These photos were taken by our recruiting correspondent David Furones, who stopped off at University of Miami's Greentree Field to do some reporting before he headed to the Coral Gables baseball regional.
These photos were taken by our recruiting correspondent David Furones, who stopped off at University of Miami's Greentree Field to do some reporting before he headed to the Coral Gables baseball regional.
CORAL GABLES REGIONAL
5/30, GAME 3, FIU 2, EAST CAROLINA 0
FIU POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
FIU HEAD COACH TURTLE THOMAS
“When you get in the losers' bracket, it’s all about battling inning after inning. It gets a little difficult sometimes. We’ve had times this year that we’ve hit and not pitched [or we have] pitched and not hit, just some things like that. [It was] one of those days. We ran into a really fine lefthander in Reid Love for East Carolina and he was absolutely outstanding. He hit the outside corner really well. He kept the ball down, threw three pitches really well, mixed them up and he really was kind of eating us up there for a while. Then, our man Chris Mourelle was a surgeon today. He just stayed after them and kept throwing strikes. I think in like six out of eight innings he got the leadoff hitter out, kept them from being able to do things because they’re third in the country in bunting base hits. They did get one right there.
He just did a great job for us and then when he came out, Danny Dopcio, our closer, came in and just threw some really, really nice pitches and did a great job. Eighth inning, obviously Edwin Rios gets a base hit leading things off. He’s running on three-two count to stay out of the double play. Brian Portelli gets a nice base hit sending [Rios] to third. Josh [Anderson] comes up hits a nice pitch, really used his top hand well, drove the ball to left, left-center field for the first run. Of course, JC Escarra hit a long fly, got our man to third and then [Austin Rodriguez] got a nice base hit to give us that second run. It was a good baseball game, no doubt. There were two really good pitchers that went head-to-head.”
On this being FIU’s first NCAA Regionals win in 14 years and the importance of that for the program...
“It’s always about the players. It’s always about the student-athletes. Like I said, we have guys up here like Josh Anderson, who’s been with us for three years. It was a great feeling last Sunday to be able to get into the Regional because we hadn’t been in it with this group of players. Guys like Julius Gaines, who’s been here for four years, [Edwin] Rios three years, Chris [Mourelle] has been with us for two years and been good just about every time out. It’s just a great feeling for the players because that’s who wins baseball games. The pitchers pitch, the hitters hit and the fielders field. It’s just a good feeling for those guys I know. I feel really proud of those guys for sure.”
On if being in a lot of games like this gave them confidence that they would get it done...
“Yeah, I think close games like that, that we’ve faced this whole year, we’ve kind of just kept coming at them, kept coming at them and finally put those runs on the board.”
On the difference between East Carolina’s pitchers, Reid Love and Joe Ingle...
“I think Love was coming at most of the middle of our lineup with off-speed [pitches] and Ingle, he’s a freshman, he was coming at us with fastballs up in the zone, and you just jump on those.”
On whether they thought the team that scored the first run was going to win it...
“We kind of knew. We just had to put one up on the board just because we had Mourelle pitching—he’s lights out—and [Danny] Dopico, we knew they couldn’t touch him.”
FIU SOPHOMORE RHP CHRIS MOURELLE
On if being in a lot of games like this gave them confidence that they would get it done...
“Yeah, when it’s a close game you got to just keep throwing strikes and going after hitters, and hopefully your hitters will get behind you and score some runs, and we did, and we won a ballgame.”
On his Sunday win at East Carolina last year and if he got confidence from that game...
“Yeah, they had a couple different players last year, but it’s pretty much the same team. I didn’t try to do anything different, just attacked them the same way I did last year and stay successful.”
On getting out of the jam in the sixth inning...
“Well, it started with a man on first and second [and they] bunted them over. You got to make sure you get that out—Josh did. And then the next hitter, I’m not going to say I tried to strike him out, but that’s what I wanted, ultimately, or a pop fly, or something to not move runners over, and then the next guy, just let him get out. That’s what happened.”
On if there was a particular pitch that was working well for him today...
“Not really. I threw a lot of fastballs today compared to most days, but in that case, my slider got in. But, I was pretty much throwing everything, everything was working.”
The path back to Omaha for the Miami Hurricanes won't require leaving home.
For the first time since 2008 -- the last time they played in the College World Series -- the Canes (44-14) are a national seed in the NCAA Tournament. UM is seeded fifth overall, which means if they win their double-elimination regional tournament this coming weekend they'll be home for Super Regionals.
Miami, though, will first have to get past a regional field which includes bitter rival FIU (29-29), who won the Conference USA Tournament, Ivy League champion Columbia (31-15) and American Athletic Conference champion East Carolina (40-20).
Should the Canes advance, they'll host the winner of the Dallas Baptist Regional.
Friday's UM-FIU game will be played at 7 p.m., after Columbia-East Carolina matchup at 1 p.m.
UM and FIU haven't faced each other since April 23, 2008. FIU won that game 6-3.
University of Miami 2016 commit and Fort Pierce Central linebacker Greg Simmons was at the Coconut Creek-South Dade spring game on Wednesday night and in an exclusive interview with me (David Furones) listed himself as a “medium” commit.
In the growing world of football recruit commitment levels, Simmons describes a medium commit as between soft and solid, so not as shaky as a soft commit but not as firm as a solid commit.
Another school really making an impression on Simmons, the 6-2, 221-pounder who plays both middle and outside linebacker on top of defensive end for his high school team, is Nebraska.
“Nebraska’s hitting hard. That’s probably one of the hardest that are recruiting me,” Simmons says. “They say my chances of playing early are real. I just take that in consideration. They only have two linebacker commits and they’re both outside, so they want me to join bad.
“When I take all five of my visits, if I like it, I like it. Anything can happen.”
Simmons spoke on what made him want to commit to the Canes in February.
