Barry Jackson

Disappointing silence on Buoniconti; Dolphins and UM notes

Getty Images for The Buoniconti

An eight-pack of Dolphins and UM notes:

• Nick Buoniconti told me last week that he didn’t receive a single call from the NFL after he told Sports Illustrated about all the health problems he’s experiencing as a presumed result of playing football, including struggles to put on a shirt, and his diagnosis of neurodegenerative dementia.

The fact nobody from the NFL called to offer help or commiserate is disappointing, Buoinconti said.

“I might have more to say [eventually] but right now, I'm struggling,” said the 76-year-old Hall of Famer, adding “if it wasn't for my wife, I wouldn't be alive today. She is outstanding and such a good advocate of mine.”

• You know who has made a very good early impression on teammates?

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

“We watch tape every day and you watch him and he is flying around, running to the ball, practicing hard the way you should,” backup quarterback Matt Moore said. “Another – talk about key additions – I think that’s a great addition. The guy is just a football player and you love it. He doesn’t say much but plays ball. He got me there a couple times at the end of the [Steelers playoff] game. He threw me around a little bit; but he’s just a veteran linebacker – all over the place. I remember him communicating well, always talking.”

• Moore said DeVante Parker “is kind of hitting his stride right now and everybody’s seeing it. You throw the ball to him, he makes it really easy. He makes the quarterback look good a lot of the times. He’ll be a big part for us this year.”

• The Dolphins are still trying to figure out whether Walt Aikens is better suited at cornerback than safety. The likelihood is that he will need to play both as Miami’s ninth defensive back (before TJ McDonald comes off suspension) and potentially 10th afterward, barring injuries.

Aikens will need to beat out Lafayette Pitts, undrafted Georgia rookie Maurice Smith and others, but he’s valued as a special teams player.

“Walt’s another guy that we’re moving around a little bit and cross-training,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said. “He’s played some safety; we’re playing some corner. He’s a big athlete. He’s obviously a huge asset to us on (special) teams. We like having a versatile player in that role on the roster, so Walt has done a good job. Again, we’re trying to put him maybe in a spot that he’s not as comfortable and see how he responds, and he’s done a good job working for us so far.”

• A couple of UM recruiting notes if you missed it last week: Three-star safety Randy Russell de-committed, but UM is still loaded with more highly-rated defensive back commitments for 2018: Gilbert Frierson, Josh Jobe, Gurvan Hall and D.J. Ivey. The first three are four-star recruits, the last one a three-star. And Bennie Blades has told me there’s a 90-percent chance that four-star prospect Al Blades Jr., his nephew, will end up at UM. Also, Miami is pursuing others, including five-star Plantation American Heritage cornerback Patrick Surtain Jr., rated by Rivals as the second-best prospect, period, for the 2018 class.....

Four-star Ft. Myers-based Class of 2019 four-star defensive end Derrick Henry orally commited to UM.

• As Mark Richt told several other reporters today, there is nothing imminent with regard to UM adding a grad transfer at running back. Trayone Gray and Robert Burns should be cleared for contact by the opening of practice Aug. 1. ... Offensive tackle Sunny Odogwu, who left UM to seek more playing time, is transferring to UCLA

• UM coach Jim Larranaga, on 6-5 guard Miles Wilson – who is transferring to UM from Mt. St. Mary’s: “Miles comes to the U after a very successful year at Mount St. Mary's, where he helped them reach the NCAA Tournament. Miles has the size, length and athletic ability to be an outstanding defender; in addition, he has the shooting and ball handling skills to be a real threat at the offensive end.

“We love that Miles played for Pat Clatchy at Mount St. Joseph's high school in Baltimore, Md., on of the best programs in the country and in one of the toughest high school basketball leagues. He will redshirt this year, which will allow him to make the adjustment to our program and the jump to the ACC level.”

Wilson, who must sit out next season per NCAA transfer rules, averaged 11.8 points and shot 45.4 percent from the field in his one season at Mt. St. Mary’s.

• Twenty five teams have asked for workouts with UM forward Davon Reed, and he has agreed to do 15, including two with Indiana. He could be a late second-round pick or go undrafted. The Heat has studied him.

Here’s my piece from earlier today on UM’s additions at cornerback.