UM quarterback Jacurri Brown to transfer. What’s happening at UM as portal window opens

The University of Miami quarterback room got smaller Tuesday. And thinning at other positions also is expected as the doors to another transfer portal window swung open.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jacurri Brown, who played his only game last season in an encouraging performance at the Pinstripe Bowl, plans to enter the transfer portal, two sources said.

UM running back TreVonte Citizen - who never played in a game at UMbecause of a serious August 2022 knee injury - and offensive linemanLogan Sagapolu also entered the portal. Citizen, Sagapolu and Brownjoin running back Henry Parrish and Nyjalik Kelly as Canes players whodecided to depart since mid March.

Players can enter the portal between April 16 and April 30 but can sign with a new school at any time.

Brown was the fourth-string quarterback Saturday at UM’s spring game on campus. There were no official stats released, but he threw one deep touchdown pass to tight end Jackson Carver, and made a couple of other nice throws and had a long run. Two throws were off target.

“The game was fun,’’ Brown told the Miami Herald at Cobb Field immediately afterward. “Good to be out here with my boys.’’

Brown declined to discuss his future, on the record, twice during the weekend.

Sources communicating with him said his expectation was to be the backup quarterback behind Washington State transfer Cam Ward to start the season. But that never materialized; Albany transfer Reese Poffenbarger and Emory Williams played ahead of him in UM’s spring game.

UM also has a freshman scholarship player in 6-7 Judd Anderson of Warner Robins, Georgia, though he will almost certainly redshirt in 2024.

Brown, 6-4 and 220 pounds, completed 20 of 31 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown, with one interception, in UM’s 31-24 bowl loss to Rutgers. He also ran 15 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns.

Brown was a highly rated, four-star prospect from Valdosta, Georgia. He is extremely agile, elusive and quick, but has struggled at times during his career with accuracy. After true freshman Williams was injured at FSU, former Canes starter Tyler Van Dyke finished the regular season against Louisville and Boston College.

Entering the bowl, Brown was UM’s only healthy scholarship quarterback. If Brown hadn’t committed to coaches that he would play in the bowl, UM would have had only four walk-on quarterbacks listed on its roster. None of them had played. A lucrative NIL deal, according to a source close to the situation, ensured that Brown would stay for the bowl and beyond.

In 2022, Brown was 27 of 45 (60 percent) for 230 yards and three touchdowns, with three interceptions. His two starts include a great performance on Nov. 12, 2022 at Georgia Tech; he was 14 of 19 for 136 yards and three touchdowns, with 87 yards rushing, in a 35-14 UM victory.

Brown also started at Clemson in UM’s penultimate game in 2022, but he was hit hard and sacked three times, completing 6 of 13 passes for 53 yards and no touchdowns, with one interception.

The departures of Brown, Citizen and Sagapolu left UM with 87 scholarship players. FBS teams must be compliant with the 85-scholarship player limit by August.

UM also intends to add at least a half dozen players in the portal. So UM, realistically, needs to part ways with about 10 players in the weeks ahead.

Sagapolu transferred from Oregon to UM two years ago but played only 29 offensive snaps last season.

Cristobal told WQAM’s Joe Rose on Tuesday that roster changes are coming.

“The only way to combat the ever-changing college football climate is to keep bringing in the best talent, best human beings you can and let it play out on the field,” Cristobal said. “We’re supplementing with the transfer portal.

Cristobal said that he has spoken with “most everybody” on the team about where they stand.

“It’s not more complicated than putting the facts on the table and making decisions from there,” Cristobal said. “Sometimes they are mutual and sometimes they aren’t…. In the end, the decisions that are made are best for everybody.”

UM’s biggest priorities in the portal appear to be defensive back, running back, receiver and linebacker.

Asked for his view on positions that need to be augmented, he said: “I think you have to look at the entire roster.”

UM had only three healthy scholarship running backs in the spring - Chris Johnson, TreVonte Citizen (back after an August 2022 knee injury) and early enrollee Chris Wheatley-Humphrey.

Running backs Mark Fletcher and Ajay Allen are expected to be healthy this summer, and freshman Jordan Lyle will enroll in the weeks ahead. Tight end Elija Lofton can play running back and had a handful of carries in the spring game.

“We have to keep adding talent there, bolster that position,” Cristobal said of running back.

Oregon State’s Damian Martinez has emerged as a UM portal target at running back.

Cristobal explained the roster challenges during his WQAM appearance:

“Every roster has 85 scholarships. Spring football now is like NFL minicamps where you are over numbers and you are trying to let the guys play and see who really fits your systems and then who has to go, who is maybe not ready to compete, who doesn’t want to compete.

“What area can you make yourself better? Does a guy have to switch positions? You just roll. As this portal thing goes on there, are there things we can add to the roster that can benefit the University of Miami. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is the University of Miami winning, right? Bring people here that have the guts and willingness to work their butts off to win.”

Cristobal added: “You cannot allow yourself to skip a year or position on a given year because if you do you create a massive hole in a hurry. I think that’s been Miami’s problems over the last several years. You just can’t skip years. You have to constantly, relentlessly, whatever comes with it – departures, if guys don’t want to compete – just keep bringing in the best you possibly can get.”