“It was a dream of mine since I was a little kid,” he says. “When you grow older, your mind starts to change, but I still love Miami with all my heart.”
Simmons grew up a “huge” Hurricanes fan, dating back to watching Sean Spence and Graig Cooper when he was younger.
He says he’s being recruited by linebackers coach Hurlie Brown and describes him as “a pops figure to me and a linebacker coach I’d like to play for.”
While Brown is like a father figure to Simmons, he is motivated to excel in football because he wants to do it for his real father. He says his dad could’ve been an NFL talent, but during college, he had to go back home to take care of his mother, who was ill at the time, and cut his career short.
Other schools creeping in for Simmons’ services are Michigan, Maryland, West Virginia and Oklahoma.
Simmons sees himself making a final decision sometime between the end of his senior season and Signing Day 2016.
Congratulations to Daniela Darquea, who last night qualified for the US Women's Open Golf Championship.
Here's the release that UM just sent out...
BRADENTON, Fla. – University of Miami sophomore golfer Daniela Darquea made a bit of history Monday evening at Bradenton Country Club as she qualified for the 2015 United States Women’s Open Golf Championship.
Darquea posted a two-round total of 139, posting rounds 68 and 71 en route to sharing medalist honors. Qualifier
“I’m super excited. I’m speechless,” Darquea said. “I’m really looking forward to competing in the U.S. Open. It was a very long and difficult course and when the wind blew that made it really tough.”
The Quito, Ecuador native shined as she carded six birdies. The Bradenton Sectional Qualifier featured over 70 competitors on the challenging par 71 course, which measured over 6,300 yards.
“I’m not surprised that Dani qualified for the U.S. Open,” said head coach Patti Rizzo. “Dani is a great player. I’ve always said that every part of her game is strong. I’m sure she’ll do great in the Open. She is on the perfect path to the top. She is one of the players that I really thought in my 10 years of coaching could really make it big.”
The 70th U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship will be held July 9-12 at Lancaster Country Club in Lancaster, Pa. Darquea will compete in the U.S. Open as an amateur.
Darquea’s bid to the U.S. Open adds to an already impressive 2014-15 campaign where she was one of 12 golfers selected to the ACC’s all-league team.
During the 2014-15 campaign, Darquea posted a team-best scoring average of 73.29 and led the squad with 90 birdies.
In addition, Darquea finished in the top 15 in seven different events, including a winning performance at the Briar’s Creek Invitational. Darquea tied for eighth at the 2015 ACC Championship after she carded a three-round total of 214.
The U.S. Women’s Open will be aired live on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports.
The University of Miami baseball program not only led the ACC with the best overall record of 42-13, it led with eight players selected to the 2015 All-ACC teams, announced Monday by the ACC.
The Canes, who enter as the No. 2 seed at the 2015 ACC Baseball Championship beginning this week, had three-first team selections, one second-team selection and four third-team selections.
The first teamers: junior third baseman David Thompson, who also earned ACC Player of the Week on Monday after an amazing four-win week in which he hit five home runs and 12 RBI; designated hitter Zack Collins and second baseman George Iskenderian.
Thompson is the nation's RBI leader with 78, led the ACC with 19 home runs and was named one of 35 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy. Collins finished the season batting .310 with 14 homers and 60 RBI -- second most in the ACC. Iskenderian finished the regular season hitting an ACC-best .391 and starting all 55 games.
Junior left-hander Thomas Woodrey, who ended the regular season with a 6-2 record and 2.62 ERA, was UM's second-team selection. Woodrey earned ACC Pitcher of the Week Monday after he pitched a one-hit, complete-game shutout against Georgia Tech -- the first for UM since 2003.
The third-team All-ACC selections are sophomore outfielder Willie Abreu, sophomore closer Bryan Garcia, senior catcher Garrett Kennedy and redshirt junior pitcher Andy Suarez. Abreu hit .297, Garcia ranked fourth in the ACC with nine saves, Kennedy hit .361 and Suarez finished 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA.
No. 2 seed UM opens the ACC tournament at 3 p.m. Wednesday against the winner of a play-in game Tuesday in Durham, North Carolina, between No. 7 seed Virginia and No. 10 seed Georgia Tech. UM's opener will be on RSN/ESPN3 and on 560 WQAM and WVUM 90.5 FM.
Here's some interesting info on the Hurricanes from my final regular-season game coverage this past weekend. Click on this!
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
It's a day that every college football player will forever cherish and remember -- their first with their program of choice.
UM welcomed 13 members of its 2015 recruiting class and one walk-on Sunday as they get set to begin the Summer A session at UM on Monday.
The newcomers join five other members of the class that enrolled early and arrived at UM for the spring semester. Those were safety Jaquan Johnson, defensive end Scott Patchan, linebacker Charles Perry, tight end Jerome Washington and lineman Jahair Jones.
Running back Mark Walton, expected to break into the backfield rotation as a freshman and eventually become the feature back of the offense, walking into the Schwartz Center in the morning.
Some of the larger newcomers -- offensive linemen Brendan Loftus (Tallahassee Godby), Hayden Mahoney (Malvern Prep in Pennsylvania), Tyler Gauthier (Venice), Tyree St. Louis (IMG Academy) and defensive tackle Ryan Fines (IMG) -- are seen in this short video:
Not included is offensive tackle Bar Milo, a teammate of starting quarterback Brad Kaaya in high school at West Hills (Cal.) Chaminade. He arrived later Sunday night.
Robert Knowles, the safety out of Edison, takes the cake as the incoming freshman with the best hair.
Knowles' teammates in the secondary but at corner, Sheldrick Redwine and Michael Jackson pictured here.
The incoming freshmen got together with returning players, shaking hands and formally meeting their new teammates.
