Ten UM notes on a Wednesday:
• Mark Richt, during a Wednesday morning appearance on WQAM, was asked by Joe Rose and Zach Krantz about the position that most concerns him.
“We are possibly thin at running back,” he said. “We have four on scholarship. Two [Robert Burns, Trayone Gray] are coming off of injury. Mark Walton is a guy... who can really do it for us. We have faith the other guys are able but they haven't done it or are coming off injuries…. If they don't come back off injuries well, it would be very scary for us probably.”
No grad transfer at running back has materialized.
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• When asked about UM’s loaded recruiting class for 2018, Richt made an interesting point: He said if a couple of draft-eligible players don’t turn pro next spring, “next year’s group might be as good as you can hope for.”
Richt didn’t specify, but if junior running back Walton and junior defensive tackles Kendrick Norton and Richard McIntosh return in 2018, that would vastly help UM’s chances of competing for an ACC championship and potentially more.
• Richt, during that WQAM appearance, made a good point about one reason for Ahmmon Richards’ success last season.
“You had Stacy Coley, David Njoku playing other side of the field,” Richt said. “Those two guys were known quantities.”
Because of that, Richards “was basically getting one on one coverage.” That could change this year.
•While demonstrating an ability to make the big play, quarterback Malik Rosier also has shown a penchant for turnovers.
And without mentioning Rosier or any of his quarterbacks, Richt said: “The worst thing [the quarterback] could try to do is be a hero…. The guy has to learn to really respect the football and not turn a bad situation into a catastrophe.”
• One veteran NBA scout, on UM draft prospect Davon Reed: “I've never been particularly high on him. Nice player but when you really drill down on him, I don't know if he's an elite athlete. Shoots the open jumper pretty well. But is he quick enough to create space? Maybe goes in the late 50s.”
UM’s Kamari Murphy, who worked out for a few NBA teams but is expected to go undrafted, “is a low-level foreign player,” the scout said. “He drove me crazy [at Miami]. He thought he could shoot.”
• Former UM quarterback Steve Walsh joined Marc Trestman’s Toronto Argonauts staff as a senior assistant. Former UM players Brandon Harris and Brandon Washington are on the Argonauts’ CFL roster.
• Fox hired former UM great Ray Lewis as an analyst on Fox Sports 1 and its digital platforms. He previously worked at ESPN.
• Before the Detroit Lions offseason program ended, coach Jim Caldwell said “we like what we see” in sixth-round pick Brad Kaaya.
He was taking third-team snaps behind Matthew Stafford and Jake Rudock.
• Tony Hernandez, a high-ranking official in UM’s athletic department for many years, joined Texas Tech as former UM athletic director Kirby Hocutt’s COO and No. 2. Hernandez was UM’s interim AD after Hocutt left, before James was hired.
Jenn Strawley, UM’s deputy A.D., is now clearly No. 2 behind AD Blake James.
• The UM baseball team’s two drafted juniors – center fielder Carl Chester (12th round pick last week) and pitcher Jesse Lepore (24th) – signed with Tampa Bay and Colorado, respectively.
The highest-drafted four UM commitments either have signed or are expected to: Shortstop Jeter Downs (Reds), third baseman/shortstop Mark Vientos (Mets), third baseman Joe Perez (Houston) and James Marinan (Dodgers).
But UM expects to retain two players who were ranked in the top 200 draft-eligible prospects: right-handed pitcher Chris McMahon (ranked 100th by mlb.com) and first baseman Alex Toral (ranked 198th).
Also, InsideTheU reported outfielder James Davison, who spent one season at Miami after transferring from junior college, plans to play at St. Mary’s University, a Division II school in Texas. Davison hit .234 with 14 stolen bases.