February 22, 2016

NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper: Miami Hurricane Artie Burns late 1st-rounder

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Five Miami Hurricanes were invited to the NFL Scouting Combine

Cornerback Artie Burns

Safety Deon Bush

Wide receiver Rashawn Scott

Defensive end Ufomba Kamalu

Linebacker Raphael Kirby

Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN answered a question of mine during an NFL Draft/combine-related teleconference Monday afternoon. I asked Kiper about the Canes invited to the combine and his analysis of who might get drafted and why.

He answered by saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Burns, the only Hurricane to enter the draft after his junior season, gets drafted late in the first round.

Kiper's response:

Artie Burns is the main guy – this is your corner. He’s a little too physical in college for the NFL. By that I mean you’re going to get penalized heavily if you’ve got your hands and you’re too in the face of the receiver. You’ve got to be able to back off a little bit and be able to handle what the NFL is asking you to do. I want to see if you can adjust to that. But what works in college doesn’t work in the NFL with the rules the way they are.

“So I would think Artie Burns, though, is a tremendously talented player. His skill-set is arguably as good as any of these guys. I would put him in the late first round. He was in the mix for several teams. I’ll wait on him a little bit until after the combine, but I think he’s a late one, early two.

Bush [is] more of a mid-round pick. But of all the players you mentioned, most of them are Day Three picks. Burns is a guy that is going to go very high. I wouldn’t be shocked if he went anywhere between 25 and 35 to 40.’’

 NFL.com rates the 6-0, 197-pound Burns, out of Miami Northwestern High School, with the highest grades among the Hurricanes. Burns led the ACC with six interceptions this past season, most by a Hurricane since Sean Taylor's 10 in 2003.

 The NFL Scouting Combine runs from Tuesday through Feb. 29 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

February 19, 2016

Take me out to the ballgame - Miami Hurricanes start season tonight

Thomaswoodrey

Spring is in the air today at Alex Rodriguez Park's Mark Light Field -- even if it's still winter.

The Miami Hurricanes open their season at 7 tonight against Rutgers.

The Canes, ranked as high as fourth in the preseason by Collegiate Baseball (and sixth by Baseball America among other polls) are naturally excited about getting in front of their home crowd and starting their quest to return to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Last year Miami (50-17) was the No. 5 national seed going into the NCAA regionals, but got eliminated by Florida once they got to Omaha.

Left-handed senior Thomas Woodrey (7-2, 2.88 in 2015) will make his first opening-night start tonight.

"We've been fortunate enough to have good weather to play in,'' Woodrey said, "but playing each other has gotten a little boring. We're ready for some outside competition.''

Rutgers, in the second year of Big Ten play, had a poor season last year, finishing 19-35-1 and 7-17 in conference play. Tonight, left-handed senior Howie Brey (3-7, 5.58) is scheduled to pitch for the Scarlet Knights. 

Despite Rutgers' showing last season and the fact that the Knights are coming from New Jersey, where it has been down to 2 degrees recently, UM coach Jim Morris said Rutgers always plays tough at Miami. Last season the Canes swept Rutgers in a four-game opening series.

"Rutgers is a school that has a nice indoor facility, so they work very hard inside and they normally come in here and make no errors,'' Morris said. "They're a blue collar team. They play hard and they're ready to play and excited to get out here in the sunshine. 

"Our guys are, too."

As already reported, UM dismissed pitcher Derik Beauprez (3-2, 5.62) for a violation of team rules, and its top pitcher from last season, Andy Suarez (9-2, 3.48) has graduated and was drafted. Also, this week, right-handed senior Enrique Sosa had surgery to repair a tear in his pitching shoulder and is out, likely redshirting this season.

 

The Canes have two standouts in the bullpen, right-handed junior sidearm pitcher Cooper Hammond (5-1, 2.25) and preseason All-American, right-handed junior closer Bryan Garcia (6-2, 2.50). They're looking for some other arms to fill the gap left by left-handed freshman All-American reliever Michael Mediavilla, who will start against Rutgers Saturday night.

Morris told the Miami Herald he'll probably go with the same batting order he went with in the Alumni Game last Saturday: 1. Carl Chester (center field), 2. Chris Barr (first base), 3. Zack Collins (catcher), 4. Jacob Heyward (left field), 5. Willie Abreu (right field), 6. Johnny Ruiz (shortstop), 7. Edgar Michelangeli (second base), 8. Peter Crocitto (designated hitter), 9. Romy Gonzalez (third base).

Hoping all the draft-eligible players, including Willie Abreu, who has had an emotional past nine or so months, gets off to a strong 2016 campaign. 

Keep your eye on Gonzalez, as this will be his first game in college. He's out of American Senior High.

Usual shortstop Brandon Lopez, a talented senior who hit .303 last year but has started the season suspended three consecutive seasons, is suspended for as many as six games for violating team rules.  If the suspension is cut to four games, then Lopez would be back for the Florida series that begins a week from tonight. The Gators are the country's consensus No. 1 preseason team.

"It's pretty crazy to believe the season is already starting,'' Garcia said.

Mark Light Field is at the corner of San Amaro Drive and Ponce de Leon on campus in Coral Gables.

Tickets tonight are $8 for general admission and $14 for chairback seats. Seniors (65-older) and youth (12-under) get in for $6. 

The game will also be broadcast on ESPN3 and WVUM 90.5 FM. Sunday's game will also be broadcast on 560 WQAM.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

February 17, 2016

Sam Bruce leaves St. Thomas Aquinas after gun-photo incident

Sambruceinaction

Here's our story regarding news on Sam Bruce and a photograph in which he was holding a gun (photo confirmed by his lawyer)...

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Sam Bruce, one of the top high school football signees in the country, a standout receiver and cornerstone of the University of Miami's recent recruiting class, withdrew from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday following an incident that allegedly involved Bruce holding a gun in a photograph.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Bruce used the photo of himself with a weapon as part of an ongoing dispute with an older, former Aquinas male student over Bruce’s ex-girlfriend. The source said the photo ended up in the hands of the former student, who then called police and Aquinas.

When the Herald called Fort Lauderdale police, which has jurisdiction over Aquinas, a public information officer said there was no incident report filed regarding Bruce, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, except for one involving a car accident in 2014.

Reached separately by The Miami Herald on Wednesday morning, Bruce's parents insisted their son was not in trouble. Bruce's mother, who said she withdrew Sam from school Tuesday, then directed the Herald to speak with family attorney Frank A. Maister of Fort Lauderdale.

"All is well with Sam," Bruce's father, Sam Sr., said. "He was here with me last night. All is well  with my son. Don't listen to those people. I'm the father of Sam Bruce Jr. All is well with my son."

Added Bruce’s mother Tracye Wilkerson: "I withdrew him from St. Thomas. He's not in trouble. Everything is fine with Sam."

Maister, the lawyer, said he saw the photo, and that Bruce was holding a gun, but there was “no indication of where and when the picture was taken,’’ and “no certainty’’ it was a real gun. Either way, Maister said, Bruce did nothing illegal.

