A six-pack of UM notes as we await Canes-Georgia Tech on Saturday:
• An NFC scout said UM junior running back Mark Walton, out for the season after ankle surgery, would have been a second or third round pick with a good year.
He still could be a mid-round pick if he turns pro. One negative: his 2.5 career average against top defenses FSU and Clemson (31 carries, 78 yards).
But even if Walton moves on, UM is in good shape, with oral commitments from Orange City-based five-star Lorenzo Lingard (Rivals’ No. 2 running back in the 2018 class and No. 8 overall prospect) and Carol City’s four-star Camron Davis (Rivals’ No. 6 back and No. 66 overall prospect).
Davis said competing against each other – and perhaps Walton and sophomore Travis Homer, for that matter – didn’t dissuade either of the high school seniors.
"It doesn’t bother us because we’re from Florida," Davis said. "It’s about competing to get us better. We are going to be great players. It’s going to be a long journey with me and Lorenzo and it’s going to be hard for a lot of colleges to stop us as a 1-2 punch.
"Lorenzo is about 6-1. I’m 5-10, 5-11. And we both are powerful and we both have speed. I’m more like Adrian Peterson, he’s more like Frank Gore."
• Of the players definitely out Saturday - right guard Navaughn Donaldson, cornerback Dee Delaney and safety Sheldrick Redwine - the Redwine injury concerns me the most even though he’s probably the least talented of the three.
That’s because Robert Knowles struggled and was out of position several times after replacing Redwine in the second half against FSU. The good news is that Georgia Tech is run-oriented, so that should help Knowles.
As for the others, Corey Gaynor figures to replace Donaldson, and UM likes Gaynor’s athleticism and toughness.
Without Delaney, UM’s top four corners should be Malek Young, Michael Jackson, impressive freshman Trajan Bandy and Jhavonte Dean, whose inability to beat out Jackson was surprising this summer. Jackson, whose strength is playing the run, should play a lot in this game.
• So what’s the deal with Dean, who was supposedly the nation’s top junior college cornerback last season?
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said he “is getting better and better.”
Said Diaz: “He went in there and did some good things in the Duke game, which was really good for his confidenc. “Learning what day to day college football is all about, it’s a jump. You have habits you have to get out of. When guys come and don’t get here for spring, much of the summertime, they’re kind of learning on the fly. He was as good as anyone we had the first week of August, and then he went backwards.
“That’s going to happen because you start thinking more and have more techniques. You have to fight out of that which usually happens for a freshman. In my experience of guys coming from junior college they’re always better the last six games of their first year. So we’re not at all surprised by his development, we’re excited about it. I know he’s playing more physically, is tackling better. … We’re really excited that he’s here.”
• Diaz warns not to overlook Georgia Tech’s passing game:
“That’s their greatest threat - everyone thinks about the run game (but) they’re fifth in the country in yards per pass attempt,” Diaz said. “They’ve only thrown it 33 times in four games, but when they do they get yards and they’ve got guys downfield that can go get it. The quarterback throws it better than you wish he did.”
• Braxton Berrios said Gino Torretta was among those who reached out to him to congratulate him for his good work against FSU.
• ABC assigned Mark Jones and Rod Gilmore to Saturday’s UM game, which will be televised nationally 3:30 p.m... .UM’s result and other games will determine whether the 3:30 p.m. Oct. 21 home game against Syracuse will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.