New Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz, the Canes’ former defensive coordinator, had a bearing on the return of starting star linebackers Michael Pinckney, Shaq Quarterman and Zach McCloud for their senior seasons.
But teammate Joe Jackson is heading to the NFL.
Jackson, the University of Miami’s gifted defensive end, posted on social media Thursday that he will enter the NFL Draft.
“So excited to announce I’ve officially joined the @rocnationsports family,’’ Jackson posted on Instagram. “Much love to my @canesfootball teammates, coaches, fans, and the University for everything during my time at the U. can’t wait for this next chapter as I enter the @NFLdraft! #RocFam #PathToTheDraft
Jackson, 6-5 and 265 pounds, is from Homestead and graduated from Miami Gulliver Prep.
He had a great season as one of UM’s finest players on defense, starting 12 of 13 games and finishing with a team-high nine sacks. He added 14 1/2 tackles for loss, 47 total tackles, three pass breakups, a team-high nine quarterback hurries — and a 42-yard interception that he returned for his second career touchdown.
Jackson, 22, becomes the third UM junior to declare for the draft, four days after running back Travis Homer announced the same decision. Offensive lineman Venzell Boulware, who transferred to UM this season from Tennessee, also announced this past week that he is leaving early for the NFL.