Miami football legend Michael Irvin spoke to Nick Kosko of 247 Sports about the future of the Hurricanes with Mario Cristobal as head coach. Irvin discussed what Manny Diaz meant to Miami, the need to take the Hurricanes football program to the next level, what Cristobal was doing in Oregon, and opportunities for the future.
Irvin lamented the 2021 Miami football team’s chance to win the ACC in a bad year for Clemson. Wake Forest became the first program to win the ACC Atlantic Division since 2008, save for Clemson of Florida State. Pittsburgh was the first ACC champion other than Clemson of Florida State since 2010.
When Miami joined the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes were expected to make regular appearances in the conference championship game. Miami was placed in the Coastal Division in hopes that the Hurricanes would play Florida State in frequent ACC Championship Games.
Irvin expects Miami to play in the ACC Championship game often as he builds a base to compete for the College Football Playoff. Most analysts expect Cristobal to make Miami a national recruiting factor. Irvin then turned his attention to the Miami quarterbacks.
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The addition of D’Eriq King as a transfer in 2020 has significantly improved QB for Miami. Irvin was impressed with King and emphasized the importance of Cristobal “find his QB.” Miami enters 2022 with Tyler Van Dyke projected to be one of the best QBs in college football. Here’s part of the conversation with Kosko.
“I thought it was a great appointment… First of all I like (former coach) Manny Diaz. Manny Diaz is a great man. He moved the needle a bit for us, but we need to take it to another level. Mario Cristobal, I hope he can come in and get to that other level.
Oregon is one thing because he did a great job in Oregon, but he came back to Florida and made sure all our players went to Oregon and won. So hopefully now that he’s the head coach of ‘The U’ he can keep those players in Florida and let’s bite this thing one by one. Let’s just bite the ACC off. Let’s start with (the championship) game.
Clemson was down last year, and we weren’t in that game. At the bottom, Miami should be in that game or around that game every year. That’s the acceptable minimum and from there we start working towards the (College Football Playoff) and getting national championships.
But if Cristobal comes back, if he can recruit that area and keep those players, at the very least we can come back and take over ACC… It’s all about that quarterback, mate… And especially at that level.
Look at the past few years, what it looked like. We (had D’Eriq) King and you know he got some injuries, but it was a definite improvement on the quarterback position. (If Cristobal) goes looking for his quarterback, he has a chance to get them right back into that ACC fight.
Cristobal has already impressed Miami recruiting. Miami has added three top 100 players to the Class of 2022 since Cristobal was hired last month. The Hurricanes have flipped Alabama’s Jaleel Skinner and added edge rushers Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss since last month.
Miami is expected to add more senior signers in the Class of 2022 by National Signing Day next month. Five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart and four-star offensive lineman Dave Iuli are the players to watch for Miami for the NSD. Cristobal quickly builds a foundation for the Miami football program.