University of Miami

These six UM Canes ready 'to ball out' as NFL undrafted free agents and tryout players

Miami Hurricanes kicker Michael Badgley, shown here after kicking the winning field goal last season against Georgia Tech, was the only UM player to earn first-team All-ACC on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. There were 10 UM players represented on the first, second and third teams.
Miami Hurricanes kicker Michael Badgley, shown here after kicking the winning field goal last season against Georgia Tech, was the only UM player to earn first-team All-ACC on Monday, Nov. 27, 2017. There were 10 UM players represented on the first, second and third teams. adiaz@miamiherald.com

They came to the University of Miami with plenty of promise. And along the way, they contributed many good things.

One of them is the program’s all-time scorer. Another was the sack leader on one of the best defensive lines in the nation. Two were offensive linemen who combined for 74 starts. And yet another was a two-time All-American in the FCS before he spent his last season as a Hurricane.

These guys are no slouches, but none of them were picked in the NFL Draft this past weekend. All six — kicker Michael Badgley, defensive end Trent Harris, offensive linemen Kc McDermott and Trevor Darling, cornerback Dee Delaney, and defensive tackle Anthony Moten — will be in rookie camps at least one of the next two weekends, fighting for their NFL dreams.

“Oh man, I’m very excited and very appreciative of the opportunity I have,’’ said Darling, the 6-4, 300-pound former Miami Central lineman who started 40 games in his four-year career, including at left guard in 2017 and left tackle the previous two seasons. “I talked to David Njoku. He was just like, ‘Come in ready to work. We’re going to ball out.'’’

UM's Michael Bagdley ​speaks to the media about his winning kick after the University of Miami defeats Georgia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017.

Njoku was the 2017 first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns, where Darling will be heading to try out and block for No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield in the three-day rookie minicamp one week from this weekend.

Delaney, like some of the other Hurricanes, all having completed their senior seasons, signed a priority free-agent contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“I was just hoping for the best,’’ said Delaney, 23, the graduate transfer who came to UM as the highly touted defensive back out of The Citadel of the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision. “You never know what’s going to happen.’’

UM senior defensive ends Chad Thomas (left) and Trent Harris reflect on the 2017 season before the Orange Bowl.

The 6-0, 200-pound Delaney, a hard hitter with 4.4-second speed, was a two-time All-American that led the Southern Conference with six interceptions for 163 return yards. He left The Citadel tied for second in career interceptions, with 13.

At UM, he finished the year with six starts in his 10 games (missing three with a right-knee injury), amassing 39 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, an interception, pass breakup and fumble recovery.

Delaney said on Monday that despite not getting selected this past weekend, he “stayed strong throughout the draft and watched it all’’ with his family in Beaufort, South Carolina. “I’m just grateful for this chance.

“I feel like everywhere I’ve been has been a challenge. I’m disciplined, very energetic and a leader. I’m ready to go.’’

Former Citadel All -American CB Dee Delaney speaks for the first time as a Miami Hurricane on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017.

Also ready is Harris, the 6-2, 250-pound tweener who can play outside linebacker or defensive end, where he led UM in sacks in 2017 with 8 1/2, adding 10 1/2 tackles for loss, one fumble recovery and tied for the team lead with six quarterback hurries. All that as a rotating backup.

Harris, from Winter Park, will get his shot as a priority free agent with the New England Patriots, the new team of Canes receiver Braxton Berrios, a sixth-round pick on Saturday.

“He’s really thrilled,’’ Harris’ mom, Betsy, said. “He had five or six teams to pick from in a matter of minutes. He came downstairs and said, ‘I’m going to be a Patriot.’

“We were there to support him no matter what. All he needed was somebody to give him that chance. We know he’ll do well.’’

Among the other Hurricanes preparing to make their marks one of the next two weekends (NFL teams can elect to have their minicamps either one) is kicker Badgley, the first-team All-ACC and Lou Groza Award semifinalist who became UM’s all-time scorer this season with 403 points and No. 1 field-goal kicker with 77. Badgley signed a priority free-agent contract with the Colts.

Additionally, 6-6, 311-pound left tackle and former guard McDermott, out of Palm Beach Central High, signed with Jacksonville. McDermott started the final 34 games of his career, and is the younger brother of former UM center Shane McDermott.

Moten, who played at Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas High, signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dolphins.

Kristal Caron, Darling’s agent from CN Sports, echoed the others when she said Monday that all her client wants is to personally show an NFL team what he’s got.

“He knows the nature of the business and understands what to expect and how to trust the process,’’ Caron said. “We think he’s a great football player. He just had to have the opportunity.’’

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