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Florida-Miami nuggets, including why Amari Burney is one of the most important Gators

NFL draft prospects to watch and more odds and ends on the Florida Gators-Miami Hurricanes opener.
Florida safety Amari Burney (30) celebrates with linebacker Ventrell Miller, left, and tight end Lucas Kull, right, after he blocked a Colorado State punt that led to a Florida touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Gainesville, Fla. [JOHN RAOUX | AP]
Published Aug. 23

Local of the week

Florida LB Amari Burney (Calvary Christian): You won’t find many players more important to the Gators than Burney. The sophomore spent most of the spring preparing to play linebacker (where he’s a co-starter) but is also on the two-deep at star defensive back thanks to UF’s thin secondary. His flexibility will be vital, especially if an injury or targeting call hits the Gators’ depth even more.

RELATED: Orlando opener comes full circle for Florida Gators’ Jonathan Greenard

Three prospects NFL fans should be watching

1. Florida cornerback CJ Henderson: Far-too-early mock drafts already list the Miami native as a potential first-round pick. It’ll be especially interesting if he defends…

2. Miami receiver K.J. Osborn: The 6-foot IMG Academy product could have entered the NFL draft out of Buffalo last season but transferred to Miami to boost his stock. He already looks like one of the Hurricanes’ top weapons.

3. Florida running back Lamical Perine: He, too, could have gone pro but returned for another college season. Perine has led UF in rushing each of the last two years and has potential at the next level.

RELATED: What will the Florida Gators-Miami Hurricanes crowd split be?

Matchup to watch

The football cliché of games being won in the trenches is true here. Both teams have iffy offensive lines; the Hurricanes have struggled there recently, and the Gators are replacing four starters. Both teams have good defensive fronts with potential star ends like UF’s Jabari Zuniga and Miami’s Jonathan Garvin. Both quarterbacks will likely be under pressure, which means Jarren William’s first career start for the ’Canes won’t be easy.

Miami’s awesome-looking Aussie

Miami punter Louis Hedley earned national attention on signing day for his size (6-4, 230 pounds), past (a former Australian rules football player) and the fact that he’s covered in tattoos.

“It’s pretty much one tattoo, just merged,” Hedley said.

His first was his last name, under his right bicep. He got it when he sneaked off into an alley while visiting his aunt in Hong Kong at age 15.

Mom, she didn’t really mind,” Hedley said. “My older brother has a lot of tattoos. I grew up trying to be like him.”

UM punter Louis Hedley works on catching the ball during the Miami Hurricanes first practice of the fall camp, Friday, July 26, 2019. [MICHAEL LAUGHLIN | South Florida Sun Sentinel]

RELATED: Q&A with Louis Hedley, the Miami Hurricanes’ heavily tattooed, 6-foot-4 Aussie punter

By the numbers

29-26 —Miami’s all-time record in the series. The ’Canes have won seven of the last eight

135 — Consecutive passes without an interception by Florida’s Feleipe Franks. That’s the fourth-best mark in school history

9 —Returning Gators who caught a touchdown last season

6Players from the transfer portal on Miami’s two-deep

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Quarterback Kyle Trask (11) winds up to pass during the third quarter of the Orange and Blue Debut at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. TAMPA BAY TIMES
    Could Trask-Jones be the next Chris Leak-Tim Tebow? “We’ll see,” Dan Mullen says.
  2. Florida coach Dan Mullen consoles quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) as he lies injured on the field during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    The timetable would have Franks returning sometime around spring practice.
  3. CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
Quarterback Kyle Trask (11) practices throws at Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, December 29, 2016. University of Florida held practice for the Outback Bowl at Jesuit High School.  Times
    The former Gators coach who recruited Trask to Florida isn’t surprised that Trask didn’t transfer.
  4. FILE - In this Aug. 6, 2014, file photo, Tim Tebow answers a question during a interview on the set of ESPN's new SEC Network in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton, File) NY161
    The former Florida Gators quarterback was passionate in his reasoning for why student-athletes shouldn’t make money. It didn’t sit well with many in the media, including other ESPN employees.
  5. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Kentucky in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    “In today’s college football world, people jump the gun,” coach Dan Mullen said. Trask never did.
  6. Florida running back Lamical Perine (2) attempts to break through an opening in the Kentucky defensive line during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    The gap between UCF and UF is shrinking, at least on Matt Baker’s AP ballot.
  7. Kentucky tight end Keaton Upshaw (88) makes a catch over the defense of Florida defensive back Brad Stewart for a touchdown during the second half. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    Kentucky’s fancy facilities are obvious, even from the outside on game day
  8. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) flips the ball in the air after running in for a touchdown during the second half. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    Psst, Kentucky: You might want to try defending the Gators’ receivers.
  9. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask (11) tries to avoid the defense of Kentucky linebacker Jordan Wright (15), and linebacker DeAndre Square (17) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    No. 9 UF rallied from 11 down to beat Kentucky on the road Saturday night.
  10. Florida coach Dan Mullen consoles quarterback Feleipe Franks (13) as he lies injured on the field during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. Florida won 29-21. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley) TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    His teammates surrounded him before he was carted off the field.
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