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32 Days Until Miami Hurricanes Football: Top Canes to wear 32

Could there be a jinx related to 32?

Edgerrin James
Before Edgerrin James wore No. 5 for Miami, he started with No. 32
Getty Images

We have just over a month left until the Miami Hurricanes take the field again. Since there are only 32 days remaining in the college football offseason, today we reflect on current and past Miami players who wore the number 32.

Edgerrin James

We know, it is strange to remember Edgerrin James as wearing anything other than number 5. However, before James donned this number, the Immokalee High School alumnus wore 32 during his freshman year at UM. In his first seven games as a Hurricane, he had 71 carries for 446 yards, with 6.3 yards per carry.

After switching to the number 5 for the remainder of his career at UM, James returned to wearing 32 after he was drafted as the fourth overall pick by the Indianapolis Colts. James wore 32 for the rest of his pro career, which spanned 11 years and three teams (Indianapolis, Arizona, Seattle).

James was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1999. Among his other notable achievements, he was twice named a first-team NFL All-Pro, was a two-time NFL rushing champion (1999 and 2000), and was selected to four Pro Bowls. It’s clear from these accomplishments that James has a Hall of Fame–worthy resume.

Walter Eugene “Chuck” Foreman

A three-sport star out of Frederick, Maryland, Foreman played at defensive back, wide receiver and running back. Playing at UM from 1970 to 1972, Foreman rushed for 1,646 yards and hauled in over 700 receiving yards with 16 touchdowns. He was selected 12th overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 1973. In his first season, Foreman rushed for 801 yards and four touchdown, and he had 362 receiving yards for two touchdowns. He was named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year for the 1973 season. Over his eight season NFL career, Foreman was named an All-Pro four times and a Pro Bowler five times, and he led the NFL in career receptions in 1975. Foreman was inducted into UM’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Jarrett Payton

Like Edgerrin James, Jarrett Payton started his career wearing 32 for Miami before switching numbers his sophomore year. Payton had modest numbers in his first season at Miami, playing in a crowded backfield with Najeh Davenport, Clinton Portis, and James Jackson. Payton managed to carve out 53 carries for 262 rushing yards, with 4.9 yards per carry his freshman year.

The following season Payton wore number 34, which was the same number his father, Walter Payton, donned. Jarrett Payton ended up wearing this number for the remainder of his time at Miami. The Illinois native went undrafted in the 2005 NFL Draft. However, that did not deter Payton; he took a football journey from the NFL to NFL Europe, the CFL, and the indoor football league. Payton currently works as a sports reporter for WGN-TV in Chicago.

Frank Gore

Syracuse v Miami Photo by Eliot Schechter/Getty Images

Regarded as one of the best running backs at UM among his peers, Frank Gore’s time as a Hurricane was filled with much promise. A much sought-after recruit coming out of Coral Gables High School, Gore was expected to be one of the best backs to set foot on the UM campus.

Earning carries in a backfield that had Najeh Davenport, Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, and Jarrett Payton, Gore managed to find his own production in the group. He racked up 562 rushing yards on 62 carries, with 5 touchdowns and a staggering 9.1 yards per carry. That freshman year was good enough to put him second on the depth chart behind Clinton Portis.

Gore was forced to take a redshirt after tearing his ACL before the 2002 UM spring game. It was an unfortunate turn of events, as many believed he would have been Miami’s starting running back in the regular season.

Gore returned in 2003, and it appeared that he would not let the lost season of 2002 derail him. He rushed for 100 yards against Miami’s first three opponents (Louisiana Tech, Florida, East Carolina). But bad fortune struck once more, as Gore suffered another season-ending knee injury. In the five games that Gore played in the 2003 season, he managed to put together 468 rushing yards on 89 carries, with 5.3 yards per carry and four touchdowns.

After suffering devastating knee injuries in back-to-back seasons, it was completely understandable when Gore switched from wearing 32 to 3 before his senior year to bring better luck. After getting drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Gore choose to wear 23, a number he’s stuck with throughout his 12-year career. Given the career mortality of RBs, Gore may have found his lucky number.

Honorable Mentions

  • Martin Patton
  • Alfred Shipman
  • Jeff Malley
  • Selwyn Brown
  • Andrew Johnson
  • Lee Chambers
  • Trayone Gray

From the information we’ve gathered, it’s quite possible that 32 could be an unlucky number at the University of Miami. Take Frank Gore and Trayone Gray, RBs who wore 32 past their freshman season: both endured season-ending injuries at some point in their collegiate career. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence—or maybe we just stumbled upon Miami’s most unlucky number.