Here are the numbers the newcomers will wear:
4 - Mark Walton
20 - Robert Knowles
21 - Terrance Henley
22 - Sheldrick Redwine
28 - Michael Jackson
37 - James King
62 - Hayden Mahoney
74 - Tyler Gauthier
75 - Brendan Loftus
78 - Tyree St. Louis
79 - Bar Milo
80 - Richard McIntosh
94 - Ryan Fines
*UM also added linebacker John Tauber (48), a teammate of St. Louis, Patchan and Fines at IMG who will walk on to the team.
For a full album of all the new arrivals by HurricaneSports.com, click here.
While the other 2015 running-back recruits eventually sprinted away from the University of Miami, Mark Walton ran toward it.
On Sunday, Walton, a graduate of Booker T. Washington High, will be part of a group expected to total 16 -- including a walk-on and UF transfer Gerald Willis -- to report to the Hurricanes for the start of their college careers.
Walton's high school stats: 1,472 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior. According to UM, he finished his career with 2,769 yards and 45 touchdowns, and chose Miami over Auburn, Florida State, Tennessee and South Carolina.
"His desire to be successful is unquestioned,'' said former Booker T. Washington coach and current UM running backs coach Tim "Ice" Harris, per UM, on National Signing Day. "No matter the situation, he's willing to put his team on his back. He is a guy that plays at another level.''
Walton, nicknamed Deuce because of his No. 2 jersey, will not be wearing that number, as fellow tailback Joseph Yearby wears it (not to mention safety Deon Bush).
Mark told me he asked for Phillip Dorsett's No. 4, but was waiting to see if he'd get it. Not a bad number to wear.
Walton's favorite all-time Hurricane is Edgerrin James, another super player to emulate.
"I'm very excited about going to the University of Miami, my favorite college,'' Walton, 18, told me earlier this week. "It's my dream school. I just can't wait to get down there.''
Walton said he has gained 11 pounds and now weighs 194 on his 5-11 frame (he told me he grew, as they had 5-10 on his bio). He said he has been working out regularly at UM with his new teammates all spring. He said he was given a partial playbook and has been studying it.
"I love all the running backs there,'' Walton said. "And Brad Kaaya, that's one of the best quarterbacks in college football. That will make my job easier.''
Walton said his roommate will be James King, a linebacker out of Booker T.
I asked Walton what he believed his role would be this season, with Duke Johnson now in the NFL and UM badly needing to compensate.
"My role is just going out there and competing with guys at my position,'' Walton said. "Whatever the outcome is, play my role, just be humble and grind and work.''
Walton said he has "a great relationship'' with coach Al Golden. "He's a great guy,'' Walton said.
As for the negativity around the program after a 6-7 season, Walton told me it motivates him.
"You've got to realize those weren't the people inside the university who really want to change the way people view the University of Miami,'' Walton said. "I don't see that at all. The only negativity was out on the street.
"I just tell them, 'Keep watching. We're going to grow as the year goes by.'
"The negativity just fuels me. We're going to make changes and achieve things.''
Hopefully you saw my Miami Herald story earlier this week on the Baby Canes arriving Sunday and starting summer school. Here it is, with a list of the players expected to report Sunday: Out of high school and into the U
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
How does 3:30 p.m. sound to you for Nebraska at Miami?
The Hurricanes announced three game times and four television slots today for three of their football matchups.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers will come to Sun Life Stadium (gulp -- I swear I almost wrote "The Orange Bowl'') on Sept. 19 for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff. The game will be aired on either ABC or ESPN.
UM's 2015 opener against Bethune-Cookman is at 6 p.m. on Sept. 5 and will be aired on ESPN3.
And UM's first trip outside the state will be Oct. 1 at Cincinnati with a 7:30 kickoff on ESPN.
Miami's final game of the season at Pittsburgh the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, Nov. 27) will be aired on either ABC or ESPN.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
BY SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Memo to the Miami Hurricanes: Skip the batting cages Saturday night.
In an embarrassing display of dominance, the University of Miami scored 20 runs in the first six innings Friday at Mark Light Field and continued to roll to a 26-0 victory over New York Institute of Technology.
The No. 17 Canes (36-13, 19-8) produced their most runs since May 2, 2003, when they beat Pace 27-1.
“Wild and crazy game,’’ said UM coach Jim Morris. “A very complete game for us. Sometimes you get rolling and it’s tough to stop.
“I don’t remember many times in my career I’ve seen games like this, to be honest with you.”
Morris said he began to “empty the benches pretty much” in the fourth inning, at the end of which UM led 17-0. “Every hitter we had went into the game.’’
The Canes hit four home runs: a two-run shot to center by Zack Collins in the second, a grand slam to right by Garrett Kennedy in the third and two in the sixth – a solo boomer by Jacob Heyward and two-run shot by David Thompson.
UM has now won six consecutive games, four of them shutouts. Over those six games (Florida State, Pittsburgh three games, Bethune-Cookman and New York Tech), Miami has outscored its opponents 82 to 8.
“We went into it not knowing what type of team they were,’’ Collins said. “I’m not saying because of the score they’re a bad team or anything, but we just played hard and hit the ball and pitched well and played defense well.’’
NYIT (14-28), which had six hits, used four pitchers who combined for 250 pitches.
Thomas Woodrey (5-2) pitched five innings for the win, with Jesse Lepore and Daniel Sayles each going another two.
The Canes, who are done with their school year, face NYIT again at 7 p.m. Saturday and conclude the weekend series at 1 p.m. Sunday.
“It feels good to be able to finish strong and now be able to focus solely on baseball,’’ said Kennedy, who earned his degree Thursday in business law.
Added Collins: “It’s awesome to just come out here and play ball and that’s all you have to worry about.’’
COLLINS EARNS ACC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
Sophomore finished sweep with three HRs, nine RBI
SENT VIA UM TODAY:
GREENSBORO, N.C. – After powering No. 12 Miami to a weekend sweep over Pittsburgh, sophomore slugger Zack Collins was recognized with ACC Player of the Week honors Monday.
