Tracking Hurricanes: Kevin Beard, Demarcus Van Dyke, Kevin Patrick, Alex Figueroa

Kevin Beard is moving on up. (Getty Images)

Kevin Beard is moving on up. (Getty Images)

[Miami has the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation]

One in an occasional series that aims to keep track of former Miami Hurricanes players and personalities. 

Quite the offseason for Kevin Beard.

In early December, the former Miami wide receiver (1999-2003) and receivers coach (2015) left old pal James Coley and his role as Georgia offensive assistant to become wide receivers coach for his former head coach Butch Davis at FIU. After helping Davis sign his first recruiting class in West Miami, he left to join another former Hurricane. Larry Scott, which Tennessee made a first-time offensive coordinator, offered Beard the wideouts gig when Zach Azzanni left for the NFL.

Aside from Beard and Scott helping run the offense in Knoxville and Coley coaching receivers in Athens, where are the rest of Al Golden‘s assistants?

Mark D’Onofrio was named Houston’s defensive coordinator, after a season away and at least one follow-up emailPaul Williams survived the Illinois coaching change, and enters his second season under Lovie Smith. Art Kehoe ran high school offensive line camps last summer. Hurlie Brown went home to Merritt Island and may have eyes on the NFL. Micheal Barrow (linebackers) and Brennan Carroll (assistant OL) remain with the Seattle Seahawks. Jethro Franklin is still the L.A. Raiders’ defensive line coach. Randy Melvin went back to Purdue, where he coached in the late ’90s. Tim “Ice” Harris made the Class 4A semifinals in his return to Miami-Booker T. Washington High. Strength coach Andreu Swasey continues to train both former Hurricanes and current NFLers at various locations in South Florida.

Golden is still coaching Detroit’s tight ends, presumably praying David Njoku is available for the Lions.


* Speaking of Davis, the new FIU coach may have the most experienced roster in the nation. That counts for something, no? SB Nation has an interesting look at what he’s up against, and whether he can pull the Golden Panthers out of the FBS basement. Know this: more eyes will be on the Shula Bowl (Nov. 18 at FAU) than ever. Butch vs. Lane!

* UM Sports Hall of Fame defensive end Kevin Patrick is back on the East Coast. After a year at Texas Tech, he took the D-line job at North Carolina State. Reporters in Raleigh are already asking him for stories about The Rock. KP’s got a few.

* DVD to ASA: Appropriate to be mentioning him during NFL Combine week, since that’s when Demarcus Van Dyke set a UM record for fastest 40 time (4.28 seconds in 2011) at the NFL’s Underwear Olympics. Van Dyke, who told us last year he wanted to get into coaching and hoped to one day help his alma mater in that regard, will start his career at ASA College Miami.

* Ex-Cane Alex Figueroa was featured in a Wall Street Journal story about former athletes who get second chances after felony arrests. The WSJ found (subscription link) at least 108 examples of college athletes punished for series crimes since 2011 who were accepted by another team.

Figueroa, a linebacker who signed with UM in 2013, was expelled fom school (along with fellow linebacker JaWand Blue) in July 2014 for admitting to drugging and raping a 17-year-old girl on campus. The pair did not serve jail time. In an interview with the WSJ, Figueroa maintained the sex was consensual. He spent two seasons at Garden City (Kan.) Community College and transferred to Central Oklahoma, where he is on full scholarship.

Figueroa was one of many recruits from the mid-Golden years that didn’t pan out, or, Exhibit A of what Mark Richt and Co. want to avoid.

Of the 21-member class Golden signed in 2013, only Stacy Coley, Corn Elder, Stan Dobard, Jamal Carter, Alex Gall and junior college transfer Ufomba Kamalu finished their college eligibility as Hurricanes (though Artie Burns declared early for the NFL and Sunny Odogwu is a redshirt senior). It was even worse in 2012: 22 of 32 signees did not finish their careers as Hurricanes for one reason or another. That is an astounding rate of attrition, and a major reason UM is only now back to a competitive level of depth.

Richt’s 2018 recruiting class, ranked No. 1 in the nation, has seven of 13 players rated four-stars or above. Talent is one thing, character is another. Richt hopes he is recruiting players with both.

* At the NFL Combine weigh-in Thursday, Njoku measured 6-foot-4, 246 pounds and had an 82 1/2-inch wingspan and 10-inch hands. That’s a big target.

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