One in a series of short pieces about each Miami senior leading up to the Hurricanes’ final home game of 2016, Saturday against Duke.
The rest of the series:
S Jamal Carter | C Alex Gall | RG Danny Isidora | S Rayshawn Jenkins | P Justin Vogel | TE/DE Stan Dobard | CB Corn Elder | WR Malcolm Lewis | CB Adrian Colbert | WR Stacy Coley | FB Gage Batten | FB Marquez Williams | LS Frank Gabriel, five others
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He has returned punts for touchdowns, made overtime interceptions, and broke up so many passes you wonder if his hands get sore. But Corn Elder didn’t need to think too hard when asked to name the highlight of his Miami career.
“The Duke play,” he said. “That’s just something that happens not too often. That’s just one of those plays that you never think you’ll see, much less be a part of.”
His 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown — which came after eight laterals, gave Miami a comeback win over Duke and caused the ACC to rethink its instant-replay system — made national headlines last Oct. 31. It is one of the most memorable finishes in college football history.
In 2016, Elder earned another distinction: he might be the Hurricanes’ MVP.
Coaches and players have raved all season about Elder, who took over as UM’s No. 1 cornerback after Artie Burns and Tracy Howard left for the NFL. Pro scouts are regularly visiting UM practices to watch him, intrigued by his versatility — he can play all five defensive back positions and, clearly, is a special teams weapon.
Elder is UM’s third-leading tackler (63, 4.5 for losses, 3.0 sacks), has broken up 11 passes and registered one interception, a total that would be much higher if teams regularly threw in his direction, which they do not. Though his size (5-10, 180) may lower his NFL stock, his talent has raised it.
“It’s definitely exciting,” said Elder, a Murfreesboro, Tenn. native who was the state’s Mr. Football twice, and a prep basketball star. He signed with Miami in 2013 as a four-star recruit and for a brief time, walked onto the basketball team. He’s glad he stuck with football, especially since he got to play a starring role in one of the greatest plays in Miami history.
He said he gets asked about it “all the time.” He doesn’t have to embellish, either, because the film speaks for itself. “If you saw it,” he said, “you’ll be amazed.”