ORLANDO -- Miami Hurricanes junior tight end Clive Walford is contemplating turning pro.
Walford, a 6-4 and 259-pounder out of Belle Glade Glades Central High, told The Miami Herald and Palm Beach Post today (Christmas Wednesday) after practice that he will make his decision "directly after the game.''
Walford is the father of a nearly five-month-old son, but he wouldn't say specifically whether that plays into his decision-making. He seemed unsure of what he would ultimately do, and did not reveal if he was leaning one way or another.
Walford redshirted his freshman year in 2010, sitting on the sideline while UM lost to Notre Dame in the Sun Bowl in El Paso. He played in all 12 games this season, starting 11. He has 30 catches for 372 yards (12.4-yard-per-catch average) and two touchdowns in 2013.
His career numbers: 36 games, 24 starts, 73 catches for 995 yards (13.6-yard-per-catch average).
Walford's streak of 27 consecutive games with at least one catch was snapped in UM's home win vs. Virginia on Nov. 23. He has had his share of drops over his career, but he's also clearly talented and has made his share of acrobatic catches. He runs fast, too.
Walford was a three-star rivals.com recruit. He had more than 400 receiving yards and six touchdowns as a Glades Central senior.
We asked him what the benefit of staying here another year would be.
"Me staying -- I could better my craft, learn more football because this is actually my fourth year actually playing football. There’s still a lot I need to learn. Just be, like, a certified leader for the team. Because there are going to be a lot of seniors and a lot of upperclassmen that are going to leave this year. If I stayed on the team I could be a major leader for the squad."
Walford said he has not gotten back his evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board. Underclassmen must declare to the NFL by Jan. 15.
So, what would be the reason to leave, we asked?
"It’s a lot of personal stuff. It’s a tough decision, but I feel like me bettering my craft and me investing in, like, a long term situation is what’s going to really determine what decision I make. I love my coaches here."
I asked which way he was leaning. "I won't really say,'' he answered.
He said he really didn't know.
He was asked if his decision would "go down to the wire?"
Walford: "It definitely won’t go down to the wire. I’ll make my decision directly after the game, whether I’m going to go or whether I’m going to come back. That night."
Any thoughts on whether he should go or stay?
As for junior linebacker Denzel Perryman, who also is a new father, he told us before the team left for Orlando that he would wait until after the bowl game to decide.
Defensive end Anthony Chickillo told me Tuesday that he still hadn't received his evaluation from the NFL Draft Advisory Board.
* To follow up what I wrote yesterday (in today's paper), receiver Herb Waters is not expected to play in the Russell Athletic Bowl. He's still on crutches and coach Al Golden said he is doubtful. I'd say more than doubtful.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN