69 Days to Miami football: OG Juan Comendeiro 1983 national champion

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 29, 1983: (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 29, 1983: (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

Juan Comendeiro was a starting offensive guard on the 1983 National Championship Miami football team. Comendeiro signed with the Hurricanes from South Miami High School.

Juan Comendeiro signed with the Miami football program out of South Miami High School. Comendeiro became a starting offensive guard and helped the Hurricanes win the first national championship in program history. Comenderio helped the Miami offense gain 430 yards against Nebraska in their 1984 Orange Bowl upset.

Miami won 31-30 in an exhilarating upset that began the Hurricanes dynasty. Comendeiro was part of what was maybe the truest national championship team ever. No Hurricanes players were voted first-team All-American by any of the four major media outlets. The offensive line was a microcosm of that.

Comendeiro is Cuban on an offensive line for the Miami football team that also included Canadian center, Ian Sinclair, African-American guard Alvin Ward, Italian-American tackle Paul Bertucelli and an Irish-American tackle Dave Heffernan.

Miami was the first national championship team to average more passing yards than rushing yards. With Bernie Kosar leading Howard Schnellenberger’s offense, the Hurricanes averaged 233.2 passing yards per game and 136.4 rushing yards per game. Comendeiro spoke to the South Miami student newspaper in 2018.

"“Doing sports and getting involved from day one since I entered South helped guide me to where I am today. It taught me hard work, teamwork, and to never quit, which is what life is all about, whether its school, family, or business…Work hard. Seek programs that expand your opportunity.You might not end up becoming a pro athlete, and that’s okay.”"

Comendeiro is currently a financier as the President of his own company benefits plus according to his Linked In page and the interview with the South Miami Cobra. Comenedeiro lettered on the Miami football team from 1981-84 at 6’2, 250 pounds.

Following his playing career, Comendeiro was drafted by the Orlando Renegades as a territorial draft pick in United States Football League. Six of Comendeiro’s Miami teammates were also chosen by the Renegades including Ward and star wide receiver Eddie Brown. Iconic ESPN analyst Lee Corso was their head coach.

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With Comendeiro as a senior playing for Jimmy Johnson in his first season in 1984, the Miami offensive improved to 10th in the nation averaging 30.1 PPG, 318.8 PYG and 128.4 RuYG. Comendeiro was a key part of the offensive line for the Miami football team and the best number 69 in school history.