Assuming you don’t hate The U the same way most people hate everything about the New England Patriots by now - and there are at least two generations of college football fans that probably do - the Miami Hurricanes have been a pleasant surprise ever since ex-Georgia head coach Mark Richt took over. The Canes improved on their 2016 record of 9-4 to go a solid 10-3 in 2017, finished 13th in both the Coaches and AP polls, and won the honor of....getting boat-raced by Clemson 38-3 in the ACC Championship Game. Can’t win ‘em all.
The Hurricanes held their Pro Day on Wednesday, and just like he was last week and the week before, Bill Belichick was back out on the scouting trail - and appeared to be particularly interested in some of Miami’s defensive standouts.
Of course, Belichick made a decision he’ll never regret and drafted all-time BAMF Vince Wilfork out of Miami in 2004 (with a pick the Ravens surely regret trading to him, nonetheless), and at Pro Day, Bill pulled the defensive line aside and ran a drill with them like he’s been doing at several Pro Days this year.
From the Sun-Sentinel:
“That was big,” (Chad) Thomas said of Belichick’s presence at Miami’s pro day. “That’s how you know ‘The U’ is still ‘The U’ and it’s going to always be ‘The U.’ … He was the first person here today, sitting down. As soon as you walked in, that was the first person you’d see. He was by himself, too. Seeing him, I knew it was a big deal.”
Yeah, that’d tend to get one fired up, I’d say.
Some familiar faces at Pro Day. pic.twitter.com/mIfWOMZohH— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) March 28, 2018
And thanks to Andrew Ivins of 247 Sports for going a little crazy on pictures:
There’s a whole 32-picture slide show in that link, so feel free to check that out and finish up the rest of this rundown later if that’s your thing. There’s a shot of ex-Arkansas coach Bret Bielema in there as well, who’s been working with the Patriots all draft season and hitting up plenty of the Pro Days that Bill can’t get to - and, obviously a few of the same ones.
As far as talent that the Patriots could use, Miami’s definitely got a few prospects that could intrigue on both sides of the ball. Here’s a few with their projected draft round from NFL.com:
Chad Thomas - Defensive End - 6’6’’, 275 lbs (Rounds 2-3)
Kendrick Norton - Defensive Tackle - 6’3’’, 314 lbs (Round 4)
KC McDermott - Offensive Tackle - 6’7’’, 300 lbs (Round 7/undrafted free agent)
RJ McIntosh - Defensive Tackle - 6’4’’, 286 lbs (Round 3-4)
Mark Walton - Running Back - 5’10’’, 188 lbs (Round 4)
Chris Herndon - Tight End - 6’4’’, 245 lbs (Round 4-5)
Braxton Berrios - Wide Receiver - 5’9’’, 186 lbs (Round 6-7)
Trent Harris - Defensive End - 6’2’’, 248 lbs (unclear)
Malik Mayweather - Wide Receiver - 6’0’’ 185 lbs (unclear)
Miami’s got a couple other things going for it too - head coach Mark Richt has already coached two Georgia-Bulldogs-gone-pro that Bill Belichick’s been quite pleased with in center David Andrews and receiver Malcolm Mitchell, and Richt’s brought his pro-style offense with him to the U. With the amount of college teams actually running NFL-type offenses seemingly shrinking every year, Belichick’s placed a higher value on kids that are at least somewhat familiar with pro-style concepts.
We’ll keep you posted on anywhere else that Bill or the rest of the Patriots turn up this week on the scouting trail.