Will Mallory arrived on Miami’s campus five years ago as a promising recruit. He leaves Coral Gables positioned for an NFL career.
“It seems like forever ago, but it also felt like yesterday,” Mallory said at Miami Pro Day in March. “It went by quickly, but I cherish the memories and all the relationships I made here. Miami is very special to me and always will be.”
Mallory and cornerback Tyrique Stevenson appear to be the most likely Hurricanes to be selected in this year’s NFL draft, which begins Thursday night and runs through Saturday.
Stevenson is expected to be picked in the second or third round, while Mallory is often mentioned in the fifth or sixth round in media projections. The rest of Miami’s potential draftees will likely sign as undrafted free agents after the draft ends Saturday.
“You’re obviously dreaming of this moment,” Mallory said. “Now you have to keep working, take advantage of that opportunity and make the most of it.”
Mallory spent five seasons with the Hurricanes, becoming a major contributor to the offense. He leaves UM with 1,544 career receiving yards, which is second-most in program history — to a program that has sent 21 tight ends to the NFL.
“I want to keep trying to make the tradition proud,” Mallory said.
Stevenson’s road to Miami was more circuitous. A highly recruited Miami native, Stevenson opted to leave South Florida to play at Georgia. But after two seasons with the Bulldogs, he transferred back to his hometown school.
“I should have stayed in Miami and built this here instead of trying to build it somewhere else,” Stevenson said. before his first season at UM. “I built it in Georgia and came back here. And I explained to my mother, “I know what I have to do and I know I will do it.” So you don’t have to worry – the worries I had when I first signed with Georgia.”
Stevenson was a two-year starter at Miami. Last season, he had 25 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, nine pass breakups and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus gave him a defensive grade of 76.6 with a coverage grade of 79.5, which led UM cornerbacks. He was named to the ACC third team.
“I’ve been committed for so long and I’ve been playing football forever and I just love the game of football at the end of the day,” Stevenson said. “Whatever opportunity I’m blessed with and whatever selection I’m going to be picked with, I’m going to go ahead and once I get in the door, I’m going to give it my all.”
Ten other Hurricanes hope to hear their names called this week: cornerback DJ Ivey, punter Lou Hedley, offensive linemen Justice Oluwaseun and DJ Scaife, defensive linemen Mitchell Agude and Antonio Moultrie, linebackers Caleb Johnson and Waynmon Steed Jr. and running backs Devon Perry . and Lucious Stanley.
“Everybody’s dream is to be drafted in the NFL,” Ivey said at UM’s Pro Day. “But regardless of that, no draft, get drafted, I’m going to make the most of my opportunity. All I need is an opportunity.”
Although those 12 Hurricanes leave the program, several said they are confident Miami coach Mario Cristobal will get UM back to its winning ways in the future.
“He got that mentality from Nick Saban,” Stevenson said. “That same mindset is in Georgia right now. … We’re going to do whatever it takes and put everybody in position to win and go out there and dominate. So just him coming in and teaching these younger guys that and teaching the coaching staff around him and just having them portray him against each other is going to push everybody over the edge .”