Good morning Hurricane fans! Everyday I get a little more happier knowing we are one day closer to the start of the season. Today, we are only 17 days away from Bethune Cookman, and without further ado, it is time to highlight two former players who wore number 17 and the two players that currently do.
DJ Williams was destined to be a great football player since birth. Williams was born and raised in Sacramento, California, but moved to Concord, California primarily to play high school football at the infamous De La Salle High School. In Williams' senior season, playing both running back and linebacker, he registered 130 tackles, nearly 2000 rushing yards, and he also broke the school's record for most touchdowns scored in a single season (42). As USA Today's High School Defensive Player of the Year, offers and phone calls from coaches came pouring through, but he ultimately signed with Miami. In his freshman year, with a strong linebacker group lead by Jonathan Vilma and Dan Morgan, Williams' only way to see the field was at a different position. Williams excelled on the offensive side of the field, but his true passion for football was on the other side of the ball. After his freshman year, Williams moved back to linebacker. In Williams' three years at linebacker, he blossomed, and by his senior year, Williams was a Dick Butkus Award semifinalist, a 3rd-team All-American, and a 1st-team All-Big East Conference selection. In the 2004 NFL Draft, Williams was selected 17th overall by the Denver Broncos. Williams played 11 seasons in the NFL (9 with the Denver Broncos, 2 with the Chicago Bears) and dominated. Today, DJ Williams owns and operates DymeLyfe, a UM-oriented clothing brand. If you read this DJ, send some merchandise my way.
Unlike DJ Williams, Stephen Morris wasn't apart of a high school football program that boasted state and national titles. Unlike DJ Williams, Stephen Morris wasn't one of the best players in his class, let alone one of the best at his position. Instead, Morris attended Mosignor Pace High School in Miami, where he would be one of the most overlooked players in his class. Besides Miami, Morris' only other two Power 5 offers were Purdue and Virginia. No one expected Morris to see a lot of game action at Miami, especially his freshman year, but he did. Due to injury to Jacory Harris and almost no depth at QB, Morris started four games his freshman year, looking average at best with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. Morris didn't really see game action until his junior season, where he was declared the starter. With only his freshman season to remember, Hurricane fans were scared and skeptical, but Morris didn't disappoint. In the early stages of the 2012 season, against NC State, Morris set the ACC record for most passing yards in a game (566). He continued to play solid, but much of his career was plagued with lingering ankle issues, limiting his mobility. Just like in high school, Morris was overlooked. In 2014, Morris went undrafted, but was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Since then, he has bounced around the league, but today is a practice squad QB for the Indianapolis Colts.
By Hurricane fans who follow recruiting, Cade Weldon was labeled as "QB2" because many (including myself) believe Weldon will never really get to see game action because of the young talent at the position already. Cade Weldon, son of former FSU QB and 1991 Heisman Runner-up Casey Weldon, attended Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida. Weldon had a solid high school career, but apparently not enough to convince Florida State. Many experts believed Weldon would commit to Florida State when the offer came, but the offer never did. Instead, Weldon committed to Miami, enrolled early, and impressed in the spring. Richt has spoken highly of Cade and his arm, just like he did of Casey when Richt was a QB's coach for Florida State, but for now, it looks like Weldon will have to wait for his chance to play.
Waynmon Steed's road to Miami was plagued with injury. After a standout sophomore season at Miami Central, Steed gained the attention of many college scouts, including the one's down the road at Miami. Unfortunately, Steed missed all of his junior year with a torn labrum, and during his senior season he tore his ACL. Miami, though, already believed they saw everything they needed to, and kept true to their offer. Steed, who committed in February 2015, had many other believers such as LSU, Mississippi State, and Louisville, but his mind never changed. Although it is likely Steed will redshirt his first year at Miami, it is not for lack of talent. Look for Steed to become a player many forget about, but he can certainly make a huge impact down the road.