In May, when he was still waiting to graduate from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High School, Brevin Jordan, the top prep tight end in America said he was ready to help take the University of Miami to new heights in football.
Will Mallory, another national tight end phenom out of Jacksonville Providence School, was equally effusive a few days later about his soon-to-be new college — and Jordan.
“Having us both together on the field will be a mismatch for defenses,’’ Mallory said. “The way the coaches want to use us will be a really, really good fit and kind of scary for other people.’‘
The two will have their first chance even sooner than expected, as UM announced Wednesday that junior Michael Irvin II, the only Canes tight end with any significant college playing experience, sustained a serious knee injury.
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Sophomore Brian Polendey played mostly on special teams in six games last season.
“You know, it’s tough to see a kid go down. It doesn’t matter who it is,’’ UM tight ends coach Todd Hartley told the media Wednesday after fall camp practice No. 5, the first with full pads. “Michael was having a great camp. He had a great spring camp. He really, really had a great summer and was really lookinjg forward to seeing what he was going to do this fall.
“There’s still a possibility he could come back at the end.’’
Irvin underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a right-knee medial collateral ligament injury, believed to have been sustained on Monday during practice. He is expected to be sidelined for about four months, UM said in a released statement, adding that he is expected to make a full recovery.
“Irvin is my guy,’’ UM running back DeeJay Dallas said. “We were preparing for a big season from his this year.’’
Irvin, the son of UM great and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Michael Irvin, is from Fort Lauderdale and graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas High School. He played in 12 games last season, catching nine passes for 78 yards. He had no catches in the six games in which he saw limited action as a freshman.
UM opens the season against LSU on Sept. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“I think about the LSU game every night before I go to sleep,’’ Jordan told the Miami Herald in May.
Said Hartley: “Now you’re going out there with kids that you think are capable, but there’s no substitute for game experience,’’ Hartley said. “And then it kind of hurts you in practice a little bit from a rotation standpoint. Those young guys have to grow up. Now it’s sink or swim.”
If they’re as good as they’ve been the past few years and in practice the past week, Jordan and Mallory will rise to the occasion.
Jordan, listed as 6-3 and 245 pounds, finished his senior year at Bishop Gorman with 1,111 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns on 63 catches.
“A freak,’’ South Florida recruiting analyst Larry Blustein calls him. “He’s going to be one of those guys that takes it right over. He’s a dominator. This kid is really, really, really good.’’
Mallory, 6-5 and 230 pounds, was rated as the nation’s third-best tight end prospect by ESPN, with 21 catches for 364 yards and three touchdowns last season. He had sustained a concussion last August, then almost immediately sprained his ankle when he returned in the third game and didn’t play again until there were only three games left.
He had 46 catches for 900 yards and 12 touchdowns his junior season.
Hartley said they both, as expected, have impressed.
“Through five practices, they’ve kind of exceeded expectations, to be honest,’’ Hartley said. “Brevin, specifically, he’s a kid that has unbelievable athleticism. You saw that in high school. You come out here and he’s just got stuff that you can’t coach. He runs routes well, has a good understanding of how to beat press, how to understand coverages and reading leverage and getting in and out of breaks.
“He’s [an] extremely gifted route-runner. But he’s also, for a young kid, pretty good at the point of attack. [He has] a long way to go and it really is a benefit to him that he goes against our defensive line every day. He’s right where I thought he’d be, if not further along.’’
Hartley said he “didn’t really [know] what to expect from Mallory... but man, that kid’s doing unbelievable as well. He’s really having a good camp and making a lot of plays and running and catching. The blocking stuff that we’ve put him in there with, he’s really done a nice job.
“Both of them just need to keep doing what they’re doing. ...They’re on track to be where they need to be.”
Both will have their opportunities Saturday in UM’s first fall scrimmage, closed to the media and public.
“It’s big,’’ Hartley said. “They’re getting hit now. The only thing that’s not happening now is we’re not going to the ground.
“They’re getting popped in the mouth, they’re getting driven back. They’re able to hit people and drive people back. The scrimmage, to me, is going to be no different than being out here every day.”