UM, Panthers and Marlins notes on a Monday:
• UM coach Mark Richt was in Iowa recruiting Monday, and twice in the past two weeks, he has delivered the same message to any high-school safeties who are listening:
If you can play at a high level, please come to UM. You’re badly needed, with Rayshawn Jenkins and Jamal Carter graduating and uncertainty at the position beyond Jaquan Johnson.
Robert Knowles and Romeo Finley likely would be the front-runner to start at the other safety spot next season alongside Johnson.
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Richt recently used his radio show to implore safeties to come to UM.
UM has two three-star safeties orally committed: Southridge’s Billy Gibson and Palm Beach Gardens’ Amari Carter.
UM also says it wants to sign two running backs, with Gulliver’s Robert Burns (views on him vary widely) already orally committed.
And when I asked Richt on Sunday about other recruiting priorities, he mentioned receiver and offensive line.
• UM had just one defensive player named to the three All-ACC teams (cornerback Corn Elder was on the second team, along with receiver Ahmmon Richards and punter Justin Vogel). And defensive coordinator Manny Diaz wasn’t pleased.
Diaz tweeted: “13th in nation in Yards/Play, 14th in scoring D, & only 1 guy on 1st/2nd/3rd team All-ACC? Only 2 Hnr Ment? Come on people, pay attention”
UM’s two defensive honorable mentions: linebacker Shaquille Quarterman and safety Rayshawn Jenkins.
• Richt told WQAM’s Joe Rose and Curtis Stevenson on Monday that Brad Kaaya and David Njoku are considering turning pro but haven’t made a decision and will go through the process of getting input from the NFL Draft Advisory board.
UM is braced for losing both, though not certain that will happen by any means.
Asked how Njoku ranks as a receiver, Richt told Joe Rose: “I put him pretty close to you, Joe…. He has that ability to run after the catch, great stiff-arm. Not many have the ability to run not only fast but also have the ability to make people miss and have a determination to score after you catch the ball. He loves to try to score afterwards.”
• Richt said he doesn’t doubt that “somebody is trying to get that matchup” of UM against his former team, Georgia, in a Dec. 28 bowl game in Orlando. … He said there’s “a shot at Jacksonville, a shot at Charlotte, New York.”
The New York game at Yankee Stadium also is Dec. 28, the Jacksonville game on Dec. 31 at 11 a.m….
Richt said former guard Kc McDermott playing left tackle the past three games “ended up being a good thing for us.” He said that’s probably how UM will line up in the bowl game. That would mean former left tackle Trevor Darling potentially playing guard, starting or off the bench.… One thing that impressed Richt this year: “Our tackling on defense was very impressive, especially on the perimeter. How we hustle and how we tackle is very impressive.”
• Two UM players who frustrated coaches at times this season: receiver Stacy Coley (12 penalties exasperated the staff) and defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins (three personal foul penalties and a questionable attitude at times).
• One of the amusing sideshows of the Panthers’ surprising dismissal of Gerald Gallant has been the back-and-forth Twitter barbs between former Panthers coach and current Canadian TV NHL analyst Doug MacLean and Panthers co-owner Doug Cifu.
MacLean, who worked with Gallant – and fired him – but considers him a friend, initially tweeted:
Yandle 6.7Demers4.5 . [Kulikov] out ! [Gudbranson] out. Soft blueline. Told In summer rowe wanted to coach and some assist from Portland GM !
And then MacLean directed this tweet at Cifu: Doug Maclean
To which MacLean responded: Doug Maclean
• Continuing their search for pitching a weak market, the Marlins inquired about Royals free-agent right-hander Dillon Gee (8-9, 4.68 ERA).
Monday night update: The Marlins are signing free-agent right hander Edinson Volquez to a two-year $22 million deal, per sources. Volquez, 33, was 10-11 with a 5.37 ERA for Kansas City this past season.
Here are my two other posts from today: Here’s an injury update and everything notable Adam Gase said today.
Here’s a look at under-the-radar factors that have contributed to this winning streak, according to players.
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