No. 14 has come out of retirement in Coral Gables.
The jersey, that is.
The teenager who is wearing it this spring and will don it next season shares the same name as the older man who made it famous when he won the Heisman Trophy in 1986.
Vincent Testaverde, the shaggy-haired son of University of Miami quarterback great Vinny Testaverde, is the newest quarterback on the Hurricanes’ roster.
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“It’s been my favorite number for a while,’’ said Vincent, 18, all smiles Tuesday as he wriggled into an “I AM MIAMI U MADE” T-shirt for his first interview with the media since arriving in January as a walk-on transfer from Texas Tech. “I wore it in high school and when I heard I was going to be coming here I immediately asked him about it.
“He wasn’t shocked or anything. He said right away if it’s available he’d let me wear it. So, I mean, it’s big, just coming out of retirement.
The younger Testaverde completed 15 of 26 passes for 116 yards and an interception during a 34-13 loss to Texas last season in his only game as a freshman. Since he also was a walk-on at Texas Tech, he is eligible to play immediately should he be needed.
At 6-1 not nearly as towering as his 6-5 father, Vincent didn’t play football until his junior year at Tampa Jesuit.
Vinny Testaverde, now 51 and living in Tampa, was the No. 1 overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1987 NFL Draft. He played 21 years and threw for 46,233 yards and 275 touchdowns, for seven NFL teams, including the New York Jets for seven seasons.
Testaverde was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. In addition to winning the Heisman, he won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, Maxwell Award and Davey O’Brien Trophy in 1986, “but didn’t really talk anything about it,’’ Vincent said.
“When I was growing up, his career was ending and he just wanted what was best for me. He didn’t really force me on anything, so he didn’t pressure me into playing. I liked basketball growing up, so I just stuck with it. One day I told him I decided I wanted to try out for football, so I went out there and really liked it.’’
Testaverde “throws a really pretty ball,’’ offensive coordinator James Coley said. “Obviously, this is a big change from Texas Tech and their [spread offense]. It takes a little getting used to down here.’’
UM coach Al Golden described Testaverde as “very bright’’ and said Tuesday that the “stark contrast in systems’’ has probably presented the biggest challenge for him. “He’s throwing the ball really well.’’
Added UM starter Brad Kaaya: “He’s pretty smart. If he makes mistakes he’s able to know where he messed up. He’s making a lot more reads and now he’s getting on to the option routes and being able to call stuff out on his own.’’
Testaverde began his college career with the Red Raiders because coach Kliff Kingsbury played with Vinny for the Jets in 2005, respected the elder Testaverde and liked what he saw on tape of the younger one.
“He hadn’t played football a lot, so we thought a little more development and he could have a shot to be a good player,’’ Kingsbury said last November during a Big 12 coaches’ teleconference, according to a Dallas Morning News story. “[Vinny] was an 18-year veteran and he was very good for me and treating me well, and I always remember that.’’
Testaverde said Tuesday he “had a good time’’ at Texas Tech, but he “just wanted to come here.
“The experience so far is nice. I like it better.’’
He said he still hears “about how great’’ his father was. “It’s a lot to live up to, I understand that. You can’t listen to that. You can’t let it get in your head. You just have to do your thing.”
The Hurricanes will have their first controlled scrimmage of the spring on Thursday morning. It is closed to the media and public.
Cornerback Tracy Howard has a shoulder injury and will not compete Thursday, Golden said. Safety Deon Bush and linebacker Raphael Kirby were sick but could be back for the scrimmage. …Backup quarterback Malik Rosier is expected to compete Thursday before heading to Louisville for the weekend baseball series.