The event, which runs from 7 a.m. to noon at UM, is a chance for NFL draft-eligible players to show their stuff in front of representatives from professional teams. Miami’s pro day usually draws scouts, coaches, and management from most NFL franchises.
Those parties, credentialed media and other guests are invited, but the public is not.
Players partake in undergo physical tests, such as the 40-yard dash, vertical leap, and bench press, as well as on-field, position-specific drills.
Five Hurricanes, including cornerback and potential high-round pickArtie Burns, were invited to participate in the NFL combine, which runs Tuesday through Monday, Feb. 29 in Indianpolis. The others are safety Deon Bush, defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu, linebacker Raphael Kirby and receiver Rashawn Scott, all of whom are seniors.
In addition to that group, other Hurricanes who will likely participate in pro day include receiver Herb Waters, cornerback Tracy Howard, linebacker Tyriq McCord, defensivetackle Calvin Heurtelou, safety Dallas Crawford.
Artie Burns was widely pegged as a second- to third-round pick, but day before the NFL combine cranks up, Mel Kiper Jr. said he thinks Burns could go higher.
“I think he’s a late 1, early 2,” the ESPN analyst said Monday on a conference call. “Burns is a guy that is going to be very high. I wouldn’t be shocked if [he is drafted] anywhere between 25 and 35 to 40.”
Burns, the lone Hurricanes player from 2015 to declare early, is one of five teammates participating in the NFL combine, which runs Tuesday through Monday in Indianapolis. Burns (6-1, 197), a former track star, has the speed to impress scouts this week. It’s his game film that could hamper his stock. In the mock draft he released last Thursday, Kiper slotted Florida’s Vernon Hargreaves, Ohio State’s Eli Apple, Virginia Tech’s Kendall Fuller and Clemson’s Mackensie Alexander as first-round picks. Burns was not.
Last month, DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline pegged Burns as a third-rounder. Multiple NFL scouts have told UM they believe Burns has first- or second-round potential. As of Monday, Burns was rated seventh among cornerbacks by NFLDraftScout.com and a second- to third-round pick.
However, Kiper said Burns is as talented as the aforementioned potential first-rounders, albeit a bit raw.
“He’s a little too physical in college for the NFL,” Kiper said. “By that I mean you’re going to get penalized. You have your hands, too, in the face of the receiver, have to be able to back off a little bit to handle what the NFL is asking you to do. I want to see if he can adjust to that — what works in college doesn’t work in the NFL with the rules the way they are.
“Artie Burns, though, is a tremendously talented player. His skill set is arguably as good as any of these guys.”
Burns led the ACC with six interceptions last season. Part of his reason for leaving early is to provide for his family, which was struck by tragedy last October. His mother, Dana Smith, died suddenly at 44, leaving Artie and his two younger brothers.
Kiper said safety Deon Bush should be the next Hurricane taken after Burns – “he’s more of a mid-round pick” – and he doesn’t expect any other UM players to be taken before Day 3 of the draft, which includes Rounds 4-7.
Junior college prospect DayallHarris, who committed late last week, could be just what he is looking for.
Harris, who plans to arrive on campus in May and compete for playing time immediately.
“Right now [Richt] is just trying to rebuild,” Harris told WJTV in his hometown of Jackson, Miss. “He came into kind of a messed-up situation. He had only five scholarship receivers. … Usually a school has 10 or more.”
Indeed, Miami returns senior-to-be Stacy Coley (689 yards, four touchdowns on 47 catches) but loses approximately 40 percent of its receiving yards from 2015. Graduating seniors Rashawn Scott and Herb Waters accounted for 1,319 yards and six touchdowns. Oft-suspended sophomore Tyre Brady (112 yards, one touchdown) elected to transfer.
Aside from Coley, promising talent Lawrence Cager is expected to make noise this fall alongside veterans Braxton Berrios and Malcolm Lewis. UM also signed three talented recruits (Sam Bruce, Ahmmon Richards, Dionte Mullins) and boasts several pass-catching backs and tight ends. However, depth is still lacking.
Thus, the prospect of playing time was a major draw for Harris (6-foot-3, 192 pounds), who played last season at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in his hometown.
A former four-star recruit, he signed with Mississippi in 2014 and competed for playing time in fall practices but wound up redshirting. He was suspended later in the season after what local media referred to as “several minor incidents.” He did not travel for Ole Miss’ appearance in the Peach Bowl that season.
He will be a redshirt sophomore this fall and have three years of eligibility at UM. He wore No. 83 at Ole Miss, a number not worn by any current Hurricanes player.
