Miami Hurricanes

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Brad Kaaya thinks Miami will be playoff contender in 2017, “no doubt”

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In his second season as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes, Mark Richt has some believing this may actually be the time Miami turns a corner and fulfills the expectations place don the program when they joined the ACC from the Big East. Despite a few flashes in the pan with good starts to a season here and there, Miami has long struggled to be the football power the ACC thought it was adding, but could 2017 be different? Former Hurricanes quarterback Brad Kaaya seems to think so.

In Indianapolis for the NFL Combine, Kaaya says he has no regrets over making his decision to turn pro with a year of eligibility remaining at Miami, even though he feels he could have been a part of something truly special with the Miami Hurricanes had he stuck around fo the 2017 campaign. How special? How about College Football Playoff contention?

“I thought of both scenarios, but at the end of the day it was an opportunity that I’ve wanted since I was six years old — to play in the National Football League,” Kaaya said in a story by former college football reporter Joe Schad, who currently covers the Miami Dolphins for Palm Beach Post. “And while I think I could have won a national championship and a conference championship had I stayed at Miami, it’s always been a dream of mine to play in the Super Bowl — and play in an NFC Championship or AFC Championship.”

The thought of Miami winning a national championship may be a bit of a reach influenced by close ties to a program, so you can excuse Kaaya for thinking so highly of the once-mighty Miami program. But he does have faith Richt could be on the verge of getting Miami to stay on the right track.

“I think they’ll be in good hands,” Kaaya said. “Coach Richt will have them back on the right page pretty soon. I think next season they’ll be a playoff contender, no doubt.”

Miami went 9-4 in Richt’s first season with the program, complete with the first bowl victory by the program since winning the 2006 MPC Computers Bowl under Larry Coker. Since that 2006 season, Miami has had four different head coaches (including two interim coaches) before landing Richt and has finished in the AP top 25 just twice. The last time Miami hit double digits in the win column was in the 2003 season, Miami’s curtain call in the Big East that ended with a No. 5 ranking and an Orange Bowl victory. The program has since had to crawl through NCAA issues and has not been able to keep pace with ACC powers Florida State and Clemson and has yet to win one ACC Coastal Division championship.

But hey, maybe this is the year the “Is Miami back” question will be able to be answered affirmatively for more than a month.

Miami confirms mother of RB Mark Walton has passed away

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Unfortunately, there’s sad and heartbreaking news coming out of South Florida Friday.

Rumors began swirling in the early morning hours that the mother of Miami running back Mark Walton, Kimberly Rogers, had died.  Early this afternoon, Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald confirmed through Walton’s high school football coach that the rising junior’s mom died Thursday night.

Not long after, the football program confirmed the passing.

At this time, there is no word on the cause of death. This is the second tragedy involving a parent Walton has had to endure in his young life as his father, Mark Walton Sr., was murdered a little over a decade ago.

“He was stabbed in the heart by his girlfriend,” Walton, whose parents by that time were separated, said back in January of 2015. “It affected me big time. I knew he wanted me to do the right things in life and keep my head focused.

“That’s my motivation in life, make my mom happy, the way she treats me. She broke her back for me. I want to make her happy at the end of the day.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Mark Walton and all of those impacted by Kimberly Rogers’ passing.

Tennessee reportedly fills wide receivers vacancy with FIU coach

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Athletic director is apparently not the only position Tennessee is filling on Tuesday.

Hot on the heels of naming John Currie as the school’s new AD, the Vols are reportedly expected to name Florida International assistant Kevin Beard as the team’s new wide receivers coach.

CanesInSight’s Peter Ariz first reported the move.

Beard will replace former assistant Zach Azzani, who took the same position with the Chicago Bears.

The former Miami receiver joined the FIU staff this offseason after serving as a quality control coach with Georgia last year. Prior to that, Beard was the receivers coach with the Hurricanes for two seasons alongside now-Tennessee offensive coordinator Larry Scott.

For a rather random Tuesday at the end of February, things certainly are busy on Rocky Top.

Miami the landing spot for transferring FCS All-American CB

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With National Signing Day nearly a month in the rear-view, Miami has added a very talented and experienced piece to its secondary puzzle.

On his Instagram account late Tuesday morning, Dee Delaney (pictured, right) confirmed that he will be transferring from The Citadel to Miami.  As the cornerback will be coming to the Hurricanes as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to suit up and play in 2017.

The upcoming season will be his final year of collegiate eligibility.

Below is Delaney’s social media missive saying goodbye to his old home and hello to his new one.

Well while one chapter in my book has ended another one is beginning. Deciding to come to The Citadel was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and now deciding to leave is even harder. The friendships I have made here will last forever. The Citadel has made me into a better and much mature person and for that all I can say is Thank you! I will be transferring to the University of Miami to finish up my senior football season. Thanks for all the support and much love! C I T A D E L!!! C I T A D E L!!! Once a dawg always a dawg! -Dee Delaney

Delaney was an FCS All-American each of the past two seasons. The 6-1, 191-pound defensive back intercepted 11 passes in that span, including six picks in 2016 that were tied for second at the FCS level.

Blocked from Pitt and Syracuse, Gus Edwards’ transfer from Miami to Rutgers is official

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In opting to leave Miami in late January, Gus Edwards was restricted by the university from transferring to two of his top choices in Pittsburgh and Syracuse as they were on this coming season’s schedule. A little over a month later, the Staten Island native, who wanted to transfer and move closer to home as he was a new father, has found his new college football home in the same area of the country.

On its official Twitter account earlier Monday, Rutgers announced that Edwards has transferred into the Scarlet Knights football program. As Edwards will be coming in as a graduate transfer, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2017.

The upcoming season will be the running back’s final year of eligibility.

Edwards was third on the team this past season in rushing with 290 yards. For his Hurricanes career, the 6-1, 230-pound back ran for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns on 186 carries.

A foot injury suffered in summer camp cost Edwards the entire 2015 season. He received a medical redshirt for that season.