« Marlins ready to make moves; Shockey/Sapp feud; Fins notes | Main | McIntosh visits Dolphins; suspension for Oviedo; Fins, Heat notes »

Saturday update: Good news for UM; another Dolphins visitor signs elsewhere

FYI: If you are clicking on this link through the Dolphins page, please see our most recent post (to the left of this), on ex-Canes wondering why the Dolphins don't draft more of them.

# # # # #

Saturday update on three items of note:

### The UM basketball program received good news Saturday morning when Kenny Kadji announced he will return for his senior season. There had been some concern internally that he might turn pro.

"Since everybody keeps asking me, I am going back to school for my senior year," Kadji tweeted.

He averaged 11.7 points and 5.3 rebounds last season and led UM with 51 blocks. Reggie Johnson hasn't announced if he's coming back for his senior year. If Johnson leaves, Kadji and Julian Gamble (who missed this season with an injury) would be the team's most experienced power rotation players.

### Linebacker Philip Wheeler, who visited with the Dolphins last weekend, agreed to a one-year deal with Oakland on Friday night. Wheeler tweeted Thursday that he had a tough choice to make between the Dolphins and Raiders, then tweeted later that ''Raider Nation'' showed him "love."

If Wheeler had signed with Miami, he would have had a decent chance to beat out Koa Misi. Instead, the Dolphins will look for linebacker depth during the second wave of free agency, or during the draft.

Wheeler was the second starting defensive player who signed elsewhere after visiting the Dolphins. Linebacker/defensive end Mark Anderson signed with Buffalo for far more money than Miami was willing to offer.

### Here's the latest on Misi, who was arrested by the Broward Sheriff's Office on a battery charge on Friday morning. A warrant had been issued in Santa Barbara for an incident that occurred in April 15, 2011, at 2:35 a.m.

According to the police report, witnesses say several people on a balcony got into an argument with a group of people walking by on the street below. One of those individuals allegedly ran to the apartment's entrance and attempted to break through the front door.

Witnesses say a 19-year-old male resident was sleeping on the couch when Misi gained access to the apartment by punching a hole through the wooden front door. The man stood up and was allegedly punched in the eye. Misi left the apartment shortly after that but was followed by three adult females who demanded that he pay for the damage to the apartment. According to the police report, one of the women said when she told Misi she was calling law enforcement, Misi grabbed the cell phone and threw it on the ground.

Sheriff deputies arrived moments later. Misi was cooperative and agreed to pay for the damage. The male did not request to file charges until the next day.

Misi's attorney, Adam Braun, said the alleged vicitim initiated the conflict by shoutring verbal taunts at Misi and friends. Braun suggested Misi should be protected by a California state law that holds someone responsible for verbal statements that start a fight.

Bond was set at $10,000. Misi had 34 tackles and one sack in 12 games (nine starts) last year before a neck injury sidelined him late in the season.

# # #

Here's the buzz column from earlier Friday:

The Dolphins do not announce the draft prospects that are summoned to team headquarters, but sources say Miami’s list of upcoming visits includes North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples (an option at pick No. 8), Mississippi offensive tackle Bobby Massie (ESPN’s Todd McShay has Miami picking him at No. 41) and West Virginia linebacker Bruce Irvin (combined 22.5 sacks the past two years).

Among others booked for visits: Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, guards Brandon Brooks (Miami of Ohio) and Desmond Wynn (Rutgers) and Montana cornerback Trumaine Johnson (a potential second-or third-rounder). The Dolphins drafted Johnson’s former defensive back teammate, Jimmy Wilson, after he visited last year.

Teams can bring no more than 30 non-local players to their facilities. Among players with local ties, Miami invited all the notable UM and FIU prospects, plus others including Nebraska linebacker Lavonte David (5.5 sacks), Wisconsin All-Big 10 cornerback Antonio Fenelus and Virginia Tech cornerback Jayron Hosley.

The Dolphins want to spend time with Coples, considered the draft’s best 4-3 end, and reconcile the widely-held perception that he didn’t always play as hard as he could last year.

Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, also in the mix at No. 8, had dinner with Jeff Ireland and Joe Philbin on Wednesday, then had an impressive throwing session in front of 21 teams (including Miami) on Thursday. Linebacker Melvin Ingram, another option at No. 8, met with a Miami coach privately before South Carolina’s Pro Day.