Harris, whose first name is pronounced DAY-all, played at Jackson (Miss.) Callaway High. He had 42 catches for 564 yards and seven touchdowns as a senior and registered 1,034 total all-purpose yards. He also played basketball – winning state titles in 2012 and 2013 – and ran track.
He apparently likes the tradition at Miami, as evidenced by his choice of attire for an on-camera interview: a throwback-style Hurricanes jersey with Michael Irvin’s No. 47 on it. That wasn’t all he was excited about.
“I love the coaches. I love the campus,” he said. “It’s kind of like a tropical rainforest or something.”
The NFL combine begins Tuesday in Indianapolis and five players from last year’s Hurricanes team have been invited to participate.
Cornerback ArtieBurns, safety DeonBush, defensive tackle UfombaKamalu, linebacker RaphaelKirby and wide receiver RashawnScott will try to impress NFL scouts at the event, which runs through Monday, Feb. 29.
They’ll also try to beat some of these guys listed below.
The following are the top Hurricanes performers in every combine event, according to results posted on NFL.com (2006-15) and NFLCombineResults.com, which dates to 1999. The latter website, which says it gathers and cross-checks data from NFL.com and major media outlets, has results for 91 Hurricanes players in the last 17 years.
The cornerback blazed down the track in 4.28 seconds in 2011, tied for the fourth-best time of any combine participant and four-tenths of a second slower than the record 4.24 posted by East Carolina running back Chris Johnson. Van Dyke’s time is the fastest by a defensive back in combine history.
Bench press: Ereck Flowers
The left tackle earned some first-round money at the 2015 combine, putting up 37 reps (of the standard 225 pounds) on the bench press. That’s tied for 28th all-time. It’s also one better than Vince Wilfork put up in 2004. Flowers was taken ninth overall by the New York Giants.
Vertical jump: Rocky McIntosh
The 6-foot-2, 242-pound linebacker got 42.5 inches off the ground in 2006, tied for the 10th-best leap in combine history (and best ever by a linebacker). McIntosh, a second-round pick (35th overall) by the Washington Redskins, had an eight-year career. Note: NFLCombineResults.com lists Santana Moss as having a 42-inch leap, and McIntosh at 41.5, but we’re going with the official league result.
Broad jump: Andre Johnson
He stretched his 6-2, 230-pound frame a long way at the 2003 combine, clearing 132 inches to set the mark for all Canes. Johnson was drafted third overall by the Houston Texans in 2003 and has made seven Pro Bowls. He is currently ninth in NFL history in both receptions and receiving yards. Honorable mention goes to Olivier Vernon, who posted a 122-inch broad jump in 2011, an impressive mark for a 6-2, 261-pound defensive end it’s seventh-best of the 59 Hurricanes who have broad-jumped at the combine since 1999).
Three-cone drill: Graig Cooper
The running back performed this change-of-direction drill the fastest among Hurricanes, going 6.66 seconds in 2011. Phillip Dorsett (6.70 seconds) came close to running him down in 2015. Cooper’s time is sixth-best all-time among running backs.
20-yard shuttle: Edgerrin James
At the first NFL combine in 1999, James set a mark for Hurricanes that still stands. No one has come close to his 3.88-second shuttle; the closest was Cooper (4.03) in 2011. His mark is fourth-best among running backs in the event’s history.
60-yard shuttle: Brandon Harris
The cornerback’s 11.31-second time in 2011 is the best-ever by a Hurricane, according to NFL.com’s data (which goes back to 2006; NFLCombineResults doesn’t have data for this event). Harris was drafted in the second round (60th overall) by the Houston Texans. He spent three seasons there and last saw game action in 2014 for the Tennessee Titans.
Honorable mention: Pat O’Donnell
Put up record numbers for a punter in 2014, with a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, 23 reps on the bench and a 30.5-inch vertical. His bench press was better than 19 running backs, 21 defensive linemen and all 37 wide receivers at that year’s combine. The 6-4, 220-pound Palm Beach Central alum was the only punter drafted, taken in the sixth round (191st overall) by the Chicago Bears. A total of 15 punters have participated in the combine since the first invitee, in 2012.
Largest and smallest
The tallest Hurricane in combine history is defensive end Calais Campbell, who measured 6-feet-6.7 inches in 2008. The heaviest is offensive tackle Carlos Joseph, who weighed 345 pounds in 2004. That’s 175 pounds heavier than Roscoe Parrish (2005) and Bruce Johnson (2009), each of whom weighed 170 pounds. The shortest is Sinorice Moss, who stood 5-8 in 2006.
