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15 Days Until Kickoff: Best Canes to Wear #15

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Miami v Virginia Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images

We’re a little over two weeks out from Miami starting their 2017 campaign and the excitement is building with every day that passes on the calendar. Today’s countdown is number “15” which is a relatively easy choice to make at this juncture. The past Hurricane to wear the number “15” that we’ll highlight is former starting quarterback Brad Kaaya and the current Cane is kicker Mike Badgley.

Under the former Al Golden regime, previous Offensive Coordinator James Coley may not have been known for his play calling abilities but he definitely had a knack for unearthing quarterbacks in the high school ranks. Brad Kaaya was a lightly recruited quarterback coming out of the south California area and it’s been noted that Coley provided the first division one offer to Kaaya due to the young man’s potential (heading into his senior year). After Coley’s offer, other teams started to take notice of Kaaya and his cerebral abilities on the field with finding the open man. Due to the new found attention from other schools, Kaaya started to see “bumps in his ratings” from the national recruiting sites but he never wavered from his original verbal to Boise State Miami.

Once Kaaya got on campus he wasn’t arrogant in expecting to start his freshman season but rather prepared as if he were going to start right out of the gates. When an injury to Ryan Williams in an exhibition game occurred that sidelined him for the season (torn ACL) Kaaya jumped at the opportunity and literally never gave the job back to another Cane the rest of his three year career in orange and green (he missed one game due to a concussion in the 2015 season).

Due to playing at a high level for his three years as the starting quarterback, Kaaya amassed gaudy career stats as a Cane. He finished first in passing yardage for a Cane with almost 10,000 and third overall in passing touchdowns with 69 (nice). Some of the highlights of Kaaya that I remember most distinctly were when I watched him in person the handful of times over the last three years. The thing that struck me the most with him was his innate ability at timing when a receiver would be open in a specific area. The one play that I remember most fondly was in his freshman season against Georgia Tech. Berrios was running a “wheel” route from the right side, near the slot where he essentially ran parallel with the line of scrimmage towards the right sideline. As Berrios started to turn up field, around the 25 yard line I guess, Kaaya floated the ball towards the end zone. Berrios sprinted down the field, now running almost parallel with the sideline and caught the ball in the back of the end zone. The cornerback couldn’t keep up with him and the safety was out of reach, touchdown. Those type of plays, to me anyways, are what made Kaaya unique.

In 2017, Kaaya’s last season as a Cane, he threw for over 3,500 yards, 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. After the bowl win Kaaya decided to enter the NFL Draft and was selected by the Detroit Lions. Just to point out, ironically, AL Golden is on staff with the Lions as a position coach. So there’s that.

The current Cane who wears the same number is current starting place kicker “Jersey” Mike Badgley. Badgley has had a successfully career as the team’s primary field goal kicker over the last three years. For anything, he’s been successful at the volume of opportunities he’s gotten. I’ll be honest, I’d rather have a place kicker who, for the season, goes 15-17 rather than 21-26 which is what Badgley’s totals were last year. Maybe I’m being a pessimist but I’m never quite comfortable when Badgley trots on the field to attempt any type of place kick. In his career, Badgley has missed six extra points. The most notable, of course was “the block at the Rock” that occurred at the end of regulation against Florida State last season. Now, was that the blocking scheme’s fault or Badgley’s error? You be the judge if you want to look back at the scenario…

Anyways, let’s get to more positives.. Badgley is heading into his senior year and looks to finish off his Canes kicking career (say that five times, fast) with a bang. His career average hovers around the 80 percent mark for converting field goals, hopefully next year he can get that number up to the 90 percentile for the 2017 season. If not, games could be a lot closer than need be when leaving points on the table…

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