Recruiting: Hurricanes walk-on overcomes rare disorder to join dream school

He wanted to be a running back as a kid, but a rare eye disorder prevented him from seeing much of the field, or catching passes. So he played center. He couldn’t see the blackboard in class very well, but he became a second-degree black belt in karate — and a long-snapper who earned a preferred walk-on spot at his dream school.

Meet Jake Munoz, who will join Miami this summer. Munoz is from Atlanta-Mt. Vernon Presbyterian, and according to Canesport his family lived in Miami until 2011. His father earned an MBA at UM. When his beloved Hurricanes offered him a walk-on spot, Munoz switched his commitment from Georgia State, which had a scholarship waiting for him.

Jake Munoz (Twitter)

Jake Munoz (Twitter)

“It was the school to go to even if I had to pay,” he told Canesport.

Munoz has Retinal Cone Distrophy, which affects 1 in 30,000 according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders. It causes reduced visual clarity, ability to see colors and increased sensitivity to light.

“Basically my eyes are sensitive to bright lights,” he said in an interview with Sports Illustrated, which featured him in an online video. “The only thing I can’t do is run out for a 20-yard pass.” He must wear a pair of special goggles during play.

Munoz was the 19th-best long snapper in the Rubio Long Snapping rankings for 2016, which pegged him as a low-FBS or FCS prospect. Since he is paying his own way, he does not count against Miami’s NCAA-mandated limit of 85 scholarships

Elsewhere in the walk-on files, Miami picked up a commitment from 2016 linebacker D.J. Washington, of Raleigh, N.C. He is the 6-0, 220-pound son of Dewayne Washington, a cornerback who was a first-round pick out of North Carolina State and had a 12-year NFL career.

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