Loss of Gore, Parrish leaves big holes to fill

Commentary by Darren Grossman

Someone in the NFL Draft Advisory Council owes Roscoe Parrish an apology.

The 5’9” 172-pound wide receiver has decided to skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft after someone showed him a projection of where he would be drafted. While no one knows what was told to Parrish, he has said that he expects to be a high selection. For his sake, I hope he is right.

On Jan. 6 Parrish became the fourth Hurricane in the last two seasons to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL draft. The next day, running back Frank Gore became the fifth. Gore, who has had a history of injury problems, declared for the draft despite his coaches telling him his stock would significantly rise if he stayed for the 2005 season.

When I look at these two decisions, I think both guys are taking risks. However, Gore’s decision makes more sense than Parrish’s. Gore’s injury trouble makes it very risky for him to come back for his senior season. While a good year would significantly improve his draft status, another knee injury would all but end his hopes of playing in the NFL. If I were Frank Gore and had that kind of risk involved, I would have decided to enter the draft too.

However, Parrish’s decision is a bit more puzzling. While small wide receivers can be high draft picks like Santana Moss, Parrish has yet to display the ability that Moss did at Miami. There is no doubt that Parrish has that potential and his speed will make him attractive to NFL teams. However, I think a solid senior season would have made Parrish a first round selection, perhaps even a top-15 pick, and therefore made him a lot more money than he will get now.

As it stands now, Parrish is listed by Mel Kiper Jr., the draft expert, as the fifth-best wide receiver. In a year that isn’t great for wide receivers, that will probably put Parrish in the third round, which is not terrible, but a return to Miami for a senior season could have put him much higher.

These two departures, along with seniors Antrel Rolle and Brock Berlin, will leave more holes for the very young Hurricanes to fill. Looking ahead to next season, Miami has several question marks. At running back, losing Gore will hurt their depth, but Tyrone Moss is a capable replacement that should fill in nicely. At wide receiver, the depth is a little thinner, but Lance Leggett and Sinorice Moss have shown potential to be big-time receivers there.

However, the departure of Gore and Parrish does leave Miami without veteran leadership at the skill positions, which would have been important considering Miami’s inexperience at quarterback. While Kyle Wright is the favorite to become the quarterback, the Hurricanes lack anyone with real game experience. With a young quarterback, it would have been nice for the Hurricanes to have veterans to help their quarterback. Now, they will ultimately be a very young team again next season.

So what this all means is that we should expect about the same performance next season. Another three-loss season and a trip to a New Year’s Day or New Year’s Eve Bowl game. However, don’t be alarmed, Hurricane fans. Young teams eventually get older and in a couple seasons, the Hurricanes will be national title contenders again.

Darren Grossman can be contacted at d.grossman@umiami.edu.