Sometimes Brandon Washington misses his friends and family in Miami, but mostly, he said, hes content.
You get a little lonely at times, but you have to be mentally tough, said the former Miami Hurricane offensive lineman, now on the practice squad for the St. Louis Rams.
Marcus Forston, another Miamian who played at UM, is on the New England Patriots practice squad as a defensive tackle. He lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment in Foxborough, Mass., has developed a close relationship with star teammate and former Cane Vince Wilfork, and said he has no regrets about entering the NFL Draft after his redshirt junior season.
The year went pretty fast, and its been a tremendous experience, said Forston, who played about eight snaps for the Patriots in one early season game before being relegated to the practice squad. It was never my intention to stay at UM for five years. I got my college degree, and that was the most important thing to me.
Im still a Hurricane. I was born a Hurricane. No matter what, I still love that school.
Former Cane Tommy Streeter, a rookie receiver for the Baltimore Ravens and fellow Miamian, broke his left foot during the last exhibition game at Jacksonville. He was placed on injured reserve and has yet to play a snap in a real NFL game.
As a dad, I wanted him to come back for another year, Tommy Streeter Sr. said. I just feel like he had more things left on the field. But I wasnt disappointed, because he did what I asked him to do. He went to college and got his degree.
And local favorites Lamar Miller and Olivier Vernon?
Both are ecstatic to be Miami Dolphins, after being Miami Hurricanes, in their hometown.
The five former Hurricanes shocked their coach and created a stir one year ago when they left UM as underclassmen to declare early for the NFL Draft all five signing with agent Drew Rosenhaus. And though only Miller and Vernon have played in more than one game during the regular season, the others believe their best days are ahead.
Im very happy, Washington said. All I ever wanted was an opportunity, and Im not too far from that opportunity. Now that Im in the league, I see how it works. Its a numbers game. I could be a play away from someone being injured and me becoming active. Im just waiting for my moment, and getting better every day.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2013 draft is Jan. 15. UMs two players believed most likely to contemplate leaving are offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson and defensive tackle Curtis Porter. But both, according to a UM source, told Hurricanes coach Al Golden theyre returning.
That doesnt preclude them from changing their minds. Henderson petitioned the NFL to request his projected draft status from the NFL Draft advisory board.
I dont know how its going to turn out, but were here for them, said Golden, who assists his players with the process. Well help in any way we can talking to general managers, talking to the NFL Players Association, a myriad of ways to make sure they make an informed decision thats in their best interest.
Last year, most of the players declared even before they had received a reply from the NFL Draft advisory board, which projects the round or range of rounds in which a player will likely be drafted. Its an educated opinion, nothing more, from a group of NFL scouts and officials who review player information and videos.