* Winslow, Wilfork and Taylor all enter the NFL draft leaving UM, senior year behind
* Rolle will stay at the University of Miami
* Chudzinski resigns as offensive coordinator to take job with the Browns
The Hurricanes’ victory over Florida State was not the only important football news occurring over winter break. Three of the ‘Canes’ key contributors this season, tight end Kellen Winslow, defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, and safety Sean Taylor announced that they have decided to forgo their senior seasons and enter the N.F.L. Draft.
Winslow finished the season with 60 receptions for 605 yards and one touchdown. Various scouts project the 6’5″ tight end to be selected in the first half of the first round.
Wilfork ended up with 64 tackles and six sacks. The 6’2″, 344 defensive tackle from Boynton Beach could be chosen in the first round as well.
Taylor was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, picking off 10 passes. Taylor returned punts on occasion for the ‘Canes, returning one for a touchdown in addition to his two interception returns for scores. Taylor will likely be chosen in the early portion of the first round.
Head Coach Larry Coker told ESPN that he let all three players make their own decisions.
“I kind of left it up to them,” Coker said. “It’s their careers. But Kellen is going to go and should go.”
Rolle decides to stay put
Junior cornerback Antrel Rolle will return to Miami for his senior season. After Winslow, Wilfork, and Taylor decided to bolt for the N.F.L., most people assumed that Rolle would follow, but the 6’1″ cornerback has chosen to pursue a college degree.
“After evaluating the situation with my family and Coach Coker, I have decided to remain at the University of Miami for my senior season and work towards getting my degree,” Rolle said. “I look forward to providing leadership to the team, and I am confident we will continue UM’s history of excellence.”
Coker was thrilled to learn that his star cornerback would be returning in 2004.
“I am elated that Antrel has decided to return for his senior season, and continue his studies toward his degree,” Coker said. “He is an exceptional person and player and will provide leadership as we begin our first season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.”
Rolle finished the 2003 season with 51 tackles and two interceptions. He was named to the All-Big East first-team this year.
Chudzinski resigns as offensive coordinator
Offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Rob Chudzinski resigned to accept the position of tight end coach with the Cleveland Browns. The 35-year old had spent his entire playing and coaching career in Miami.
“To say that my time as a player and coach at UM was special would be an understatement,” Chudzinski said. “However it has always been a goal of mine to coach in the NFL and the opportunity to do so was something that I felt I could not pass up at this time.”
Chudzinski was a three-year letterman as a tight end for the ‘Canes from 1988-90, playing on two national championship teams. Under his tutelage, the Hurricanes have produced the All-Big East First-Team tight end the past six seasons.
“Rob’s contributions to the UM football program as both a player and coach have been invaluable,” Coker said. “While he will be missed on both a personal and professional level, I am confident we will find an excellent coach to compliment our football program and university.”
The Hurricanes are expected to promote quarterbacks coach Dan Werner to offensive coordinator.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at email@example.com.