Miami Football safety Jaquan Johnson tried to convince DTs to return in ’18

TALLAHASSEE OCTOBER 7: Tight end Ryan Izzo
TALLAHASSEE OCTOBER 7: Tight end Ryan Izzo /

The Miami Herald reported earlier today that Miami football safety Jaquan Johnson tried to convince NFL Draft early entrants, R.J. McIntosh and Kendrick Norton to return for their Senior seasons.

Norton and McIntosh joined the Miami football team with Johnson as part of former Head Coach Al Golden’s last recruiting class in 2015. All three were vital parts of a Miami defense that led the nation in sacks and was fourth in tackles for loss.

Johnson was the team MVP and decided to return for his Senior season instead of leaving for the NFL Draft. McIntosh and Norton chose the path of getting their NFL Careers started a year early. Running back Mark Walton also left for the NFL after his Junior season.

Speculation is that Norton chose to leave after McIntosh decided to forego his Senior season. Norton was reportedly concerned about double teams without McIntosh there. That likely would not have happened.

Gerald Willis is returning from a self-imposed year off. He did play on the scout team last fall.  According to Miami football Head Coach Mark Richt, dominant there last fall and during Spring Practice in March and April.

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  • Johnson told the Miami Herald earlier today that he tried to convince the Hurricanes stellar inside duo to return with him for their Senior seasons.

    "“It was a no-brainer…I knew I was coming back [as early as] my junior year. I was just trying to get RJ and Norton to come back…Guys make their decisions for their families, and they’re doing well,” he said.“I wanted to get my degree, but most importantly I wanted to play with my brothers for my final year,…You develop, you understand the game more. Things start to slow down.“You go in with knowledge that you think you had when you were a junior, but in your Senior year you definitely know you know it. You’re able to communicate to the [graduate assistants] and to the [scout-teamers].You get stronger. You get faster. That’s why I think it’s important to come back. And then, you want to see things through. We have a great thing going here, and I want to be a part of it.”"

    McIntosh was a fifth-round pick by the New York Giants and Norton went in the seventh to the Carolina Panthers. It’s debatable if either player made the right decision to leave a year early.

    McIntosh is expected to be moved to right defensive end in the Giants 3-4 defense. He is currently listed as third string by CBSSports.Com

    Norton is the third-string left defensive tackle for the Panthers. Carolina signed two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro defensive tackle Dontari Poe away from Atlanta after one season.

    The other defensive tackle, Kawann Short had 49 tackles and 7.5 sacks last season. He is entering his sixth season in the NFL, all with the Panthers. Short has also appeared in seven playoff games with Carolina. He was second-team All-Pro in 2015 and ’17 and made the Pro Bowl after the 2015 season.

    Without Norton and McIntosh, the Hurricanes are somewhat thin at defensive tackle. The only real proven player is Willis. The Hurricanes also return Pat Bethel who is expected to start and Sophomore Jon Ford. Ford did not get much playing time last season after arriving late.

    Next: 96 Days t96 days to Miami football: Jon Ford 2018 season preview

    Freshman Nesta Silvera and Graduate Transfer Tito Odenigbo from Illinois are also expected to be in the rotation for the Hurricanes.