Hello Hurricane fans! To say the least, I cannot be more excited that college football is really back. We got a taste of college football last week AKA "Week Zero", yet football doesn't fell the same without watching the boys in orange and green. With that being said, because we are 3 days away, today we are going to highlight some of the best players and the current players to don number 3.
To start this list, we have to go to the explosive Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver Travis Benjamin. Benjamin attended Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida (shoutout Palm Beach County). Not only is Glades Central a state contender today, but when Benjamin attended the school as a junior, Glades Central won the state championship. Benjamin had a large, critical role, playing special teams and wide receiver, but wasn't considered amongst high school football's elite until the end of his senior year. In the 2008 class, Benjamin would finish as the 21st ranked wide receiver and 144th player overall (ESPN300). When Miami found out Benjamin committed to the Canes, they knew that he would play a role throughout all four of his years. Benjamin played sparingly his freshman year of college, but was still an important special teams player. In his junior year, Benjamin flourished, averaging 17.3 yards per catch and dominated as the punt returner. Benjamin showed scouts that he could be a deep vertical threat with some route running ability and that he was more than just a punt returner. For this reason, Benjamin was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 4th round of the 2012 Draft. Since, we have seen him catching balls from anyone, including Johnny Manziel and Phillip Rivers.
At 34 years old, you can still see Frank Gore demolish opposing defenses, but his journey to today started nearly 20 years ago. Frank Gore, a Miami, Florida local, attended Coral Gables High School, where he would quickly become one of the greatest running backs in the country. In his senior season, Gore would have one of the greatest seasons in South Florida High School Football, reaching nearly 3,000 rushing yards and 40 touchdowns (both Dade County records). Gore would end the 2000 season as the 5th best prospect overall. Even with a multitude of offers, Gore didn't really have any other option than the University of Miami. During the time of his decision, Gore's mother was battling severe kidney diseases, which heavily influenced Gore's decision to stay close to home. After winning a 2001 National championship as a true freshman and finishing as one of Miami's greatest running backs of all time, it's safe to say Gore was probably happy with his decision. Gore was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 3rd Round of the NFL Draft, where he would reach five pro bowls. Since 2015, Gore has been apart of the Indianapolis Colts organization, and STILL putting up great numbers.
To conclude the tri-fecta of current #ProCanes to wear number 3, we will highlight Stacy Coley's football career. Coley attended Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Florida. In his senior year of high school, Coley only caught 29 passes, but somehow was perceived as one of the best wide receivers in his class and even played in the 2013 Under Armour All-America Game. Why was he so highly recruited you may ask? Well, on those 29 receptions, Coley finished the year with 513 yards and 10 touchdowns. With 4.4 speed and great route running, Coley was a blessing for the Hurricanes. In college, he would pair up with Brad Kaaya and flourish in his senior season-most notably against FSU last year. Coley did everything right as a player by giving good samplings of potential throughout his college career, had an impressive combine, but he still had to wait until the 7th Round of the 2017 NFL Draft to have the Minnesota Vikings call his name. Unsurprisingly, Coley impressed very well in preseason and fits the mold of other Vikings receivers like Stefon Diggs and Adam Theilen.
Say hello to incoming freshman and the Hurricanes new starting Z-Receiver, Mike Harley. Harley attended the notorious Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There, he would pair with UF QB Commit Jake Allen. Although collegiate rivals, Allen peppered Harley with targets, showing his athleticism and quickness. I was surprised that Richt named him a week one starter, but not for lack of talent. Like I said before, Harley possesses Antonio-Brown like quickness, but he has a small frame, only 5-9 feet tall by 160 pounds.
On the defensive side, Dee Delaney will be a great addition to the secondary. At Citadel, Delaney proved himself. For three years, with a large frame and exceptional quickness, Delaney bullied other teams' receivers. Delaney had mid-round draft stock, but decided to transfer to Miami for his senior season to bolster his stock and try to get picked within the first three rounds. There are questions if Delaney can hold his own against elite-ACC receivers, but you don't just become Miami's number one cornerback overnight unless you can walk the talk.