Pa. Star Likes UM Tradition

Nate Byham's summer hasn't gone the way he had planned. A broken thumb suffered at a passing camp a few weeks ago has changed some of his plans.

"I've got pins in it right now and they'll be there for two more weeks," Byham said. "After that, I'll wear a brace on it for two weeks. That'll give me about a week before doubles start. I'll be ready to go."

Byham's thumb injury prevented him from traveling with his AAU basketball team that is scheduled to play in Orlando later this month.

"I was going to use one of those days while we were down there to check out the University of Miami but since I got hurt I won't be going," he said. "That's OK because I'll just have to check them out during the season on a visit."

Byham, who is rated as the No. 1 tight end prospect in the nation by, is coming off a superb junior season. He had 45 catches for 849 yards and nine touchdowns on offense. Defensively, at end, he had 93 tackles, 9 1/2 sacks, and three interceptions.

"My speed is what makes me different than all the other tight ends out there," he said. "I'm pretty fast for a tight end and I have good hands. It's like having a big receiver playing the position and it seems like a lot of the best tight ends now are like that."

Byham, a full academic qualifier, was also a second team All-State pick in basketball as a junior last season. However, it's the gridiron where his future lies.

"I have a lot of choices right now," he said. "My favorites are Pittsburgh, Miami, Iowa, USC, Michigan, and Tennessee. They've all offered. I've been to Pitt. I've been to Iowa and I've been to West Virginia. I'll have to check out the others during my visits this fall."

Byham, who is being recruited by UM coach Mario Cristobal, said there's a lot to like about the Hurricanes.

"At Miami the tight ends are always good," he said. "A lot of times they're using two or three at a time. They're like the top tight end school out there. They were one of the first schools to offer me too. It would be nice to be a part of that."

Coming from Franklin, Pa., Byham has often been asked about staying close to home.

"Going away doesn't scare me," he said. "I'm not far from Pitt but there are a lot of great programs out there. I just have to check them out and see what's best for me. The big city doesn't bother me at all."

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