University of Miami

Two Miami Hurricanes taken in late rounds of NFL Draft

The wait had to be exasperating Saturday for the Miami Hurricanes.

For former Miami quarterback Stephen Morris and receiver Allen Hurns, who went undrafted but signed free agent contracts with the Jacksonville Jaguars, it had to be excruciating.

“It’s been a very tough day,” said Colin Morris of his son, Stephen, who ranks third all-time in UM passing yards and was a high-round projection before the season began and he injured his Achilles tendon. “But, thankfully, he’s getting ready to head off to another city and start working with another team. I know Stephen is very excited about going to Jacksonville.”

The third day of the NFL Draft that began at noon surpassed the four-hour mark before a University of Miami player heard his name called.

Finally, at 4:15 p.m., UM punter Pat O’Donnell was selected 191st overall — the 15th pick of the sixth round — by the Chicago Bears.

More than two hours later, 6-7, 331-pound offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson was drafted 237th overall — the 22nd pick of the seventh round — by the Buffalo Bills.

A punter went before Henderson, the 2009 USA Today High School Offensive Player of the Year. But no one was particularly shocked.

O’Donnell proved to be such a talent at his position, and such an impressive physical specimen, that the Bears couldn’t pass him up.

Henderson, on the other hand, saw his draft stock increasingly plummet as he continued to get in one mishap after another. He was suspended multiple times for smoking marijuana, openly admitted it and showed remorse to NFL teams at the combine — where he then tested positive for marijuana, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week.

On Saturday, Henderson was talked about more than any other Hurricane.

“This kid was the no. 1 guy,” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper, Jr. said. “He was who everybody wanted coming out of high school. He was supposed to be the next Jonathan Ogden — that type of player coming out of the prep ranks. If he can stay focused, if he can just be all football and no other problems, then he can be a factor in the NFL. But he got pushed way down, beyond where any player with his physical prowess should be.’’

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who said Henderson had “more God-given natural ability than you can even believe,’’ was kinder.

“I wish the kid well,” Mayock said. “I hope Buffalo is able to help him grow up, and I’d like to see nothing more than this kid grow into and mature into this massive talent that he has.’’

As for O’Donnell, there was nothing but positive to say about the 6-4, 220-pound punter that set Miami’s single-season record by averaging 47.1 yards per punt that ranked second in the nation.

The draft ended with three Canes being selected. The first player taken was guard Brandon Linder (Jaguars) on late Friday night, the 93rd player overall and 29th in the third round. Linder, along with former UM offensive coordinator and current Jaguars coordinator Jedd Fisch, will be joined by undrafted free agents Morris and Hurns.

Also signing free-agent contracts, according to UM, were defensive tackles Justin Renfrow (Arizona Cardinals) and Curtis Porter (Oakland Raiders), linebacker Jimmy Gaines (Buffalo), fullback Maurice Hagens (Atlanta Falcons), tight end Asante Cleveland (San Francisco 49ers), guard/center Jared Wheeler (Carolina Panthers), safeties Kacy Rodgers II (Kansas City Chiefs) and A.J. Highsmith (San Francisco), and defensive end Shayon Green (Miami Dolphins).