As for Massie, he has “great upside but he's unpolished,” Sports Illustrated’s Tony Pauline said. Philbin wants to upgrade the offensive line. But if the Dolphins take some combination of a lineman, pass rusher and Tannehill with their first two picks, they would urgently need to address receiver with picks No. 72 and/or 73.

Sometimes, teams book visits with players that are very talented but have had off-field issues. For example, Montana's Johnson -- who has very good top-end speed -- pleaded not guilty last year to obstructing an officer, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

Irvin, who ran an impressive 4.5 in the 40, was charged last month with destruction of property after breaking a sign at a sandwich shop. But Irvin overcame a tough background to thrive at West Virginia. He dropped out of high school, earned a GED and has impressed teams in interviews. 

CHATTER

### The Dolphins have several players entering the last year of their contracts, and doing extensions with Jake Long and Cameron Wake is the team's priority, according to a club source. Talks with Wake have not started, but are expected to begin soon. Long is due to earn $11.2 million next season. Wake is a bargain at $565,000 but would make significantly more in a new deal.

Though Long and Wake are the priorities, the Dolphins also would like to extend the contracts of Randy Starks and Brian Hartline, among others.

### The Dolphins are considering whether to leave Wilson at cornerback or shift him to safety, where he has some experience.

### Consultant Carl Peterson, the former Chiefs president and owner Stephen Ross’ buddy, no longer has an active role on the Dolphins’ football side after assuming a big one during the coach search. Peterson, who met with all the candidates, did a lot of background work on Philbin, calling Packers coach Mike McCarthy, general manager Ted Thompson and others. Peterson said this week that even though Philbin didn’t call the plays in Green Bay, “McCarthy told me that on first and second down, he asked Joe, ‘What do you think?’ Joe has a great capacity to communicate with everyone at all levels. He’s impressive.”

 ### Former Dolphins majority owner Wayne Huizenga, who owns five percent of the team and knows what it’s like to be bashed by fans, can commiserate with Ross. “I feel for Steve that it’s not going the way he wants it to go,” said Huizenga, who cracked that he came to the owners meetings for free drinks. “I don’t think Steve is doing a bad job.”

### Ross got plenty of moral support from other owners this week. The Jets’ Woody Johnson (a Dolphins fan growing up) and the Giants’ John Mara stressed how “smart” Ross is and have “no doubt” he will win. “Giants fans, in 1978, marched and burned tickets,” Mara reminded me, referencing the Dolphins’ fan protest last week. “The good thing is [Dolphins fans] are showing they care. The worst thing you can have is silence. People have to show some patience.”

Rams coach Jeff Fisher was effusive about Ross this week – “very, very impressed with Steve as an owner, his enthusiasm, his passion.” But 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, asked Wednesday about his impressions of Ross after meeting with him in January 2011, said only that Ross is “professional” and had nothing more to say.

### Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt was genuinely “disappointed” to lose cornerback Richard Marshall to Miami and raved about his competitiveness and versatility. “He was an outstanding player, one that we wanted back. Very good feel for the game.”

### Pat Riley told people he’s likely done tinkering with the roster. After losing out on Derek Fisher, the Heat hasn’t called about Anthony Carter or any other free agent point guards. “We’re patient with Norris Cole because we believe in him,” Erik Spoelstra said. Cole, who has played poorly since the All-Star break, looked good against Dallas on Thursday.

### UM shifted Denzel Perryman to middle linebacker but isn’t sure whether he or Jimmy Gaines will ultimately end up there… Linebacker Kelvin Cain “is finding a home” at defensive end, coach Al Golden said, and could end up playing a lot there, especially if Shayon Green doesn't prove worthy of starting opposite Anthony Chickillo

A.J. Highsmith has risen to first team at safety; Vaughn Telemaque, demoted to the second team, has been “inconsistent,” defensive backs coach Paul Williams said… UM posted a flier on a campus bulletin board, asking for walks-ons who are at least 6-1 and 230 pounds and are interested in playing on the offensive line. Some pundits, including ESPN's Woody Paige, have poked fun at that. “The hope is you find one or more that help us,” Golden said Thursday, noting other schools do the same thing. “It's an easy target, so if people want to make fun of us, that’s fine.”

Comments