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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. Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Juwan Taylor (44) grabs the jersey of Florida Gators running back Kadarius Toney (4) while he runs the ball in the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville on Saturday, October 27, 2018.   BRONTE WITTPENN  | TIMES
    “I think it would be great to get him back out there,” Mullen says of Kadarius Toney’s expected return.
  2. LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, left, fights off a tackle by Mississippi State cornerback Jarrian Jones on a short pass reception Oct. 19 in Starkville. LSU won 36-13. ROGELIO V. SOLIS  |  AP
    Mullen’s new program is in the top 10, while his old one is in danger of snapping the bowl streak he started.
  3. Florida Gators head coach Mike White, right, takes selfie photos with Gators fan Zev Goodman, 13, during open practice that was available to the public at the Madison Square Garden in New York City on Thursday. Tonight the Nov. 4 Gators take on the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
    Florida State wasn’t ranked but received votes.
  4. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp says he doesn't want to take anything away from Florida, but he doesn't want to keep quiet about the officiating either. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The South Carolina coach says getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct was "gutless.''
  5. After years of complex Internet-to-TV setups and multiple streaming boxes, it seems the tech has finally caught up with the dream of cutting the cable cord, as several companies, such as Roku and TiVo, have begun offering devices specifically geared to cord cutters.
    Live sports without cable TV isn’t as different as you might think. And that can have serious ramifications across college sports.
  6. Florida's James Houston IV (41) and Umstead Sanders (42) jog through the tunnel before the start of the NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. (AP Photo/Mic Smith) MIC SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY LLC  |  AP
    There were two shakeups to Matt Baker’s top five this week, too.
  7. Florida's Kyle Trask throws a pass against South Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. Florida defeated South Carolina 38-27. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The quarterback’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns help UF put the Gamecocks away for good.
  8. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith watches as his team plays against Minnesota on Oct. 5 in Minneapolis. BRUCE KLUCKHOHN  |  AP
    Game-day guide: Plus a look at Penn State-Michigan and a game plan that’s crazy enough to (almost) work for the Vols this weekend.
  9. BYU linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) during the second half of last week's game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Game-day guide: And Will Muschamp’s South Carolina tenure looks almost exactly like his time with the Florida Gators.
  10. Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) throws a pass against Auburn on Oct. 5 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Kyle Trask and Emory Jones are thriving at Florida, while Willie Taggart is being tight-lipped at Florida State.
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