Miami Hurricanes OL Brandon Washington and DE Olivier Vernon will declare early for the NFL Draft, the university has confirmed. They join RB Lamar Miller, WR Tommy Streeter, and DT Marcus Forston.
Washington was an All-ACC guard in 2010, and moved to tackle this season where he was a veteran presence. He played one game on the right side before moving to the left. With Washington moving on, Seantrel Henderson, Jon Feliciano, and Malcolm Bunche are the most experienced tackles on the roster.
Vernon was suspended for half of the season for his role in the scandal involving He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. He is alleged to have received illicit benefits from the convicted Ponzi Schemer. He finished the year with 18 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Mocking the Draft calls Washington the third-best guard prospect, while Walter Football puts him all the way at 11th as a 4th or 5th round pick. Vernon does not appear on the former’s defensive end rankings, but is 9th on Walter Football‘s defensive end rankings with a 4th to 6th round grade. The draft process is in its extremely early stage as both players will have opportunities to improve their stock.
The departures deprive Miami of a lot of talent and experience as the Hurricanes get younger and younger for 2012. On the glass-half-full side, Miami will have more scholarships to offer to younger players, who will also have an opportunity to see the field as freshmen. Freshmen LB Denzyl Perryman and DE Anthony Chickillo have received postseason accolades and form a good foundation on defense, and there’s considerable buzz surrounding RB recruit Duke Johnson, who could see playing time next season with Miller’s early departure.
Head coach Al Golden came to his Miami interview with a thick three-ring binder containing a detailed plan for reestablishing the Hurricanes as a force on the national scale. He has worked on instilling his system and culture in Year One, and his first full recruiting class is chock-full of verbal commitments. Year Two may not see a considerable improvement in the win-loss record–in fact, some believe the exodus to the NFL could lead to a decline in the win column–but we could witness the nascent stages of a core of younger players that eventually brings UM to the place Golden envisioned when he developed his big plan.
Washington and Vernon make five Hurricanes declaring early. UM constitutes most of the players who have so far declared early for the NFL.