Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

Winning portal about more than getting key transfers

- By David Furones

The Miami Hurricanes have been one of the biggest beneficiar­ies of the NCAA’s transfer portal in the three offseasons since coach Manny Diaz got the head job.

Doing it once again this year with the additions of cornerback Tyrique Stevenson (Georgia), wide receiver Charleston Rambo (Oklahoma) and defensive end Deandre Johnson (Tennessee), it’s not just about who’s coming in.

Diaz said after Tuesday’s practice that there are more than 2,500 football players in the portal at the moment — not all scholarshi­p players. With the transfer portal creating a rampant environmen­t of movement for college athletes that hasn’t previously been seen to this extent, another key element is player retention.

“The best thing we can do is have a program where players want to stay,” Diaz said. “We had a lot of guys who chose to come back.”

The Hurricanes sure did this offseason, with the likes of quarterbac­k D’Eriq King, wide receiver Michael Harley, safety Bubba Bolden, defensive tackle Nesta Silvera, tight end Will Mallory and running back Cam’Ron Harris among a slew of players that remain at UM and chose to do so instead of prematurel­y beginning their pro careers. Many of them took advantage of an extra senior season granted by the NCAA due to the pandemic.

In recent offseasons under Diaz, the Hurricanes have previously landed transfers in King, Bolden, defensive ends Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche, receiver K.J. Osborn, kicker Jose Borregales, punter Lou Hedley and offensive tackles Jarrid Williams and Issiah Walker, among others.

For Diaz, it’s an ever-changing process where a coach must be prepared to adjust.

“I think we’ve done a good job in the portal in the first couple years of its existence, but things are changing rather rapidly right now,” he said. “I think our players enjoy the experience of playing here. I think they’re here for the right reasons. I think they want to be a part of what we’re building here, and I think we’ve always been attractive to players when they see the world a little bit differentl­y after being in college, maybe different from being a high school recruit and understand­ing the pluses this program has. Like I said, this is all evolving in real time, and we’ll just continue to evolve our protocol and strategies with it.”

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