— Mark Singer (@msinger92) March 30, 2016
The football team held its Pro Day from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday to showcase 13 Hurricanes hoping to make the NFL. Many notable Miami alumni, including Ed Reed, who is now an assistant coach for the Buffalo Bills, came to Coral Gables to see the Canes audition for the pros.
Scores of NFL team scouts, executives and coaches looked on as the players participated in a variety of tests, but instead of observing the conditioning of the Hurricanes, the NFL personnel witnessed hurricane conditions as unrelenting rain poured down at the Greentree Practice Fields.
“When [the rain] started coming down I was like, ‘Man, wow. Can’t see me to my full potential today,’” defensive lineman Calvin Heurtelou said. “It was really difficult trying to get the traction on your cleats, trying to get a feel for the ground, but it is what it is.”
One team scout told NFL.com senior analyst Gil Brandt that it was the “worst conditions ever for a Pro Day.” It was still an improvement over the weather in Cleveland though, at least to former Cane-great Duke Johnson, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns.
“Still better than Cleveland. This is way better than Cleveland,” said Johnson, who watched the field drills with former teammates Phillip Dorsett and Denzel Perryman.
Although 13 Canes participated in Pro Day, the NFL contingent was largely there to see two players: defensive backs Artie Burns and Deon Bush. Burns could go as high as the first round in the 2016 NFL Draft, while Bush is considered a mid-round pick.
“Besides the weather, everything went nice,” said Burns, a 6-foot, 197-pound cornerback. “Just focusing on my technique helped me through the whole weather change. I feel like I did good.”
Burns declared for the draft early after his junior season. The Miami native loves what he’s seen from new football Head Coach Mark Richt, but he has to provide for his family after his mother, Dana Smith, passed away from a heart attack in October 2015.
“I made the decision for my family, so that’s why I decided to leave,” Burns said.
Bush declared for the draft following a successful senior season for the Canes. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety was fifth on the team with 50 tackles in 2015 to go with one interception and a team-high two fumble recoveries.
Bush said he’s not expecting anything in the three-day-long NFL Draft at the end of April. “I’m just going to be glad for my name to get called,” Bush said.
Miami has had 30 players selected in the NFL Draft since 2010, the second most in the ACC behind Florida State. Burns and Bush are likely going to hear their names called, but a total of 13 Hurricanes will find out if they are going to add to that number in the 2016 NFL Draft held from April 28-30 in Chicago.