A six-pack of UM and Marlins notes:
• Only two UM players in history (minimum 25 touchdowns) have more touchdowns than games played: Edgerrin James (35 in 28) and Willis McGahee (31 in 21). But Mark Walton (17 TDs in 16 games) is on pace for that.
In fact, the sophomore Walton also is on pace to top James and Stephen McGuire’s UM record of 35 touchdowns.
Most impressive about Walton: How he has boosted his yards per carry average from 3.5 to 8.4, which is 14th nationally.
He ranks seventh nationally in yards rushing with 401. He had 461 yards rushing all of last season.
• UM says only four freshmen haven’t played (and are thus on track to redshirt): quarterback Jack Allison, receiver Sam Bruce (suspended, then injured), tight end Jovani Haskins and defensive lineman Tyreic Martin.
• On Friday at the Fontainbleau on Miami Beach, UM will officially announce what we reported Sunday --- that the Soffer family will be the lead donors for an indoor practice facility. The Soffer family owns the hotel.
• Marlins manager Don Mattingly, not prone to hyperbole, told me Tuesday he believes Christian Yelich – who has jumped from seven homers and 44 RBI last season to 19 and 94 — could hit more than 30, with 130 RBI especially if he learns “how to pull the ball in the air to right field.”
He also believes he could hit .330. He’s a .293 career hitter and entered Tuesday hitting .299.
Yelich is proud of his boost in power because “it’s being a complete player and complete hitter.”
If Yelich hits one more homer, 790 The Ticket radio personality Brendan Tobin said he will eat crow because of an earlier bet that Yelich wouldn’t hit 20.
• For those wondering after reading up on Tim Tebow’s Mets instructional league debut the past two days: We’re told the Marlins weren’t impressed by his workout and never considered signing him.
• The Marlins on Tuesday designated right-handed reliever Bryan Morris for assignment three months after back surgery, explaining that they needed the roster spot.
But his agent, Jim Kuzmich, said Marlins executive Michael Hill “asked us to keep them in mind” when he chooses a new team in the coming months, if he’s not claimed off waivers in the next two days.
It’s a possible a team could claim Morris off waivers. If nobody claims him, he could accept the Marlins’ minor-league assignment and become a free agent this winter.
Kuzmich said it’s too early to tell the likelihood of Morris returning to the Marlins.
Morris was 9-5 with a 2.30 ERA in parts of three seasons for the Marlins. He has pitched in several simulated games recently as part of his rehab.
For a primer on the Florida Panthers roster and offseason changes, with camp opening Thursday, please click here.
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