Miami football players should listen to Nick Saban’s advice about leaving early

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Several Miami football players left early for the NFL in the last few seasons not always with the best results. Alabama head coach Nick Saban spoke out about multiple players from the Crimson Tide leaving early and said: “Players lose by entering NFL draft early.”

The Miami football program has been hurt by several players leaving early for the NFL over the past few years. The Hurricanes had players step up into the roles vacated by the players leaving early for the NFL but it hindered Miami’s depth. Those players often were not drafted at all or could have been selected higher a year later.

Some of those players left early for the NFL because of family financial situations but could have been in a stable situation staying in college. Former Miami running backs Joe Yearby and Mark Walton have had a tough time in the NFL. Yearby never received a chance in training camp and Walton was just cut by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Many questioned the decisions of former Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya to enter the NFL Draft in 2017 and defensive tackles Kendrick Norton and RJ McIntosh last year. As good as the Miami defense was in 2018 they might have been impenetrable with Norton and McIntosh or one of them teaming with Gerald Willis last fall.

Yearby left for the NFL following the 2016 season after backing up Walton who he started ahead of in 2015. Mark Richt made the change in his first season. Yearby went undrafted and after tryouts with a few NFL teams didn’t even get signed to a training camp roster.

Yearby’s journey was documented by Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald in 2017. An NFL scout talked to Jackson about Yearby’s decision to turn pro. Yearby’s size and skills worked against him  getting selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

"“When he turned pro, I was saying what the hell was he doing?… He should take another year at Miami – let them take care of his room, board, tuition. I don’t see him getting into a [training] camp. He has quickness. He could go into the arena league. But there’s nothing special about him”"

After Walton was lost for the season in the fourth game of 2017 Yearby likely would have been the starter. Travis Homer became the first team running back and nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in what was a special season for the Miami football program.