Miami fall sports preview: newcomers to watch out for

Freshman offensive lineman Samson Okunlola and fourth-year junior Javion Cohen attempt to contain a defensive lineman during a Miami fall practice at the Greentree practice fields.

As the summer winds down and another fall semester full of Miami Hurricanes sports approaches, there is a lot to be excited for, as newcomers have arrived on campus and are ready to make their mark on UM athletics.

Here are some of the newest faces in Coral Gables that Hurricanes fans can watch out for to make some noise this fall.

Javion Cohen, Football, Interior offensive lineman

With the 2023 football season just around the corner, Miami head coach Mario Cristobal and his team have been hard at work preparing to make a significant jump this fall after a lackluster 2022 campaign. His improvements to the team included landing the highly-coveted Cohen from the transfer portal, who previously played three seasons at Alabama under legendary head coach Nick Saban.

The fourth-year junior earned All-SEC honors in 2022, starting 10 games for the Crimson Tide last year and 14 in the 2021 season for an offense that ranked in the top ten nationally in multiple categories, including scoring (sixth, 39.9 points per game), third down conversions (third, 52 percent), and red zone offense (fifth, 92.6 percent).

Grace Lopez, Volleyball, Outside hitter

The true freshman and Puerto Rico native is one of the newest additions to head coach Jose “Keno” Gandara’s volleyball team. Lopez brings a strong resume coming out of high school, previously making a name for herself in the under-19 Pan-American Cup in 2023, earning honors for the best spiker and best opposite hitter of that tournament, as well as earning best scorer honors in the under-21 division of the same competition.

Davonte Brown, Football, Defensive back

Another significant addition for Miami that can make an immediate impact is fourth-year junior Davonte Brown, who transferred from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in December.

During his three years at UCF, Brown was a mainstay in the Knights’ secondary. His 2022 season was particularly stellar, logging 30 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two interceptions, four passes defended and a forced fumble. Hurricanes fans can expect Brown to see significant playing time under new defensive coordinator Lance Guidry.

Caroline Hood, Soccer, Forward

The Needham, Massachusetts native has already impacted head coach Sarah Barnes’ soccer squad as autumn rolls around. In Miami’s opening game of the season on Aug. 17, the team faced Stetson and came away with a 3-0 victory. Hood featured as part of the starting lineup for the Hurricanes and found the back of the net for Miami’s second goal of the match, scoring on a header off of a perfect pass from teammate Reese Wheeler.

After starting and significantly impacting the opening fixture, fans can expect Hood to be a mainstay in the starting 11 for Miami.

Francis Mauigoa, Football, Offensive tackle

Mauigoa was Miami’s most significant commitment in the 2023 recruiting season, being ranked as the second-best offensive tackle and sixth-best player in the entire nation, according to 247 Sports. Coming to Miami from high school football powerhouse IMG Academy, a player of Mauigoa’s caliber has the potential to start for the Hurricanes right out of the season’s gates.