University of Miami

UM senior center Nick Linder leaves football team

Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton (1) celebrates as he is lifted by Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Nick Linder (68) in the fourth quarter as the University of Miami hosts Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium on Sat., Nov. 21, 2015
Miami Hurricanes running back Mark Walton (1) celebrates as he is lifted by Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Nick Linder (68) in the fourth quarter as the University of Miami hosts Georgia Tech at Sun Life Stadium on Sat., Nov. 21, 2015 adiaz@miamiherald.com

University of Miami senior center Nick Linder has left the Hurricanes football program.

Linder, a 6-3, 298-pound offensive lineman out of St. Thomas Aquinas High, will sit out this season and transfer to another football program, according to UM football coach Mark Richt.

“Nick is going to sit out this season, he’s going to go home I think and train for one semester and then he’s going to transfer somewhere else,’’ Richt said Monday after practice. “He’s a graduate transfer. He graduates in a couple days.

“He’s going to graduate, he’s going to work out from what he told me and then he’s going to go somewhere else to finish his career.’’

Why is that?

“You have to ask him. When guys leave it just puts pressure on the rest of the team. He’s a really good player and he really knows what he’s doing. Certainly, I”m disappointed, because I’d rather him be here than not be here.’’

Hurricane offensive lineman Nick Linder indicates UNC will be a formidable opponent and the Canes need to come out strong from the start.

The Linder family has long been known to Miami Hurricanes fans, as older brother Brandon was a star offensive lineman who played with the Canes from 2010 to 2013, and was recently in the news for signing a five-year, $51.7-million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nick Linder — not at practice Monday — has had numerous injury issues during his UM career, and last season started the first nine games at center before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery. He was replaced by Alex Gall for the final four games.

Gall graduated, leaving junior 6-5, 305-pound Tyler Gauthier as the apparent starter at center. Freshman Corey Gaynor is now with the second team, Richt said, with redshirt sophomore Hayden Mahoney also playing center.

Gauthier is listed in the UM media guide as having started the last four games of 2016 at left guard.

Last week, offensive line coach Stacy Searels said six players, including Linder, were playing first-team snaps. Gauthier is at center, Kc McDermott is at left tackle, Trevor Darling is at left guard, Navaughn Donaldson is at right guard and Tyree St. Louis is at right tackle.

In 2015, Linder was one of four UM players to start all 13 games, helping the team to its 29th-ranked passing offense.

Nick was an Under-Armour All-American at St. Thomas.

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