The NFL playoffs have a huge Hurricane flavor. Jimmy Graham nearly kept the Saints alive with a remarkable catch and run. Willis McGahee gave the Steelers fits in the wildcard round. Ed Reed clinched the Ravens win over the Texans with yet another remarkable interception. And Kenny Phillips and Antrel Rolle were all over the field as the Giants pummeled the Packers.
In this years AFC and NFC Championship Games, 11 players will have come from the University of Miami. They are: From the Baltimore Ravens: Ray Lewis (All-Pro),Reed (All-Pro), Bryant McKinney (All-Pro), Damien Berry (practice squad); NY Giants: Rolle (All-Pro), Phillips, Dwayne Hendricks (practice squad); 49ers: Tavares Gooden, Frank Gore (All-Pro), Corey Nelms (Practice Squad); NE Patriots: Vince Wilfork (All-Pro). This guarantees at least one former Cane will end this year with a championship ring.
This should come as no surprise. No other collegiate team has replicated the NFL talent the “U” has put forth over the past 2 decades. It’s not simply quantity, but most notably quality (at least 4 players listed above will be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, including two (Reed and Lewis) who are arguably the greatest to ever play their respective positions).
Some more facts:
The University of Miami‘s football program has set multiple records in producing players who go on to the National Football League. Put simply: There are tons of Miami Hurricanes in the NFL. The Hurricanes hold the record for most players selected in the first round in a single draft (6, in 2004), most first-round draft picks in a two-year period (11, from 2003 to 2004), most first-round draft picks in a three-year period (15, from 2002 through 2004), and most first-round picks in a four-year period (19, from 2001 through 2004). For a 14-year period, from 1994 through 2008, Miami had at least one player selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Hurricanes once had a streak of 149 consecutive regular season weeks where a former Hurricane scored a touchdown in an NFL game; the streak started in Week 15 of the 2002 NFL regular season and ended in Week 11 of the 2011 season. During the streak, 33 different former Hurricanes scored touchdowns and a total of 661 touchdowns were scored. The Miami Hurricanes are also 10th overall on the NFL’s all-time number of draft picks with 307 (School only started the football program in earnest in 1970, whereas powerhouses like Michigan and Ohio State have been around since 1944, first year of the NFL).
Since 1999, Miami Hurricanes has had 67 players selected, 2nd-most in the nation, behind only Ohio State University (77). In the same time-span, Hurricanes players were picked 33 times in the first-round, the most of any Division I university.
Though Miami has struggled over the past couple of years record-wise, the school is unequivocally moving in the right direction, under the leadership of Al Golden. There is no doubt that over the next several years, Miami will continue to send impact players to the NFL, thus making it a very attractive destination for all talented and motivated recruits, looking for an ideal “home” around the country.
Hurricanes Recruiting update:
The “U” picked up 3 new recruits for the 2013 class. ATH Jayron Kearse 6’4” 185lbs, RB Alex Collins 5′ 11″ 180lbs, and DT Keith Bryant 6′ 2″ 290lbs. All three are highly touted players from Florida, that join fellow Florida ATH Levonte Whitfield in committing to the ‘Canes. It’s a great sign to see Al Golden focus on recuiting local kids. Howard Schnellenberger’s’ “State of Miami” philosophy appears to have rubbed off on Golden.
Here’s some video to whet your appetite.
ATH - Jayron Kearse
RB – Alex Collins
DT – Keith Bryant
ATH - LeVonte Whitfield