Collins led Miami to its fifth sweep of the season, totaling nine RBIs over three games with three home runs. He hit .385 in the Hurricane’s first ever trip to Charles L. Cost Field.
His only hit in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader was an eighth-inning leadoff triple that proved to be the tying run, while he connected on a grand slam and had five RBI in Game 2 – his best output of the season.
A sophomore from Pembroke Pines, Florida, Collins ended the weekend in prolific fashion, recording the third multi-home run performance of his career with two homers and four RBI in a 9-3 win.
Collins has hit four home runs over the past four games, and now ranks second on the team in both homers (nine) and RBI (36). His slugging percentage (.515) is second-highest among all regular starters, while his 22 extra-base hits also rank second-most
The honor was the second-career recognition for Collins, who was named ACC Freshman of the Year and Baseball America National Freshman of the Year in 2014.
Collins is the third Hurricane to be recognized with weekly honors from the conference this season, joining third baseman David Thompson (twice) and lefthander Andrew Suarez (once).
The sixth and seventh Miami Hurricanes got drafted Saturday during the final day of the 2015 NFL Draft.
And personally, I'm thrilled for them.
UM's most versatile offensive lineman, Jon "Mongo" Feliciano, went 128th overall and 29th in the fourth round to the Oakland Raiders, joining UM teammate Clive Walford, a TE who got drafted last night by Oakland in the third round.
Jon was willing to do anything and everything during his career, starting all 13 games this season at either left guard, right tackle or left tackle -- though he's a natural guard.
I talked to him this morning, and he told me he wanted so badly to go to a team that already had a Cane he knew on it.
"I'm hoping to go anywhere with one of my ex-teammates,'' he told me. "Anytime I hear one of our teammates' names or anyone I know I get really excited. It's a big moment for everybody.''
"He's a classic overachiever is what Jon Feliciano is, moving into the NFL,'' said ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr.
I say he's an achiever. So, congratulations, Jon!
The last Hurricane to get chosen in this year's NFL Draft was defensive end Anthony Chickillo. Anthony is now a Pittsburgh Steeler. He was taken 212th overall as a compensatory pick after the sixth round.
Congratulations to Anthony and Jon.
Canes have now gone 41 consecutive years with at least one draft pick.
Canes who had signed undrafted free agent contracts as of 9:30 p.m. Saturday were QB Ryan Williams with the Bengals, LB Thurston Armbrister with the Jaguars, C Shane McDermott with the Cowboys, DT Olsen Pierre with the Bears and QB Jake Heaps with the Jets.
Good luck to them all.
I Still expect others, such as cornerback Ladarius Gunter, to be given opportunities to make an NFL team.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Day One was strong for the Miami Hurricanes, with offensive tackle Ereck Flowers going ninth to the New York Giants and receiver Phillip Dorsett going 29th to the Indianapolis Colts.
Day Two continued to pay dividends for the Canes' proud tradition in the NFL Draft.
At about 8:30 p.m., UM middle linebacker Denzel Perryman got chosen by the San Diego Chargers 48th overall -- the 16th pick of the second round. He joins new Chargers' running back Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin, who was chosen in the first round yesterday.
Former Canes tackle Orlando Franklin plays for the Chargers.
Perryman, a 2015 Butkus Award finalist, led Miami with 110 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss in 2014. He finished his career with 351 tackles, which ranks in the top 10 at UM.
The ESPN commentators were gushing about Denzel. Congrats, Denzel!
About 90 minutes later, tight end Clive Walford of South Bay in Palm Beach County was chosen 68th overall -- the fourth pick of the third round -- by the Oakland Raiders.
Then, at about 10:30, running back Duke Johnson of Miami was selected by the Browns 77th overall -- the lucky 13th pick of the third round.
With one day left in the draft, the Canes already have had five players selected, the most since six went in 2012.
One ESPN commentator remarked that "something doesn't match up'' if you went back and looked at the Hurricanes' 6-7 record.
Said Mel Kiper, Jr: "Once they lost that Florida State game, the veterans started thinking about the NFL and things went awry. If they would have won that game they could have finished off and not lost another.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
The Hurricanes are seeing double.
After a six-year, first-round drought followed a record-setting 14-year streak of at least one player taken in the opening round of the NFL Draft, the Hurricanes struck gold again Thursday night when hometown offensive tackle Ereck Flowers was selected ninth overall by the New York Giants and receiver Phillip Dorsett of Fort Lauderdale was selected 29th.
Before Thursday’s draft in Chicago, the last Hurricane to go in the initial round was safety Kenny Phillips at No. 31 to the New York Giants in 2008.
The 6-6, 329-pound Flowers, who graduated from Miami Norland High and declared for the draft after his junior season, was always considered a talent. But his skill level jumped out to analysts and NFL teams after he returned to the playing field Nov. 15 against top-ranked and eventual national champion Florida State less than two weeks following knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He led the Canes’ offense to 492 yards against FSU, stifling defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr.
He started 29 games at Miami, including 25 of the past 26 at left tackle.
The last Hurricane to go in the top 10 of the NFL Draft was cornerback Antrel Rolle at No. 8 to the Arizona Cardinals in 2005. The last Hurricane to go No. 9? 1987 DT Jerome Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles. Brown died at age 27 in a 1992 car accident.
This is the first time since 2007 that UM had multiple players drafted in the first round.
Flowers was the second offensive lineman, and second tackle, taken in the draft.
"I love this pick,'' said ESPN analyst Louis Riddick. "This is a powerful young man for the Miami Hurricanes. I think Flowers is going to add some pop to their running game. He'll improve as a pass protector the more he plays.
"This is a nasty, physical, tenacious young prospect. He's a prototype New York Giant.''
