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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. Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) reaches to recover his fumble in front of Central Florida linebacker Tatum Bethune (15) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Pittsburgh. Pitt recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) KEITH SRAKOCIC  |  AP
    The Florida Gators stayed steady after trouncing Tennessee, which is very bad at playing football.
  2. Tennessee, left, lines up for a play against Florida during the first half Saturday in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The Calvary Christian alum impresses after missing the past two games by pouncing on a fumble and snagging an interception.
  3. Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, left, takes a hit from Florida linebacker Jonathan Greenard after throwing a pass during the first half. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Where would this Gators defense be without Louisville transfer Jonathan Greenard?
  4. Florida quarterback Kyle Trask, right, throws a pass over Tennessee defensive lineman Matthew Butler (94) during the first half. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    It didn’t look like Kyle Trask’s first start since he was a freshman in high school.
  5. A Florida Gators fan holds a sign supporting Feleipe Franks before Saturday's game against Tennessee. MATT BAKER  |  Matt Baker | Times
    Watch: Kyle Trask enters Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as the Florida Gators’ presumptive starting quarterback.
  6. In this Jan. 2, 2017, file photo, Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain looks at the action on the field in the first half against Iowa in the Outback Bowl. Times
    Coaches hired early in the 2017-18 carousel are 40-38. Coaches hired late: 39-52.
  7. Florida Gators quarterback Kyle Trask runs the ball in for a touchdown during the third quarter against Charleston Southern last season. MONICA HERNDON  |  Tampa Bay Times
    If Kyle Trask gets the first snap, it will be his first start since he was a freshman in high school.
  8. Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. (6) runs through a hole in the line during the first half against Louisville on Sept. 2. TIMOTHY D. EASLEY  |  AP
    More national college football: Jimbo Fisher, meanwhile, should be hyper focused on his quarterback, who hasn’t looked all that spiffy this season. Plus staff predictions.
  9. Tim Tebow. [Associated Press)] Associated Press
    Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Tom Jones and Rick Stroud debate Tebow, Dickie V, the first-place Bucs and the Rays playoff chase
  10. Notre Dame defensive lineman Jonathan Bonner (55) celebrates a sack of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm (11) during the second half of 2017 game. Georgia defeated Notre Dame 20-19. MICHAEL CONROY  |  AP
    Unlike last week, Saturday’s slate is loaded. Sit back and enjoy. Plus: Times staff predictions.
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