Jayden Wayne becomes eighth Canes front-seven defender to enter portal. The fallout

The University of Miami lost its second front-seven defender in five hours on Monday when second-year edge player Jayden Wayne decided to enter the transfer portal.

The news, first reported by 247 Sports, followed news earlier on Monday that starting defensive tackle Jared Harrison-Hunte also is entering the portal.

UM’s front seven has been depleted by attrition this offseason. Eight front-seven defensive players have entered the portal since December. Some were encouraged to do so because they weren’t going to get a lot of playing time in 2024.

On the defensive line, Wayne and Harrison-Hunte join earlier departures Nyjalik Kelly, Jahfari Harvey, Collins Acheampong, Cyrus Moss and Chantz Williams. All seven of those linemen entered the transfer portal.

Two other defensive linemen left for the NFL -- defensive tackle Leonard Taylor III (who had remaining college eligibility) and defensive tackle Branson Deen, whose eligibility had expired.

At linebacker, KJ Cloyd left for the NFL; Corey Flagg Jr. left for the transfer portal; and Keontra Smith’s eligibility expired.

A UM source said the Canes haven’t lost anyone it particularly wanted to keep.

Wayne, originally from Tacoma, Washington, came to UM as a four-star prospect out of IMG Academy in Bradenton and played 104 defensive snaps as a freshman, and had 13 tackles and one tackle for loss. He started one game, against Rutgers, in the Pinstripe Bowl.

ESPN rated Wayne the 90th best player nationally in the 2023 recruiting class. 247 Sports rated him the 72nd best player in the ‘23 class.

Wayne chose Miami over offers from Oregon, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Michigan State, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and USC, among others.

In this era when transferring is far easier and more common than ever before, Wayne is the seventh top 150 player (and eighth top 157 player) from Mario Cristobal’s first two recruiting classes to depart after less than two years.

The others were from Cristobal’s 2022 class: cornerbacks Khamauri Rogers and Chris Graves, defensive ends Kelly and Cyrus Moss, running back TreVonte Citizen and tight end Jaleel Skinner.

Acheampong, who transferred after not playing last season due to injury, was the 157th rated player in the 2023 class.

So why is this happening?

One player, Citizen, saw his skills diminish because of a knee injury. Several others seemingly were overestimated as high school prospects - by UM and many other schools.

Some simply didn’t develop. Another, Kelly, wanted more NIL more, according to a UM source. Some wanted a change of scenery.

Regardless, UM every bit as much decided to part way with these players as the other way around, a Canes source maintained.

UM entered the offseason particularly deep among defensive ends and edge rushers. That’s no longer the case.

Miami has two very good starters in Ahkeem Mesidor and Reuben Bain. Other edge players on scholarship include Marshall transfer Elijah Alston; freshmen Marquise Lightfoot and Cole McConathy (who impressed this spring) and former linebacker Malik Bryant.


Former Louisville linebacker Jaylin Alderman, who’s in the transfer portal, told Canesport that he’s setting up a visit to UM. He plans to visit Arkansas on Wednesday.

Alderman started every game for Louisville last season and had 58 tackles (seven for loss) and 1.5 sacks.

Here’s my Monday piece with a lot more Canes news, including more on Harrison-Hunte’s departure.