Miami Hurricanes’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Cam Ward, Rueben Bain Jr.

    Mario Cristobal and the top 10 returning players for the Miami Hurricanes mean business this year, and the ACC better buckle up for what's in store.

    It’s a big year for Mario Cristobal and the Miami Hurricanes. Fans expect a College Football Playoff run in 2024, and with the top 10 returning players on the Miami roster, there’s a good chance that happens.

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    Miami Hurricanes’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    Analyzing the returning players at every school is a difficult task in the transfer portal area. As such, we’ve included transfer-portal athletes on each team’s roster page to open spring camp in addition to the rostered players from last year.

    10) Elijah Alston, DE

    Anyone who gets to line up opposite Rueben Bain Jr. will love the matchups they see. Mario Cristobal and his staff brought multiple transfers to their defensive line, so depth shouldn’t be a problem.

    Marshall’s Elijah Alston posted big numbers in 2023, bringing him attention in the transfer portal. He’ll compete in a group with plenty of talent, but his four years of experience with the Thundering Herd could give him the edge over inexperienced options.

    9) Mark Fletcher Jr., RB

    If the Hurricanes offense wants to take a step forward, the rushing attack must play a prominent role. With Henry Parrish Jr. entering the transfer portal, Mark Fletcher Jr. and Ajay Allen will likely carry the load for Miami this fall.

    Fletcher put together a strong finish to his 2023 season, rushing for 330 in his final four games before getting injured in the bowl game against Rutgers. A healthy Fletcher can open up the field for the Hurricanes, helping an offense with big expectations in 2024.

    8) Te’Cory Couch, NB

    With Kam Kinchens off to the NFL, someone must take over as the ball hawk on defense. Kinchens takes five of the Hurricanes’ 10 interceptions with him, and only three other players recorded such turnovers last year. Fortunately, players like Te’Cory Couch return.

    While Couch won’t replace Kinchens directly, he’s a playmaker who can help replace that production. He’s a versatile weapon for Lancy Guidry’s defense, and he showed off his ball skills last year with three interceptions.

    7) Akheem Mesidor, DE

    While he’s recovering from an injury this offseason, the Hurricanes staff expects Akheem Mesidor to be back at 100% when fall practice begins. Adding Alston gave them depth, but Mesidor should be the starter if fully healthy.

    The former West Virginia transfer had a big year for the Hurricanes in 2022, posting 10.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks, and the staff hopes he can bring that production back.

    6) Jacolby George, WR

    Losing Colbie Young to the transfer portal put a dent in the passing attack, but that group returns its top two pass catchers even with his departure. Jacolby George finished second on the team with 57 receptions for 864 yards last fall while leading the team with eight touchdowns.

    MORE: 2024 ACC Power Rankings 

    Depth will be a question at the position, but George brings an explosive weapon back to an offense that finished 43rd in the country with average quarterback play. This year, with a dynamic signal-caller, should be different.

    5) Francis Mauigoa, OT

    It didn’t take long for the Mauigoa brothers to make their mark on the Hurricanes program. Francis Mauigoa put together an impressive season at offensive tackle, earning first team All-ACC honors from College Football Network.

    Cristobal knows how to bring in top-tier talent on the line, and the 6’6″ and 315-pound sophomore from IMG Academy got off to a quick start in his first year of college. The offensive line will be key to the ultimate success for the Hurricanes offense this fall.

    4) Xavier Restrepo, WR

    It was only a matter of time before Xavier Restrepo broke out for this offense. The 5’10” and 198-pound fifth-year senior from Coconut Creek, Florida, proved to be the Hurricanes’ most reliable receiver last year, catching 85 passes for 1,092 yards and six touchdowns.

    He’s a multiyear starter who understands how to get open against any coverage, and his knowledge should help a group that seeks depth in 2024. He’ll still lead the charge, but the Hurricanes benefit more from the wisdom he can pass down to the newest contributors.

    3) Francisco Mauigoa, LB

    The second of the Mauigoa brothers is a force for the opposite side of the ball. The 6’3 and 230-pound senior led the Hurricanes defense with 82 tackles, 18 for loss, and 7.5 sacks last year. He also added two forced fumbles and an interception.

    This front seven has the potential to be dominant in 2024. They finished 22nd in the country in tackles for loss and 18th in sacks. Mauigoa led the charge in both departments, and there are plenty of reasons to believe he will take them to another level this year.

    2) Rueben Bain Jr., DE

    We’re reaching the point where we’re just waiting for NFL Draft Twitter to immerse themselves into the Rueben Bain Jr. experience because it’s a wild ride. The high school sensation took his talents to a Power Five team, and he hasn’t slowed down.

    KEEP READING: 2024 Miami Hurricanes Football Roster

    As a freshman, he recorded 12.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, and now he has a full year of experience under his belt. He already has a strong frame to handle life in the ACC, and another year in the strength and conditioning program will only make him better.

    1) Cam Ward, QB

    While there was some uncertainty about the Hurricanes’ quarterback situation at the beginning of the offseason, Cam Ward’s arrival eased those concerns. Honestly, the hype’s only going to get out of control as the offseason progresses.

    The former Washington State and Incarnate Word gunslinger joins a Shannon Dawson offense that he fits almost perfectly, and the offense should thrive this year because of his arrival. Ward threw for 6,968 yards and 48 touchdowns with the Cougars the last two years, and the ACC better buckle up for what’s coming this season.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!


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