44 days, guys, we’re almost there. I remember starting these legacy player breakdowns at number 92 (Damione Lewis) so we’re over halfway done now! Only a month and a half left until the Canes take the field, get excited!
Our next Canes to review are going to review three Canes. Ironically, the two “Legacy” players both had injuries that ended their professional careers after they left Miami and the player wearing the jersey for the upcoming season is currently rehabbing an injury he sustained in high school. The two Legacy canes we’ll take a look back on are Dan Morgan and Colin McCarthy. The current Cane is newly arrived freshman Bradley Jennings Junior. All three play/ed the position of linebacker.
I’ve written I think four different “Jersey Number” profiles over the last few months and I have to tell you all, Dan Morgan is easily the most accomplished players I’ve researched of the bunch.
When Morgan first stepped foot on the practice field for the Canes he was actually recruited as a fullback. On day 1 of practice the coaches decided that Morgan could gain immediate playing time at the outside linebacker position and switched him there. It took him no time at all during the preseason to nail down the starting spot as a freshman week one. The last freshman starter for the Canes before Dan Morgan, you ask? Ray Lewis. Anyways, Morgan didn’t simply fill in a starting position for the Canes, he thrived. In his first season as a starter Morgan racked up 105 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble. Insane numbers. He was recognized as a second team freshman All-American.
His sophomore, junior and senior years were even more productive if you look at his stats, award nominations and victories. As a sophomore he was anointed to one of the team captaincies which made him the youngest captain ever as a Cane and he rewarded his teammates by gobbling up 150 (!!) ball carriers in that same year. During his junior and senior year he didn’t eclipse the 150 tackle mark he set as a sophomore, he did rack up almost as gaudy numbers though (139 his junior year and then 138 his senior year). Due to being all over the field for a swarming defense, Morgan gained recognition nationally for his play. When he graduated from Miami in 2,000 Morgan walked out the door as the Big East leading career tackler with 532 total tackles, Butkus award winner, Nagurski award winner and Bednarik award winner. He racked up all those trophies in one season which had never been done before.
Pretty solid career if you ask me.
After he graduated from Miami, Morgan decided to go pro and was drafted 11th overall by the Carolina Panthers. He played for the Panthers seven seasons and saw only fleeting success due to a myriad of injuries. His best season was his fourth year when he played in 12 contests and recorded over 100 tackles for the year.
After his seven years in Carolina he was signed by New Orleans as a free agent. Morgan was coming back from a lower body injury and tried to make it through pre season activities for the Saints but his body let him down yet again, this time his calf. Morgan retired before the 2008 season got underway.
Currently, Morgan still is involved in football. He works for the Seattle Seahawks as their Director of Pro Personnel. Lastly, in 2011 Morgan was inducted into the Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall of Fame.
We really started off with a heck of a Miami legend in Morgan, McCarthy’s profile is going to be hard to follow up with. Anyways, McCarthy was a heck of a player in his own right. During his freshman season, McCarthy primarily played on special teams and was actually the “leading tackler” for the special team coverage unit at 6 for his freshman year.
During his sophomore and junior years he held down the outside linebacker position and posted great numbers. During his senior year was the time McCarthy truly shined and that may have been attributed to the fact that he moved to the middle linebacker position. As the “Mike” linebacker McCarthy racked up 119 tackles which led the team.
After his college eligibility ran out, McCarthy decided to go pro and was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round. Similar to Morgan, McCarthy had to retire due to injuries. McCarthy was only able to play three seasons as a pro due to multiple shoulder injuries he had sustained both in college and at the pro levels.
Bradley Jennings Junior and Eddie Dunn
There are two “44”’s on the Miami roster. Walk-on linebacker Eddie Dunn and former three star-now-freshman linebacker Bradley Jennings Junior.
Dunn is a redshirt sophomore who has not participated on the field yet. He is a local product who had a breakout senior year as both a linebacker and running back for his high school team, the Coral Shores Hurricanes.
Bradley Jennings Junior just arrived on campus with Mark Richt’s first full-year recruit class, the Class of 2017. Jennings Jr potentially will be penciled in as an outside linebacker in Manny Diaz’ swarming defense. However, Jennings Jr is currently rehabbing a knee injury he actually played through while a senior at Sandalwood High School. Right after his season ended, Jennings Jr got checked out by a doctor and they realized it was a serious knee injury and he had to have surgery. Richt and Miami never wavered in their commitment to Jennings Jr even after the injury and since he’s been signed and enrolled on campus the Miami training staff has been working to rehabilitate Jennings Jr to get him ready for potential playing time in 2017.
For my outlook on Jennings Jr, I think he has a shot to gain maybe some special teams reps this upcoming season if he’s up to physically perform on the field. Time will tell if needs a longer rehab and maybe his participation on the field could be pushed back another season.
What do you think about jersey number 44? Leave your comments below!