Miami Hurricanes’ RJ McIntosh unsure if he’s turning pro; UM DT assessment

R.J. McIntosh (80) runs with the ball after recovering a fumble against Virginia Tech. (Andres Leiva/The Palm Beach Post)

[Rosier welcomes open QB competition]

CORAL GABLES — RJ McIntosh made up his mind about attending Miami as a sophomore in high school.

As a junior in college, he’s unsure about leaving.

On Wednesday McIntosh joined his roommate, classmate and fellow starting defensive tackle, junior Kendrick Norton, in telling reporters he has not decided whether to turn pro or return for his senior season. McIntosh echoed Norton, who spoke Tuesday, in saying he was focusing on the Orange Bowl (Dec. 30, 8 p.m., ESPN) rather than his future.

“I haven’t really thought about that. I’m still in-season. I’m really focusing on this game,” said McIntosh, who said he has filled out and sent in paperwork to the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Mark Richt said Tuesday he wouldn’t discuss anything with his draft-eligible juniors (other than running back Mark Walton, who has already declared) until the Jan. 16 underclassman deadline to enter the NFL Draft.

Asked if he’s about to make a difficult call, McIntosh said “definitely,” adding he would be “sitting down with my family, talking with them and seeing what they think I should do, people on my side, my coaches.”

McIntosh, named team defensive MVP after producing a team-high 12.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, said he “had a better season [as a junior] because I had a lot more reps,” he said. “I knew I had to step up and be a leader and make plays when it was time to make plays.”

Norton and McIntosh played 527 and 682 snaps, respectively, of UM’s 937 total defensive snaps. McIntosh’s total, in particular, was remarkably high for a defensive tackle.

If both leave, UM (which graduates senior Anthony Moten, he of 260 snaps) would return five defensive tackles, led by junior Pat Bethel (197 snaps) and redshirt senior Gerald Willis, who sat out this season for personal reasons. Sophomore-to-be Jon Ford played 40 snaps after arriving late in camp.

Redshirt sophomore Tyreic Martin (zero playing time thus far) and redshirt junior Ryan Fines (seven snaps) haven’t made an impact.

Another potential option: sophomore-to-be DJ Johnson, a former four-star recruit who played 23 snaps at end this year. Johnson has the frame to support more weight (6-5, 265), a la Bethel last year, but coaches have said he is likely stay at end.

Four-star recruit Nesta Silvera, of Plantation-American Heritage, plans to sign in February so he can visit UM in January with three high-priority teammates: five-star cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. and four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield.

The Hurricanes are recruiting four-star Missouri-based Michael Thompson, according to 247Sports. Two Miami targets who opted to sign elsewhere Wednesday: junior college tackle Jared Goldwire (Louisville) and defensive end Chris Collins (North Carolina).