Hurricanes lose starter to the portal, line up visits in search of veteran help

A fresh pack of Miami Hurricanes notes on Monday:

UM’s shaky depth at defensive tackle became even shakier on Monday amid news that Jared Harrison-Hunte will be entering the transfer portal, according to 247 Sports.

Harrison-Hunte started 11 games last season — after starting eight in 2021 and two in 2022 — and had a decent chance to start again for UM in 2024 after the departure of Leonard Taylor III and Branson Deen to the NFL.

Harrison-Hunte’s exit leaves UM with six experienced defensive tackles on scholarship: North Carolina State transfer CJ Clark, Middle Tennessee transfer Marley Cook, Thomas Gore (going into his second season at UM after playing at Georgia State), Josh Horton, Ahmad Moten and Anthony Campbell (going into his second season at UM after playing at Louisiana-Monroe).

UM has three well-regarded defensive tackles in its 2024 recruiting class — headlined by five-star prospect Justin Scott — but defensive tackles often need a year in a college weight room before making a significant impact.

UM reportedly has pursued the top defensive tackles who have entered the ongoing second window of the transfer portal, including Michigan State’s Simeon Barrow, Kent State’s CJ West and UCLA’s Jay Toia. But it’s unclear if any are seriously considering Miami.

Barrow visited LSU during the weekend. West has visits with Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana lined up; LSU, FSU and Rutgers also are in the mix. Toia visited Texas.

Harrison-Hunte had 26 tackles, including three for loss, and two sacks last season. He had nine sacks in his four seasons at Miami.

The Canes continued efforts on Monday to add a veteran receiver.

Per, UM is expected to host Houston receiver Sam Brown next weekend, and the web site called the Hurricanes the favorite to land a commitment from Brown, who caught 62 passes for 815 yards and three touchdowns last season.

LSU and Texas A&M also are making a push for Brown.

Meanwhile, Canesport said UM also is pursuing Arizona State receiver Elijah Badger, who had 65 catches for 713 yards and three touchdowns last season.

The 6-1 receiver has played four years at ASU and had 70 catches for 866 yards in 2022. Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M and Arizona also are in the mix with Badger.

UM continues its full-court pursuit with Oregon State running back Damian Martinez. After Canes running backs coach Matt Merritt visited Martinez at his Dallas home last week, Merritt was due to visit him again on Monday in Dallas, as 247 reported.

Then Martinez will visit UM’s campus this weekend.

Martinez visited Arizona and Mississippi State last week; on Monday, he canceled his Kentucky visit scheduled for early this week. So UM will be his third and final campus visit barring an adjustment to his schedule.

The Canes badly want Martinez, who ran for 1185 yards on 6.1 per carry last season.

Speaking to Athlon Sports’ Andre Nemec about his three finalists (UM, Arizona, Mississippi State), Martinez said: “I feel strongly about these three choices. With everything I’ve heard and seen I believe in these coaches and the plan they all have for me. But at the end of the day I have to choose what’s best for my career. I have to choose what’s going to take me to that next level and show that I am the best running back, hands-down, in next (year’s NFL draft) class.”

Martinez said of UM coach Mario Cristobal: “Man, Mario has been persistent. The whole staff has been making me and my family feel like family even before the visit. As everyone has seen they came down two times before I went there.

“They just always made sure they didn’t bother me at the other visits. They let me enjoy my time there and have made it feel genuine before I got there.”

The Canes had interest in FSU cornerback Greedy Vance, per 247 Sports. But Vance is likely to end up at Southern Cal, per 247’s Matt Zenitz.

Meanwhile, former USC defensive end Romello Height — who visited the Canes campus two weeks ago — committed to Georgia Tech.

Former Marshall cornerback Dyoni Hill will visit UM next weekend, according to multiple reports.

He visited Cincinnati this past week and is heading to West Virginia this week before visiting UM and then Missouri. Those appear to be his four finalists.

Per Pro Football Focus, Hill allowed a 93 passer rating in his coverage area last season — 32 completions in 57 attempts for 464 yards (14.5 average), three touchdowns and an interception.

UM’s Kaleb Spencer is entering the transfer portal. The linebacker/safety was a Class of 2023 three-star prospect coming out of Life Christian Academy in Virginia.

Spencer originally committed to Oklahoma but flipped to UM and didn’t play a defensive snap in his one season with the Hurricanes. He was recruited to UM by Jahmile Addae, who left the Canes in February to become the Buffalo Bills’ cornerbacks coach.

Former UM quarterback Jaccuri Brown is reportedly visiting Central Florida this week.

Six Canes players have entered the portal since mid-March: running back Henry Parrish, defensive end Nyjalik Kelly, Brown, offensive lineman Logan Sagapolu, running back TreVonte’ Citizen and Spencer.

Parrish announced on Monday that he’s going to back to Mississippi, where he began his college career. Sagapolu reportedly will enroll at Washington.