Athlon Sports named nine University of Miami football players to its preseason All-Atlantic Conference teams Tuesday.
The Hurricanes, which finished the 2016 season 9-4 after winning the Russell Athletic Bowl, had five players named All-ACC preseason first-team performers – tying defending National Champion Clemson for players honored as first teamers.
Junior running back Mark Walton, sophomore receiver Ahmmon Richards, senior tight end Chris Herndon, kicker Michael Badgley and Braxton Berrios – who was honored as a kick returner – all were named to the first-team.
Walton, who finished with 1,117 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns this past season on the way to being named All-ACC third-team, will once again be Miami’s offensive bell-cow this coming season. Given the flux at the quarterback position, Walton should see a healthy diet of handoffs as well as being used as a receiver out of the backfield.
Richards earns the high preseason praise after he set a new freshman receiving record with 934 yards. The speedy youngster burst onto the scene in 2016 and ended up as the nation’s leading freshman receiver and was named a Freshman All-American. Richards represents one of UM’s most talented receivers in the past half-decade – evident by his also being named as Preseason Fourth Team All-American.
While Richards is the “young bull”, Herndon and Berrios are the seasoned players that will bring stability and consistency to Miami’s offense. Herndon is the incumbent No. 1 tight end after David Njoku took his talents to the NFL and the 6-foot-4, 252-pound will look to improve his career numbers as the primary tight end target. While Berrios is a more than solid wide receiver, his work as a kick returner is what earned him a spot on the first team – as he ranked 11th nationally in punt return average.
Badgley or “Jersey Mike” earns the preseason first-team nod after he connected on 21 of his 26 field goals in 2016.
Also, being honored Tuesday was sophomore linebacker Shaquille Quarterman (second team) along with offensive lineman KC McDermott, defensive lineman Kendrick Norton and sophomore defensive end Joe Jackson – all of whom were named to the Preseason All-ACC third team.
Quarterman could be considered a first-team “snub” since he was named a Freshman All-American in 2016 by multiple outlets after he started 13 games and finished with 84 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks this past season.
The other snub would be Jackson. As a freshman, he led the Canes in tackles for loss (11.5) and sacks (8.5) and became a force along the defensive front.
UM Athletics Launches New Campaign
The University of Miami announced Wednesday that would be starting a new promotional campaign and content series entitled “Only In Miami” – featuring stories, videos and fan submissions that “highlight the unique ties between the Hurricanes and the dynamic city they call home”.
According to the release, upcoming features will highlight each of the Hurricanes’ athletic programs and will be shot in South Florida – depicting the ties between their student-athletes, coaches and alumni and the city of Miami.
Fans are encouraged to send in their stories about the Hurricanes and Miami by submitting entries to www.HurricanesSports.com.