“Yes, I’ve seen the picture,’’ Maister said. “He’s 18 years old. He has an absolute right to possess a firearm under the second amendment of the Constitution. Totally legal. And there’s no certainty it’s a real gun. It might very well be a BB gun. There’s not a story here. He’s a great kid. He’s got a great family.

“…There was a dispute between Sam and a much older guy about a girl. And this 25-year-old guy, who I’m sure is the source behind all of this, threatened Sam, is what happened.’’

When asked if the 25-year-old was the girl’s boyfriend, the lawyer said, “I don’t know, but this is his feeble attempt to try to upset Sam and try to get back at Sam at the same time.

Sam is not in any trouble. He’ll be enrolled somewhere else within 24 hours.’’

The lawyer was asked why Bruce withdrew from Aquinas if he’s not in trouble.

“I think it was a desire to do what’s best for Sam at this point,’’ Maister said. “He wanted to remove himself from even the potential of any issues.’’

Added Maister of Bruce and the former girlfriend in question: “I don’t think she’s involved in this in any way to be honest. I think they’re great friends. No words were sent or said to anyone.’’

Maister said that though it is not illegal to be shown holding a gun in a photograph, that it “is a private school’s prerogative to set their rules. You asked me if this is a school thing. I can only guess. I do know private schools can make their own rules. There is no crime here.”

The Herald called Aquinas athletic director George Smith, who was in meetings Wednesday according to the athletic department secretary. Smith did not immediately return the calls.

Another source with knowledge of the situation said Bruce, an Under-Armour All-American who is rated as the seventh best receiver in the country by Rivals.com, has had a history of maturity issues and "has a lot of growing up to do."Bruce

Earlier this season, before leading the Raiders to back-to-back Class 7A state titles, Bruce was held out of a third round state playoff game in late November for what head coach Roger Harriott described then as "an internal matter."

As for his future, Bruce needs to enroll at another high school to complete his senior year and graduate before he can qualify to get into UM. Wilkerson told the Herald last month her son had a 3.2 grade point average and was fully qualified.

Miami assistant athletic director for communications Tom Symonds said UM was looking into the matter involving Bruce, but as of now "he's scheduled to be on the team as part of the 2016 signing class."

Symonds said Bruce is expected to enroll at UM in May.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

MANNY NAVARRO

 

 

February 16, 2016

Miami Hurricanes starter Enrique Sosa has tear in pitching shoulder

 

Enriquesosa

University of Miami starting pitcher Enrique Sosa, a 5-10, 180-pound right-handed senior, has a tear in his pitching shoulder and is out indefinitely while he rehabilitates. Sosa, from Panama City, Panama, was UM’s No. 3 starter last season, recording a 7-5 record and 4.35 ERA in 80.2 innings.

    Canes baseball coach Jim Morris confirmed on Tuesday, media day, that his starting weekend rotation would be filled by all lefties: Senior Thomas Woodrey in the home opener against Rutgers at 7 p.m. Friday; 2015 Louisville Freshman All-American Michael Mediavilla at 7 p.m. Saturday and junior Danny Garcia at 1 p.m. Sunday.

   “Battling” for the mid-week starts, Morris said, are right-handed freshman Andrew Cabezas of Coral Gables High and right-handed sophomore Jesse Lepore of Beverly Hills, Florida.

   In other UM baseball news, junior catcher Zack Collins of Pembroke Pines was named to the preseason watch list for the 2016 Golden Spikes Award. The preseason watch lists features 50 of the nation’s top amateur players from high school and college. Collins started 66 of 67 games last season and hit .302, with 15 home runs and 70 RBI.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

February 15, 2016

Derik Beauprez kicked off Miami baseball team; starting shortstop Lopez suspended

Derikbeauprez
 

The Herald also learned that starting shortstop Brandon Lopez has been suspended and will miss the first several games of the season, possibly as many as six.

Additionally, sophomore reserve outfielder Justin Smith is suspended indefinitely.

A UM spokesman confirmed the information Monday afternoon, saying all three violated team rules.

This is the third consecutive year that Lopez, a senior, has started the season suspended – at least one time because of academics. If his suspension is for more than four games, Lopez would miss part of the Florida series, scheduled for Feb. 26-Feb. 28 at Alex Rodriguez Park in Coral Gables.

The Gators are ranked No. 1 in the nation.

UM, which begins its season at home Friday with a three-game series against Rutgers, declined specific comments regarding any of the players.

The loss of Beauprez (3-2 in 2015) — a powerful 6-5, 230-pound righty from Cherry Hills Village, Colorado — is significant because he would have been a factor in Miami’s bullpen, if not a midweek starter. Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 25th round out of Cherry Creek High, he had 19 appearances last season, with four starts. He pitched 32 innings, walking 21 and striking out 29. He finished the season with a 5.62 ERA.

Starting on opening night for Miami will be left-handed senior Thomas Woodrey, likely followed by sophomore lefty Michael Mediavilla on Saturday and left-handed junior Danny Garcia on Sunday. 

Lopez’s suspension will also hurt. He hit .303 last season, with nine doubles, two triples and 23 RBI and had three three-hit games in the postseason. A likely replacement for Lopez in the opening series is junior infielder Johnny Ruiz.

Smith saw limited action last season, hitting .237 in 24 games, with three starts.

The Hurricanes, ranked as high as No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 6 by Baseball America, finished last season 50-17, earning their first berth in the College World Series since 2008. They won one game in the CWS, but lost two, including the elimination game, to the Gators.

Also, you'll notice a lot of beards this season, as Canes baseball is allowing facial hair.

Susan Miller Degnan 

 

February 12, 2016

Miami Hurricanes baseball Fan Fest, Alumni Game set for Saturday

Miamimaniac

Hurricanes baseball is almost here, and Saturday is the day to bring your family and friends to the ballpark to meet the Canes on what is forecast to be a gorgeous day.

The University of Miami will host its annual Fan Fest and Alumni Game at Alex Rodriguez Park's Mark Light Field beginning at 4 p.m. The stadium is at the intersection of San Amaro Drive and Ponce de Leon Boulevard in Coral Gables.

The event, free to the public, starts with an hour-long autograph session. Temperatures are expected to hover around 75 degrees under sunny skies.

Among the other activities are locker room tours (during the autograph session), running the bases, a "Dress Like a Cane'' station, photos with the Miami Maniac and a face-tattoo station.

Hurricanes baseball alumni will take batting practice before being introduced at 5:30 p.m. The alumni will then face the 2016 Canes at 6 p.m. in an exhibition game.

 "I'm excited about seeing some of the past players,'' said UM coach Jim Morris, whose Canes (50-17 in 2015 with their first berth in the College World Series since 2008) open the season at home at 7 p.m. next Friday -- Feb. 19 -- against Rutgers. "This is always a fun day for everyone.'' 

Representatives from the Miami ticket office will be available for fans to select their seats for season-ticket packages.

Season tickets begin at $99, with family plans (two adults, three youth) for the 35-game home schedule available for $199.

Call 305-284-2263 for more information.

