Diaz talks NFL early-entrants and his unit's success in 2018

Diaz talks NFL early-entrants and his unit's success in 2018

Stefan Adams
After Tuesday’s practice, defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said he’s already had conversations with his three junior linebacker starters - Shaq Quarterman, Mike Pinckney and Zach McCloud – on their draft prospects if they were to enter the NFL. Where does Diaz think they’re leaning?

“I don’t think it would be fair for me to say, but I think they’re going to make a good decision,” Diaz said. “I want them to make the most educated decision possible, but also the best decision for themselves. … There’s a scenario where what is best for them is also best for UM. But everyone’s situation is unique. Some have to take the choice on for different reasons.”

With a team-leading 17 TFL, good for 12th nationally (first among interior linemen), senior DT Gerald Willis has had a breakout year after sitting out all of 2017, and Diaz said that it was no accident.

“Since we’ve had him back for spring ball he’s absorbed everything coach (Jess) Simpson has taught him and really taken his game to an elite level,” Diaz said. “In my opinion, he’s an All-American.

“You have a guy who is on the third (best) defense in the country who leads the nation in TFL’s as an interior defensive lineman. Is he getting punished because of the number after the dash, our win-loss record? That’s not fair to him. That’s not what All-Americans should be about, it’s the best players. I hope the voters look at what he’s done, what’s real, because the kid deserves it.”

Another player Diaz believes should be in the Butkus conversation? Quarterman, who has put up a career-high in both TFL (12.5) and sacks (5.5) with two games left to play.

"The first guy I compared him to, he's got more tackles for loss, more sacks, more interceptions,” Diaz said on Quarterman. “I don't know how to explain to him why he didn't get in that mix.”

While some NFL draft-eligible players around the nation choose to sit out, as of now, every Hurricane player that is able plans to play in the bowl game.

“They just love to play, love the Miami Hurricanes, have a special affinity for this place,” Diaz said. “As many chances they have to put on the U, they want to do it.”

A few defensive players have pointed to Diaz’s speeches as something that gets them motivated to play on Saturdays.

“I don’t know where I get them from either,” Diaz said. “I think players want to know you’re speaking to them from the heart, that you’re aware of where their heart and mind is.”

Miami’s pass defense is second in all of college football in allowing 141.7 yards per game and Diaz feels the secondary has been a true asset to this season’s team.

“You can’t be good in college football without a good secondary,” Diaz said. “Those guys are special. Coach (Ephraim) Banda and coach (Mike) Rumph have done an outstanding job.”

Comments (11)

I remember a guy..in 2007 that we had the same energy about...and..never mind . Keep doing ya thing manny! Top DC in the biz
manny, should have them call Kendrick Norton & even McIntosh
on their decision????
Jackson should declare. The LBs should stay.
1st round or bust.

I wouldn't recommend any jrs leaving. Joe Jackson would be the best prospect, but he didn't dominate the way Zach Allen did against us. I really want to see him as a senior. Some of the others would get drafted, but their draft positions will improve with another year. Get the insurance policy and keep getting better.
Just look at Willis. Although different set of circumstances he was a man amongst boys his senior year. Anyone who went to college understands that seniors are just that more imposing mentally and physically.
Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell, Zach allen, Josh Allen, are all pass rushers they have ahead of Joe Jackson.

He could sneak into the first, but probably 2nd rounder if he left this year.

He came back he could be a top 15 picks.
I’m in.

Manny as the next HC.