With the college football transfer portal closed until August 1 of this year, the sport can at least begin to calm down a bit — that is if no more head coaches decide to leave their respective teams. Programs like Mario Cristobal's Miami football team can now begin to go through their rosters and prepare for spring practices with their 2024 classes signed that include their transfer portal additions.

Cristobal has been fairly notorious for his use of the transfer portal since coming to Miami, trying to rebuild the program at as fast a rate as possible, all the while still accounting for patience and the ability to understand it's a process.

In 2024, as of now at least, the Miami football team will be bringing in nine transfers. However, the Hurricanes also lost 14 transfers in the process, proving that the portal giveth and the portal taketh. But like every head coach, Cristobal hopes, maybe it will be an addition by subtraction and the Miami football roster will look improved in 2024.

But every transfer portal addition is one that could be a complete game-changer, one that teams somehow sneak by the other competition. Miami's without a doubt is former Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward, who at one point was thought to be long gone to the NFL before he finally decided to commit to Cristobal and the Hurricanes for his final year of eligibility at the college level.

Miami football seemed to solely focus on Cameron Ward

Most assumed that Ward was definitely out of Pullman, WA, once the 2023 season concluded. For one, the Cougars were going to be one of only two teams to make up what was the Pac-12 Conference. As of right now, that's still a decision that's a bit in limbo. However, ten teams have taken off for other conferences and Washington State and Oregon State have been left hanging.

That made Ward, who has been one of the better, more consistent quarterbacks in the nation since joining the Cougars two years ago, transferring from then Incarnate Word, highly sought after by a lot of Power Five programs.

Miami immediately came to mind for most once Ward finally announced he was entering the portal. The Hurricanes had just lost their former starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke to the Wisconsin Badgers. Also, their freshman hopeful quarterback, Emory Williams, had suffered an injury to his non-throwing arm against Florida State during last season, leaving that position room in Coral Gables rather depleted.

Cristobal and Miami football had seemingly put all their eggs in the basket of Ward. They lost out on a number of other options who had entered the portal, committing elsewhere. The fear was that Ward was going to end up sporting the Hurricanes' biggest rivals' colors in Florida State. Much like their battles on the field, Ward's recruitment seemed to be just as intense, seemingly coming down to the two ACC teams. But then Ward announced he was entering the 2024 NFL Draft.

Cameron Ward surprises everyone with commitment to Miami football, not entering 2024 NFL Draft

Washington State qb Cameron Ward coming out of the transfer portal to commit to Miami football

Ward began his New Year's by announcing he was forgoing his final year of eligibility in college to enter the 2024 NFL Draft. At the time, this was a huge blow to the Hurricanes, who were still down to just sophomore Williams and junior Jacurri Brown next season, both of whom have little experience.

Florida State managed to pull off landing former Clemson and Oregon State quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, which left Miami once again feeling behind their bitter rivals.

As most who have followed Miami over the last couple of decades know, the quarterback position has been one that has been sorely lacking in talent and production. The Hurricanes have just not seemed to get it right.

About a week after Ward announced his NFL decision, Miami landed Reese Poffenbarger out of FCS school Albany. But any Hurricanes fan would quickly tell you that was not the answer they were hoping for at quarterback, especially in a pivotal Year 3 for Cristobal, who likely must prove he made progress with this team.

It wasn't until January 13 that a beacon of hope shone as Ward announced he was in fact not entering the NFL Draft and would instead be transferring to Miami to become their quarterback for the 2024 season.

Honestly, it was a recruitment that more or less was in typical Cristobal fashion, coming out of nowhere and landing the giant recruit, something that the Miami alum has been all-too-famous for since becoming a head coach. That's why Ward is the sneakiest get for Miami football during this transfer portal cycle because through whatever means, Cristobal and the Hurricanes pulled Ward out of the NFL Draft and back into college football.