Canes prepare for flurry of roster turnover. Cristobal addresses situation and more

The Miami Hurricanes stand five players above the 85 player scholarship limit and hope to add at least five transfers who can play major roles next season.

That means a dozen or so players must be purged from the roster in the months ahead, with teams required to be in compliance with the 85-player limit by August.

Running back Henry Parrish and defensive end Nyjalik Kelly were the first to go since the start of spring practice, but those were two players the Canes wanted to keep.

“It’s as simple as we need to get to a certain number on the roster,” Mario Cristobal said Thursday. “[Reporters are] not at practice, the closed door of real decision-making, not some of the other stuff people tend to put out there.

“Football doesn’t really tell lies. Positions are won out there; some guys attack it and do a great job and some guys just flat out fold. Spring football is to find out who are the guys that can step up and play winning Miami Hurricanes football.

“We are always progressive forward and very proactive with our roster decisions with who is on the way out and who is on the way in. … We are always going to play the best guys.”

The Canes reportedly will pursue Oregon State running back Damien Martinez, who’s entering the portal.

Miami also likely will try to add a top-four receiver, one or two cornerbacks, two defensive linemen (Southern Cal defensive end Romello Height is a potential addition) and possibly a safety and linebacker.

Cristobal declined to answer specifically when asked whether any player besides Parrish and Kelly have left the program since the start of spring practice. With practices closed to reporters recently, it’s unknown if there have been any surprise absences.

Some of the Canes’ roster purging likely will come on the offensive line.

Thursday was UM’s final practice before Saturday’s 4 p.m. spring game on campus.


Early enrollee edge player Cole McConathy impressed throughout the spring and has a chance to earn immediate playing time. A four-star prospect out of Alabama, McConathy had 38 sacks and nine forced fumbles over his final two high school seasons, and picked UM over Missouri, Pittsburgh and Louisville.

He relishes the first phone call he ever received from UM co-defensive line coach Jason Taylor.

“First time I ever talked to him over the phone, over an hour just talking pass rush and stuff,” McConathy said. “That meant a lot to me; it showed how much passion he had coaching. He’s out there running with us, breaking stuff down to the smallest detail, things not many people would even think about.

“He’s human and just as much a Hall of Fame football coach, in my opinion, as he was a player. By far one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”

McConathy will compete with Jayden Wayne, Marquise Lightfoot and others (including potentially Southern Cal transfer Romello Height, who remains uncommitted) for edge rusher snaps behind Rueben Bain, Akheem Mesidor and Elijah Alston.

“Guys have taken me under their wing — Akheem, Reuben, EA [Alston],” McConathy said. “All of them have been very accommodating and helping me anytime I have a question or want to stay after watching film. They’re always there.”

Cam Pruitt, another UM early enroller, competed against McConathy in high school and said “Cole got a lot bigger and a lot smoother. I think he was underrated [as a prospect]. But that put a chip on his shoulder to show everybody he should be a higher rated player.”

Former Canes great Michael Irvin will speak to the team Friday.

“A great example of what hard work is all about,” Cristobal said.

Former UM coach Mark Richt will be honored at the spring game, Cristobal said.

Cristobal said moving the game from a larger facility to campus will have benefits.

“It’s important people get around campus. We used to play the spring game out here often and it was an unbelievable event,” Cristobal said.

The coach noted that “we have had a real steady and strong influx of talent coming in” for recruiting visits this weekend. “It’s important that people come in and see what we do and how we do it.”

Cristobal emerged from the final practice pleased with progress made:

“We’re understanding more and more the importance of practicing really hard.”