Zach McCloud plans to redshirt in 2019, return for 2020 season

Linebacker's limited participation has Hurricanes taking advantage of NCAA rule

Miami Hurricanes linebacker Zach McCloud plans to redshirt in 2019 and return next season.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Miami Hurricanes linebacker Zach McCloud could be taking a cue from Houston quarterback D'Eriq King.

Head coach Manny Diaz said Wednesday the team is planning to redshirt McCloud this season so that he can return in 2020 as a fifth-year senior.

The Hurricanes would be taking advantage of an NCAA rule that allows a player to participate in up to four games and be eligible to redshirt.

"He is so important to us," Diaz said of McCloud, who has had limited participation this season.

Diaz said McCloud was the one who first suggested he would be open to redshirting in 2019.

McCloud played in each of Miami's first three games, but he has recorded just four tackles this season. Because he hasn't yet redshirted, McCloud can still play in one more game this season and return in 2020.

"If something were to happen catastrophically where we would need him for the long term, you know, he'll be ready to go for the team," Diaz said.

Otherwise, Diaz plans to shelve McCloud until a bowl game.

Houston's star quarterback recently announced his decision to redshirt after playing in the team's first four games and return in 2020. The Cougars are off to a 1-3 start.

McCloud has played in 42 games for the Hurricanes since 2016, recording 133 total tackles, including 12.5 for loss, and 2.5 sacks.