As I'm sure you know, Miami is still looking for a difference maker at the DT position. We've continued to throw numbers at the problem, and could potentially have another player added to that position group for the 2015 season.
According to a report on Canesport.com ($), the Hurricanes will apply for a "run-off" waiver for former 5-star recruit and incoming transfer DT Gerald Willis III. Willis, who was dismissed from the University of Florida after multiple reported altercations with teammates, could be a difference maker IF he hits the field (and not a teammate) this season.
The "run-off" waiver is a little known provision of the NCAA handbook where a player can petition to be ruled immediately eligible if the NCAA finds that the player left their previous institution against their will, i.e. they were "run-off" from the program. Here are the requirements to apply for such a waiver, from athleticscholarships.net
- Documentation demonstrating that the student-athlete would not have had the opportunity to return to the previous institution’s team for reasons outside the control of the student-athlete.
- A written statement from the applicant institution that the student-athlete is in good academic standing and meets all progress-toward-degree requirements at applicant institution.
- A written statement from the student-athlete’s previous institution indicating that the previous institution supports the request.
Let me translate that in case you missed or didn't understand the required steps:
- Miami has to provide documentation to the NCAA that Willis III would not have been allowed back at UF (easy enough since he was dismissed).
- Miami has to provide documentation to the NCAA that Willis III is in good academic standing (easy enough since this is the same information that is required for all student-athletes).
- Florida has to provide an official letter supporting Willis III being immediately eligible at Miami.
This is not the first time this type of waiver has been sought. Oklahoma applied for a "run-off" waiver for WR Dorial Green-Beckham in 2014, who they claimed was "run-off" from Missouri. That waiver was ultimately denied, and Green-Beckham had to sit out the season.
Now, here's where things get hazy: if you look at point 3 from the waiver application list, you have to get an affidavit of support from the PRIOR institution. So, that means we'd have to ask UF to send us a letter in support of our move to try to get Willis III on the field.
I don't know if you know this, but we don't like UF and I'm fairly certain the feeling is mutual. So, it's far from certain that they would be a supporting participant in this waiver application.
But, IF UF lends their support to the waiver application, and IF it gets approved, Miami could be the HUGE winners in this. Willis III was a 5-star recruit for a reason. And that reason is simple: he's big, he's mean, and he can seriously play football. Here are his high school highlights in case you need visual proof of my prior statements: (warning: vulgar/NSFW language in music accompanying this video)
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tmcUqMjgPoY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
This process is ongoing and we'll update when there's more to say. Just an FYI for those wondering about the timeline: Green-Beckham's appeal was ruled on in late August 2014. So, if the NCAA is following the same timeline, expect a final ruling around then for Willis III.