safety Bubba Bolden, receiver K.J. Osborn and quarterback Tate Martell. That doesn’t include top receiver Jeff Thomas, a pseudo-transfer who was at Miami, planned to go to Illinois but has returned to the ’Canes. Nor does it include Louis Hedley, the coolest punter the sport has ever seen.
By my count, Diaz has now added nine transfers this offseason. We know some will be eligible, like Osborn (a grad transfer from Buffalo), offensive lineman Tommy Kennedy (Butler) and defensive lineman Chigozie Nnoruka (UCLA). We don’t know about some of the others, most notably Martell, the former Ohio State quarterback who could compete for the starting job if he’s available.
Building your roster through transfers usually isn’t sustainable or wise. Players in the transfer portal are there for a reason. Transfers are inherently short-term fixes that usually don’t address long-term concerns. But, as I wrote earlier this month, the strategy might have been the best way for Miami to overcome a late coaching change and subpar recruiting class (No. 28 nationally).
So will it work? I have no idea. But I do know that the most fascinating program of the offseason just got even more interesting.