MIAMI GARDENS — It’s the last Hurricanes home game of the season, and the final home game for a class of Miami players.
It’s also a unique day for many in South Florida. Today’s game kicks off hours after the death of former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, a man reviled across much of this area. Cuban-American communities partied in the wee hours of Saturday. Compared to scenes from the news footage of Hialeah, Little Havana, Westchester and other neighborhoods, the tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium were tame.
UM will honor 18 players, mostly seniors and a few graduating juniors, before today’s 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Duke (ESPN2). Click the links below to read all the short profiles we did on those players this week.
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
All of those players but fullback Gage Batten and cornerback Adrian Colbert are healthy enough to play in this game. Colbert (out since Oct. 29 with a broken forearm) took to social media Saturday morning to give thanks to his coaches, and say he will be back for Miami’s bowl game.
* Seniors Alex Gall and Danny Isidora were the first players off the bus, leading the players at the Canes Walk. The last? Sophomore Mark Walton and senior Corn Elder, who had fans chanting his name as he made his way down the aisle.
* Representatives from the Russell Athletic Bowl ar here. According to a UM source, that bowl and the TaxSlayer Bowl have shown consistent interest in the Hurricanes. UM feels its fans would show up for game in Orlando (RAB) or Jacksonville (TaxSlayer) — especially if rival Florida is involved, as the SEC team in the TaxSlayer. Interestingly, another seemingly sensible destination, the Pinstripe Bowl (New York City), hasn’t shown much interest in Miami, according to a source.
* Miami is dressing cornerback Adrian Colbert and fullback Gage Batten, injured seniors who will not play.
* Among the representatives from NFL teams here: San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. The 49ers have interest in seeing UM junior Brad Kaaya. The Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, and Baltimore Ravens are also here.