Both picks will play for high-profile quarterbacks, Flowers with Eli Manning and Dorsett with Andrew Luck. Dorsett also joins former Canes receiver Andre Johnson and running back Frank Gore. His new coach is former UM defensive backs coach Chuck Pagano and his associate head coach is former UM offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, with former Canes tight end Alfredo Roberts the Colts tight ends coach.
What the 5-10, 185-pound Dorsett lacks in size he made up for in speed, smarts, good hands and just about everything else. He wowed NFL scouts and coaches with his 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, then bettered that with a 4.25 at UM’s Pro Timing Day on April 1.
Dorsett, scheduled to graduate UM next Friday, May 8, led the Hurricanes with 871 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on 36 catches – a 24.2-yard-per-catch average.
After he was drafted, Dorsett tweeted “Hard work pays off! No doubt I’m proud to be a Colt. Get my jersey >>’’ The arrow directed readers to a website selling his new Colts jersey for $99.99 – with the No. 1 on the front and back, and “Dorsett’’ across the back.
His sponsor, adidad Football US, tweeted “It’s off to the races in Indy. Welcome to Indianapolis, @Dorsett_4. #teamadidas
The draft continues at 7 p.m. Friday. Expect more Canes to be chosen then.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
He and his parents are surprising him tonight with a visit to his favorite football player, running back Duke Johnson, as Johnson awaits the NFL Draft to learn where his football career will continue.
"Carter doesn't know they're coming here,'' said Cassandra Mitchell, Duke's mom. "Duke is excited.''
The NFL Draft begins at 8 p.m. tonight (first round) and continues Friday and Saturday.
Diagnosed with Fanconi anemia -- a rare genetic blood disorder -- Carter underwent a bone marrow transplant in early November, and according to his mom, Jessie, is doing very well.
Carter turns 9 June 29th, has gained at least 10 pounds" and looks a lot different, a lot older,'' Carter's mom, Jessie Hucks, just told me from her car, where Carter is fast asleep. Carter "is on an immunosupression medication that makes his hair grow more,'' she said.
Jessie said Duke and Carter "have talked a few times'' and that Duke and his mother call to check on him.
"They've been super nice to our family,'' Jessie said. "So far, so good with Carter. We haven't really had any serious complications. He has to avoid certain social situations, so we pick and choose our spots. He can be around people if they're not sick. It's a balance. You don't want him to feel isolated, but you don't want to go overboard.''
Jessie said Derrick, her husband, told Carter they're going on a business trip for Derrick, and that the hotel doesn't have cable or Internet to watch the draft.
"He has mentioned a few times that he's sad he's going to miss the draft and the [Mayweather-Pacquiao] fight,'' she said.
He'll be able to see it all at Duke's grandmother's home in Port St. Lucie, where Cassandra said tonight her family and some close friends are having a barbecue.
"We don't expect Duke to be drafted Thursday but we'll be here cheering for [UM offensive tackle] Ereck Flowers and [receiver] Phillip Dorsett and [linebacker] Denzel Perryman, who all could go in the first round,'' Cassandra said.
"On Friday it's an all-out party here.''
Jessie Hucks said Carter "will probably smile, laugh and say, 'Why didn't you tell me?!'" when they arrive at Duke's grandmother's.
"He doesn't like jokes pulled on him, but in the end he'll be very happy.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
You could hardly find nicer or harder working Miami Hurricanes than Shane McDermott and Jon Feliciano.
Both Hurricanes were disappointed in how the season shook out -- 6-7, including a career-ending Independence Bowl loss to South Carolina.
Both were all heart, and plenty of grit.
Feliciano, a versatile 6-4, 323-pounder from Davie who started every game his sophomore, junior and senior season, made starts at left guard, right tackle and left tackle this past season.
McDermott, a 6-4, 300-pound center from Hypoluxo, started all 12 games at center this past season.
Now, like several others, they await the NFL Draft with with excitement -- and nervousness.
So, what will the two be doing on Friday to help take their minds off the anxiety?
"Jon, my girlfriend and I are going fishing Friday,'' Shane told me. "It's grouper season so we're going for grouper. We'll spend the whole day fishing and it will help the time going by and we'll just see what happens.''
On Saturday, both linemen will be with their respective families.
As for Kc McDermott, a Hurricane tackle going into his sophomore season, he's in the midst of taking final exams, big brother said. "I don't know if he'll be with me or not.''
I asked Shane if he thought any Hurricane would be a good pick.
"I think every one of my teammates will be worth it 100 percent,'' he said. "I don’t think there’s any other team out there that puts the work in like we do, and has the talent like we do."
Both Feliciano and McDermott are slated to either go in the latter rounds or sign contracts as free agents. Both will definitely get an opportunity to make a team. The thing about the draft is you never know what's going to happen. People you think will go high go low. People you think will go low go higher.
"No one knows,'' Shane said. "It could go one way. It could go the other. Who knows?
I’ll always play with a chip on my shoulder and with a passion and love for the game.
"This has been the dream of our whole lives and that dream is coming this weekend no matter what. It’s just what you make of the opportunity."
AL GOLDEN JOINS A PANEL THAT INCLUDES MIAMI HERALD SPORTS WRITER MICHELLE KAUFMAN
In case you're interested, the following seminar, as part of the "Ethics in Education: A to Z" conference, is open to the public from 4:10 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Miami Senior High, (2450 SW 1 St., 33135). This lineup of panelists is unique and should provide insight into the influence of sports on schools at all levels.
4:10 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Touchdown! Balancing Education With The Allure And Power Of School Sports
Moderator: Susan Mullane, Clinical Associate Professor and Undergraduate Program Director for Sport Administration, Department of Kinesiology and Sport Sciences, University of Miami
Al Golden, Head Football Coach, University of Miami
Michelle Kaufman, Sports Reporter and Columnist, Miami Herald; Soccer Mom
Hon. Edward Newman, Miami-Dade County Court Judge, Criminal Division; former
NFL Player (Miami Dolphins)
Was just told it's free to attend because it's the last session of the day.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Hurricanes football coach Al Golden spoke to the media today for the first time since the spring game March 28.
