Wait And See

UM offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie said that he would be ready to play in the Rose Bowl despite not participating in practice earlier this week when the Hurricanes returned to Greentree field, Dec. 13.

McKinnie, the Outland Trophy winner, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee a few days after the Hurricanes final regular season game at Virginia Tech to repair torn cartilage and a chipped bone. McKinnie was told he also had sprained medial collateral ligament and stretched anterior collateral ligament. McKinnie was injured against the Hokies on a running play when a defender landed on him.

McKinnie may not practice until the Hurricanes arrive in Pasadena.

"We want a healthy Bryant McKinnie. If that means holding him back some then that's what we'll do," said Coker.

The possibility remains that the Rose Bowl could be the final collegiate game for several UM players including defensive back Phillip Buchanon, tight end Jeremy Shockey and running back Clinton Portis. All the players could enter the NFL Draft.

Buchanon rumored as a potential late first-round or early second-round draft pick put aside all the speculation by saying that he would wait until after the Rose Bowl to make his final decision.

"I'm getting ready for the biggest game of my life," said Buchanon. "I'm a Miami Hurricane and that's the only thing I'm concerned with right now."

Buchanon's versatility and superb athleticism has risen his stock in the eyes of professional scouts. Buchanon, a junior defensive back, leads the team with 464 punt-return yards and two touchdowns on 31 chances. He also has 90 yards on three kickoff returns. Buchanon is second on the Hurricanes with five interceptions, accounting for 157 yards and a touchdown, and has recorded 23 tackles.

"A gifted athlete who is going to play on Sundays for a lot of years," said a scout in the NFC Central division. "His speed and knowledge of the game at this point makes me believe he is ready."

Portis, the Hurricanes leading rusher with 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns, also has said publicly he would hold off until after the Rose Bowl on deciding whether to turn pro. Although the junior running back has already hinted to some within the program that this will be his last year at UM.

"If it happens it will be after the Rose Bowl," said Portis. "I'm putting all my focus right now on winning the national championship."

Portis became the seventh player in UM history to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season. Former Hurricanes James Jackson, who had 1,049 last season as a senior, was a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns.

Shockey (40 receptions, 519 yards and seven touchdowns) is also being touted as a potential early selection in the NFL Draft.


UM senior free safety Ed Reed has been named the 2001 Football News Defensive Player of the Year in college football. Reed finished the regular-season with an NCAA-best nine interceptions and became the school's all-time interception leader with 21, eclipsing the old mark set by Bennie Blades (19, 1983-87). Reed earned the honor over Oklahoma safety Roy Williams, linebackers Robert Thomas of UCLA and E.J. Henderson of Maryland and Syracuse defensive end Dwight Freeney.

Defensive coordinator Randy Shannon was named the winner of the Frank Broyles Award, presented to the nation's top assistant college football coach. Shannon, who was elevated to the position after the departure of Greg Schiano, guided a defense that allowed 10.3 points a game, the best in the country. Miami ranked fourth in passing defense (132.6 ypg) and was 11th in the country in total defense, giving up 259.5 yards a game. Miami posted three shutouts and allowed seven points or less in eight of 11 games. The ther finalist for the award were: Florida receivers coach Dwayne Dixon, LSU offensive coordinator/quarterback coach Jumbo Fisher, Virginia Tech defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach Robert Foster, Fresno State offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and Texas defensive coordinator Carl Reese.

Senior offensive tackle Joaquin Gonzalez has been selected as a Socrates Award Nominee presented annually to the college athlete who best exemplifies excellence on the field and academics. The nominees are also required to have been a quality citizen in their community. Among the other finalists for the award: Courtney Choate (New Mexico, Women's Tennis), Nuria Clau (Wake Forest, Women's Golf), Stacey Dales (Oklahoma, Women's Basketball), Andre Davis (Virginia Tech, Football), Zak Kustok (Northwestern, Football), Eli Manning (Mississippi, Football), Erica Perkins (Washington State, Women's Tennis).

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