Friday Stock Report: 12/16

The team held their first practice for the bowl game on Thursday and will continue to practice in Coral Gables until December 22.

OPENING THOUGHTS…
There are a number of players considering leaving the UM football program and before judgments are made, their stories should be out there.

LEAVING EARLY
I expect Baraka Atkins, Devin Hester, and Ryan Moore to forego their final season of eligibility at UM and declare for the NFL Draft.

Atkins is a three-year starter who has been very valuable to the Hurricanes on the defensive line as a player and a person. His teammates have appreciated him as a teammate and will miss the Sarasota, Fla. native.

He is an ideal defensive end who has done whatever the team asked him to do including playing undersized at defensive tackle.

If you were Hester would you be happy with the way you were utilized in your junior year? He had only 11 offensive touches on offense (in the entire season!) and played sparingly at best on defense.

There is no question he has amazing talent and it's unfortunate the coaches are trying to lure him back by telling him he will get 20-25 touches a game when he should have been getting the ball that much this year.

Remember, this is Hester's fourth year out of high school and he could have left last year despite just being in his second year in college.

The coaches have made no secret about their thoughts on Moore and how there is "no question he should return".

Instead of making Moore out to be the bad guy for leaving, consider this: Moore graduated on Thursday and did you know he has a kid to take care of? Like his roommate Brandon Meriweather said on Thursday, "some people are tired of being broke".

Atkins told reporters yesterday that most people do improve their draft status by coming back for their senior season, which is very true. Players get the extra year to show what they can do and general progression allows them to improve.

However, there are factors to consider when deciding whether or not players should return including injuries, playing time, and team success.

As a fan, I suggest you take a look at each situation as opposed to berating a guy because he doesn't want to play for ‘your' school.

Another thing to keep in mind about the over-glorified return for a senior season is players don't always get the playing time they deserve.

If Greg Threat would have left early at the end of the 2004 season he was told he would have been drafted in the 1st or 2nd round. He came back because he wanted to win a national championship.

Had he known he would have been on the bench in favor of a true freshman, do you think he would have came back?

It sure would have been nice if the coaches would have told him their plans so he could have adjusted accordingly.

Players are smart. They know what happened to Threat. They have seen the offense decrease in scoring average from 41.2 ppg from 2000-02 to 29.5 ppg from 2003-05. They know the aura of Miami football is not what it used to be.

Let the players decide what is best for them. They are the ones that truly know their situation.

JOLLA HAS DESTINATION
Junior WR Akieem Jollahas decided to transfer because he wanted more playing time.

There were other reasons put out there including ones by head coach Larry Coker stating Jolla wanted to be closer to his mother, but that is not the primary reason of his transfer.

Jolla has a unique blend of speed and size and has always felt his playing time at UM did not coincide with his talent. At New Mexico State he will get a chance to showcase his skills.

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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