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

February 10, 2016

Miami Hurricanes FB Walter Tucker to transfer before final season

     Hurricanes fullback Walter Tucker took to Instagram and Facebook on Wednesday to say he was “no longer a #cane.’’

    His father, Walter Tucker Sr., confirmed to the Miami Herald that Tucker will be transferring after the semester. 

    "He's going to transfer, but we don't know where yet,'' Walter Tucker Sr. said. "He's going to find a new place. He has one more year of eligibility.''

    Tucker's father, the assistant track coach at Dillard High, said Walter Jr. will likely look to play for an FCS school at which he wouldn't have to sit out a year before competing.     Waltertucker

    “I would like to say thank you to the university of Miami for letting me get this opportunity to attend and also play football,’’ Tucker posted. “For all my brothers that are on the team I love yall and I’ll see y’all boys at the top. I am no longer a #cane but thank you Miami for everything.’’

 

    A message inquiring about Tucker's status was left for a UM spokesman, who was not immediately available.

   Tucker, who graduated from Plantation American Heritage, played his first two high school seasons with St. Thomas Aquinas -- his sophomore season on the varsity team that won the state championship. He would have been entering his senior season. According to UM, Tucker played in eight games (primarily on special teams) as a true freshman in 2013, 12 games as a sophomore and 10 games this past season as a junior.

   The 6-0, 225-pounder was a two-time state champion in the 110-meter hurdles at American Heritage, and state runner-up in the 300-meter hurdles.

   Tucker was recruited to UM as a linebacker, but played fullback as a freshman. He was asked by former assistant coach Hurlie Brown to move back to linebacker after JaWand Blue and Alex Figueroa were arrested and kicked off the team.

    Former UM coach Al Golden said before the 2014 season that Tucker could be expected to play offense and defense.

   “I wouldn’t be honest if I told you I didn’t lose sleep a couple days there thinking, ‘Can he do both? Are we putting too much on him?’’’  Golden said.

   Tucker did play one game as a linebacker and fullback, but was converted back to a fullback when coaches thought it, indeed, was asking too much.

     This season, Tucker had two tackles and tallied eight yards on three carries. In 2014, he had one rush and one reception against Duke.

    The Canes have Gage Batten back next season as a fullback. 

    Walter Jr., usually sporting a smile, always seemed to enjoy being a Hurricane. I wish him the best. 

    SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

February 05, 2016

Miami spring football to scrimmage April 9 in West Palm Beach -- spring game April 16.

Mark Richt, a graduate of Boca Raton High, is showing love to the 561 -- as in Palm Beach County.

The Hurricanes, who begin spring practice March 15, will hold their second spring scrimmage at West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy at 2 p.m. April 9. It's open to the public.

The spring game is at 2 p.m. April 16 at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

Otherwise, for now, it appears that everything else is closed.

Here's the release we got:

Hurricanes Release Spring Football Practice Dates

 

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami football team returns to the gridiron for 15 days during the months of March and April for the start of spring practice under the direction of first year head coach Mark Richt.

The Hurricanes open their spring schedule with practice on Tuesday, March 15, beginning at 9 a.m. Thirteen of the Hurricanes’ 15 spring practices will be held at the Greentree Practice fields.

Miami will practice eight times before its first spring scrimmage on April 2 at Greentree. The Hurricanes first scrimmage will not be open to the public. The second scrimmage of spring practice will be held on Saturday April 9 at Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla. Miami’s second scrimmage will be open to the public.

The spring schedule will conclude on April 16 with its spring game (2 p.m.) at Lockhart Stadium and will be aired live on ESPN3. The Hurricanes’ spring game also will be open to the public and will be free for all fans.

Season tickets to the 2016 Miami Hurricanes football season are on sale now – visit CanesTix.com or call (305) 284-2263 for more information.

2016 Spring Practice Dates

Tuesday, March 15 – 9 a.m.

Thursday, March 17 – 9 a.m.

Saturday, March 19 – 9 a.m.

Tuesday, March 22 – 9 a.m.

Thursday, March 24 – 9 a.m.

Saturday, March 26 – 9 a.m.

Tuesday, March 29 – 9 a.m.

Thursday, March 31 – 9 a.m.

Saturday, April 2 - (SCRIMMAGE) – Greentree Practice Fields – Time is TBD

Tuesday, April 5 – 9 a.m.

Thursday, April 7 – 9 a.m.

Saturday, April 9  – 2 p.m. (SCRIMMAGE) - Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach, Fla.)

Tuesday, April 12 – 9 a.m. 

Thursday, April 14 – 9 a.m.

Saturday, April 16  – 2 p.m. (SPRING GAME) - Lockhart Stadium

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

February 03, 2016

Ranking the recruits in the 2016 Hurricanes signing class in terms of instant, long term impact

Barring some late additions (which could very well happen), the Hurricanes 2016 Signing Class is pretty much set.

UM has 18 players it has added to its roster and now it's time to rank them based on the impact I think they'll make not only immediately but long term.

1. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Orange Park Oakleaf, 6-1, 239
- The U.S. Army All-American and nation's fifth best inside linebacker according to 247Sports.com had been committed to UM since before his junior season and all I've heard across the board from scouts is how he's going to be the best linebacker Miami has had in years. Let's face it, Quarterman doesn't have much in the way of competition to see instant playing time. He's already physically bigger than senior Jermaine Grace (6-1, 221) and only a few pounds lighter than juniors Juwon Young (6-2, 245) and Darrion Owens (6-3, 247). If those three guys are your starters next season, Quarterman, an early enrollee, is your fourth-best linebacker ahead of junior Marques Gayot (6-1, 222) and a bunch of other guys that haven't really seen the field.

2. Sam Bruce, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-8, 180
- With only five returning scholarship receivers on the roster, the Under Armour All-American and 11th best receiver in the country according to 247Sports.com will probably end up being the most impactful freshman at UM. Outside of senior Stacy Coley who should be the No. 1 receiving option, there's no reason Bruce couldn't soar past junior Braxton Berrios and sophomore Lawrence Cager to become the second or third-best weapon in the passing game behind Coley and tight end David Njoku

3. Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington (Fla), 6-1 1/2, 171
- The U.S. Army All-American was a Hurricanes commitment for over a year until Al Golden was fired. Wednesday, the Hurricanes beat out Alabama to get him back. Rated the nation's 28th best receiver back into the class, Richards had 73 catches for 1,278 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He's not going to do that at UM as a freshman, but he could very well be the second or third best receiver on the team behind Bruce by the time he's a sophomore.

4. Zach McCloud, LB, Lake Worth Santaluces, 6-2, 215
- Like Quarterman, McCloud has good size and not much in the way of overwhelming talent in front of him. Rated the nation's 18th best outside linebacker according to 247Sports.com, he figures to be a starter by the time he's a sophomore and will probably be the fifth-best linebacker on the team in 2016.

5. Romeo Finley, S, Niceville (Fla.), 6-1, 198
- He's not going to play a whole lot right away because the Hurricanes are bringing back seniors Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter at safety, but he's nation's 15th best safety according to 247Sports.com and will be starting by his sophomore year alongside Jaquan Johnson. He was a pivotal, late signee in this class for Richt.

6. Malek Young, CB, Coconut Creek, 5-9 1/2, 182
- A couple of scouts told me that although he wasn't the top recruit at Coconut Creek this season, he was the team's best player. The U.S. Army All-American was rated the 47th best corner by 247Sports.com and after switching from Georgia after Mark Richt was hired, I can tell you he'll see the field a lot as a freshman. Miami badly needed cornerbacks and outside of senior Corn Elder and sophomore Sheldrick Redwine don't have a lot in the way of returning experience. Young could very well start at nickel corner as a freshman and will immediately compete for playing time on kick returns and punt returns. Of the three-star recruits, he's the best in my opinion.

7. Michael Pinckney, LB, Jacksonville Raines, 6-0, 213
- Rated the 19th best inside linebacker by 247Sports.com, Pinckney is the type of playmaking outside linebacker the Hurricanes have sorely missed. Like McCloud, he'll be fifth or sixth on the overall linebacker depth chart right away and contributing on special teams for sure. Down the road, he'll be starting regularly and making big plays.

8. Jack Allison, QB, Palmetto (Fla.), 6-5, 200
- The nation's eight-best pro styler passer according to 247Sports.com and an Under Armour All-American, Allison could be the Hurricanes starting quarterback by 2017 if Brad Kaaya decides to leave early for the NFL. Is he as good as Kaaya? No. But experts will tell you he's good enough to beat out Malik Rosier after a year of learning under Richt. 

9. Patrick Bethel, DE, Vero Beach, 6-3, 245
- The Under Armour All-American and 14th best strongside defensive end in the country according to 247Sports.com is going to end up being the best Hurricanes legacy player in a long list Miami has had recently. He's got the size to play immediately, though, there is talent ahead of him on the depth chart. The good news: he'll push Al-Quadin Muhammad, Chad Thomas and others to be better and more consistent than they have been. He could be a regular starter by 2017 when he's a sophomore.

10. Travis Homer, RB, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, 5-11, 195
- Rated the nation's 10th best running back by 247Sports.com, Homer ran for 1,315 yards, 11 touchdowns as a senior and could fit in nicely as a freshman as a third down back. While Joseph Yearby had a nice sophomore season, Mark Walton didn't exactly explode (3.5 yards per carry) as a freshman. Homer has home run hitting ability and if Miami's running game sputters or someone gets hurt he could be given an early shot.

11. Joseph Jackson, DE, Gulliver Prep, 6-5, 245
- Rated the nation's 16th best weakside defensive end by 247Sports.com, scouts love the size and upside Jackson has. But they think he's probably a year to two years away from showing that on the college field. Long term, he could be the best NFL prospect in the class.

12. Dionte Mullins, WR, Gulliver Prep, 5-10 1/2, 179
- Under Armour All-American ranked the 34th best receiver by 247Sports.com has worlds of talent. But his academic issues -- he was ineligible to play as a high school senior -- give pause. If he's able to make it into the class, he could end up contributing right away as a freshman in a small role and help the team long term.

13. Jovani Haskins, TE, Bergenfield (N.J.), 6-4, 235
- Rated the nation's 19th ranked tight end according to 247Sports, the former high school quarterback has tons of athleticism and looks and feels a lot like current Hurricane David Njoku. But Haskins is probably a year to two years away from being a real contributor.

14. Cedrick Wright, S, Gulliver Prep, 5-9, 180
- Rated the 38th best safety by 247Sports.com, Wright has always been a bit undersized for safety. He's a tweaner and probably a candidate to at least experiment with a switch to corner. 

15. Michael Irvin Jr., TE, St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-3, 220
- The son of Hall of Fame receiver and Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin has plenty of skills, but he's going to need to put on some weight and grow into the tight end position. In a year or two he should be ready to contribute.

16. Tyreic Martin, DT, Lanett, Ala. 6-3, 265
- Rated as a three-star recruit by both ESPN and Rivals, Martin was a necessary addition for depth at defensive tackle. But he's a high ceiling player who needs to develop. The Canes have had too many of those at defensive tackle. But if new defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski likes him, who am I to judge?

17. Tre Johnson, OL, Orlando First Academy, 6-7, 280
- Rated as the 148th–best player in the state of Florida by the 247sports, the former Illinois commitment played both offense and defense in high school and chose the Hurricanes over East Carolina. But he's very raw and doesn't have a lot of playing experience (16 games). He's a project at a position you can afford to have one for now.

18. Jeff James, S, Orlando Olympia, 6-1, 185
- The nephew of Hurricanes running back Edgerrin James, Jeff was ranked the 118th best player in the state by ESPN after totaling more than 1,000 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns as a senior. He had nine interceptions, among the most in the state. But it's unclear where exactly he's going to play for the Hurricanes. Some websites like 247Sports didn't even have him ranked.

February 02, 2016

Top cornerback Tyler Byrd flips from Miami to Tennessee

On the same night UM got a big-time commitment from four-star Niceville safety Romeo Finley, it got a big-time decommitment from four-star cornerback Tyler Byrd.

Byrd, a Naples High senior who committed to UM almost exactly a year ago ( National Signing Day would have been exactly one year), flipped to Tennessee on Tuesday night.

Will be back at this bright and early tomorrow...

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

HERE'S MY STORY: Click here

 

 

 

 

One of nation's top safeties commits to Miami Hurricanes

Romeofinley
 
 On the night before National Signing Day, the Miami Hurricanes just got another big commit. Four-star safety Romeo Finley of Niceville, Florida, just posted this on Twitter:

Swag16 🙌🏻 pic.twitter.com/orpNIB0pvd

— Romeo Finley (@RomeoFinley1) February 3, 2016

  Finley, 6-1 and 200 pounds, is rated the nation's 12th best safety according to ESPN.com. He is the 15th best safety according to 247Sports.com and the 26th according to Rivals.com.

    He had 60 tackles, six pass breakups and an interception his senior year.

  The Canes already have Miami Gulliver Prep safety Cedrick Wright, a three-star recruit by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout.com, and four-star by ESPN, committed.

   Finley's pledge is a significant get for the Canes. 

   SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN 

National analyst Ryan Bartow breaks down UM's recruiting class, thinks Canes will land Richards, lose Byrd

With National Signing Day closing in I reached out to 247Sports.com national recruiting analyst Ryan Bartow this afternoon to get his thoughts on UM's 2016 recruiting class. 
 
The Hurricanes head into Wednesday with 17 commitments including nine four-star recruits.
 
Bartow, who speaks to hundreds of players and coaches across the country and knows the South Florida area well, thinks coach Mark Richt has done a good job in the little time he has had to put Miami's 2016 class together. The Hurricanes' class currently ranks 17th nationally by 247Sports.com. 
 
"I think its difficult for any new staff to come in [and be successful] because recruiting now is a two to three year relationship with these kids," Bartow said.
 
