Game Changer

By: Robert Craft news services

Mario Cristobal is heading home.

The Cuban-American, who won two national titles at Miami while playing for the Hurricanes, is set to become the program’s next head coach according to multiple reports.

It’s a monumental acquisition for Miami and one that will have major recruiting implications, not only in the Sunshine State, but across the country with the Early Signing Period less than two weeks away.

Some members of the media may point to Oregon’s flat performance in last week’s Pac-12 title game and try to knock the hire for Miami.

They might point to Miami’s clumsy handling of the Manny Diaz situation, too. That criticism is fair, but those same individuals need to understand what exactly the Hurricanes are getting in Cristobal; a battle-tested recruiter that’s going to get the best talent to Coral Gables.

Since Cristobal took over for Willie Taggart in Eugene, the Ducks have signed the nation’s No. 6, No. 7, No. 11 and No. 13-ranked recruiting classes.

This year’s group is pacing to finish ranked inside the top 10, as well. To the average college football fan, that might not seem impressive — good programs should get good players — but Oregon isn’t exactly a football hotbed. In fact, the state has produced less than a dozen NFL Draft picks over the past five years.

So, with Cristobal and his staff not really in a position to shop in their backyard every cycle, they have had to recruit nationally, and Cristobal has had plenty of success doing just that.

Back in 2019, the Ducks went into Los Angeles and beat out college football’s best pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, the nation’s top-ranked prospect.

Impressive, but what should have Miami fans excited about the Cristobal hire is the fact that Cristobal isn’t going to have to recruit nationally like he did at Oregon.

The Hurricanes can turn into a College Football Playoff contender with recruits nearby in the Sunshine State, and more specifically South Florida.

South Florida is overstocked with blue-chip talent every year. That means all Cristobal really has to do is keep a bulk of the five and four-stars home every cycle.

It would be a bit ridiculous to assume that Cristobal will sign everyone within an hour drive of Miami’s campus (Nick Saban is always going to get his and it’s starting to look that way with Kirby Smart) but his name should have the Hurricanes in position to land a lot of talent as the general feeling inside the ever so powerful South Florida high school football circles is that Cristobal gets it: that means coaches and parents will want their kids to play for Cristobal.