Hurricanes junior quarterback Brad Kaaya and his talented redshirt sophomore tight end David Njoku were noncommittal after Saturday’s 40-21 UM victory about the prospect of entering the NFL Draft early.
Neither of them ended speculation on whether they might turn pro, indicating they’d have to think about that in the coming weeks.
“I don’t really know. I couldn’t tell you, man,” said Kaaya, who set the all-time UM passing record with his 396 yards that put him at 9,686 in three seasons — with a bowl game still to go. “I don’t know. I’m sure we’ll know eventually.
“I don’t even know. I’m sorry.
“It’s crossed my mind, for sure. Of course. It crosses every kid’s mind. That’s a dream for a lot of people, to go play in the National Football League. I’ve just got a lot of things to factor out. I’ve got to sit down with Coach [Mark] Richt, my parents, a couple mentors of mine back home. Just gotta hash things out, gotta talk to guys around me, talk to my teammates and just figure things out.
“I couldn’t tell you at this point. I’m sorry.”
Njoku, who had a career-high 134 yards and two touchdowns on just two catches, said this about the decision: “We’re just focused on the bowl game right now, and then I’m sure I’ll figure it out afterwards. We’ll see.”
The Hurricanes honored the following 18 student-athletes on Senior Day in a pregame ceremony: Gage Batten, Kevin Carroll, Jamal Carter, Wyatt Chickillo, Adrian Colbert, Stacy Coley, Standish Dobard, Corn Elder, Frank Gabriel, Alex Gall, Danny Isidora, Rayshawn Jenkins, Hunter Knighton, Malcolm Lewis, Austin Pfenninger, Justin Vogel, Michael Welch and Marquez Williams.
▪ Hurricanes junior Michael Badgley is now 21 of 21 in field goals between 40-49 yards during his UM career. He made a 47-yarder to make it 3-0 at 11:32 of the first quarter and a 43-yarder to make it 33-14 with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Badgley added field goals of 33 and 25 yards.
▪ Former UM quarterback/safety A.J. Highsmith, whose last season was 2013, returned to Hard Rock Stadium for the first time since he was at his own Senior Day. This time, however, Highsmith is a pro personnel scout with the San Francisco 49ers, who play the Dolphins on Sunday.
“It’s been fun,” Highsmith said. “I saw a lot of old, familiar faces. Duke has always been a tough game for us. But I think Coach Richt has the guys playing with a lot of energy and has UM at the brink of doing something really good. Hopefully, it goes the right way for them.”
The other NFL teams that sent scouts Saturday: the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens.
▪ Jon Beason served as UM’s honorary captain. Also, UM running back great Don Bosseler, a consensus All-American in 1956, was recognized on the 60th anniversary of that season.
That was the first year the Hurricanes finished ranked in the top 10 – No. 6 – with their 8-1-1 record. Bosseler, the Senior Bowl MVP, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990 and also was inducted into the UM Sports Hall of Fame and UM’s Ring of Honor.
▪ Kaaya moved past North Carolina’s T.J. Yates for 10th place on the ACC’s all-time career passing yards list.
Miami announced that UM’s paid attendance of 50,396 marked the second time in school history that UM football had at least 50,000, in paid attendance, that is, at every game. They also achieved that mark in 2002.