They didn’t go in the draft, but they’ll be suiting up with NFL teams come this weekend.
University of Miami tailbacks Damien Berry (Baltimore Ravens) and Graig Cooper (Philadelphia Eagles), defensive backs Ryan Hill (Minnesota Vikings) and Cory Nelms (San Francisco 49ers), and fullback Patrick Hill (Tennessee Titans) have all been picked up as free agents since the NFL lockout ended.
A LATE CONGRATULATIONS TO S JARED CAMPBELL, A VERY NICE PERSON AND THE YOUNGER BROTHER OF FORMER CANE CALAIS CAMPBELL. JARED WAS PICKED UP AS AN UNDRAFTED FREE AGENT BY THE ARIZONA CARDINALS, WHERE HE WILL JOIN HIS BROTHER! GOOD LUCK JARED.
“I leave for San Francisco in the morning,’’ said Nelms, 23, who stayed at UM for the summer to work out with strength and conditioning coach Andreu Swasey and other former Canes now in the NFL, such as Willis McGahee, Roscoe Parris, Andre Johnson and most of the new UM draftees.
“From what I hear, training camp starts Thursday,’’ Nelms said. “The goal is to make it through all the way. I definitely have a backup plan, but I am not going to give up on the dream.’’
Nelms said he got the phone call first from his agent, then from the 49ers this afternoon. “I have to give the 49ers a big thank you for giving me the opportunity,’’ he said. “I was ecstatic, man. It’s definitely a blessing and a great opportunity. We all know this is a rough business and you have to keep working to stay in. It’s not about getting in, it’s about staying in.’’
Nelms, a former All-American track star as well, earned his UM undergraduate and master’s degrees in exercise physiology.
He said the only time he has been in San Francisco, was when UM played – and lost – to Cal in the Emerald Bowl. “It’s a great city.’’
Nelms is godfather to Patrick Hill’s son and daughter, and spent plenty of time on the phone with him Tuesday. “He was very excited,’’ Nelms said. “You put in so much hard work over the years. We were all on pins and needles thinking, ‘I’ve got to get in. I’ve got to get in.’ And then it happened.’’
Nelm’s girlfriend, fellow UM graduate Ti’erra Brown, who won the national championship in the 400- meter hurdles this summer, is currently training in Amsterdam to prepare for a meet in London in early August. Nelms said Brown will stay in Miami and train at UM during the track offseason.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN