Artie Burns, Corn Elder, Stacy Coley and Al-Quadin Muhammad (pictured above on right, next to linebacker Juwon Young) are the four Miami Hurricane underclassmen contemplating turning pro. Click here for story in today's Miami Herald.
Cornerbacks Artie and Corn and receiver Stacy all talked to us yesterday.
Outside linebacker Al-Quadin Muhammad declined to discuss the subject after UM's win over Georgia Tech on Saturday.
So, last night I checked NFLDraftScout.com, used by CBSSports.com. As I said in my story none of the four Canes are listed among 41 underclassmen listed by NFLDraftScout.com.
As for individual rankings by position, the site had Burns rated 19th among junior cornerbacks in the draft class of 2017 (following the 2016 season), Elder ranked 38th, Coley ranked 14th among wide receivers in that class and Muhammad ranked 18th among projected defensive ends in the 2018 draft class (Unless something bad happens, no way he'll last until 2018 draft).
Not sure how accurate those rankings are, but I do know that Burns is considered the most NFL-ready. And goodness knows you can understand if he declares for the 2016 NFL Draft, considering the recent death of his mom and that he's father to a 1-year-old boy and has two younger brothers still in school.
With Brad Kaaya as quarterback, I think Coley should definitely stay another season and keep improving and increasing his draft stock.He could have huge numbers next season. I most strongly think Muhammad should stay, because he could go from anything but a sure thing to a really dominant player next season (as well as proving he's mature enough not to make bad decisions outside of football). Corn has so much talent, but I feel his stock will increase also. He's just not physically imposing, although he is a phenomenal athlete. Another strong season would help him.
Here's some of what defensive coordinator Mark D'Onofrio said yesterday about Muhammad:
"Think about some of the great players that have come through here and then count how many starts they had before they left. He’s got seven starts. Who doesn’t need more than seven starts? You need to have in the 30s if you want to be a really truly great player that leaves here with accolades and is able to be in high regard at the next level I think you need to do it for quite a while. He’s done a good job. He’s had a good year and he’s continuing to improve. But I think he understands he’s got quite a ways to go.
"Every part of his game he knows he needs to improve on. He’s a hard worker. He invests hard every week. He studies tape. He does the things that he has to do to go play well. He’s been pretty consistent with that since he had an opportunity to start. To me that’s it. At the end of the day there’s only one way to continue to improve, that’s work hard on the field and study the game off the field. There’s no shortcut."
That said, the risk of injury is always present. But UM does a good job of taking care of these kids physically, and risk always is present when you play football.
I wish them all the right decision, whatever that may be. This Canes team could be really good if they all return next season, but I'm thinking at least two leave. We'll see.
SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN