2017 NFL draft: Miami Hurricanes’ Brad Kaaya, David Njoku discuss their futures

Brad Kaaya looks to throw against FSU. (Getty Images)

Brad Kaaya looks to throw against FSU. (Getty Images)

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David Njoku seemed at ease with the questions.

Chad Thomas wouldn’t entertain them.

Brad Kaaya was somewhere in between.

Those three Hurricanes were asked about their pro futures Thursday, following Miami’s second practice leading up to the Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl. Despite plenty of behind-the-scenes chatter and rumors spreading online, all three say they’re thinking about UM’s final opponent of the season — West Virginia — and not the NFL draft.

Njoku, who said he would wait until after the bowl to decide, admitted it was “exciting” to consider what might lie ahead.

“I’m just trying to stay focused for West Virginia, you know what I’m saying?” he said. “We’ll worry about that afterwards.”


Likewise, Kaaya said he’ll “probably figure things out the day after it ends.” But now?

“I’m just focused on this game,” he said. “We haven’t won a bowl game in 10 years, so that’s a pretty big deal to this school. Right now, it’s all about beating West Virginia because they are a damn good football team, so I can’t be thinking about anything else other than their defense.”

Those two — and Thomas, who flatly said, “No comment” when asked about his plans — are among the Hurricanes who sent in paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board, a collection of league personnel that grades players as first-round, second-round, or neither (that message being: stay in school). Coach Mark Richt, who did not address the media after practice, has said he also helps players make decisions by supplying them with information from a network of NFL associates curated during his 30-plus years in coaching.

UM sources told The Post that Njoku and Kaaya, based on the information they have now, are leaning toward turning pro. Thomas was advised internally to stay; it seems he will do so. The only player who has made any public declaration is running back Joe Yearby, who alluded to turning pro in an Instagram post following Miami’s Nov. 26 win over Duke.

Since then, Miami (8-4) has focused on ending its 10-year bowl drought, and finishing Richt’s first season in Coral Gables the right way.

“It means a lot,” Richt said Wednesday on ESPN’s Paul Finebaum Show. “If you get nine wins, that’s a pretty respectable season. We can get nine wins. We can win a bowl game for the first time in 10 years. We can finish in the top 25 for the first time in a long time.

“We’ve got momentum in fundraising. We’ve got momentum in recruiting. We’ve got momentum in our fanbase, believing that we’re moving in the right direction. There’s so many good things happening. You want to finish strong for your seniors, but you also want to play well because it does have an effect on how you might be ranked in the preseason or how people perceive your program. We’re still in a little bit of a beauty pageant here when it comes to bowl games and things of that nature. I think all those things are important.”


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Chad Thomas on WVU

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Brad Kaaya on the draft, RAB prep

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A gorgeous day in the Gables.

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