The news was minimal, but here goes:
When asked for an update on running back Gus Edwards' health (if you recall, he left the spring game early with a left-shoulder injury and was seen wearing a sling on UM Pro Timing Day on April 1), Golden completely avoided talking about Edwards. But he did talk about a couple other players.
...wanted to get an update on Gus’ health and how he’s doing since the spring game...
Golden: "The only two coming out of the spring that had any procedures were [linebacker Tyriq] McCord and [receiver] Malcolm Lewis. They both needed a scope and both of them are doing great. Everybody else is fully integrated right now or will be integrated in the case of [offensive lineman Taylor] Gadbois, [Safety Rayshawn] Jenkins, you know, by summer 1 [session]."
...also wanted to get an update on Taylor Gadbois, both his health and there have been some reports on his status and eligibility for the season. Any news?
Golden: "In terms of Taylor, as always, if there is anything else in terms of the players’ eligibility or anything like that, when we find out or when we can verify anything we release it. So that’s all I can say in terms of that. But Taylor will be fully integrated by Summer I it sounds like."
One of the two questions I asked: Other than Antonio Crawford, are there any players that have transferred or are in the process of leaving school for any reason? Are there any players who are in the process of transferring to Miami, including any seniors you expect will be graduated from other schools and come to UM for their final season?
Golden: "Again, with those cases all the time, when it's official and verified, then we will release it. But I don't anticipate either one of those situations. But again, it is this time of year. If a young man is unhappy with his playing time or that type of thing it generally comes up this time of year or something else presents itself that those transitions occur. If they do occur we will notify you and go that way."
Life after Duke Johnson?
Golden: “I think it’s a great challenge for our guys. Gus Edwards had a really good spring. He’s got to continue to show the responsibility and accountability to be that guy. I think Joe Yearby is also a guy that’s competing for that, although he’s markedly different than Gus. Trayone Gray, Mark Walton and Walter Tucker will also be in that battle come the summer. Again, I’m anxious to see how it plays out. I’m happy with the direction that group is going, but obviously, they have a great challenge and hopefully they have something to prove here over the next four months.”
Staff kind of looked at the season moving forward, knowing you don’t have a weapon like Duke. What have you kind of done throughout the spring to make up for that?
Golden: “We really haven’t changed who we are, philosophically. We’re very excited about Gus and Joe and Trayone Gray is very talented. He’s still learning the position but very talented. Mark Walton is certainly a talented young man coming in. So, we’re going to have the guys there. It may not be just one, it may be more of getting several guys the same amount of touches. But again, if one of those guys separates themselves as Duke did, then he’ll get the majority of the touches. But right now, we’re still in that phase of waiting to see one of them break out. If not, we’ll do it by committee. Either way, we’re fine with it. We’re excited about the direction that group is going.”
You’ve spoken several times about your unhappiness with the penalties. Do you assess it from a coaching standpoint any differently now. Have you identified any kind of root cause? How do you work on this problem with this particular group?
Note. I just looked up that the Canes ranked 105th of 125 teams in the NCAA ranked for "fewest penalties" (93) and "fewest penalty yards per game (63.6).''
Golden: "I think we have worked on it in a number of ways. No. 1 identifying if there’s an individual that’s causing the majority of the penalties, and really drill down and make sure that individual understands the impact that that has on the game, look at the teaching mechanics of where the penalties are showing up and what can we do better – in other words line of scrimmage, anything that’s a line of scrimmage or procedural error; what can we do different about how we practice and we’ve made a lot of changes there; being more disciplined in every phase of our operation, not just on the field but in the classroom, in the community, in the complex, doing the little things, having more accountability and responsibility and then obviously having great leadership.
"I think we’ve made a lot of changes. I’m pleased with the direction we’re going coming out of the spring in terms of we’re cognizant of it. We know what we have to fix and we also know the individuals that have created the majority of those. If that can’t change then obviously we have to make some changes to fix the problem. But there’s no question it needs to be fixed."
More to come with my online story.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
Our Barry Jackson will have a more in depth report on what analysts think of potential Miami Hurricanes draft picks in his Buzz column later this week, but this is what Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper had to say about them Tuesday.
The Miami Hurricanes haven't had a first round pick since the New York Giants took Kenny Phillips 31st overall in 2008.
But that figures to change a week from Thursday.
Receiver Phillip Dorsett and offensive tackle Ereck Flowers are two Hurricanes ESPN analysts Jon Gruden and Mel Kiper believe are worthy of first round selections. Both raved about Dorsett and Flowers Tuesday on separate conference calls with the media.
"I told several people that I talk to in the league that my favorite players in this draft are Miami Hurricanes," said Gruden, once thought to be a candidate himself to be the Hurricanes coach before Al Golden was hired. "I love [Ereck] Flowers at left tackle. I think he's going to be a Pro Bowl lineman. I don't know if he's going to be a right tackle, a guard or a left tackle. He's just a pup. But he is big, he is powerful and he has the playing style I love. I can't tell you how much I love Flowers at left tackle."
Kiper projects Flowers anywhere from the 20th pick to the 32nd in the first round. Kiper has Dorsett rated even higher.
"When you look at Dorsett and run like he does, in the 4.2s, a 4.33 at the combine, a 4.2 at his Pro Day, you catch the ball and you're gone," Kiper said. "[He's] a great kid, the ultimate team player, a positive personality, great leader, great versatility. The T.Y. Hilton comparisons I think are valid. Although I think Hilton tracks the ball down the field a little bit better, I think Dorsett is a first round pick.
