Andre King, Willie Smith, Rob Chudzinski, and Kevin Everett are all some of the best players to wear the number 84 jersey at Miami. As we are now only 84 until kickoff, we will take a look back at these players’ careers as Hurricanes and beyond.
Andre King, from Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale by way of Kingston, Jamaica, was a great man to rock the 84. He joined the Hurricanes in 1997, after completing a five-year minor league baseball stint that he started right after high school. His UM player bio describes him as a “one of the team's finest leaders and spokesmen” and an “extremely hard worker.” He was a member of the football team from 1997 to 2000 and he compiled 64 receptions for 834 yards over his 4 seasons. He finished with three career touchdowns before heading to the NFL where he was drafted in the seventh round as the 245th pick in 2001. King went on to play for the Cleveland Browns from 2001 to 2004 and finished with 30 receptions for 327 yards and one touchdown. It is not often that athletes get to play two professional sports, but that is just what Andre King did, and did well.
Another talented athlete, Willie Smith wore the 84 jersey all the way to an All-American selection as a tight end in 1985. Smith racked up 1,544 yards on 117 catches with 6 touchdowns during his time at Miami. He did not have the NFL success that King had, though, as he was selected in the 10th round of the 1986 NFL Draft and he only played one season in the league, with the Miami Dolphins.
Rob Chudzinksi is currently the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. Before his coaching career took off, that also saw him be the Cleveland Browns head man for a bit, he was winning championships as a tight end at The U. From 1986 to 1990, Chudzinski won two national championships (1987 and 1989) and started in each of his final three seasons in the orange and green. His rather illustrious coaching career started with a gig at Miami, in which he coached from 1994 until 2003 for a multitude of positions that ended as offensive coordinator. He then began his NFL coaching career in 2004 as the tight ends coach for the Cleveland Browns. He has coached for the Browns, Chargers, Panthers, and now Colts since.
Lastly, we have Kevin Everett. Hailing from Port Arthur, Texas, Everett did not start his college career as a Cane. He attended Kilgore, a Junior College in Texas, before heading down to Coral Gables. He twice was a first-teamer for the All-Southwest Junior College football conference at Kilgore which lead to his recruitment to Miami. At Miami, he gave professional scouts enough to see that he was picked in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft with the 86th pick. At 6-5 250 lbs, Everett had a promising future in front of him in the NFL. As a valuable tight end and special teams player, he figured to have a place in the league and with the Buffalo Bills for a while. Unfortunately, injuries hindered his performance from the start. Knee injuries slowed him initially. He was able to start a game during the 2006 season with the Bills before his career suddenly ended. He sustained a fracture in his spine while attempting to make a tackle on special teams against the Denver Broncos in Week One of the 2007 campaign. The injury was considered incredibly serious and it was immediately known that he would not return to the field again. He is still one of the most talented Hurricanes to wear 84 and make it to the NFL.
Today, 84 belongs to the talented youngster wide receiver, Dionte Mullins. After a disappointing freshman season, expectations are high for Mullins, who has gained 20 pounds since last year. He appears to be in great position to battle for a starting spot at wide receiver this year, especially with Lawrence Cager coming back from injury. Being a part of the 84 gang, he has big shoes to fill, that usually got to set foot on NFL fields after their time in South Florida. A former highly touted recruit, Mullins still has a great chance to be a major play maker for the Hurricanes as his career carries on in 2017 and beyond.
Who was best to wear 84 in your eyes, and can Mullins take the throne by the time he heads out? Let me know in the comments below.