"Obviously he's there for a reason because the other guy for whatever reason didn't get the job done. [Al Golden] couldn't do it like almost everybody did it in years past there. [Richt] obviously has some rebuilding to do on the current roster and in rebuilding the rapport with local recruits and in-state recruits and multiple high school coaches. A lot of these kids grew up and they didn't see the dominant Miami teams that previous generations did. So, he's there for a reason. And he's got to rebuild what was the worst regime at UM under Al Golden. That's going to take time. It's not a quick fix. I know that's not what the fans want to hear, but that's reality."
 
Bartow, like most national analysts I've spoken to in the last week, believe Miami's linebacker class of Shaquille Quarterman, Zach McCloud and Michael Pinckney rank among the best in the country and is the strength of the class.
 
"I think the linebacker class is awesome," Bartow said. "It's not what me and you know like Jesse Armstead and Darrin Smith and Micheal Barrow, which is probably their best linebacker trio ever. But it's pretty doggone good. It's a talent upgrade. That position, linebacker, Miami hasn't signed a linebacker class like that in a decade. They haven't walked through the door. And they're all early enrollees. They all have size and good mentalities. They're studs. So that's the strength of their class."
 
Bartow believes the Hurricanes will add Wellington four-star and U.S. Army All-American receiver Ahmmon Richards back to its class on Wednesday. Richards, who will announce his decision at noon Wednesday, is choosing between UM and Alabama. With Richards, Bartow said, Miami will address its needs at receiver. Without him, however, maybe not.
 
"I like a couple of the receivers coming in," he said. "I think Sam Bruce is a dynamic slot receiver with a lot of personality. 
 
"I think the tight end, Jovani Haskins, if they hold onto him, he's a four-star guy on 247. He's really good. And, lets not forget they have another legacy in this class too in Mike Irvin Jr., who is a really good tight end. 
 
"Latrell Williams is an absolute sleeper for them at wide receiver. They normally don't have to go past Palm Beach to get their receivers, but they found a gem there in North Florida."
 
How about the other need areas on defense like cornerback and defensive line? 
 
"Tyler Byrd, we'll see. I'm hearing he's a flip tomorrow to Tennessee to go with his teammate there from Naples.
 
"I like the two defensive ends. Joe Jackson has a huge ceiling. He doesn't even realize how good he could be. I think Patrick Bethel is a four-star, high motor, legacy guy. He can bring some toughness and add to their pass rush. I think their defense -- running 4-3, which Miami should of run is going to be better is going to be better just based on scheme going forward. Adding guys like Jackson and Bethel, which are need areas, are pretty big.
 
"Malek Young, who was not the best prospect at Coconut Creek but their best player, he's a really good nickel corner that can help them on special teams. He's a great kid. That was a big get to keep him locally."
 
How did Miami do locally in Bartow's opinion?
 
"I think Miami did a great job in Palm Beach this year. Dade, a lot of the best kids are leaving. Same thing with Broward. That happens. That's on the previous regime. But they did a great job. I think they got the best three in Palm Beach. I think Ahmmon Richards is going to fall their way. And they've already got McCloud and Homer in the boat. Those are all three four-star studs. 
 
"Travis Homer, I think he's a home run hitter at running back."
 
Bartow said the Canes did good in getting 6-7, 295-pound Orlando-based offensive tackle and three-star recruit Tre Johnson Monday because he helps fill a need and "has the type of body you're looking for." But he said there are still holes in this class and that Miami will have to load up on offensive linemen in 2017.
 
"I think this class obviously upgraded its talent at linebacker," Bartow said. "It got some receivers in Richards and Bruce that will be able to help right away. I think you've got a stud back in Homer, two really good tight ends. You're grooming [Jack] Allison to be the [quarterback] after [Brad] Kaaya. You have two really good defensive ends in Jackson and Bethel. 
 
"But I do think this class has holes in three areas. Cornerback depth is a need area on Miami's roster. But the two biggest things again for the second year in a row they did not fill their needs at defensive tackle. I think they need to sign three or four next year at defensive tackle. And you did not fill your need at offensive tackle and you probably need to oversign at that position next cycle next year too. 
 
"Now, it's a really good year at offensive tackle with five potential national recruits at that position. They have their work cut out for them to convince them to stay home. But at the same time this new staff is going to see that spring ball. When they are practicing they'll find out that there are probably 20 guys that shouldn't be there and have major holes to fill at d-tackle and offensive tackle."

February 01, 2016

Miami gets first commitment from offensive lineman

Two days before National Signing Day, the Miami Hurricanes have their first commitment from a high school offensive lineman.

And he's really large.

Orlando First Academy defensive tackle Tre Johnson, 6-7 and 280 pounds, pledged his commitment to the University of Miami on Monday. He chose the Canes over East Carolina.

 

Johnson has a three-star rating from 247Sports.com. He took his official recruiting trip to UM this past weekend and was offered a week ago, according to InsidetheU.com.

"I loved it," Johnson told 247Sports' Ryan Bartow. "Coach [Mark] Richt is a great guy. I can see myself playing there. ...Coach Richt said he can see me coming in and playing and said I'm the perfect guy for them since they need a left tackle. The best part was getting to know the coaches and getting to know coach Richt and his family."

Johnson is rated by 247Sports as the nation's No. 96 offensive tackle and the No. 148 prospect in Florida in the composite rankings.

Here is his tweet today before he announced: 

 

He is the first of two players who were to announce their commitments on Monday. The other is Palmyra, N.J., wide receiver Kelvin Harmon, who has been offered by Miami, North Carolina State and as of Monday, Mississippi State

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN.

 

Miami receiver D'Mauri Jones officially off Miami roster

D'maurijones

Hurricanes receiver D'Mauri Jones is no longer on the Miami roster. The University of Miami just confirmed that Jones will not be back this spring.

There are now five scholarship receivers on the roster. Those would be 6-1, 187-pound senior Stacy Coley, 6-5, 215-pound sophomore Lawrence Cager, 6-0, 190-pound redshirt senior Malcolm Lewis, 5-9, 180-pound junior Braxton Berrios and 6-4, 218-pound redshirt sophomore Darrell Langham.

Jones, who would have been a 6-4, 208-pound redshirt senior from Leesburg, Florida, was listed this past season as "contributing on special teams'' and as seeing "limited action in regular season.'' He recorded his first career catch against FAMU in 2014 as a sophomore. In 2013 as a redshirt freshman, Jones was on the field against FAU, Savannah State, USF and Virginia. However, he did not have any catches.

Other players who previously were taken off roster and will not return are defensive linemen Jelani Hamilton and Earl Moore. Both would have been redshirt seniors.

Moore, a tackle, played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2012 and made two starts. He had one tackle in each of six games. But in 2013, he had his career highlight, an interception, against Savannah State. 

Moore was redshirted as a junior in 2014 and mostly saw action on special teams last season. I'm sorry he didn't have the breakout season for which he had hoped. 

On Wednesday, National Signing Day, the Canes will definitely sign two players that played receiver at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale: four-star speedster Sam Bruce and three-star tight end Michael Irvin II. Also set to sign is four-star receiver Dionte Mullins of Miami Gulliver Prep. Mullins did not play this past season because his GPA was too low. It remains to be seen if he'll actually qualify at UM. 

