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Hurricane NFL hopefuls intend to impress in Indy

Damien Berry, Greg Reid

The University of Miami football program has taken a step back since the late 1990s, but they haven’t stopped churning out NFL stars. Recent success stories include Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell, Packers cornerback Sam Shields, Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Giants safety Kenny Phillips, and Panthers linebacker Jon Beason.

Miami sends nine players to this year’s Scouting Combine, and PFT had the chance to speak with two of them Wednesday.

First up was cornerback Demarcus Van Dyke, a projected middle-round selection. Van Dyke earned an invite to January’s Senior Bowl, and has been mentioned as a candidate to run the fastest forty-yard dash in Indianapolis.

A humble Van Dyke wouldn’t get specific about projections, saying his goal is to “just run a fast time.” Van Dyke mentioned Fort Valley State receiver/returner Ricardo Lockette and Kentucky running back Derrick Locke as also in the mix to blaze the track in Indy. “D.V.D.,” as he’s known, helped break the University of Miami record in the 4×100 sprint relay as a Canes track star.

Van Dyke had two pass breakups and four tackles in the Senior Bowl game. He said the Bills and Cowboys, especially, have shown interest in him.

Running back Damien Berry was impressive to speak to, recalling his early-career days as a kickoff coverage ace for The U.

“I love special teams,” stressed Berry.

Berry believes he’s been unfairly pegged as a 4.5-type athlete, but is confident he’ll hit the 4.4s at the Combine.  He said the Dolphins and Jaguars have seemed keen on him so far, but it “really doesn’t matter” where he lands.

“I just love to win,” he said.

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6 Responses to “Hurricane NFL hopefuls intend to impress in Indy”
  1. therealjcannon says: Feb 23, 2011 5:03 PM

    I love the “U”, their guys always play with heart (-Big Mac), and have confidence and swagger.

  2. ndgarretjax says: Feb 23, 2011 5:12 PM

    I doubt he’ll get a “chance to win” with the Dolphins or Jaguars. But I could be wrong.

  3. canetic says: Feb 23, 2011 5:47 PM

    Hankerson is the real deal. Someone is going to get a steal in the 2nd or 3rd round.

  4. brasho says: Feb 23, 2011 5:59 PM

    Van Dyke ran himself out of the early to middle rounds at the Senior Bowl. He measured in at 6’1 and 167 lbs.. and got beat like a drum all week.

  5. mechajaguar says: Feb 23, 2011 6:33 PM

    I just hope that the Jags can get Hankerson in the 3rd round

  6. hnirobert3 says: Feb 24, 2011 7:29 AM

    “The University of Miami football program has taken a step back since the late 1990s”

    HUH? They won the National Title in 2001, had one robbed in 2002, and had 6 first rounders taken in the 2004 draft.

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