Former Miami Hurricanes running back Mike James, who is hoping to get picked in this weekend’s NFL Draft, spent most of Thursday night ignoring the selection process in New York by going bowling in Miami with friends.
As far as skipping on draft coverage — he didn’t miss much.
For the first time since 1963, no running backs were chosen in the first round. And, for the fifth consecutive year, there were no Canes picked.
James, who is expected to get drafted in the middle to late rounds, took the news about the running backs in stride.
“I don’t see that as disrespect to the position,” James said. “I just think there are some diamonds in the rough at running back, and we’re waiting for teams to pull the trigger.”
Through three rounds, no team has yet to pull the trigger on James or cornerback Brandon McGee, the other former Canes star with a realistic chance of getting drafted this weekend.
Assuming one of them does get picked, it would mark the 38th consecutive year that Miami has had at least one draft selection.
Stephen Starks, James’ agent, said this is a “wide-open” year for running backs.
“There is a lot of parity among players, but Mike is getting significant interest from teams,” Starks said. “We’re keeping our hopes up. I know Mike will be happy whenever his name is called.”
One thing is for certain: No college or university has more of its former players in the NFL than the Canes, a fact that can only help James and McGee because there is a track record of success coming out of the program.
It also can’t hurt that there are now four former Canes coaches running NFL programs, including new hires Rob Chudzinski with the Browns and Marc Trestman with the Bears.
In addition, Greg Schiano is the second-year coach of the Bucs, and his new special-teams coach is Dave Wannstedt. Also, Butch Davis is a Bucs advisor.
In Indianapolis, Chuck Pagano is in his second year as coach of the Colts. And Alfredo Roberts is the team’s tight ends coach.
Perhaps one of those coaches will push for a solid all-around running back such as James or a speedy cornerback such as McGee.
James is thrilled by the prospect of any of those scenarios.
“I’m excited that it’s my time,“ James said. “The first draft I can vividly remember was in 2006, when I was a high school freshman. [Running back] Reggie Bush was picked that year [second overall].
“I can’t believe I’m 22 years old and getting ready to be drafted.”