Five Hurricanes were chosen to participate in the NFL combine, which is Feb. 23-29 in Indianapolis.
Cornerback Artie Burns, safety Deon Bush, defensive tackle Ufomba Kamalu, inside linebacker Raphael Kirby and wide receiver Rashawn Scott were selected.
Of those, Burns is expected to be the highest pick in the NFL draft, April 28-30. He left school after his junior season, in which he led the ACC with six interceptions. He is widely projected to go in the top three rounds, and will likely test well.
An NFL personnel executive told NFL.com that Burns’ “tape is just average. Betting on the combine with him and he’ll test off the charts. He’s got the traits, but he’s not ready yet.” NFL.com’s scouting report said Burns is “extremely raw and undisciplined” and still in the infant stages” of reaching his pro potential but is a “premium athlete” with “length, speed and ball skills.” The NFL exec also noted Burns’ persona, which is bright despite his off-the-field hardships. Burns, 19, lost his mother suddenly last October. “He’s a good kid who has so much to deal with now that his mom has passed,” the exec said.
Regarding Bush, an AFC North scout said he projects as “a mid-rounder with very good special teams value but will need to be a backup box safety-type of player early in his career.”
NFL.com didn’t write draft stock reports on Kamalu, Kirby and Scott. None of those players are projected to be drafted by NFLDraftScout.com. Last month, DraftInsider.net’s Tony Pauline projected them to be late-round picks at best.
James said in October the terms presented by Florida Citrus Sports, the organization that would host the game, were attractive. Under deal proposed in October, UM and UF would receive an equal number of allotted tickets.
“Those are still the goals,” James said.
A spokesperson for Florida Citrus Sports would not say whether the deal was close and said the organization does “not discuss any of our business contracts publicly.”
UM beat UF 21-16 at Sun Life Stadium in 2013, the most recent of a 55-game series which began in 1938. The teams played every year from 1944 to 1987. The Canes lead the series 29-26 and have won seven of the last eight.
Miami has an away-and-home series with Notre Dame this year and next. It opens the 2018 season against LSU at billion-dollar AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Ideally for UM, Florida would fill its marquee non-conference slot for 2019. UM has an away-and-home slate with Michigan State in 2020-21.
What comes next?
“We haven’t made any decisions on that front yet,” James said, speaking via phone as he returned from a meeting of the NCAA’s Division I Football Oversight Committee in Indianapolis. He is the ACC’s representative.
Among the other items on James’ agenda:
An indoor football practice facility “remains a top priority for us,” James said. UM is still hoping to secure a big-money, groundbreaking donation. “I’m confident we’ll get a gift,” James said. “Everyone recognizes how important it is for the long-term success of our program.” UM continues to work with architects on the design, which will likely be constructed on UM’s current campus “given our limited land resources,” James said, “but until we finalize that, that’s still to be determined.”
James has often said he likes to have one new big-ticket item for the athletics department each school year. What’s coming this year? He wouldn’t say: “I’m sure we’ll have something to celebrate come August.”
Regarding the addition of a 2016 away game against Appalachian State (Sept. 17) – the widely held perception being Miami that has little to gain by playing Sun Belt teams on the road – James wouldn’t go into great detail. He did say the Mountaineers weren’t Miami’s most desirable opponent, but they were available.
“Scheduling’s a complicated thing,” he said. “It wasn’t our first choice. You have to fill out your schedule. We’re excited to go to App State and finish out our schedule.
“There are a lot of moving parts any time you schedule a game. Like I said, it wasn’t where we had targeted, but it was what was best for us when it came time to finish the schedule.”
Miami visited Conference-USA opponent FAU last year as part of a three-game series that took the Owls to Sun Life twice. UM hosts FAU Sept. 10 to finish the series. It is unknown if the sides will continue to play each other.
The Football Oversight Committee met as a follow-up to last month’s NCAA convention in San Antonio. What did it discuss? Not a whole lot of interest, considering last year at this time, the NCAA passed its sweeping cost of attendance measure. This year, James said, reducing time demands on athletes are “a big part of the conversation.” The council meets next in April.
(By the way: last year, then-Georgia coach Mark Richt was named the SEC’s rep — and only head coach — on the committee. He is no longer on the roster. An SEC spokesperson said the committee is searching for a replacement.)
