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The Hot Stove: The freshmen, the draft and Mr. Wiggins

Few topics have lit up Canes message boards more of late than the uncertainty surrounding freshman cornerback Doug Wiggins, whom coach Randy Shannon told reporters Wednesday has not been with the team for over a week because he had to deal with "personal issues."

DougwigginsRumors have swirled that the former North Miami Beach High standout and the country's No. 4 cornerback according to Rivals.com has been dissatisfied with playing time and is looking to transfer, and that he got into a fight with a teammate and was kicked off the team. In search of the truth, I spoke to several sources Wednesday, including Wiggins' former high school coach, and it appears there is some truth to the rumors -- just not all of the rumors are true.

Wiggins has not been kicked off the team, Shannon said that much Wednesday. Wiggins has missed practice because of a torn hamstring. Those unresolved "personal issues" stem in part from a run-in with a teammate, but not all of it. NMB coach Jeff Bertani, who is close to all of his former players, told me while Wiggins does wish he could have played more this season, that is not the issue bothering him. He says Wiggins does not want to leave UM and says he is hopeful Wiggins and UM coaches will sit down and talk things out.

I know Wiggins is a good kid from having followed him in high school. Whatever trouble he had with a teammate or a coach at The U is likely the result of his desire to contribute. Doug is a winner and wants to win all the time. He came to UM with high hopes and still has them.

He won The Miami Herald's Outstanding Senior Award in Miami-Dade following a season in which passed for 1,324 yards and 10 touchdowns and also played safety for a Chargers' team which reached the state semifinals. He arrived at UM early for spring practice and worked his way up at one point to second on the depth chart at nickelback. But somewhere along the process, a source told me Wiggins began to have a drop-off in effort (ala, Sam Shields and other players who have let down a bit in practice). I spoke to several teammates this week including Damien Berry who said they are hopeful Wiggins returns to the team. "He's one of our brothers," Berry told me. "He's one of us."

-- Of the 19 players who signed with UM in 2007, only two so far look like they could end be lost in the mix -- tight end Daniel Adderley, who hasn't been mentioned at all in practices and was seen on the sidelines not practicing Wednesday, and defensive tackle Chris Perry, a highly-touted lineman whose knee injury could be much worse than first anticipated.

Everyone knows about the headliners in the freshman class who are playing now: cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke (who has started four games this season), running backs Graig Cooper and Shawnbrey McNeal, former JUCO receiver Kayne Farquharson (whose had his moments) and guard Orlando Franklin, whom has split time with Andrew Bain at left guard. But there are others who are doing extremely well in practice and on special teams and who should find themselves in more prominent roles next season.  The obvious is quarterback Robert Marve, who is likely the favorite to win the starting job considering coaches will likely be more inclined to go with a quarterback they can build toward the future with.
But others include...
- DB Damien Berry, whom defensive line coach Clint Hurtt told me reminds him of a young Antrel Rolle and who has excelled regularly on special teams.
Adewale_ojomo--OL Harland Gunn, whom Hurtt told me the scout team defense fears to go up against during one-on-one drills.
- LB Allen Bailey, who could potentially climb to the top of the depth chart at middle linebacker if he's not convinced to move to the defensive line.
- DE Adewale Ojomo, who has gained 35 pounds -- up from 212 to 247 -- since arriving at UM and who has been a terror on the scout team.
- WR Jermaine McKenzie, who has impressed coaches with his ability to go and get the football and make catches even after his return from his neck injury.
- And S Jojo Nicholas, who has shown flashes of brilliance and even made a diving interception at the start of the season.

Several of you have asked about the Hurricanes run of talent in the first round and if it will continue Tavares_goodenafter this season. The obvious answer is it will if either defensive end Calais Campbell or Kenny Phillips leave school after their junior seasons. But even if they return -- that's likely a longshot -- linebacker Tavares Gooden's improved play this season and his ability to score well in the combine, according to Hurtt, is likely to get Gooden to sneak up into the late first round. More than 20 NFL scouts were at UM last week checking out potential draft picks. Receiver Darnell Jenkins is another player likely to get taken on the first day with offensive linemen Derrick Morse, Andrew Bain and defensive tackle Teraz McCray all capable of being second day draft choices.

One the biggest surprises this season has been the fantastic play of Miami's offensive line. But with Morse, Bain and Jon Rochford -- the three starters in the interior -- leaving after this season, I asked left tackle Jason Fox and Morse this week to let me in on the possible replacements. While Orlando Franklin is a lock to get the spot at left guard, one surprising name both players emphasized was redshirt freshman Joel Figueroa, who wasn't very highly touted coming out of North Miami High. "Fig, he has the physical part down, he's fast, he's big and strong and can block with the best of them. He's still young and has the mental issues to work out, but he'll be there." The oft-injured A.J. Trump will get a chance at center, but don't be surprised if Gunn or Tyler Horne works their way past him.