Four-star Wellington receiver Ahmmon Richards, will announce between Miami, Alabama and Auburn on signing day, Kelvin Harmon of Palmyra (N.J.) -- rated three stars by 247Sports.com and four stars by Rivals.com -- will announce Monday night. Harmon, 6-3 and 180 pounds, had 66 catches for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns; and 38 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception this past season. He  was originally announcing between Miami and NC State, but was also offered today (Monday) by Mississippi State.

   Randrecous Davis of Atlanta Mays visited the Canes Jan. 22 and subsequently took Georgia out of the running. But Davis visited South Carolina, UM's main competition for his services, this past weekend and had a great time, according to 247Sports. “The trip was awesome,” he told 247Sports. “I loved everything down here. The coaches, the players and everybody is just cool and fun to be around. It made me feel like I was at home.” Davis also told the recruiting website that South Carolina now has the edge.

  Receiver Latrell Williams of Lake City Columbia is a UM commit who liked his Tennessee visit Jan. 22, so who knows?

  And the Canes are hoping to flip big Javon Wims, a 6-4, 215-pound receiver from Hinds Community College, from his commitment to Georgia, per our Manny Navarro

  Also, Valley (Alabama) defensive lineman Tyreic Martin committed to the Hurricanes Monday after his official visit. He could eventually play tackle, a position at which the Canes sorely need depth.

          UM now has 11 commits in addition to the five who are already enrolled.

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

   

   

 

January 29, 2016

Miami Hurricanes baseball stacked and ranked high for 2016

Jim morris

As fans wait for National Signing Day to see who actually becomes part of Mark Richt's 2016 Miami Hurricanes football team, another Miami team will begin practicing Friday for a season with substantial promise.

Hurricanes baseball opens spring practice Friday afternoon at Alex Rodriguez Park's Mark Light Field, and the Canes -- winners of national titles in 1982, 85, 99 and 2001 -- are projected to be stellar. 

Miami, which got back to the College World Series last season (50-17) for the first time since 2008, is ranked fourth by Collegiate Baseball and sixth in the USA Today coaches' poll and by D1Baseball.com and Baseball America. 

"I love all the rankings because we've got good players,'' Hurricanes coach Jim Morris told the Miami Herald by phone Friday just before noon. "I hope the rankings are right, because top 8 [at the end of the season] would put us in Omaha [for the College World Series]. But we lost a lot of good hitters, and we lost [top pitcher] Andy Suarez. We've got some holes to fill with David Thompson [hit .328 with 90 RBI] and George Iskenderian [.364 with 55 RBI] and Ricky Eusebio [.286 with 19 stolen bases] and  Garrett Kennedy [.320 with 51 RBI]. Every one of them had a career year.

"We have most of our pitching back and our bullpen is intact -- very solid. We've got Cooper Hammond and freshman All-American Michael Mediavilla and preseason All-American Bryan Garcia in the bullpen -- very, very solid."

Some of the other returning standouts: All-American catcher Zack Collins, All-ACC outfielder Willie Abreu, left-handed pitcher and second-team All-ACC selection Thomas Woodrey, who as it stands now, Morris said, is expected to be the Friday-night starter in the opener Feb. 19 against Rutgers; and all-CWS outfielder Jacob Heyward.

 The top newcomers include Andrew Cabezas, a 6-0, 180-pound freshman out of Coral Gables Senior High. Cabezas was drafted by Cleveland in the 34th round of the 2015 MLB draft. Cabezas finished 6-3 last season, with 84 strikeouts and a 0.39 ERA. He only walked eight batters in 2015.

Another top freshman is 6-2, 200-pound third baseman Romy Gonzalez out of American Senior High. Gonzalez, a first-team All-Dade selection by the Miami Herald, Gonzalez hit .420 last season, with four home runs and 36 RBI. He is vying to start at third on opening night.

Junior college transfer Randy Batista, 5-11 and 170 pounds, is another new standout. Batista, an infielder out of Indian River State, is from Kississimme. He will challenge for playing time up the middle -- though senior shortstop Brandon Lopez and junior second baseman Johnny Ruiz are veterans.

 The Canes were ranked fifth going into the College World Series, and went 1-1 in the series, beating Arkansas and being eliminated by familiar nemesis Florida on June 17. The Canes finished the season ranked sixth by D1Baseball, Collegiate Baseball, Baseball America, Perfect Game and USA Today.

UM, which returns 18 lettermen, will start off spring with intrasquad games Friday and Saturday. 

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

A look at the Miami Hurricanes 2016 recruiting class heading into the final weekend

With less than a week to go before National Signing Day, Hurricanes coach Mark Richt and his staff have been busy both keeping the 2016 recruiting class together and adding pieces.

Thursday night, they picked up four-star tight end Jovani Haskins of Bergenfield, N.J., giving quarterback Brad Kaaya yet another weapon to throw the ball to. The Hurricanes have six scholarship receivers expected back next season and three will be seniors: Stacy Coley, Malcolm Lewis and D'Mauri Jones

Receiver, cornerback, linebacker and tight end were all areas Richt wanted to address. Three linebackers are already among the five early enrollees, and among UM's 10 commitments, five are pass catchers and two are cornerbacks.

The issue for Miami is that it could end up losing U.S. Army All-American cornerback Tyler Byrd of Naples, who is visiting Tennessee this weekend with his best friend and teammate.

That would be a devastating blow, Scout.com's Corey Bender told me last night. That said, Bender gives Richt good marks for the job he's done since taking over for the fired Al Golden in December. 

Here's a look at where the Canes stand heading into the weekend:

EARLY ENROLLEES (5)

Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Orange Park Oakleaf, 6-0 1/4, 233
- The U.S. Army All-American and nation's fifth best inside linebacker accoridng to 247Sports.com had been committed to UM since before his junior season (6/24/14). SENIOR HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @OgBoobie_Shaq

Jack Allison, QB, Palmetto (Fla.), 6-5, 200
- The nation's eight-best pro styler passer according to 247Sports.com and Under Armour All-American was committed to UM since prior to his junior season (6/23/14). Had offers from Alabama, Tennessee and UCF. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Jackallison_11

Zach McCloud, OLB, Lake Worth Santaluces, 6-2, 218
- The nation's 18th best outside linebacker according to 247Sports.com first committed to UM back in Nov. 2014 as a junior and then de-committed when Al Golden was fired. He then recommitted to Miami a month later after a visit from Richt. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @chief__20

Patrick Bethel, DE, Vero Beach, 6-3, 249
- The Under Armour All-American and 14th best strongside defensive end in the country according to 247Sports.com committed to the Hurricanes Dec. 14, less than a week after receiving a visit from Mark Richt. Took visits to Tennessee and Auburn. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @Pat_Bethel93

