Head coach Manny Diaz announced that senior linebacker Zach McCloud will redshirt this season, giving him another year of eligibility.
McCloud had limited playing time in the first three games this season for the Canes and did not play in last week’s game against Central Michigan. According to Diaz, McCloud approached the coaching staff about the possibility of redshirting the season.
“You know decisions like that, and especially with a guy like Zach, he is so important to us,” Diaz said. “But that was something that he came to us with during that week and I said, ‘we’ll if there is a possibility if he was going to get limited snaps on defense and just play special teams.'”
McCloud is still eligible to play in one more game this season, and barring injury to another player, Diaz hopes to save McCloud for a bowl game.
A starter since his freshman year, McCloud has 133 career total tackles in 42 games played. Miami’s defense has used a three linebacker set in the past but switched to primarily using two this season. As a result, seniors Shaq Quarterman and Michael Pinckney have taken the majority of the snaps at the linebacker position. Given that Quarterman and Pinckney will be graduating at the end of this year, redshirting McCloud and allowing him to play next season will provide experience at the position that is expected to take on a lot of younger, inexperienced players, including freshmen Sam Brooks Jr. and Avery Huff and redshirt sophomore Bradley Jennings.
“It comes down to the young man’s wishes,” Diaz said. “We weren’t going to force him to do something he didn’t want to do and that’s when it presented itself to us. I think he had to get a couple of games in to really figure out what the rotation is going to be and where it all fits in.”
McCloud is another example of a new trend of college football players who are redshirting a year to save eligibility. This trend is a result of an NCAA rule that went into effect in 2018 that allows players to play in up to four games in one season and still preserve a redshirt. Prior to the rule, the only way players could still play and not lose eligibility was if they became injured.