- Next week's finale at the Orange Bowl is expected to get crazy for fans in Vilma_jonattendance. But before hand, there are going to be plenty of events including a party at the Mayfair Hotel thrown by former Canes linebacker Jonathan Vilma the Friday before the big game. With the help of AllCanes.com, the party will get started in the hotel ballroom at 8 p.m. and will end at midnight. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Former Canes expected to attend include Craig Erickson, Lamar Thomas, Yatil Green, James Jackson, Carl Walker, Jason Geathers, Andre Johnson and Russell Maryland.

Comments

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There is a thing called period. Get it. Please use them.

Posted by: PLAY THE FRESHMEN!!! | November 01, 2007 at 10:01 PM you're remark is out of line ... respect mr. gross's effort

hey DaUson, just post the link ...

http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/content/news/JFK_RESIDENCY_1102.html dailynews' david rogers: "The University of Miami has received approval for Palm Beach County's first medical residency program." COLONY

(typo 8:11a) your

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/sports/playmagazine/28thebusiness.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1
nytimes' joe nocera: "... Florida newcomers in Division I — Florida International and Florida Atlantic, along with South Florida and Central Florida — lack long-term football traditions and generations of fiercely loyal alumni. The only way they can fill their stadiums is to build winning teams — and to continue winning, year after year. They have jumped on a treadmill that they now can’t afford to get off."

in october, manny navarro's once-limp blog elicited 2,200+ responses: monthly high : ) that's more than the combined responses of ALL his previous blogs from august 15, '06 - july 20, '07 : ) 11 months : ) ON THE VERGE

FSN FL previews U hoops 6:30p 11/3 ...

First, I hope wiggins sticks with it and doesnt cave. I ron sharpens iron, baby. Be patient, your turn will come. Other than that, the people saying Shannon is an idiot are idiots. First of all, lets look at the track record as DC. Anually in top 10 defenses in the country, won National Championship and assistant of the year in 2001, produced the likes of S. Taylor, E. Reed, D.Hester, J.Vilma, D.J. Williams, A. Rolle, K. Jennings, B. Merriweather, Leon Williams, B. Atkins, K. Brown, O. Harris, J. Beason, R. McIntosh(Who is currently balling), and soon to be C. Campbell, K. Phillips. Yeah, Hes an idiot. He has single-handedly been keeping this team afloat the past 5 years. God knows our offense hasnt helped. It has been 8 games. Calm your dumb*ss down. And you say that coaches at high-profile gigs dont do well? So, Bobby Knight, Bill parcells, Ditka? These guys are what, hot headed coaches with no success on a high profile playing field?
Mike Leach? Are you conscious?
Have you looked at their schedule?
Have you looked at his defense?
CAN YOU NAME ONE CURRENT CANE COMMIT YOU BELIEVE LEACH WOULDVE BEEN ABLE TO GET?
No. You cant.
Shannon bleeds the U.
When its in your veins, your heart belongs to the canes.
The right man for the right program at the right time.
In Shannon we trust.

Now that's good stuff!!!

Manny, Do you know what happened to Byron Jones OL that was supposes to commit??
IMO, he is waiting for another team to offer and go with it, sort of like Hammonds.

Manny, you need to brush up on your grammar. It is genuinely atrocious.

Mr. M.I.A.
I don't care what color he bleeds, he's not head coaching material.
He can't handle the pressure behind the podium. Trust me. The guys going to Mike Gundy sooner or later.
He's playing with the houses money right now. When it's his players and they go 7-5, a massive meltdown is inevitable.
He's better in the booth with the headphones on.

Hey nostradamus, while you're at it, why don't you tell me the winning numbers to Tuesday's lottery. Could really need the money.

no way Calais Campbell goes first round...NFL will see what I see every week and he is no way first rounder...needs to give more effort

Bring back JJ for coach, and nix the Nix! Let Randy just handle the D.

Neither Kenny nor Calais should turn pro. Simple: These two have both had mediocre years at best. kenny was being touted as THE best DB in College football and THE best footballer all around before the OK game. Well, guess what... They BOTh got exposed. No way either willbe first round, which means they have lost millions already, and will likely not start right away. Translations: MILLIONS!

Therefore, IF they are smart, stay one more year, dominate and cash in in 2009.

The canes suck... they are just beginning their down-ward spiral... to make way for FIU!! Yay! Baby... the football team is having a bad season, but we'll make up for it-- just sit back and try not to cry... booo hoooo! lol

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