"I think [linebacker Denzel] Perryman is a second round pick. I think [tight end Clive] Walford is a second round pick. As I said before, [center Shane] McDermott and [guard Jon] Feliciano are going to play in this league. I don't care where they're drafted. [Ladarius] Gunter, the corner, could get drafted. [Defensive end Anthony] Chickillo, [will be taken] late. There's a lot of Miami of Florida players that are going to come into this league and play. As I said before, had they not come into that FSU game and lost, their year would have finished a heck of a lot different than it did."
Running back Duke Johnson, like Flowers, is entering the draft as an underclassman. Kiper projects him as a third or fourth round pick because of "durability issues."
I asked Kiper if he thought Johnson should have returned to school for his senior season to raise his stock.
"Well, there's two ways to look at that. If you go back and get hurt again, have injuries, then all of a sudden there are major durability concerns," Kiper said. "You roll the dice either way on that and strike gold or have a major problem and then fall down maybe further than say the third or fourth round, which is where I think he'll go. If you can keep him healthy...
"Some guys come in banged up and then they never get hurt once they're in the league. Some guys are completely healthy and get hurt right away and have injury problems. You never know how injuries are going to correlate to pro careers based on past history. There's no guarantee or certainty that's going to happen. He may be fine. But he has shown injury issues and durability is a concern. He has great kick return ability too if you go back to a couple years at Miami prior to this season. I think he's a third or fourth round draft choice."
Gruden seems to think Johnson is going to be a steal. He's also very fond of Perryman and Dorsett.
"[Perryman] is on my All-Gruden Grinder team," Gruden said. "He's like [Jon] Beason, he's like all those Jonathan Vilma guys that have come through there. He makes a lot of tackles. He's a great communicator, biggest hitter in the draft. Perryman can play.
"And if you don't like Duke Johnson, you have to tell me why. Maybe he's not big enough. But he can return. He's a great receiver. Anybody I talk to down there tells me he has the heart of a lion just like [Willis] McGahee and just like [Clinton] Portis and [Frank] Gore had. He makes a lot of yards and a lot of plays.
"And Dorsett, is there a faster, more dynamic player in the draft? I mean this kid can fly.
"I'm really shocked Miami didn't have more success on the field, but those four Hurricanes are going to go high. You watch. They're going to go real high in this draft and make some people real happy."
Incoming University of Miami President Julio Frenk grew up in Mexico playing soccer and basketball. American football became entrenched in his life when he studied for his doctorate at Michigan – another high-profile program in the world of collegiate football.
Frenk, 61, assured the audience at his introductory news conference Monday that he “indeed,’’ is “fully aware of the great tradition in athletics and in particular football’’ at Miami, that he is “talking with the community to understand their expectations and dreams for that part of the university,’’ and that he sees “athletics as an integral part of a comprehensive education.’’
Frenk told The Miami Herald after his address that he went to “many, many football games at Michigan. When I was a student I almost didn’t miss any. I’m looking forward to it here.’’
With current Miami president Donna Shalala retiring her position June 1 to become president of the Clinton Foundation, her replacement was highly anticipated by UM football fans intent on the program returning to its glory days.
Frenk, currently the dean of the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health and Mexico’s former Minister of Health, starts his job at UM on Sept. 1, but he met with head coaches for about 45 minutes Monday.
“Very nice guy,’’ said UM baseball coach Jim Morris after the meeting. “He’s well rounded, he’s learning and I was told that he would be very positive toward athletics.’’
UM athletic director Blake James called it “a great day’’ for Miami. Football coach Al Golden, under considerable pressure to win in 2015 after a 6-7 season and 11 losses in his last 19 games, said in a prepared statement that it was “a tremendous day’’ and that he expected Frenk to take the school “to even great heights.’’
Before Frenk met with the coaches, basketball coach Jim Larranaga praised the hire.
“He’s got an incredible background academically and in public health,’’ Larranaga said. “As a coach you hope that your administration is going to be very, very supportive of athletics, and from what I understand, he is.’’
When asked if the direction of the sports program was an important component in the hiring of a new president, Richard Fain, the Royal Caribbean Cruises CEO who headed the presidential search committee, said, “Of course.’’
“At the U,’’ Fain told The Herald, you can’t not have that be an important dialogue about the future of the university.’’
Stuart Miller, CEO of the Lennar Corporation and chair of the UM Board of Trustees, said sports was “absolutely one of the priorities’’ in the search. “It’s part of our brand. It’s part of what defines the university across the country.
“The fact that we’ve brought on a president that has such an open mind, a mind of inclusiveness, and recognizes all parts of the university gives me a great deal of confidence.’’
Shalala brought UM through a long NCAA investigation and has taken much criticism for the school’s decline in football. She said she believes “UM fans should be excited’’ by Frenk’s hire.
“First of all,’’ she said, “we have a great group of coaches for our athletics program, we’ve got stability and we’ve got big financial investments in the program.
“I just think the best is yet to come.’’
I talked to 104.3 FM The Ticket executive producer and on-air personality Brian London, and he said during today's "The Eric and Leroy Show,'' he "received dozens of texts regarding the hire.
"The majority of texts from sports fans were positive,'' London said. "The majority of people we heard from were encouraged by Frenk's educational background and the benefit of expanding the school with research, and in fundraising as well. There were only a small minority of nasty texts. But some fans were concerned about Dr. Frenk's lack of experience wtih American football.''
MIAMI HERALD QUESTION TO FRENK:
Throughout this long process, how much have you acquainted yourself with Miami athletics, and in particular the football program, and what do you foresee your role being with football and athletics at Miami?
FRENK: "Indeed, I am fully aware of the great tradition in athletics and in particular in football here. Again, this will be a central part of my immersion process understanding the culture, understanding what was the process through which the University of Miami, including its athletic program has come to where it is now, and I’m talking with the community to understand their expectations and their dreams for that part of the university. I will say that I see athletics as an integral part of a comprehensive education. To me it is … a part of the educational experience of our students and I value that part of the educational experience of a comprehensive education.
