In a move first reported by Matt Porter of the Palm Beach Post, and subsequently confirmed by the Miami Herald and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, among others, Miami will suspend DT Gerald Willis III for the season opener against FAMU.
Per the above linked reports, Willis III is being suspended for a violation of team rules. This is a nebulous term and gives no hints as to what the nature of the infraction was that led to this suspension.
As the Canes opened regular season practice today, Willis was reportedly with the scout team throughout practice. That move of demoting the former 5-star recruit to scout team fits with an impending suspension for the opening game.
A transfer from the University of Florida, Willis is looking to return to the field in 2016 after sitting out 2015 due to NCAA transfer rules. The New Orleans native was a 5-star recruit in 2014, and is one of the most talented players on the Canes roster. He will obviously have to prove his worth on the field in game action, but all reports through his redshirt year and this past spring/summer indicate that Willis III has the talent and skill to be a major factor for Miami up front this season.
Willis III will serve his reported 1-game suspension in the season opener against FAMU. If all holds, and that is the only game of his suspension, Willis III will look to make his Canes debut September 10th vs FAU.
While this report is exclusively relative to Willis III, other Canes may end up facing discipline for various reasons. WR Sam Bruce could be facing suspension for an incident that happened when he was a senior in HS, and WR Stacy Coley, LB Jermaine Grace, and DE Al-Quadin Muhammad are all part of an ongoing UM compliance department investigation about Luxury Car Rentals. Each of those players could be suspended, but no decision on that has been announced as yet.
While losing Willis or any other of those players is not the best way to start the season, Miami should still have little problem dispatching FAMU in short order. And, if the worst thing discipline-wise this year is losing up to 5 players for 1 game, and that game is a gimme-win against FAMU, I’ll take it.
More on the other players as its available.