Michael Pinckney, ILB, Jacksonville Raines, 6-1, 215
- Rated the 19th best inside linebacker by 247Sports.com, Pinckney was a longtime UM commitment. He had 85 tackles, 8 sacks and an interception as a senior and turned down offers from Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisville, Nebraska, Notre Dame and West Virginia. HIGHLIGHTS ON HUDL

COMMITMENTS (10)

Sam Bruce, WR, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-8, 180
- The Under Armour All-American and 11th best receiver in the country according to 247Sports.com has been committed to UM since before his junior year (7/8/14). He flirted with Ohio State late in the process but reaffirmed his commitment to the Canes this week. Had 46 catches for 427 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at Aquinas. HIGHLIGHT REELTwitter: @_QUICK6

Tyler Byrd, CB, Naples, 5-11 1/2, 194
- The U.S. Army All-American is rated the 10th best corner by 247Sports.com and has been committed to since 2/3/15. But he was set to visit Tennessee with his teammate and best friend Carlin Fils-aime this weekend, who is committed to the Volunteers. Had 38 tackles, 1 INT as a senior and 36 catches for 641 yards and 9 touchdowns at receiver. Former UM assistant Larry Scott, now on Tennessee's staff, is pushing for Byrd. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @D1fuzzymuffin17

Dionte Mullins, WR, Gulliver Prep, 5-10 1/2, 179
- Under Armour All-American ranked the 34th best cornerback by 247Sports.com. He's been committed since prior to his junior season (7/4/14). Did not play his senior season because his GPA was too low. He could end up being an academic casualty. HIGH SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @dionte_mullins8

Joseph Jackson, DE, Gulliver Prep, 6-5, 245
- Rated the nation's 16th best weakside defensive end by 247Sports.com and committed to UM since 1/25/15. Had 46 tackles, six sacks and four forced fumbles as a senior. CAREER HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @joejackson919

Travis Homer, RB, West Palm Beach Oxbridge Academy, 5-11, 195
- Rated the nation's 10th best running back by 247Sports.com, Homer has been committed to UM since 5/31/15. Ran for 1,315 yards, 11 touchdowns as a senior. CAREER HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @Travishomer4

Jovani Haskins, TE, Bergenfield (N.J.), 6-4, 235
- Nation's 19th ranked tight end according to 247Sports became the Hurricanes' latest commitment on Thursday night, almost a week after taking an official visit to UM. A quarterback for his high school team, Haskins completed 39 of his 67 pass attempts for 785 yards, 2 INTs and ran for 639 yards and 4 scores as a senior. He had three catches for 90 yards at receiver. He had visited West Virginia and Virginia Tech through the recruiting process. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @leehaskins_

Malek Young, CB, Coconut Creek, 5-9 1/2, 182
- The U.S. Army All-American was rated the 47th best corner by 247Sports.com. A former Georgia commitment, he switched over to the Canes on Jan. 15 after being recruited by new cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph. Had 34 catches for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @MalekYoung

Cedrick Wright, S, Gulliver Prep, 5-9, 180
- Rated the 38th best safety by 247Sports.com, Wright has been committed to UM since 1/25/15. He tackles and 3 interceptions as a senior at Gulliver. HIGLIGHTSTwitter: @_CedTooLive

Michael Irvin Jr., TE, St. Thomas Aquinas, 6-3, 220
- The son of Hall of Fame receiver and Hurricanes legend Michael Irvin is rated the 32nd best tight end in the country by 247Sports.com. He's been committed since 7/6/15. Had 29 catches for 291 yards and 2 TDs as a senior on Aquinas' state championship winning team. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS.  Twitter: @M_Irvin17

Latrell Williams, WR, Lake City Columbia, 5-11, 171
- Rated 110th best WR by 247Sports.com (Committed since 1/17/16). Former USF commitment was recruited by new receivers coach Ron Dugans to UM. Visited Tennessee on 1/22/16. Had 68 catches for 1,035 yards, 10 TDs as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @LastKingTrill

REMAINING TARGETS

Ahmmon Richards, WR, Wellington (Fla)., 6-1 1/2, 171
- The U.S. Army All-American was a Hurricanes commitment for over a year until Al Golden was fired. Now, the Hurricanes are fighting with Alabama to get the nation's 28th best receiver according to 247Sports to recommit. He had 73 catches for 1,278 yards and 14 touchdowns. He's supposed to make his announcement at noon on ESPNU on National Signing Day according to Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post. HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @AhmmonR2

Romeo Finley, S, Niceville (Fla.), 6-1, 198
- The nation's 15th best safety according to 247Sports.com is supposed to visit UM this weekend. Clemson and Georgia Tech are the other finalists. Finley had 60 tackles, 6 PBU and an interception his senior year. HIGLIGHTSTwitter: @RomeoFinley1

Javon Wims, WR, Hinds Community College, 6-4, 215
- Wims, a former high school standout at Jacksonville Ed White High School, has been committed to Georgia since Nov. 6 but Richt has been coming after him hard and the Hurricanes believe they have a chance to flip him. He had 47 catches for 775 yards and nine touchdowns this season. HIGHLIGHTSTwitter: @Javon_Juice

Randrecous Davis, WR, Atlanta Mays (Ga.), 5-10 1/2, 169
- The former Georgia commitment dropped his pledge to the Bulldogs after visiting UM on Jan. 22. This weekend, Davis is visiting South Carolina. He's rated the 70th best receiver in the class according to 247Sports.com. He had 58 catches for 1,024 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Dreak_1

Kelvin Harmon, WR, Palmyra (N.J.), 6-3, 180
- The former South Carolina commitment is choosing between the Hurricanes and N.C. State on Monday. He visited UM on Jan. 22. Harmon had 66 catches for 1,111 yards and 14 touchdowns and 38 tackles, three forced fumbles and an interception as a senior. SENIOR HIGHLIGHTS. Twitter: @Wide_Receiver9

January 26, 2016

ACC releases 2016 football schedule: Miami to host FSU on Oct. 8 and travel to Notre Dame on Oct. 29

  So, what's your take?

  For the second year in a row, UM's open date is early. Would have been better before FSU. Note that FSU's open date is Oct. 22, the week before Clemson. FSU has North Carolina in Tallahassee the week before traveling to UM. And Notre Dame has an open date before meeting Miami.

The Canes at least have nine days between Virginia and Notre Dame, but both games are away. Notre Dame will be very tough, but FSU can be conquered. Appalachian State, which has a good quarterback in Taylor Lamb click here for Lamb's stats and opens Sept. 3 at Tennessee, is always a little scary. But if UM can't beat the Mountaineers, they're in trouble. I might have also said that before Cincy last year.

  The two games home and two games away pattern is beneficial.

  I think UM, with a new coaching staff, same talented quarterback, what should be a better defense and for the most part winnable schedule, could be strong this season. 

*********************************************************************

   Hurricanes fans, get out your calendars and circle these dates: Oct. 8 and Oct. 29.

   The Atlantic Coast Conference released its 2016 composite football schedule Tuesday, and Miami will host arch-rival Florida State on Oct. 8 in the fifth game of the season and travel to Notre Dame on Oct. 29 in the eighth game.

