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Miami Football: 3 Reasons for Optimism About the Hurricanes in 2022

Mario Cristobal, Miami Hurricanes football head coach

New head coach Mario Cristobal has everyone fired up about the Hurricanes

There hasn't been much positive momentum for the Miami Hurricanes in recent years. However, that has changed significantly in recent months.

Gone is Manny Diaz as Mario Cristobal arrived from Oregon in December to become Miami's 26th head coach in program history. Since Cristobal took over, the team's personnel has improved dramatically with a stronger recruiting class and bolstered coaching staff.

Related: Hurricanes Banking on New Head Coach Mario Cristobal to Lead Program Back to National Prominence

Now the Hurricanes will look to improve on their 7-5 season and contend in the ACC. Let's explore three reasons to be optimistic about Miami next season.

1. Tyler Van Dyke's return

Van Dyke started the final nine games last season for the Hurricanes and went 6-3 as a starter. He also threw for 2,931 yards and 25 touchdowns with six interceptions as a freshman.

Now not only does Van Dyke return to build upon his 2021 season where he won ACC Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he hopes to get Miami back to contending for conference championships.

Working with new quarterbacks coach Frank Ponce, who has been an offensive coordinator at Appalachian State, should only help Van Dyke take his game to the next level.

Related: Early 2022 ACC QB Preview and Rankings

2. Top-15 recruiting class

Miami's recruiting had lagged under Diaz, but Cristobal's arrival brought in a major influx of talent to a roster that already had plenty of potential.

Related: 5 Newcomers to Watch for the Hurricanes

In just two months on the job, Cristobal and the Hurricanes signed two offensive linemen and a defensive tackle to a class that previously had 10 high school signees and five transfers. Miami added defensive tackle Ahmad Moten from Broward's Cardinal Gibbons and 4-star tailback TreVonte' Citizen.

According to the 247Sports Composite team rankings, Miami went from just outside the top 50 on the first day of the early signing period in December to No. 15 in less than two months. Just imagine what Cristobal can do with a full year or two under his belt.

3. Hurricanes' new coaching staff

Cristobal is forming an Avengers type of coaching staff at Miami. He has added former Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis as the offensive coordinator, former Broyles Award winner Kevin Steele as defensive coordinator, and Charlie Strong as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.

There are even talks of adding former Miami Dolphins defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Taylor to the Hurricanes' staff. With all the experience and ties to Florida, Miami should be able to go into any recruit's home and get the type of players it wants.

This should only make The U brand strong on and off the field.

Podcast: Examining Returning Starters and Teams With the Most/Least Talent Returning for the 2022 Season

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.