ESPN names Miami's 'newcomers to watch' as Canes begin spring practice
ESPN previewed spring practice for every ACC team on Friday.
That includes Miami, who will be trying to take a big step forward in Year 2 under Mario Cristobal. The Canes struggled mightily last season and ended the year with a 5-7 record. ESPN analysts picked a couple “newcomers to watch” for Miami as it goes through spring practice.
Their picks are true freshmen offensive linemen Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola. The Canes’ offensive line never got going last season, but Mauigoa and Okunlola are both 5-star prospects who could be ready to make a big impact from Day 1.
Here’s the analysis from ESPN’s Andrea Adelson and David M. Hale:
Miami signed a pair of five-star offensive linemen, and both players — Francis Mauigoa and Samson Okunlola — will participate in spring ball. Given the Hurricanes’ offensive woes last season, which included just 1.42 yards before contact per carry, adding size and strength up from is critical. If Mauigoa and Okunola develop as Cristobal hopes they will, they’d fit nicely into a group that also includes veteran Zion Nelson and UCF transfer Matt Lee.
Mauigoa was the No. 10 overall player and the No. 2 offensive lineman in the country, per 247Sports Composite rankings. Okunlola comes in as the No. 23 overall player and the No. 4 offensive lineman for the 2023 cycle.
Both players should have an opportunity to carve out early playing time. The Canes also brought in center Matt Lee and guard Javion Cohen as transfers this offseason. Other returning linemen include Zion Nelson, Jalen Rivers and Anez Cooper.
Miami’s spring season is already ongoing. The Canes will have their annual spring game on March 14.