There was a time when the University of Miami had at least one of their players get selected in the first round of the NFL draft.
High profile Hurricanes selected in the first round in the last ten years include Sean Taylor (RIP), Super Bowl winner Jeremy Shockey, stud wideout Andre Johnson, Jonathan ‘just give me the fine Roger’ Vilma the linebacker and defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
Between 2001 and 2004 the ‘U’ managed to get 19, yes 19 of its players selected in the first round.
Oh how times have changed. For the fourth consecutive year the team who invented swagger (see the excellent ESPN 30 for 30 documentary ‘The U’ for proof) failed to get a player announced by the Ginger Prince in round one.
In fact the last time the call came in the first round for a Miami grad was in 2008 when the New York Giants selected safety Kenny Phillips at pick #31.
In 2012 players from the ‘U’ went in round 3 (Vernon Olivier DE and Sean Spence LB), round 4 (Lamar Miller RB and Travis Benjamin WR) and round 6 (Tommy Streeter WR and Brandon Washington OG).
The University of Miami’s leading quarterback for the past four years, the skinny but rocket-armed Jacory Harris didn’t even get drafted. He has invites to a couple of NFL training camps including the Dolphins, but that isn’t exactly a great way to end four years of toiling in the sunshine.
The home team Dolphins did draft two of their own by nabbing Olivier at pick #72 and lightning running back Miller at #97. Other teams to select ‘U’ alumni in the 2012 draft included the Steelers, Browns, Ravens and Eagles.
Perhaps the most interesting member of the ‘U’ draft class of 2012 was wideout Tommy Streeter. Streeter was the ‘U’s’ leading receiver in 2011, grabbing eight touchdowns and averaged just under 68 yards a game.
The Baltimore Ravens picked up Streeter late in the sixth round, looking for him to potentially replace Lee Evans somewhere in the near future. It could a positive omen for Streeter that he is heading to Maryland, as the Ravens were the team who drafted ‘U’ rookies Ray Lewis (1996) and Ed Reed (2002).
Lewis and Reed are both going to end up with big bronze busts at the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day. no I’m not saying Streeter will follow, but I’m sure Reed and Lewis will look after a fellow ‘U’ graduate when it comes to rookie hazing in May.
Having seen the ‘U’ play live (I was at the 2009 home win 21-20 over Oklahoma) I have first-hand experience about how important playing for the ‘U’ is for these young men.
Somehow it doesn’t seem right that there are no Miami players being selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Maybe the Class of 2012 will change that?