Satellite camps are another pressing topic for the ACC, which has sought to end the practice (the SEC is also against them). At the NCAA convention, the conference brought forward a proposal to limit an institution’s summer camps to on-campus facilities or at those “regularly used by the program.” It will be voted on in April when the council holds its next meeting.
If the NCAA does not ban satellite camps then, they will be a hot topic at the ACC’s spring meetings, held in May at Amelia Island. The league will discuss whether it should permit its coaches to conduct out-of-area camps.
Semi-related out-of-state news: the head coach of Maryland high school powerhouse DeMatha Catholic posted a message saying Miami will be “represented” at its Feb. 27 coaching clinic.
Are we any closer to an ACC network? James said it was discussed at the ACC’s winter meetings last month and “all of us recognize the importance a network could play” in financial strength and marketing. However, he said, “I don’t know that we’re any closer. I would say the network remains a priority. With that said, I think we have a great partner in ESPN and I know the ACC conference will do a great job in positioning us for the future. If that’s with a [standalone] network, great.”
With that said …
Miami among the ACC’s leaders in broadcasting its sporting events. James said Miami will produce 103 events on ESPN programming this year, a major leap forward. “We’ve gone from last in the league in terms of [available programming] to – and I’ll find out in May for sure, but I believe we’re going to be first,” he said.
While football and men’s basketball are mostly produced by ESPN, Miami self-produces coverage of women’s basketball, baseball, home tennis, track, soccer and volleyball matches and sends feeds of the action to ESPN, which carries them on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app (sometimes, they can be seen on ESPNU or ESPN2). Swimming, rowing and golf are the only UM sports that cannot be seen on ESPN3.com.
So, in 2016, we’re at a point where you can hold a UM track meet in the palm of your hand. Not bad.
“It was an area we made a significant investment in. It’s been a great return for us,” James said.
Super Bowl 50 didn’t go quite how Greg Olsen hoped it would, but he still joined elite company among former Hurricanes.
Olsen, who caught four of nine passes thrown his way for 41 yards in a 24-10 loss to the Broncos, became the 77th Hurricanes alum to make the Super Bowl.
According to CBS Sports, no school has produced more Super Bowl appearances than Miami, whose players have made rosters of teams that played in the NFL’s title game 117 times. That beats USC (116), UCLA (108), Penn State and Michigan (both 104).
The Hurricanes who have made the most Super Bowl appearances are Ted Hendricks, Jim Kelly and Vince Wilfork, with four each. Hendricks is Miami’s king of rings, with four.
In the Super Bowl’s 50-year history, 40 Miami players have won championships. Including Olsen (and, sadly, Kelly), 37 other Hurricanes have appeared in the game or been on a Super Bowl roster and not won a ring.
On Sunday, Olsen had one of the longest receptions of a defensive-heavy game, turning a short pass into a 19-yard gain that set up Carolina’s first touchdown. In his fifth year with the Panthers, the 30-year-old broke the 1,000-yard barrier for the second straight season. He caught 77 passes for 1,104 yards — both team bests — and scored seven touchdowns.
It wasn’t a great day for former UM quarterback Ken Dorsey, in his third season as Carolina’s quarterback coach. Cam Newton (who was in his third season when Dorsey took over in 2013), went 18-for-41 for 265 yards, threw an interception and was sacked six times.
Another UM connection: Sunday was a nice day for pupils of new Hurricanes defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, formerly of Missouri. Carolina defensive end KonyEaly tied a Super Bowl record with three sacks, made a one-handed interception and forced a fumble that allowed Carolina to pull within six points in the fourth quarter. His former teammate, Denver’s ShaneRay, forced a fumble.
The complete list of Hurricanes with Super Bowl experience:
Happy New Year! We’re back from vacation and refreshed. As a way of refocusing, let’s assess the most pressing issues the Hurricanes will sort out in the next few weeks …
What will the rest of Mark Richt’s staff look like?
(updated Monday evening with new hires)
The newly minted Hurricanes coach has announced his hire of a defensive coordinator (Manny Diaz), a running backs coach/co-offensive coordinator (ThomasBrown), a defensive line coach (Craig Kuligowski) and a special teams coordinator (ToddHartley). He also brought on an offensive assistant (his son, JonRicht), to fill an unspecified role.
The positions that appear to be open: quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends and linebackers. Richt has some flexibility with these spots.
Richt, who has stated his intention to call plays and work with quarterbacks, could name himself quarterbacks coach or use a graduate assistant for the role. He could retain wide receivers coach Kevin Beard, whose future is unclear. He could give additional responsibility to Diaz (who has coached linebackers before) or keep Al Golden‘s linebackers coach, Hurlie Brown.