"But I look forward to understanding better and talking with many of the key players in more than one sense of the word player, and I will be meeting with the coaches later today in this visit and this will be a central part of that process of immersion and my process of learning more about the cultural, the history, the traditions and the expectations and dreams of this university."
MIAMI HERALD: What sport, if any, do you enjoy most as a fan and perhaps, participant, or have you ever played any sports?
“As anyone who looks at me can surmise immediately, I’m not the most athletic person. However I did play basketball when I was a younger person and I played soccer football. I was a goalkeeper. That served me greatly in the later stages of my political career, trying to keep goals away from my net.
“I enjoy football very much, having started at the University of Michigan. I was there five years because I did a Ph.D. so I got moved closer and closer to the 50-yard line… I understand the position of president comes with already a very good position on the field and I look forward [to it]. It is a game I enjoy very much, and again, it’s part of my respect to the university and my conviction that this is a key part of a comprehensive education that I look very much forward to that part of my new job starting on Sept. 1."
What are your thoughts on the new hire? My first impression is positive. I think he'll be very good for UM in general. As for the athletic program, the jury is obviously still out.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
AFTER A MEMORABLE EVENING COVERING THE UM SPORTS HALL OF FAME INDUCTION CEREMONY AT JUNGLE ISLAND (here's my story from induction ceremony) THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE CAME TO ME TODAY. I THOUGHT SEAN TAYLOR FANS AND UM FOLLOWERS WOULD BE INTERESTED.
LAST NIGHT I ASKED PETE TAYlOR, SEAN'S DAD, ABOUT THE TIMING OF TIMMY LEE BROWN, THE FINAL DEFENDANT IN SEAN'S MURDER CASE, PLEADING GUILTY WEDNESDAY AND AGREEING TO SERVE 18 YEARS IN PRISON, GIVING SEAN'S FAMILY, AS OUR MIAMI HERALD WRITER DAVID OVALLE WROTE, "CLOSURE.''
"IT'S ALL GOD'S DOING,'' PETE TAYLOR TOLD ME BEFORE SEAN WAS INDUCTED INTO THE HALL OF FAME. "YOU COULDN'T SCRIPT IT BETTER.''
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN
HERE'S THE RELEASE I JUST GOT:
Book on Football Great & Cult Hero Sean Taylor to Be Released
(Friday, April 10, 2015 - Miami, FL)
On the day after the late Sean Michael Maurice Taylor was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame, and two days after the final chapter in "justice for Sean" was written by the courts, coauthors Steven M. Rosenberg and Pedro "Pete" Taylor are thrilled to announce that the official launch date of their new book Going Full Speed, the Sean Taylor Stories will be April 16, 2015."
On the football field Sean Taylor was feared by opposing teams. Off the field, he was loved by those who knew him best, not to mention his many fans. Tragically, Sean was killed in a home invasion gone very wrong. However, in the new book written by coauthors Rosenberg and Taylor, Going Full Speed is not just about being at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's Sean’s father, Pedro “Pete” Taylor's recollection of raising, training, then losing his superstar son.
But Sean Taylor was no saint. “I want to give readers ‘the good, the bad and the ugly,’” Pete Taylor said. “There is no doubt these stories will keep you spellbound,” added coauthor Steven Rosenberg.
Sean Taylor touched many lives. In Going Full Speed you'll be touched by stories from family, friends, teammates, coaches, the owner of the Washington Redskins and more. Pete Taylor and thirty-two others close to Sean share their favorite personal stories of the fallen superstar.
"We interviewed names you know and some you'll learn about," Rosenberg said. "You’ll 'hear' from University of Miami Coaches Larry Coker, Curtis Johnson, and Don Soldinger and teammates Buck Ortega and Jon Vilma. From the Washington Redskins, Coaches Gregg Williams and Steve Jackson, teammates Santana Moss, Clinton Portis, e - Renaldo Wynn, and Lorenzo Alexander, and team owner Daniel Snyder share their favorite anecdotes of Sean as well," added Taylor.
"But some of the most touching recollections of Sean come from family members, grandmother Connie Dingle and sister Jazmin Taylor," said Rosenberg. "Other stories are hilarious, some heartwarming, and some heartbreaking. So you may want to read this book with a box of tissues close by."
Highlights of the book include: - revelations, Sean stories never before told; - life lessons, talks that would serve Sean – or frankly anyone – well in life; and, - training tips, things Pete Taylor taught Sean in order to get his body and mind ready for school and competition.
Upon completion of the 22-month project, Pete Taylor said, "This is a dream come true. All I ever really wanted was to keep my son's name alive." This book is a must have for football fans, Sean's fans, student athletes, and parents of athletes. Going Full Speed, the Sean Taylor Stories is published by Authorhouse, and at first, it will be printed in hard cover only, and will be available at planned book signings, AuthorHouse.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and by request at book retailers everywhere.
Additional versions will be released by year's end. Caution: Interviews were written just as they were spoken. Therefore, due to the occasional extreme language, this book is recommended for readers sixteen and older.
Yesterday, Timothy Lee Brown, the last of the five assailants convicted for burglary and murder of Sean Taylor, pleaded guilty for his part in the crime and was sentenced to 18 years in prison. Finally, this part of the 7-year ordeal is over for the Taylors.
Pedro Taylor is currently the Chief of Police of Florida City, FL, a football coach, as well as trainer of athletes. Steven M. Rosenberg has transitioned to writing full-time after a 27-year career as the owner of an Advertising/PR Agency. He has completed one four-act comedy stage play and is currently working on his second book and two film scripts. Steven has homes in both Northern Virginia and South Florida. To keep up with signing events and more, please join the Going Full Speed Facebook page or follow Steve on Twitter at WillWork4Tweets.