After learning this week that defensive lineman Anthony Chickillo would be returning for his senior season, the University of Miami got more good news Friday regarding two players who were contemplating entering the NFL Draft.
Linebacker Denzel Perryman, who recently earned first-team All-ACC honors, announced he will return for his senior season.
“I decided to stay because it is the best decision for me and my family,” Perryman said. “Ever since Coach [ Al] Golden got here, I feel like this program is moving forward and will continue to rise under his direction.”
Added Perryman: “This coaching staff is dedicated to player development and getting us better. I’ve grown as a player and person each year thanks to them.”
Also announcing his decision Friday to return for his senior year: offensive guard Jonathan Feliciano, an honorable mention All-ACC selection who sometimes played tackle and started all 13 games in 2013.
Perryman, listed as 6-0 and 240 pounds, was given a third-round draft projection by the NFL Draft Advisory Board, his father told the Miami Herald on Tuesday.
Perryman started all 13 games in 2013 at outside linebacker. He led the team with 108 tackles, including five for losses and 1 ½ sacks. He had one forced fumble.
His father, Desmond, told the Herald on Tuesday that he and his wife, a teacher, hoped their son would stay for his senior year to get his degree, not to mention another year of playing experience, but that Denzel needed to make his own decision.
Had Perryman opted to turn pro, his loss would have been significant for UM, which struggled with depth and talent at linebacker this past season.
Besides Perryman, the Canes’ other top returning linebackers are rising junior Thurston Armbrister (33 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery) and rising sophomore Alex Figueroa (17 tackles, one sack).
The Hurricanes finished 9-4 this past season, including a 36-9 loss to Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
“Before this season, we hadn’t had a nine-win season in a long time,” Perryman said. “For those of us in my class who had never been to a bowl game because of the sanctions, it was a great feeling and I want to be a part of the next step forward.”
Powell to UF
Deerfield Beach running back Brandon Powell, who was supposed to enroll at UM on Wednesday but was waiting on a transcript from his school to finish the process, decided to commit to the University of Florida after receiving a scholarship offer to play for the Gators on Monday.
Powell’s father, Brian, confirmed the move in text message to the Miami Herald on Friday morning while the two were heading to Gainesville.
Powell – a four-star prospect by Rivals and ESPN – was slated to join Miami’s backfield alongside Duke Johnson and early enrollee Joseph Yearby from Miami Central and help cushion missed opportunities in securing commitments from Central’s Dalvin Cook (Florida State) and Plantation American Heritage’s Sony Michel (Georgia).
Instead, he has become the third UM decommitment in the last week, following Hialeah Champagnat Catholic defensive lineman Travonte Valentine and Miami Booker T. Washington cornerback Nigel Bethel.