Richt’s hires to this point signify a near-total housecleaning of Golden’s staff. Those who won’t be back include offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Coley (now Georgia’s receivers coach, according to FOX Sports), defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio, offensive line coach Art Kehoe, defensive line coach Randy Melvin, outside linebackers coach Kareem Brown and defensive backs coach Paul Williams (hired at Illinois). Additionally, multiple outlets reported longtime strength coach Andreu Swasey will not be back. It’s possible running backs coach Tim “Ice” Harris, whose position has been filled, could serve as a staff member.
The NCAA allows a program up to nine assistant coaches and two graduate assistants to recruit and participate in game-day coaching. There is no limit on non-coaching staff members.
Is anyone else leaving early?
Junior cornerback ArtieBurnsdeclared for the NFL draft after Miami’s bowl game. Two others, junior cornerback CornElder and redshirt junior safety RayshawnJenkins, also announced their plans to return. That leaves two players in question.
If they are leaving, junior wide receiver Stacy Coley and redshirt sophomore linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad must state their intentions by the Jan. 18 underclassmen deadline. While it’s possible the deadline may pass without either doing anything – meaning they would be returning for another year – it’s more likely they will let it be known via an Instagram post, as Elder and Jenkins did.
How will the recruiting class come together?
Lot to watch here with Miami’s 2016 class, which is currently rated 18th nationally (third in the ACC) by 247Sports and 22nd (fourth) by Rivals.
Richt is after some of the top recruits in the nation, a select few former Georgia commits and several other players targeted by the previous staff. We’ll have more on this in the coming days. Business really picks up Jan. 14, when the NCAA’s dead period ends and coaches can once again visit recruits, and vice versa.
What we know now:
Three-star running back Jawon Hamilton decommitted Monday, after he was not contacted by UM’s new staff. The Hurricanes have four-star Travis Homer (Oxbridge Academy) in their class and are chasing four-star Devwah Whaley, a former Georgia commit, and according to Rivals, trying to lure former UM commit Zack Moss back into the fold. Florida State pledge Amir Rasul, a four-star prospect formerly committed to UM, told Rivals he is interested in Miami again.
Quarterback JackAllison, linebackers ShaquilleQuarterman, ZachMcCloud and MichaelPinckney and defensive end PatrickBethel plan to enroll at UM before Jan. 11, when classes begin at UM.
Quarterman and cornerback TylerByrd are playing in the Army All-American Bowl, which is Saturday at 1 p.m. (NBC). They will play on the East team with receiver AhmmonRichards (Wellington High) and defensive back JamelCook, both of whom are interested in Miami. Cook is currently committed to Florida State. Richards is uncommitted.
Allison, Bethel and UM-committed receivers Sam Bruce and Dionte Mullins played in the Under Armour All-America Game last Saturday. StateoftheU has a tweet-based recap here. The standout was Mullins, who made a ridiculous catch:
It was the first game of the season for Mullins, who was academically ineligible at Miami-Gulliver Prep as a senior.
Are the basketball teams really this good?
After the men beat Syracuse on Saturday, they improved to 12-1 (1-0 ACC). They are ranked No. 12 in the AP poll and No. 11 in the coaches poll. They are a four-seed in ESPN’s latest bracketology, a veteran group that has the makings of an ACC championship contender. Games this month at No. 5 Virginia and home against No. 15 Duke will help prove or disprove that theory. UM’s next tilt is Saturday against Florida State (5 p.m., ESPN2).
UM ranks 16th in offensive efficiency and 21st in defensive efficiency, according to KenPom.com. Leading scorer Sheldon McClellan (15.9 points) has shot better than 50 percent in eight of his 13 games and leads ACC guards in shooting percentage (54.2). He is sixth among Division I guards in that category. Sophomore guard Ja’Quan Newton has been a spark off the bench, scoring 12 points per game in 21.8 minutes. Center Tonye Jekiri (8.8 points, 9.5 rebounds) has been his usual reliable self. Point guard Angel Rodriguez (11.8 points, 3.9 assists) has nights where he can’t buy a bucket, but is a major factor on defense (1.77 steals, third in ACC).
The women, ranked No. 22 last week, are 13-2 (1-1 ACC). Their losses are to No. 4 Baylor (by seven points) and to Virginia, which is 11-4. They can make noise against Jan. 24 against No. 15 FSU and a Jan. 28 game at Virginia Tech, which is currently 13-1.