Dan was one of Miami’s first great football players. Originally from St. Marys, PA, Dan signed with the Canes and later earned All-American honors in 1963. He was such a standout throughout his time at Miami that Conners was drafted in both the 1964 AFL and NFL drafts. The AFL’s Oakland Raiders selected him in the second round and the NFL’s Chicago Bears in the fifth. Feeling a strong connection with former Raiders owner Al Davis, Dan elected to join the less established AFL. In fact, he was the first draft pick Al Davis ever signed. Dan remained with the Raiders his entire ten year career during which he was a 3 time AFL All-Star and played in Super Bowl II against the Lombardi Packers. Following retirement in 1974, Dan Conners was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 1977. With all the great Miami linebackers that have followed him, Dan Conners can truly claim the name of Godfather to Linebacker U. Respect your elders.
Eric Winston is a shining example of a University of Miami graduate who has excelled not only on the football field but also away from it. Winston was a four-star, Texas state champion tight end who committed to the national champion Hurricanes in 2002 over instate Longhorn and Aggie suitors. While at Miami, Winston would switch positions to offensive tackle and in 2005 became another name on the long list of Hurricane All-Americans.
In 2006, he was drafted 66th overall by the Houston Texans where he would spend six years playing alongside other Miami Hurricane greats like Andre Johnson. As a solid, reliable lineman, Winston has started the great majority of games over the past ten years and remains on the Cincinnati Bengals roster for 2017. Winston was elected to and has served as president of the National Football League Players Association for the past three years where he strongly advocates for the protection and best interest of his peers.
One of the more recent standouts to wear number 74, Ereck Flowers came from Norland High School alongside teammate Duke Johnson back in 2012. Flowers provided immediate impact and was able to accumulate enough good game tape to wisely declare for the NFL draft following his junior season. Seen as a talented player with huge upside, the New York Giants drafted Flowers 9th overall. Flowers has struggled at times playing one of the game’s most difficult positions but has also shown glimpses of his talent. Nevertheless, he has stuck as the Giant’s starting left tackle. Ereck is now determined to have a breakout 2017 season protecting Eli Manning and prove his first round value.
Tyler is the junior offensive lineman currently wearing #74. He is coming off a great spring practice with a good chance to maintain a first team spot. Gauthier started the last four games of 2016 at left guard, but the lingering injury to Nick Linder shifted Gauthier a couple feet to the right during the spring to take most reps at center. In fall camp, he will try to hold off Linder’s return for the starting center position where he likely will be snapping to true freshman N’Kosi Perry. Every piece of this offensive line must be reliable for any of Miami’s potential quarterbacks, and I believe Gauthier will prove to be very serviceable.