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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes DT Gerald Willis’ puzzling draft slide continued Saturday

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Entering Saturday’s final four rounds of the 2019 NFL Draft, one of the more puzzling situations and draft free-falls was Miami defensive tackle Gerald Willis still being on the board.

After watching six defensive tackles fly off the board in round one on Thursday night, everyone anticipated that Willis’ name would be called at some point in the second or the third round on Friday evening in Nashville.

That did not happen.

And, even more discouraging for the former All-ACC defensive tackle is that numerous other defensive tackles were taken instead of him night two, as well.

That included UCF defensive tackle Trysten Hill being taken by the Dallas Cowboys in the second round and then, two more defensive tackles being taken instead of Willis in round three.

Finally, came Saturday afternoon, where round four came and went and still no Willis. Yet another D-tackle came off the board, as Arizona State’s Renell Wren was taken by the Bengals in the middle of the fourth round at #125.

We knew previously that Willis was being called into question by the NFL, when he wasn’t invited to the Scouting Combine in February.

However, because he led all defensive tackles in college football with 18 tackles for loss last season, and he comes from a tradition-rich program that has produced the likes of the late Jerome Brown, Russell Maryland, Warren Sapp, and even, Vince Wilfork back in the early 2000s, you thought he’d get more consideration.

In fact, most mock drafts believed that he would go no later than the 3rd round. Yet, it has become apparent that either the interview process or some injury concern possibly had cropped up about the New Orleans native and his draft status.

Willis had a hand injury at the end of Miami’s season and skipped the playing of the Pinstripe Bowl in the Bronx, New York, against Wisconsin. However there’s no indication that it’s a long-term lingering situation and that the hand would be the reason for the slide.

In the end, Willis incredibly lasted the entire seven rounds without being drafted.

We will await in the coming hours and days the reporting on the “why” that one of the top defensive tackles in a power conference was passed on by everyone this weekend.

Saturday night, media reports had Willis being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens:

At the minimum this has cost Williams a couple of million dollars (had he been a late second or early third round pick).

Now, he gets a chance to prove everyone that doubted him wrong.

Or, maybe he’s gonna reinforce that they were right not to draft him.

Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school

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USA Today Sports

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.

Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.

Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.

As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.

Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.

He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that  James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.

The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.

Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.

Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:

As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.

Diaz said in the statement,

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”  

This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB  from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.

As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.

You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.

Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.

Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.

Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.

Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.

However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.

The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.

Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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