Mark Richt: No update on Brad Kaaya’s NFL draft status

Mark Richt talks to Brad Kaaya during Miami's 45-10 win over Appalachian State. (Getty Images)

Mark Richt talks to Brad Kaaya during Miami’s 45-10 win over Appalachian State. (Getty Images)

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Clemson didn’t make anyone wait last week. Though schools typically announce NFL draft declarations in December or January, Tigers coach Dabo Swinney confirmed that four juniors — quarterback Deshaun Watson, receivers Mike Williams and Artavis Scott and running back Wayne Gallman — will turn pro.

Brad Kaaya hasn’t told Mark Richt his plans. Asked if he has given thought to the future of his junior quarterback, Richt said he waits until the weeks between the regular season and the bowl game.

At that point, he said, he presents his draft-eligible players with “as much real information as you can, he said. “I’m talking about NFL information, NFL scouts, NFL GMs, NFL people. I’ve got a guy that helps our guys understand the reality of the NFL draft.”

He grabbed a nearby sheet of paper and held it up.

“On a sheet of paper there’s like 40 names, all are projected first round draft picks by the media. Oh, by the way, that’s just offense,” he said, flipping it over. “On the back there’s 40 more guys picked in the first round. So that’s 80 guys [projected] in the first round. There’s only 32 picks.”

For what it’s worth, multiple media outlets rank Kaaya as a first-round prospect. Every NFL team, The Post reported last week, has inquired about him. Six in particular, with needs at quarterback, have done so more often.

Kaaya, 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, has thrown for 2,568 yards and 19 touchdowns, with seven interceptions, on 61.5 percent passing this season.

“I’ve had guys like A.J. Green, Todd Gurley, Matt Stafford, there’s nothing to say,” Richt said. “If you’re going to be the first player picked at your position — Knowshon Moreno — your draft status is not going to improve by sticking around. Now, if you want to help win a championship, maybe win a national award, or you just love college, whatever it is, you may want to stick around. But from a business point of view, probably not going to be much to it.

“Most of the guys — most of the guys — can improve their status by staying,” Richt said. “Most. Not all. Most.”

According to sources, redshirt sophomore tight end David Njoku, junior defensive end Chad Thomas and junior tight end Chris Herndon are also on scouts’ radars, in addition to several UM seniors (cornerback Corn Elder, right guard Danny Isidora and wide receiver Stacy Coley chief among them).

When Kaaya leaves, he will be at least No. 2 on UM’s all-time passing yards list. Last week he jumped Jacory Harris, who regularly works out at UM. Harris joked with Kaaya that he wasn’t ready to give up his spot.

“I see Jacory like every day,” Kaaya said. “I talk to him every week. We were talking about it last week. He was saying, ‘Hey man, just so you know, I want you to only get 10 yards a game for the next three games.'”

Kaaya (9,004 yards) is 561 shy of Ken Dorsey for No. 1 all time. He is third in touchdowns (61), nine shy of Harris for second. Dorsey (86) is the leader. Kaaya is also is 374 yards from moving into the ACC’s career top 10. With 232 yards, he will become the first Miami quarterback to throw for more than 2,800 yards in three straight seasons.

“I’m not paying too much mind to it,” he said. “I’m sure other people are. It’s something to look back on at the end.”

Whenever that comes.

 

 

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