   And like last season, the Canes can breathe a bit before they face their first ACC opponent on Oct. 1 – Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

   UM, which finished 8-5 this past season but is led in 2016 by new coach Mark Richt, opens Sept. 3 at home against Football Championship Subdivision member Florida A&M (1-10 in 2015).

   The Canes then host Palm Beach County neighbor FAU (3-9) on Sept. 10 before traveling to Boone, North Carolina, on Sept. 17 to play Sun Belt Conference powerhouse Appalachian State (11-2), a former FCS team that won three consecutive national titles from 2005-07.

   UM has a bye week Sept. 24 – like last year, an early one. It then travels to Atlanta on Oct. 21 to face the triple option of Georgia Tech (3-9).

   On Oct. 8, Miami has its first chance at redemption against the Seminoles, who defeated UM 29-24 at Tallahassee in a 2015 nail-biter. The Hurricanes have lost six consecutive games to FSU, which finished 10-3 last season.

   The Canes stay at home Oct. 15 to face North Carolina (11-3), with only five days rest before a Thursday-night, ESPN game at Virginia Tech (7-6).

    Then, the really fun one at South Bend, Indiana, for an Oct. 29 clash against the Irish (10-3), the team everyone seems to either love or hate – sort of like the Hurricanes. The last time Miami beat Notre Dame was in 1989, when the seventh-ranked Canes ended No. 1 Notre Dame’s 23-game winning streak. The Canes subsequently have lost to the Irish in 1990, 2010 and 2012.

   UM comes home to face Pitt (8-5) on Nov. 5, travels to Virginia (4-8) on Nov. 12 and to ACC Atlantic Division foe NC State (7-6) on Nov. 19, before facing Duke in the regular-season finale Nov. 26 at Sun Life Stadium.

    Though two of UM’s last three games are away, the Hurricanes will not be on the road more than two games in a row in 2016. The same goes for home games. 

   Here's a cool composite schedule for all ACC teams

  2016 MIAMI FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 3 FLORIDA A&M

Sept. 10 FLORIDA ATLANTIC

Sept. 17 at Appalachian State

Sept. 24 OPEN

Oct. 1 at Georgia Tech

Oct. 8 FLORIDA STATE

Oct. 15 NORTH CAROLINA

Oct. 20 at Virginia Tech, ESPN (Thu.)

Oct. 29 at Notre Dame

Nov. 5 PITT

Nov. 12 at Virginia

Nov. 19 at NC State

Nov. 26 DUKE

  SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

January 25, 2016

Blazing-fast receiver Sam Bruce reaffirms commitment to Miami

Sambruce

Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas four-star wide receiver Sam Bruce has been committed to the Miami Hurricanes for the past 18 and a half months. But all that matters is the school he signs with on National Signing Day in nine days.

On Monday, Bruce reaffirmed one final time that it would indeed be UM on the Tony Sands Show on BBS Radio. “The next three-four years, I will be playing football at the University of Miami,” Bruce said on the radio show Monday night.

The explosive and agile 5-8 receiver, who began receiving FBS scholarship offers his freshman season, stuck with the Hurricanes despite growing chatter that he would go elsewhere after the firing of former coach Al Golden and dismissal of wide receivers coach Kevin Beard.

“Who doesn’t want to play [at] home, man? I’m playing in front of my people, playing in front of my city,” Bruce said. “I’ve been playing here forever, and I don’t want to take that away from my people. “I want to play in front of my fans that have been my fans since the beginning.”

Bruce came to his final decision on Sunday night after a discussion with his family upon returning from his official visit to UM. “I just felt at home,” he said of the visit. His mother Tracye Wilkerson, who has been known to play a major role in helping Bruce decide, joined the radio show moments before Bruce for an interview.

Bruce’s other finalists were Ohio State and South Carolina. He visited the Buckeyes in October and the Gamecocks on Jan. 15.

Bruce was also previously considering the Florida Gators but eliminated them when he scratched his visit scheduled for the past weekend and replaced it with the decisive trip to Coral Gables, which he moved up from its original Jan. 29 date.

Bruce won’t get to play for the wide receivers coach he dreamed he would end up with throughout the recruiting process, but he was able to grow at peace with that reality over time.

“Of course it affected me, knowing that if I chose Miami that I wouldn’t be able to be coached by Kevin Beard,” Bruce said. “I just had to sit down with my family and do all the praying about it and come to a decision.”

Bruce had previously said UM's decision on Beard would "make a factor." "There's no guarantee that I would leave the University of Miami, but it'll be something to definitely think about," he said after the Under Armour All-America game on Jan. 2 before a final decision had been made on Beard.

UM has since hired former USF wide receivers coach Ron Dugans. Beard was known to be close to Bruce as a long-time mentor. He coached him at Davie University School, where Bruce played as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Aquinas. Bruce had 46 receptions for 427 yards and four receiving touchdowns plus three more rushing touchdowns as a senior on Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas.

DAVID FURONES

January 23, 2016

Miami Hurricanes to play in two senior All-Star games Saturday

Deonbush
University of Miami football fans can watch four seniors about to enter the 2016 NFL Draft compete today in televised all-star games.

Wide receiver Rashawn Scott and safety Deon Bush will play in the 91st annual East-West Shrine Game at 4 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. It will be televised by the NFL Network. Scott and Bush will be on the East squad, coached by Charlie Weiss. Scott will wear the familiar No. 11 on his jersey, and Bush his No. 2. 

At 6 p.m., defensive linemen Calvin Heurtelou and Ufomba Kamalu will compete in the NfLPA Collegiate Bowl on the campus of Cal State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. The game will be aired on ESPN2 and Watch ESPN.

Kamalu and Heurtelou will play on the National Team, coached by Mike Martz. Kamalu will wear No. 74 and Heurtelou, 93. 

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

January 16, 2016

Joe Brown to transfer from Miami

UMolinemen

Hurricanes Redshirt sophomore guard Joe Brown is transferring from Miami to be closer to his home in Paramount, Calif., the University of Miami announced Saturday.

Brown played in seven games this past season and made three starts. In his first career start against Virginia Tech, Brown contributed to the Hurricanes' 395 yards of offense.

“The University of Miami is a great place and I will be forever thankful for the opportunity this institution gave me,” Brown said in a written release. “However at this point in my collegiate career, I believe this is the best move for my future."

With a completely revamped coaching staff, the Hurricanes recently hired former Virginia Tech offensive line coach Stacy Searels to take over the Miami line. Longtime Hurricane offensive line coach/former player Art Kehoe was not retained by new coach Mark Richt

Said Richt: “Joe has been a well respected member of our football program and I would like to thank him for his hard work during his time at Miami.

"I respect his desire to be closer to home and I wish him nothing but success. I believe Joe has a bright future ahead of him.”

The 6 foot, 4 inch offensive lineman arrived in Coral Gables prior to the 2014 season after he was selected as the San Gabriel Valley Defensive Player of the Year in back to back seasons.

Miami struggled to open holes in the running game this season, finishing 117th nationally in rushing offense. The Canes were 33rd in sacks allowed.

SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN